• Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors by O. Loyie, W.  Spear, and C.  Brissenden, 2014. Broad-ranging coverage, gives the Native perspectives, in all their complexity, voice in a matter that is wonderfully effective. This book focuses on the Canadian residential school experience, but most of the experiences, impressions, and explanations are equally valid with respect to United States boarding schools. Well worth the time to read and take in the many photographs and other explanatory aids. (see NILL catalog record, including a table of contents)
  • The students of Sherman Indian School : education and native identity since 1892 by Diana Meyers Bahr, University of Oklahoma Press, 2014. Sherman Institute’s historical trajectory features the abuse and exploitation familiar from other accounts of life at Indian boarding schools. But this book also brings to light the ways Native children managed to maintain their dignity, benefited from interacting with students from other tribes, and often even expressed appreciation for their Sherman experiences. From the accounts of students, educators, and administrators over the years, Diana Meyers Bahr draws a picture of Sherman students successfully navigating a complicated middle course between total assimilation and total rejection of white education. -from back cover
  • To win the Indian heart : music at Chemawa indian school by Melissa D. Parkhurst, Oregon State University Press, 2014. Combining oral histories of Chemawa [Chemawa Indian School, Oregon] alumni with archival records of campus life, the book examines the prominent forms of music making at Chemawa—school band, choirs, private lessons, pageants, dance, garage bands, and powwows. Parkhurst traces the trajectory of federal Indian policy, highlighting students’ creative responses and the ways in which music reveals the inherent contradictions in the U.S. government’s assimilation practices. – from back cover
  • They called me number one: secrets and survival at an Indian residential school by Bev Sellars, Talonbooks, 2013. The first full-length memoir to be published out of St. Joseph’s Mission at Williams Lake, BC, Sellars tells of three generations of women who attended the school, interweaving the personal histories of her grandmother and her mother with her own… In this frank and poignant memoir, Sellars breaks her silence about the institution’s lasting effects, and eloquently articulates her own path to healing. – Publisher’s Description
  • The Indian school on Magnolia Avenue: voices and images from Sherman Institute edited by Clifford E. Trafzer, Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, and Lorene Sisquoc, Oregon State University Press, 2012. Contributors to The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue have drawn on documents held at the Sherman Indian Museum to explore topics such as the building of Sherman, the school’s Mission architecture, the nursing program, the Special Five-Year Navajo Program, the Sherman cemetery, and a photo essay depicting life at the school. – Publisher’s Description
  • Ecclesial Repentance: The Churches Confront Their Sinful Pasts by Jeremy M. Bergen, T & T Clark International 2011. See esp. Chapter 2, Western Colonialism and Its Legacy, pp. 57-86. (available for purchase from Amazon)
  • Chilocco : memories of a Native American boarding school by Kim Brumley, Guardian Publishing House, 2010.  The doors of the school opened to one hundred Native American students in 1884…and remained open until 1980, a span of nearly one hundred years. During that time, 18,000 students from 126 different Native American tribes attended. This book includes a few of the students memories of time spent on the 8,640 acre campus along with over one hundred and thirty historic pictures of Chilocco Indian Agricultural School. – Publisher’s Description
  • Pipestone : my life in an Indian boarding school by Adam Fortunate Eagle, University of Oklahoma Press, 2010. In this rare firsthand account, Fortunate Eagle lives up to his reputation as a “contrary warrior” by disproving the popular view of Indian boarding schools as bleak and prisonlike…Telling this story in the voice of his younger self, the author takes us on a delightful journey into his childhood and the inner world of the boarding school. Along the way, he shares anecdotes of dormitory culture, student pranks, and warrior games. Although Fortunate Eagle recognizes Pipestone’s shortcomings, he describes his time there as nothing less than “a little bit of heaven.” – Publisher’s Description
  • Fatty legs: a true story by Christy Jordan-Fenton, Liz Amini-Holmes, and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, Annick Press, 2010. This book chronicles the unbreakable spirit of an Inuit girl bullied by a teacher while attending an Arctic residential school [in Aklavik, Northwest Territories]. – Publisher’s Description
  • They Called Me Uncivilized: The Memoir of An Everyday Lakota Man from Wounded Knee by Walter Littlemoon, iUniverse Inc. 2009. Grass roots story of the boarding school experience and healing by a survivor. (available for purchase from Amazon)  (Associated with the film, The Thick Dark Fog, see its listing at our Boarding School History page on Other Media resources.)
  • Children Left Behind: the Dark Legacy of the Indian Mission Boarding Schools by Tim Giago, Clear Light Publishing, Santa Fe, 2006. Another account by a survivor, who later built a long and distinguished career in journalism despite what he went through in the early school years.
  • Kill the Indian, Save the Man: The Genocidal Impact of American Indian Residential Schools by Ward Churchill, City Light Books, 2004. Rigorous analysis and presentation of evidence leading to the conclusion that (from the back cover) “[t]he resulting alcoholism, suicide, and the transmission of trauma to successive generations has led to a social disintegration with results that can only be described as genocidal.” (available for purchase from Amazon)
  • see especially Preface – Tracing A Contour of Colonialism: American Indian and the Trajectory of Educational Imperialism by George E. Tinker, in Kill the Indian, Save the Man: The Genocidal Impact of American Indian Residential Schools by Ward Churchill, City Light Books, 2004.
  • Education for Extinction by David Wallace Adams, University Press of Kansas, 1995. Widely considered the definitive work on the history of the United States Indian Boarding Schools. Provides an excellent and well-researched background. Abstract: The last “Indian war” was fought against Native American children in the dormitories and classrooms of government boarding schools. Only by removing Indian children from their homes for extended periods of time, policymakers reasoned, could white “civilization” take root while childhood memories of “savagism” gradually faded to the point of extinction. In the words of one official, “Kill the Indian and save the man.”. Education for Extinction offers the first comprehensive account of this dispiriting effort. Much more than a study of federal Indian policy, this book vividly details the day-to-day experiences of Indian youths living in a “total institution” designed to reconstruct them both psychologically and culturally. Based upon extensive use of government archives, Indian and teacher autobiographies, and school newspapers, it is essential reading for anyone interested in Western history, Native American studies, American race relations, educational history, or multi-culturalism.
  • K. Tsianina Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School, University of Nebraska Press, 1994. Centering around testimony of school survivors from the 1920s to the 1940s, this book thoughtfully discusses conditions, good and bad, at the major boarding school in Oklahoma. The well-researched narrative also solidly fits the Chilocco school into the broader context of the federal policy it was operated to carry out. (available for purchase from Amazon)

Note: These links are provided for information and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.