indian ‘boarding’ school road
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Indian ‘Boarding’ School Road
August, 2009, Page 52
Photo courtesy Heard Museum
This photo depicting an Indian boarding school class on etiquette is part of the Heard Museum’s current exhibit
Remembering Our Indian School Days: The Boarding School Experience
Indian School Road is currently home to popular restaurants, apartment complexes, bars and strip malls, but many Valley residents are unaware of the history behind its peculiar name.
Rewind to the late 19th century when Indian School Road wasn’t a nightlife destination but a street lined with Indian boarding schools created to “Americanize” American Indians.
American Indian children (both boys and girls) were sent to federally run boarding schools all over the country. They were forced away from their families and tribal traditions and ordered to assimilate into American society. Students were forbidden to speak in their native languages and were required to dress in standard-issue American clothing, according to historical accounts in the publication
Away From Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences
American Indian children who arrived at school with long hair immediately received haircuts, which traditionally was an act correlated with special ceremonies. Once that practice was stopped, wearing long hair became a statement of the personal identity students lost during the boarding school years.
A comprehensive list of American Indian boarding schools established nationwide since 1879 has never been created, but the number is estimated to be in the hundreds.
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