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Boarding School Seasons American Indian Families, 1900-1940 by Brenda J. Child

Boarding School Seasons American Indian Families, 1900-1940

Part of the North American Indian Prose Award Series


Boarding School Seasons American Indian Families, 1900-1940 by Brenda J. Child

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.


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. -Tsianina Lomawaima, author of They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School -- Tsianina Lomawaima

About the Author

Brenda J. Child is an associate professor of American studies at the University of Minnesota.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st February 2000


Brenda J. Child

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University of Nebraska Press


154 pages


History of the Americas
20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000
Social & cultural history



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