Native Lights is a weekly, half-hour radio program hosted by Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe members and siblings, Leah Lemm and Cole Premo. Native Lights is a space for people in Native communities around Mni Sota Mkoce — a.k.a. Minnesota — to tell their stories about finding their gifts and sharing them with the community.>
On today’s show, we talk with Brenda J. Child Ph.D. (Red Lake Nation) about the U.S. Department of Interior’s recently released investigative report on the Federal Indian boarding school system.
Brenda J. Child Ph.D. is the Northrop Professor of American Studies and American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota and was recently awarded a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
The Department of Interior’s 100+ page report is a first step in the U.S. government accounting for and acknowledging the harm done to Indigenous people over many decades. From 1819 to 1969, the United States funded 408 boarding schools for American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaskan Native students. These schools were a means to culturally assimilate Indigenous people and to dispossess them of lands across what are now 37 states.
Brenda J. Child is the author of many award-winning books including Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940; Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of Community; and My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation, which won the American Indian Book Award and Best Book in Midwestern History. Her bestselling book for children is Bowwow Powwow.
Additional resources suggested by Brenda J. Child:
Museum Exhibit: Away from Home – American Indian Boarding School Stories exhibit at the Heard Museum in Phoenix Arizonahttps://heard.org/boardingschool/
Journal article: The Boarding School as Metaphor, written by Brenda J. Child https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0037
Dr. Charles F. Eastman (Santee Dakota) autobiographies include Indian Boyhood, Soul of an Indian, and From the Deep Woods to Civilization. Eastman was born near Redwood Falls, Minnesota in 1858.
Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.
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