What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

UNSOLVED: One specific book > Native American girl (Hopi I think) taken from her home and sent to boarding school--short story

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message 1: by Ann aka Iftcan (last edited Oct 08, 2017 07:00PM) (new)

Ann aka Iftcan (iftcan) | 6967 comments Mod
This was a short story in a book that I read in elementary school, back when the Mastodon's and sabertooth's roamed the west. Set sometime between 1900 and 1930's I believe.

The girl is forcibly removed from her home, along with other children and sent to one of the "reservation" schools to be taught how to be "white" and not "Indian".

The main things I remember from the book are:

1) she was homesick, missing her family and having problems with the English that she was required to speak exclusively. She might have had a younger sibling that she'd taken care of at home--but it might have been a cousin. A much younger child, at any rate, about toddler age, I think.

2) she prepared and sent up a prayer, using bird feathers and plant material to take it to the powers that she worshipped. (Sorry, it's been at least 50 or so years since I read this, so things are a little fuzzy)

3) it could have been an excerpt from a book, (but that I'm not sure of) that was included in one of those--things that children should read, even when they don't want to type books with a lot of different stories that from what I remember didn't really relate to each other, from a lot of writers.

4) it made me really glad that my cousins were no longer ripped from my father's Aunt's and Uncle's and sent off to the boarding schools. (Dad was part Choctaw, and we'd go to the Reservation to see the children and grandchildren of some of his favourite Aunts and Uncles and great-Aunts and great-Uncles.)

Read sometime between 1963-1968 (had to be before 1968 because Dad got posted to Europe then, and I was attending British/Embassy schools until we came back to the U.S. 2 years before he retired.)

Not holding out a lot of hope for this one, but hey, it popped into my head the other day while flipping through tv channels (1200 channels, and NOTHING on worth watching) and caught about 45 seconds of a NatGeo program.

message 2: by Dora (new)

Dora Smith (villandra24) | 3 comments I don't know, but I think I read the same story, or atleast a very similar one, when I was in school maybe 50 years ago. It was a short story, and not a book, but it would have been in my reader or else Jack and Jill magazine, most likely.

message 3: by Ann aka Iftcan (new)

Ann aka Iftcan (iftcan) | 6967 comments Mod
YES--thank you Dora--I've looked for this story for decades, and always get strange looks when trying to describe it. To actually have someone else who remembers it is wonderful. :o)

It would have to have been in some kind of a reader, since my family didn't get Jack and Jill. My Mum wouldn't subscribe to any magazines, since she said it was too much bother having to change the addresses constantly. To tell you how constantly--my Mum figured out once that I went to a total of 16 different schools between kindergarten and graduation. . . Ok, I was applying for an internship at the FBI and you wouldn't believe what they wanted to know in the app package. Fortunately I already had a security clearance, and had had since birth, because of Dad's job, so I didn't have to wait on that.

message 4: by Ann aka Iftcan (last edited Jan 09, 2018 03:16PM) (new)

Ann aka Iftcan (iftcan) | 6967 comments Mod
bump. Hoping that someone knows this story. Or if it wasn't a short story, the name of the book that it came from. I really wish that I'd quit having these snippets of stories from when I was a kid pop into my brain. A lot of them were from different readers (who all remembers Fun with Dick and Jane?) and were taken from other books and stories. Oh well, here's hoping someone besides Dora and me recognizes this story.

Oh, and while I didn't say it right out, but kind of implied it, the school was a boarding school. (And before anyone gets huffy and says that the U.S. wouldn't do that kind of thing--think about the camps for Japanese citizens during WWII, and the genocide that was attempted on ALL Native Americans, especially during the 1800's. And we won't even talk about the treatment of blacks, Irish, Eastern Europeans . . . )

message 5: by Heather (new)

Heather McC (heather-mcc) | 70 comments Would this resource on books about Native Americans for Children and Teens help? I realize that many of the titles have a recent copyright date, but maybe it is a reprint of something.


message 6: by NancyJ (last edited Feb 17, 2018 09:55PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 102 comments I remember learning about those schools when I was a kid (late 60's), possibly around the same time I learned about the Trail of Tears (though that might have been a bit later. in high school). It had a strong emotional impact, so I suspect that I learned it from a personal story like you did, rather than a textbook entry or class discussion.

I had barely an inkling at that time that I was part native american, but the story felt very relevant to me. It was painful to learn later that my grandfather was made to feel embarrassed about his heritage, and he kept it a secret for most of his life. He or his father might have been one of those kids.

Note: Many history writers include primary sources, so if your story was a personal account (as opposed to a fictional story), it
might be a part of a book that is still available. (see below)

Academic researchers and history writers often love it when someone asks them a question about something they researched. (I was told once that the average dissertation is read by fewer than 10 people.) But they might want to point you to more information about the topic rather than the specific story you read. A few emails might get you want you want.

Some historical fiction writers do a lot of research and might have seen your story. An author who is on goodreads might be open to questions, particularly if they're promoting a new book rather than engrossed in research/writing at that moment.

Here are a few books (or authors) that might have something relevant.

First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History

Residential Schools: With Words and Images of Survivors.

Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America

if your library doesn't carry a book (mine doesn't carry textbooks), try inter-library loan or a college/university.

I did some work for an indian nation in my area, and I know that they have a museum/library with all sorts of old books and documents relevant to their history.

message 7: by Louie (new)

Louie | 22 comments I really doubt that it's this one,but I'll throw it out there anyway, The Indian School by Gloria Whelan

message 8: by Ann aka Iftcan (new)

Ann aka Iftcan (iftcan) | 6967 comments Mod
JCLHeatherM I'll check out your suggestion. The problem is--this was a short story (or portion of a longer book) that was in one of those Reader type books that elementary and middle schools used to love to make students read for class.

Louie, that's definitely not it--way too late a publishing date. But it looks interesting. Maybe I'll get a copy for the time when my grandkids start having kids.

NancyJ--I know what you mean. If it hadn't been that my Dad would take us over to visit his cousins I wouldn't have known either. My parents were from the deep South, and admitting to having ANY blood that wasn't "white as snow" could lead to serious problems. Dad joined the Navy at 17 during WWII and he and Mum didn't go back except for visits until 1993. And by then my cousins had grown up and their kids had grown up. So Mum and Dad were no longer viewed as such "Raving Liberals" by their siblings.

message 9: by Ann aka Iftcan (new)

Ann aka Iftcan (iftcan) | 6967 comments Mod
Bump--and on the "raving liberal" front, most of my family (except for my Aunt June) still views ME as a raving liberal. But I think that's because I read sci-fi and fantasy. :o)

message 10: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 19032 comments Still looking, Ann?

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