American Indian Boarding Schools

American Indian boarding schools, which operated in Minnesota and across the United States beginning in the late nineteenth century, represent a dark chapter in U.S. history. Also called industrial schools, these institutions prepared boys for manual labor and farming and girls for domestic work. The boarding school, whether on or off a reservation, carried out the government's mission to restructure Indians' minds and personalities by severing children’s physical, cultural, and spiritual connections to their tribes.

Color image of the hand of an American Indian symbolically offering ear of corn to colonists. Used in The Grain That Built a Hemisphere.

American Indian Corn

Hand of an American Indian symbolically offering ear of corn to colonists. Used in The Grain That Built a Hemisphere, 1943.

Color image of a corn god holding an ear of corn. Photograph by Wikimedia Commons user ŠJů, 2012.

Yam Kaax, the Mayan corn god

Corn god holding an ear of corn. Photograph by Wikimedia Commons user ŠJů, 2012.

Black and white photograph of Elsa Jemne painting portrait of a Blackfoot woman, c.1915

Elsa Jemne painting portrait of a Blackfoot woman

Elsa Jemne painting portrait of a Blackfoot woman, c.1915.

Color image of Portrait of An Indian Male, oil-on-canvas painting by Elsa Jemne, 1926.

"Portrait of An Indian Woman"

Portrait of An Indian Woman, oil-on-canvas painting by Elsa Jemne, 1926.

Color image of Mrs. Star, oil-on-canvas painting by Elsa Jemne, 1926.

"Mrs. Star"

Mrs. Star, oil-on-canvas painting by Elsa Jemne, 1926.

Color image of Yellow Kidney, Keeper of the Beaver Bundle, oil-on-canvas painting by Elsa Jemne, 1926.

"Yellow Kidney, Keeper of the Beaver Bundle"

Yellow Kidney, Keeper of the Beaver Bundle, oil-on-canvas painting by Elsa Jemne, 1926.

Color image of a cuff created between 2012 and 2013 by Dakota/Navajo artist Dallas Goldtooth.

Dakota quillwork cuff

Cuff created between 2012 and 2013 by Dakota/Navajo artist Dallas Goldtooth.

Color image of a cradleboard made by Hope Two Hearts and Galen Drapeau (Isanti and Ihanktonwan Dakota, respectively), c.1980.

Quilled and beaded cradleboard

A cradleboard made by Hope Two Hearts and Galen Drapeau (Isanti and Ihanktonwan Dakota, respectively), c.1980. The cradleboard, which won best traditional art at the Sante Fe Indian Market Show, was originally made for Hanhepi Maniwin. An image of her in this cradleboard was featured in promotional materials for Hope and Galen's business, the Elk's Camp Society.

Color image of a doll probably made by Rebecca Bluecloud, an artist from the Upper Sioux Indian Community in Granite Falls, in the 1920s or 1930s.

Beaded doll

A doll probably made by Rebecca Bluecloud, an artist from the Upper Sioux Indian Community in Granite Falls, in the 1920s or 1930s.

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