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Pickering Library Displays

At Pickering Library, we update our displays frequently. Please stop by to see what we are showcasing!

Land Acknowledgment

When you are on BU campus, you are on Wampanoag and Massachusett Land. 

We acknowledge that the territory on which Pickering Library stands is that of The Wampanoag and The Massachusett People. Our library and BU's campus are places to honor and respect the history and continued efforts of Native and Indigenous community leaders. Our library and BU's campus are also places to take action for justice. Educational institutions like BU have a responsibility to provide information and resources on Native American history, culture, and the present demands of Native communities. This library display is one small step in acknowledging the colonial history and present violence that brings non-Wampanoag and non-Massachusett people to reside on this land. Ownership of land is itself a colonial concept, and an act of violence. Today, Boston is home to indigenous peoples, including the Mashpee Wampanoag and Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah). This display highlights a historical event, but this history is alive. For more information, please visit the North American Indian Center of Boston website. Visit to determine whose land you are on. 


Statement adapted from Boston University Teaching and Writing by Amanda Campbell. 

BU Libraries Search

To find information on Native American Boarding Schools in BU Library Search, try searching by Subject (rather than title or author) and input the Subject Headings listed below, exactly as they are written:

Off-reservation boarding schools

Indian residential schools

Indians of North America--Education

Boarding schools--juvenile fiction

Historical Overview

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. 

American Indian Heritage Month 2023: Native American Boarding School Books

Library entrance with books, title reading "Books on Native American Boarding Schools"

Additional Resources

Our Spirits

Our Spirits Don't Speak English

Film about Native American Boarding Schools available with your BU login via Kanopy.

National Archives and Records Administration

Bureau of Indian Affairs Records at the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration of the United States keeps the Bureau of Indian Affairs records, which includes records of the founding and operation of Native American Boarding Schools. Some of this material is digitized and available online. 

Library of Congress Teaching Guide

This free teachers' guide focused on Native American Boarding Schools includes a curated set of primary sources digitized by the Library of Congress, lesson plans, and assignment ideas for your classroom. 

Indian Claims Insight (ProQuest History Vault)

Indian Claims Insight provides research tools to understand and analyze Native American migration and resettlement throughout U.S. history, as well as U.S. Government Indian removal policies and subsequent actions to address Native American claims. Content includes decisions, transcripts, docket books, journals of the Indian Claims Commission, and related statutes and congressional publications.


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Dan Benedetti
Head of Pickering Educational Resources Library / Education Librarian
Subjects: Education

User Services Assistant