Boarding School Seasons offers a revealing look at the strong emotional history of Indian boarding school experiences in the first half of the twentieth century. At the heart of this book are the hundreds of letters written by parents, children, and school officials at Haskell Institute in Kansas and the Flandreau School in South Dakota. These revealing letters show how profoundly entire families were affected by their experiences.
Children, who often attended schools at great distances from their communities, suffered from homesickness, and their parents from loneliness. Parents worried continually about the emotional and physical health and the academic progress of their children. Families clashed repeatedly with school officials over rampant illnesses and deplorable living conditions and devised strategies to circumvent severely limiting visitation rules. Family intimacy was threatened by the school's suppression of traditional languages and Native cultural practices.
Although boarding schools were a threat to family life, profound changes occurred in the boarding school experiences as families turned to these institutions for relief during the Depression, when poverty and the loss of traditional seasonal economics proved a greater threat. Boarding School Seasons provides a multifaceted look at the aspirations and struggles of real people.
About the Author
Brenda J. Child is an associate professor of American studies at the University of Minnesota.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction: The Legacy of Boarding School Letters
1 Star Quilts and Jim Thorpe
2 From Reservation to Boarding School
3 Train Time
5 Illness and Death
6 Working for the School
7 Runaway Boys, Resistant Girls
1 Red Lake Students Who Attended Nonreservation Schools Circa 1929
2 Flandreau Enrollment Figures, 1893-1939
3 Flandreau Enrollment Distributions by Tribe and by State, 1937-38
4 Haskell Institute Cemetery Burials, by Tribal Name on Tombstone
What People are Saying About This
A skillfully written, welcome addition to the scholarship on American Indian experience in federal boarding schools. Professor Child brings an important and revealing corpus of materials into public view and treats those materials with understanding and sensitivity.
Author of They Called It Prairie Light