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(10,160 posts)
Mon Mar 27, 2023, 04:18 PM Mar 2023

She was saved from an abusive boarding school by her Native grandmother

My mother had been in a bad car accident, my younger brother and sister and I were sent to boarding school. My other brothers and sisters were sent to different boarding schools.

The first thing they did when you arrived at boarding school was cut your hair. It was like a bowl cut, like if they put a bowl on your head and cut your hair. They shaved the boys’ hair.

That was when the pain really started. Because our hair is so sacred. My dad loved our hair. When we'd sit on his lap, he would smell our hair and say, “Take care of your hair.” We have traditional teachings that go along with our hair; our hair in our culture carries our ancestors, our history and our future. It is who we are.

The next thing they did was put kerosene on your head for head lice. They thought every Indian kid had lice. I didn't even know what lice was! Then they had this big, huge cement structure that looked like a pool. You’d go in there, and you would strip down and they would wash you with lye soap, which burned. Nobody explained why.

The nuns were very strict. You got up at a certain time every morning and made your bed. It was bouncing a quarter off your bed to make sure that your bed was straight and tight. In our dorm, there were about 40 beds, bunk beds, lined on both walls.


Part of the genocide. You think "1923" exaggerates? It doesn't. My brother and his wife worked for IHS and they KNOW.

You had schooling, and you had chores, and if you missed your chores, you got in big trouble. One time I was supposed to be in the kitchen washing the pots and pans, and I was late. I was sent to the priest’s office. They had a razor strap, and would make you pull your pants down and grab your ankles.

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