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© 2018 | Jaime Gómez

Assessing the campaign to "improve" the Indian.

February 12, 2018

In 1961 the Colombian government hired father Lino Rampón to assess the results of the Catholic missions' actions to "catechize, instill literacy, and culturally improve” the Indians of La Guajira region. Father Rampón sent his report in 1962, after spending one month in the region. One of the places he visited was the Internado Indígena de Nazareth (Nazareth’s Indian Residential School), one of the institutions my dissertation focuses on. In his report, father Rampón mentions the 400 Indian children (boys and girls) who study in the school and includes a general layout of the institution (see image). This is the first time I see a plan of the school.

 

 

According to father Rampón, the school principal explained that children were learning so well the habits they were being taught that some girls even came back to the school during their vacations just to take a shower. Father Rampón also argues that Indians want to be “civilized” to be able to trade with and understand white people. However, he is concerned with the fact that the education Indians get is not adapted to their particular needs.

 

Source: Archivo General de la Nación, Colombia, CO.AGN.AO-100.MGOB [2]-3/26.2

 

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