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Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940 (North American Indian Prose Award) [Paperback]

Brenda J. Child
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 1, 2000 0803264054 978-0803264052
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. Brenda J. Child is an associate professor of American studies at the University of Minnesota.

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Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940 (North American Indian Prose Award) + Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928
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Editorial Reviews


"Brenda J. Child, a Red Lake Ojibwe and a descendant of boarding school students, brings to light previously unpublished archival letters from the Flandreau school in South Dakota and the Haskell Institute in Kansas - letters written by students, parents and administrators. This correspondence chronicles the emotional and cultural impact that boarding schools had on individuals, families and communities. To assess that impact, the author examines several key areas: the effects of separation on children and parents; the dangers of illness; the nature of boarding school work; and the techniques of resistance and rebellion. The author's thoughtful approach and her willingness to let the letter writers tell their own stories allow the complexities and paradoxes of boarding school life to emerge unfettered by historical preconceptions or stereotypes. As a result, the voices of these letters become a testament not to the power of an institution, but to the resourcefulness and resilience of a people." - Native Peoples.

About the Author

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

Product Details

  • Series: North American Indian Prose Award
  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (February 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803264054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803264052
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative. Has something you've never heard of before February 28, 2008
I picked up this book for my college class on the study of Native Americans from Civil War to present. Even though this is an educational biography on boarding school life, it is actually quite intriguing. Brenda Child completely covers the topic with very interesting material. I won't say that Boarding School Seasons is one of my favorites, but if you are interested in the topic of Indian boarding schools, then you will actually be suprised at how easy it is for this book to keep your attention. If you are viewing this book for a college course, then your class shouldn't be too hard. This is one of the few college required texts that I actually managed to enjoy
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Boarding School Primer July 29, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This short, easy to read book presents a basic overview of boarding school issues which occurred throughout the U.S. during the boarding school era. Brenda Child's book concentrates on the Red Lake Ojibwes who attended boarding school at Flandreau specifically. The book also uses personal stories of students and their families in vignettes preserved through letters sent to and from Flandreau. I found this book well-written, readable, and recommended as an overview of the boarding school era.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good. November 3, 2011
By Melanie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting research including the voices of the students and their parents. I especially enjoyed reading their letters. The pain of parents separated from their children was palpable. It was, however, somewhat repetitive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed very much. March 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good book. I just like the fact that I can find good books on my kindle and I don't have to run to a store to buy them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars INTER GENERATIONAL TRAUMA January 14, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another book with stories about the trauma that the Boarding Schools caused our Indian People of Turtle Island. Many of us are products of the Historical Trauma that our ancestors endured at the hands of the White Man!
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