They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian Schoolby K. Tsianina Lomawaima
Pub. Date: 08/28/1995
Publisher: UNP - Nebraska Paperback
"[An] engaging and insightful book. . . . The author steers a thoughtful course through this material: her prose is lucid, her judgments carefully weighed. She tempers the seriousness of her undertaking with compassion and, at times, humor-always responding faithfully to the voices she records."-Native Peoples. "Perhaps the most distinctive book yet written about Indian Boarding Schools. . . . A revealing, and often moving, book."-Richard White. Established in 1884 and operative for nearly a century, the Chilocco Indian School in Oklahoma was one of a series of off-reservation boarding schools intended to assimilate American Indian children into mainstream American life. Critics have characterized the schools as destroyers of Indian communities and cultures, but the reality that K. Tsianina Lomawaima discloses was much more complex. "An institution founded to transform Indian youth was paradoxically given life by the very people whose tribal identities it was committed to erase." Lomawaima allows the Chilocco students to speak for themselves. In recollections juxtaposed against the official records of racist ideology and repressive practice, students from the 1920s and 1930s recall their loneliness and demoralization but also remember with pride the love and mutual support binding them together-the forging of new pan-Indian identities and reinforcement of old tribal ones. K. Tsianina Lomawaima is an associate professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona and the daughter of a former Chilocco student.
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