Death in the SchoolsJun 27, 2023
In 1908, an anthropologist traveled to the Western states to examine an outbreak of tuberculosis and found that 20 percent–or one in every five–of the residents of Indian Country had contracted the disease. In an effort to contain it, authorities asked the anthropologist to trace the cause of the outbreak and he found it – in the Native American boarding schools. Educating native children was an enterprise that quickly turned lethal as epidemics and contagious illnesses swept through the schools. Sickness infected and killed scores of students.
Hosted by: Sharon McMahon
Executive Producer: Heather Jackson
Audio Producer: Jenny Snyder
Written and researched by: Heather Jackson, Amy Watkin, Mandy Reid, and KariMarisa Anton
Thank you to our guest K. Tsiannina Lomawaima and some of the music in this episode was composed by indigenous composer R. Carlos Nakai.
Links to Full Episode:
About our Expert
Tsianina Lomawaima (Mvskoke / Creek Nation descent), scholar of Indigenous studies, is retired from the professoriate where she served as faculty at the University of Washington (1988-1994), the University of Arizona (1994-2014), and Arizona State University (2014-2020). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the National Academy of Education. Her scholarship on the federal off-reservation boarding school system is rooted in the experiences of her father, Curtis Thorpe Carr, a survivor of Chilocco Indian Agricultural School in Oklahoma, where he was enrolled from 1927 to 1935. Relevant publications include the 2018 special issue of JAIE (Journal of American Indian Education) “Native American Boarding School Stories” Vol. 57 #1; “To Remain an Indian”: Lessons for democracy from a century of Native American education (2006; with Teresa McCarty); Away from home: American Indian boarding school experiences (2000; with Margaret Archuleta and Brenda Child); and They Called it Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School (1994).
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