Boarding School Seasons Summary

967 Words4 Pages
I have chosen the book Boarding School Seasons by author Brenda Child to read and critique. I have always been interested in the boarding schools that the US Government basically forced upon American Indian families in the early 1900s. I will have to say that it is a fairly new concept in my studies, since this was not an issue ever talked about in my History classes taken in high school. In fact most of the classes I took in high school barely talked about any issues regarding American Indians which looking back on it now I find incredible seeing that we are located between two reservations and this region is steeped with Indian history and culture. Brenda J Child is a professor of American studies at the University of Minnesota. Child…show more content…
Her maternal grandmother attended Flandreau and her great-grandfather attended Carlisle, these stories as well as many other contributed by friends helped her understand just what the boarding school experience was like. These childhood stories piqued her interest in the historical study of her culture and as she grew older and attended graduate school her training led her to seek archival sources to document the stories she grew up hearing. Hoping to reach beyond the oral history she searched government archives and found documents from the file cabinets of old boarding schools like Flandreau and Haskell written by the families and students that were directly affected. Through these documents and letters Child covers assimilation, poor living conditions, and military regimentation but also provides personal views of the Indian boarding school experience. Child taps into this overlooked source: boarding school letters written by Indian students, parents, and school officials. The letters gave me information about student motives and initiatives, including why so many ran away. Their reasons included dissatisfaction with the school food…show more content…
Some parents although reluctantly voluntarily sent their children there for a multitude of reasons. These included the death of a spouse, poverty on the reservation and the worsening of poverty due to the Great Depression. Sending their children to the school for some parents was a survival mechanism. Additionally some parents requested a certain school because an older sibling may have already attended or they did not want to attend non-Indian schools and face racism. Bringing in the volunteer element Child adds a new perspective to the field of Indian Education history. This view I believe was meant to not replace but stand besides the view of forced schooling, which so many students experienced both before and after 1900. Child covers areas not previously looked at or only lightly examined by other historians, at the same time she reiterates some of the established facts. She talks about the well-known Meriam Report of 1928, which did much to publicize the negative conditions within the schools. She also looks at the school reforms the BIA enacted in the 1930s under the new administration of John

More about Boarding School Seasons Summary

Open Document