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American Indian Boarding Schools in the United States: A Brief History and Legacy

Lajimodiere, Denise K.

My interest in American Indian boarding school survivors’ stories evolved from recording my father, and other family members, speaking of their experiences. Stories I never knew existed, because they had all maintained silence on their experiences until I began asking questions. My qualitative interview research study of twenty American Indian boarding school survivors “Stringing Rosaries: A Qualitative Study of Sixteen Northern Plains American Indian Boarding School Survivors,” revealed four major themes, including: a) The participants attending boarding school experienced loss in the form of: loss of identity, language, culture, ceremonies and traditions; loss of self esteem; loneliness due to loss of parents and extended family; feeling of abandonment by parents; feeling lost and out of place when they returned home. b) The participants attending boarding school experienced abuse in the form of: corporal punishment; forced child labor; the Outing program; hunger/malnourished; and sexual and mental abuse. c) The participants experienced unresolved grief: maintaining silence; mental health issues, relationship issues and alcohol abuse. d) The participants expressed ways for healing in the form of: a return to Native spirituality and forgiveness.

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More Information

Published In
Indigenous Peoples’ Access To Justice, Including Truth And Reconciliation Processes
Pages
255 - 261
Publisher
Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University
Publication Origin
New York
Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights

Notes

This is a chapter from "Indigenous Peoples’ Access to Justice, Including Truth and Reconciliation Processes". The entire volume is available in Academic Commons at http://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8GT5M1F

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