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Grant number: GI-253987-17

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GI-253987-17

Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ 85004-1323)
Janet Cantley (Project Director: August 2016 to present)

Tragedy and Triumph: The American Indian Boarding School Experience

Tragedy and Triumph examines an important but often unknown period of American history. Beginning in the 1870s, the U.S. government aimed to assimilate American Indians into “civilized” society by placing them in boarding schools. Children were taken from families and transported to far-away schools where all signs of “Indianness” were stripped away. Students were trained for servitude and many went for years without familial contact—events that still resonate today. Boarding schools were designed to change American Indians, but it was American Indians who changed the schools. A sense of Pan Indianism grew on campuses, and advocates demanded reform. Eventually, schools came to celebrate the very culture they were designed to eradicate. The exhibit places archival materials, works of art, video, audio, and interactive technology in an immersive environment that conveys the complex history of these schools and recognizes the resilience, vitality, and creativity of American Indians.

Project fields:
Cultural Anthropology; Native American Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Exhibitions: Implementation

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$250,000 (approved)
$250,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2017 – 3/31/2019