Your questions about Indian Boarding Schools, as answered by our team. 

This year, a 14-year-old student of mine and I read a historical fiction, Between Earth and Sky, which focused on the Indian "schools" of the late 1800s. Of course, she had no idea they even existed, and I didn't know much about the abomination perpetrated on so many innocent Native American children. This is a subject that is not taught in public schools at all. Are there some children's books on the subject? The book we read is really for late teens or young adults. Is there something for younger kids?  

Yes! Indigenous scholar and author Denise Lajimodiere (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) recommends picturebooks Firefly: A Boarding School Story by Elizabeth Peacock (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe) and Home to Medicine Mountain by Chiori Santiago with illustrations by Judith Lowry (Pit River Tribe). Both picture books tell the story of Indian boarding schools for a young audience.

Additionally, New York Times bestselling author Angeline Boulley (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) has a forthcoming young adult novel set for publication in May 2023 that tells the story of “an Indigenous Lara Croft” who, “instead of raiding tombs, she’s raiding museums to bring our ancestors home.”  While this book focuses more on the colonial history of graverobbing, leading to institutions today possessing Native American human remains in their “collections”, the two topics are not unrelated.

Read previous Q&As on Indian Boarding Schools

Readers Ask Us 1, June 7th 

Readers Ask Us 2, June 10

Readers Ask Us 3, July 21

Readers Ask Us 4, August 1

Readers Ask Us 5, August 5

If you have a question about Indian Boarding Schools, please submit them to [email protected] or use the online form that can be found at the bottom of stories such as this one. Want to help us shine a light on the dark era of Indian Boarding Schools and their continued impact on Native families and communities today? Become a recurring donor for $5 or $10 a month, or make a one-time donation.  

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About The Author
Jenna Kunze
Author: Jenna KunzeEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Staff Writer
Jenna Kunze is a staff reporter covering Indian health, the environment and breaking news for Native News Online. She is also the publication's lead reporter on stories related to Indian boarding schools and repatriation. Her bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Tribal Business News, Smithsonian Magazine, Elle and Anchorage Daily News. Kunze is based in New York.