Boarding School Seasons


Boarding School Seasons

American Indian Families, 1900-1940

Brenda J. Child

North American Indian Prose Award Series

154 pages


November 1998


$45.00 Add to Cart

February 2000


$17.00 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 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.

Author Bio

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


"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


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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