the queue state

Aang: This is a sacred temple! You can't treat it this way. I've seen it when the monks were here. I know what it's supposed to be like.

In the interminable interim
Between delirium and the dismay
When you must part ways
And inter the dream
That died when one (or both)
Of you got tired of trying
That period is like the lull
Of sleep, the calm before the storm
Comes to claim what isn’t tied down
Tossing off the dross
And if you have nothing left
Really, is it a huge loss?
—  Some things are meant to end

In the late nineteenth century, government officials in both the United States and Australia devised new policies for indigenous peoples: “assimilation” in the United States and “protection” in Australia. As can be seen by Commissioner Morgan’s quote, officials often proclaimed that they were ushering in a new age of dealing fairly and kindly with the remaining indigenous inhabitants. Yet these new policies actually entailed one of the most draconian measures possible: the removal of indigenous children from their kin and communities to be raised in distant institutions. Instead of breaking with the past use of violence and force, these new approaches are best seen as part of a continuum of colonizing approaches, all aimed ultimately at extinguishing indigenous people ’s claims to their remaining land. 2 As the anthropologist Ann Laura Stoler finds, “The politics of compassion was not an oppositional assault on empire but a fundamental element of it”; the “production and harnessing of sentiment” comprised a key “technology of the colonial state.”

In both countries, government officials and reformers used a remarkably similar language to justify their policies. They routinely asserted that the removal of indigenous children from their families would “save” the children from lives of backwardness and poverty in their “camps” and “civilize” and make them “useful” in Australian and American societies. Authorities also warned that if children were not removed, indigenous people would become a “burden” or a “menace” to their emerging nations. Just underneath this articulated layer of justification lay a bedrock of concerns about defining and building the nation — as white, Christian, and modern. Policy makers regarded the surviving indigenous populations as standing in the way of national unity, modernity, and progress and envisioned child removal as a means to complete the colonization of indigenous peoples. Significantly, whereas U.S. authorities focused primarily on culturally assimilating Indian children, many Australian officials promoted the biological absorption of Aboriginal children, what they termed “breeding out the colour.” 

- from White mother to a dark race: settler colonialism, maternalism, and the removal of indigenous children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940, by Margaret D. Jacobs (2009)