Mon, 14 July 2014
The Indian Placement Program was a program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1947 to 2000, in which LDS Native American students were placed in LDS foster homes during the school year, where they would attend public schools and become assimilated into American culture. The program was initially developed to respond to the needs of Navajo teenagers and even younger children who were coming to parts of Utah to work. It was felt it would be better for them to get an education. Beginning in the 1970s, however, the Indian Placement Program came under criticism. Supporters believed that exposure to white culture was beneficial to Native American children, and that it improved educational and economic opportunities, while critics believed the program undermined the children’s Native American identity. In 2000 the last student graduated from the program, though the program never was officially discontinued. Matthew Garrett is currently an associate professor of history at Bakersfield College in California, teaching United States, California, and Native American Indian history courses. His dissertation and forthcoming book manuscript explore the LDS Indian Placement Program. He is also a devoted husband and the father of three adorable little girls.