In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs forced tens of thousands of Native children to attend assimilationist boarding schools far from their homes and families. The children were physically and emotionally abused. The teachers and administrators at the boarding schools forbade the children from speaking any language but English, forced the children's participation in Christian rituals, cut the children's hair, and disparaged Native cultures. The explicit goals of these boarding schools were to erase Native cultures and protect white supremacist colonial power in the United States.
It is important for future teachers and students of education to know this history. It is a central piece of the history of American education. In this display, we feature children's, YA, and scholarly books that engage with the topic of Native American Boarding Schools. We hope Wheelock students are inspired to bring these texts into their classrooms.
1970: The first annual National Day of Mourning demonstration took place on the fourth Thursday in November (to coincide with Thanksgiving). The first demonstration was initiated by supporters of Frank Wamsutta James who was disinvited from a commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the Mayflower after James described Wampanoag peoples' perspectives on Thanksgiving at another event in New England.
1976: Osage-Cherokee physicist and community leader Jerry Elliot High Eagle drafted a proclamation for the first-ever Native American Awareness week.
1990: President George H. W. Bush declared November National American Indian Heritage Month.
1992: Berkeley, California became the first city to rename Columbus Day Indigenous People's Day.
1997: Police in Plymouth, Massachusetts attacked peaceful protestors at the annual National Day of Mourning demonstration.
2020: The National Day of Mourning demonstration was held virtually and more than 20,000 people attended online.
2021: President Biden released a presidential proclamation declaring the second Monday in October Indigenous People's Day (not Columbus Day). He was the first president to do so.