From 1893-1934 an American Indian Boarding School operated in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, the city in which I live. Designed and funded by the U.S. government, American Indian Boarding Schools worked to systemically eradicate Native American culture from the United States through cultural genocide and forced assimilation. 

I walk most days in the public park across the road from the boarding school site. As I began to learn more about the horrific abuses that occurred in and near the places through which I moved, the physical structures of the forest around me began to suggest educational relations and concepts. In a place that carries a history of violence perpetrated under the guise of education, I work to make images that embody the vulnerability, mystery, and delicacy at the heart of teaching and learning.

A note on language: I refer to the boarding schools as American Indian Boarding Schools because the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways uses that language to refer to the schools. The Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways is the museum and cultural center of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, the Native American tribe that owns the site of the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School.

If you are interested in learning more about American Indian Boarding Schools, the Ziibiwing Center offers excellent resources (including reading lists, lesson plans, and a teacher's guide for free download) here.
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