Impact of boarding schools on American Indian culture

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Personal and family stories about the impact of federal boarding schools on the history and culture of American Indians in the Northwest will be the focus of a free public symposium 7-9 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday, March 30-31, Administration Building 110, Washington State University Vancouver.
Keynote speaker
Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families 1900 -1940

Brenda J. Child, head of the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota and an enrolled member of the Red Lake Ojibwe, will give the keynote address on March 30. Child is an internationally known scholar and the author of two books that look at the boarding school experience through the eyes of  Indian students and their families:  “Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940” and “Away From Home.”

Panel discussion
Following her lecture, Child will join a panel of academic experts including Jeff Osler, University of Oregon; Robbie Paul, (Nez Perce) WSU Spokane; and Robert McCoy, WSU Pullman. The multidisciplinary panel will look at Indian boarding schools through the lenses of history, health, federal Indian policy and American Indian studies.
Paul, McCoy and Steve Fountain, WSU Vancouver, the panel’s moderator, are affiliates of the WSU Plateau Center for American Indian Studies.
Personal testimonies
The following evening, March 31, will feature introductory testimonies by four tribal elders speaking personally about their families’ varied boarding school experiences, including those at Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Ore. The remainder of the evening will be a forum, moderated by Paul, for other members of the regional American Indian community to share their personal and family boarding school stories—past and present.
Both evenings will be followed by a reception, a book display and signing, and an opportunity to meet the speakers.
Exhibit at library
An exhibit in the WSU Vancouver Library titled “Boarding School Generations: Image and Experience at Chemawa Indian School, 1880-Present” will accompany the symposium. The exhibit, curated by Jacqueline Peterson and Linda Edwards, will run March 24-May 7.
The display of books, photographs, objects and memorabilia about Chemawa Indian School will include: rare photographs and diaries of Edwin L. Chalcraft held by Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections at WSU Pullman; mid-20th century Chemawa yearbooks from Archives and Special Collections, Mark O. Hatfield Library, Willamette University; and objects and art assembled by students and faculty from Chemawa Indian School today.
The “Boarding School Generations” exhibit will also feature a panel display of photographs and documents of three generations of the Paul Family and a computer station with access to WSU’s Plateau Portal, a new web-based archival and museum collections partnership with tribes in the Northwest. If you plan to visit, look for the most up-do-date library hours at
“Boarding Schools Generations” is sponsored by the Department of History; College of Liberal Arts; ASWSU and the History, Anthropology and Diversity Clubs at WSU Vancouver; the Museum of Anthropology; the Tribal Liaison Office and The Plateau Center for American Indian Studies at WSU Pullman; and WSU Libraries.
WSU Vancouver is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave., east of the 134th Street exit from either I-5 or I-205. Parking is available at parking meters or in the Blue Daily Pay lot for $3.