WSU Vancouver Offers Two-day Symposium and Exhibit, “Boarding Schools Generations”
VANCOUVER, Wash. – The Department of history and the College of Liberal Arts at Washington State University Vancouver will present a two-day symposium, “Boarding Schools Generations,” from 7 – 9 p.m. March 30 – 31 in the Administration building, room 110. The symposium will focus on personal and family stories and the impact of federal boarding schools on the history and culture of American Indian peoples in the Northwest. The symposium is free and open to the public.
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.”
Following her lecture, Child will join a panel of academic experts including Jeff Osler, University of Oregon; Robbie Paul, (Nez Perce) Washington State University Spokane; and Robert McCoy, WSU Pullman. Paul, McCoy and Steve Fountain, WSU Vancouver, the panel’s moderator, are affiliates of the WSU Plateau Center for American Indian Studies. The multidisciplinary panel will look at Indian boarding schools through the lenses of history, health, federal Indian policy and American Indian studies.
The following evening, March 31, features introductory testimonies by four tribal elders speaking personally about their own 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 of the symposium will be followed by a reception, a book display and signing, and an opportunity to meet the speakers.
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 exhibit of books, photographs, objects and memorabilia about Chemawa Indian School includes 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 also features 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 http://library.vancouver.wsu.edu/library-hours.
“Boarding Schools Generations” is sponsored by the 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.