Essie's Story


Essie's Story

The Life and Legacy of a Shoshone Teacher

Esther Burnett Horne and Sally McBeth

American Indian Lives Series

225 pages
Illus., map


August 1999


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

This is the spirited story of Esther Burnett Horne, an accomplished and inspiring educator in Indian boarding schools. Born in 1909, Horne attended Haskell Indian Institute in Lawrence, Kansas, and often visited relatives on the Shoshone Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Motivated by teachers like Ella Deloria and Ruth Muskrat Bronson, Horne devoted her life to educating other Indian children. She began teaching at the Wahpeton Indian School in Wahpeton, North Dakota, in 1930 and has remained active in education to the present day.
Her experiences as student and teacher have enabled Horne to provide a detailed portrait of Indian boarding schools. We learn about daily life at Haskell and about the challenges and rewards of teaching for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Wahpeton. Above all, Horne's life illuminates the ongoing struggle by Native teachers and students to retain their cultural identities within a government educational system designed to assimilate them.
Esther Horne and Sally McBeth developed this life history in a truly collaborative manner. McBeth carefully documented both Horne’s personal history and the creation of this work. What emerges is an engaging and informative narrative about education and identity.

Author Bio

Sally McBeth is a professor of anthropology and multicultural studies at the University of Northern Colorado.