To Show What an Indian Can Do: Sports at Native American Boarding Schools

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The Carlisle Indian School and the Haskell Institute in Kansas were among the many federally operated boarding schools enacting the U.S. government's education policy toward Native Americans from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, one designed to remove children from familiar surroundings and impose mainstream American culture on them. To Show What an Indian Can Do explores the history of sports programs at these institutions and, drawing on the recollections of former students, describes the importance of competitive sports in their lives. Author John Bloom focuses on the male and female students who did not typically go on to greater athletic glory but who found in sports something otherwise denied them by the boarding school program: a sense of community, accomplishment, and dignity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book makes it clear that there is no single Native American experience and that boarding schools affected different students differently - sometimes, through athletics, providing a sense of pride." -Library Journal

"John Bloom offers a compelling and fresh analysis of an aspect of Indian education that was deeply laden with meaning yet little understood. I strongly recommend this book. It is well written, provocative, and rich in historical detail." -American Studies

Library Journal
When people reflect on the Native American boarding-school experience today, images of repression often predominate, perhaps shared with a remembrance of the star power of Indian athletes such as Jim Thorpe. Bloom, an independent scholar and author of A House of Cards: Baseball Card Collecting and Popular Culture, discovered by interviewing graduates of these programs and examining the oral history records that life in a boarding school environment cannot be so easily categorized. The sports programs at places like the Carlisle Indian School or the Haskell Institute helped level the playing field for Native athletes and their fans, proving that when given an opportunity to excel they were equal to or better than their non-Native adversaries. This book makes it clear that there is no single Native American experience and that boarding schools affected different students differently--sometimes, through athletics, providing a sense of pride. For academic and specialized collections.--Mary B. Davis, Huntington Free Lib., Bronx, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816636518
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Series: Sport and Culture Series, #2
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John Bloom is author of A House of Cards: Baseball Card Collecting and Popular Culture (Minnesota, 1997).

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Table of Contents

ContentsAcknowledgements Introduction Native American Athletics and Assimilation The Struggle over the Meaning of Sports The 1930s and Pan-Indian Pride Female Physical Fitness, Sexuality, and Pleasure Narratives of Boarding School Life Conclusion Notes Works Cited Index

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