Boarding School Seasons


Boarding School Seasons

American Indian Families, 1900-1940

Brenda J. Child

North American Indian Prose Award Series

154 pages
16 photographs


February 2000


$17.00 Add to Cart

November 1998


$45.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

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 schools' 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.

Author Bio

Brenda J. Child is an associate professor and chair of the Department of American Indian 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
4 Homesickness
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


North American Indian Prose Award Winner
1999 Minnesota Book Award, sponsored by the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, the Saint Paul Public Library, and the office of the Mayor of Saint Paul, history category finalist

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