Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories
February 1 - March 18, 2023
Beginning in the 1870s, the US government attempted to educate and assimilate American Indians into “civilized” society by placing children—of all ages, from thousands of homes and hundreds of diverse tribes—in distant, residential boarding schools. Many were forcibly taken from their families and communities and stripped of all signs of “Indianness,” even forbidden to speak their own language amongst themselves. Up until the 1930s, students were trained for domestic work and trade in a highly regimented environment. Many children went years without familial contact, and these events had a lasting, generational impact. Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories explores off-reservation federal boarding schools in a kaleidoscope of voices.
Please note: Away from Home contains stories of resilience and revitalization, agency and honor. Please be aware that it also contains descriptions of human indignities and hardships and terms that reflect historically racist perspectives and language from past eras. In speaking the truth about acts of seemingly unfathomable violence and suffering in the lives of Native peoples, this exhibition is advised for more mature audience members, grades eight to adult.
This traveling exhibition was adapted from the permanent exhibition, Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories, organized by The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. Both the original exhibit and this touring version were supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is brought to you by Mid-America Arts Alliance, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Chickasaw Nation.