Like the figures in the ancient oral literature of Native Americans, children who lived through the American Indian boarding school experience became heroes, bravely facing a monster not of their own making. Sometimes the monster swallowed them up. More often, though, the children fought the monster and grew stronger. This volume draws on the full breadth of this experience in showing how American Indian boarding schools provided both positive and negative influences for Native American children. The boarding schools became an integral part of American history, a shared history that resulted in Indians "turning the power" by using their school experiences to grow in wisdom and benefit their people. The first volume of essays ever to focus on the American Indian boarding school experience, and written by some of the foremost experts and most promising young scholars of the subject, Boarding School Blues ranges widely in scope, addressing issues such as sports, runaways, punishment, physical plants, and Christianity.
With comparative studies of the various schools, regions, tribes, and aboriginal peoples of the Americas and Australia, the book reveals both the light and the dark aspects of the boarding school experience and illuminates the vast gray area in between.
Clifford E. Trafzer is a professor of American Indian history, director of public history, and director of graduate studies at the University of California, Riverside. His many books include As Long as the Grass Shall Grow and Rivers Flow: A History of Native Americans. Jean A. Keller is an adjunct professor of American Indian studies at Palomar College in San Marcos, California, and a private cultural resources consultant. She is the author of Empty Beds: Indian Student Health at Sherman Institute, 1902-1922. Lorene Sisquoc is the curator of the Sherman Indian Museum in Riverside, California. She teaches Native American traditions to high school students and instructs extension classes in Native American studies.