English Professor Shares Stories of Resilience in the Face of Assimilation at Native American Boarding Schools

Sarah Klotz, assistant professor of English. Photo by Avanell Chang

The Conversation

The U.S. government's effort to culturally assimilate Native Americans by forcing them to attend boarding schools in the late 19th century has been brought into the limelight by recent discoveries of unmarked graves of Indigenous children at several boarding school sites.

In an article for The Conversation, Sarah Klotz, assistant professor of English at Holy Cross, explored the history behind the concept of English-only education at Native American boarding schools, which became a prototype across the U.S. and Canada.

Klotz, whose book "Writing Their Bodies: Restoring Rhetorical Relations at the Carlisle Indian School" delves into these stories at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, found that students "were not passive victims of U.S. colonization. Instead, they fought...to retain their languages and cultures as the assimilationist experiment in education unfolded."

"The outcry against boarding schools that we see today...reflects not only a shared experience of trauma, but a longstanding solidarity among Indigenous peoples working together to maintain land, language, culture and identity in the face of oppression," said Klotz.

To read the full article, go to TheConversation.com.