Today is National Day of Remembrance for U.S. Indian Boarding Schools. It’s a day to remember the mostly tragic things that happened to children torn from their families. I have read through textual records at several locations of the U.S. National Archives (NARA) that relate to boarding schools, page by page, folder by folder. I have also read through manuscript material in state historical societies and archives that relate to both government and religious boarding schools. I read journals of the agents and superintendents “in charge” of the children and gasped at the awful comments. I cannot quote from the material because the work was done for clients, often in legal matters. A few times, I had to leave the area where I was reading the records and go hide in a bathroom stall while I shuddered and had some tears.
Little children beaten, starved, forced to eat gross food, hair chopped off, and more. Older children farmed out to work as housekeepers, farm hands, and other jobs and who were generally treated horribly. Parents who wrote to the school superintendent begging for their child to come home to help care for others in the family because the Mother or Father had just died. Parents who missed their children and wanted them to come home for a while. Did I read, “oh sure, we’ll send little Annie home.” No, excuses were sent such as that will disrupt the child’s education, there is no money in the school budget for a train ticket, or that the child is safer here. If you believe those excuses, I have a bunch of bridges to sell you. Many children suffered through a variety of diseases, and many did die. Burials were done on the school property and not marked or recorded. It might be months before the parents were notified.
Yes, there are some cases where being at the boarding school was better for a child. Yes, there are some cases where orphaned children finally had a place to sleep. For the majority, it was the aim of the federal government and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to form these children into the government’s idea of what they should be and act like. That means hair was cut, no Native American clothing, no Native American ceremonies, and no language of their tribe.
The history taught in my schooling did not cover these tragedies, nor did it cover what the government did to the original inhabitants and owners of the land on which most U.S. residents reside. Say a prayer for, apologize to, and remember all these young lives commandeered by or who died at the hands of those running the boarding schools. The federal government, state governments, religious organizations, and individuals did not save the children.
I have written many words over those twenty years. I watched the horrific scenes on a TV in Davenport, Iowa with a friend who lived not too far from the Twin Towers. I stood next to a friend waiting for word on her daughter who was working at a D.C. area airport. I heard from friends who had to get off a plane at Washington National Airport and walk safely away from the airport. I was co-chair of a major genealogy conference taking place that week. Most of the words below were originally written in 2007 on my old blog. I couldn’t write yesterday. Just could not. The lives lost, changed, forever different. We need those hugs again. (Please get vaccinated and wear those masks so we can get back to those hugs someday.)
From 2007: Six years ago on 9/11, I was in Davenport, Iowa for the 2001FGS/Quad Cities Genealogical Conference. The conference was to begin the next day. A cadre of volunteers had been planning this conference for five years. I was sitting in my hotel room working on the first of the daily newsletters for that conference. I had the TV on but it was on mute. I looked up at one point and saw some pictures on the news that I figured were some archival footage. The telephone rang and it was Sue Kaufman, one of the conference publicity chairs. She asked if I had the TV turned on
My current workload includes updating handouts and PowerPoint slides for four webinars next week and two for the first weekend in October. It always amazes me how many website addresses need to be updated. I am always pleased at new records found online for each of the presentation subjects and love to share that with audiences. My handouts and presentations always reflect some records, books, repositories, and indexes related to the location of the sponsoring organization. We all know that location also includes people from many ancestral locations and I address that, too.
With online presentations, that enables people from many states in the U.S. to join us and often registrants join from other countries. Isn’t it amazing that genealogy education has easly adapted to the webinar concept! I’ve also been involved in full-day or multi-day seminars and conferences via virtual formats.
If you’d like to know more about my upcoming presentations and register for the events online, view my speaking calendar http://genealogybypaula.com/speaking/speaking-calendar/
Maybe I will see some of you online next week!
Yes, I am still doing presentations. All online for the foreseeable future until we get this Pandemic under control. All online means more can join in, no matter where you live. It may be at odd hours in your time zone, but it’s the education that matters. I will be doing single presentation webinars and participating in all-day or multi-day seminars. Email me for more details and the fees if your organization wishes one or more of my topics that appear under the Speaking tab above.
This Tuesday, August 24th, grab a snack or meal and join me and the North San Diego County [California] Genealogical Society for a webinar. My topic is Controlling Chaos: Organizing Your Genealogy Materials.
It takes place at 10:00 a.m. PDT which means noon for me in the Central Time Zone. I present some common sense and practical ideas for organizing your accumulating paper and electronic files. I also have a bit of advice from my Grandma Gert. The full description and the link to register (Free!) is here: https://nsdcgs.org/program-meetings/. A handout is available.
Scroll further down the page to see what else the NSDCGS has on their calendar.
The calendar of my upcoming presentations has been updated. I am going to be online for many organizations and with a variety of topics from August into October! http://genealogybypaula.com/speaking/speaking-calendar/. After that, I have room for more presentations. Contact me for details: PaulaStuartWarren at gmail.com.
I have made a safety and health decision that at least through the first quarter of 2022, I will only do online presentations. The factor of being in a meeting room with my fellow genealogists who all like to talk is not something I wish to do in the near future due to Covid. I do miss the hugs, excited hand-waving, and nods of agreement, but other than hugs, we can do that online. I have enjoyed the online webinars and seminars the last couple of years. It also means I can turn around and pull a book off one of my bookcases in order to answer someone’s question.
For presentations after that first quarter, my speaking fees will increase for in-person presentations. I will be updating that information in the near future. There will be no increase for virtual presentations whether they are a single webinar or a day-long seminar. That’s a benefit for organizations who are health conscious in our current situation.
Now I better go work on presentation handouts and the accompanying PowerPoint slides for those dates already scheduled.
Safe historical storage, microfilm readers and printers, microfilm purchases, oral histories, and building preservation are just some of the reasons why 52 grants were awarded to a variety of organizations around Minnesota.
“The Minnesota Historical Society is pleased to announce 52 Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Small Grants ($10,000 and less), totaling $432,940 to organizations in 24 counties. . . . This state-funded program is made possible by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. The Legacy Amendment supports efforts to preserve Minnesota land, water and legacy, including Minnesota history and cultural heritage.”
I applaud the aspects related to microfilm but I wish that more of the grant monies were dedicated to digitization so that the real benefit would be expanded to more people who don’t reside in the area of the library or historical organization.
For a full list of the grants, please see the press release on the Minnesota Historical Society’s website: https://www.mnhs.org/media/news/17053.
This past weekend involved a drive through my hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota. I love to drive by all the beautifully preserved homes on Summit Avenue and nearby streets. Then a posting on a Saint Paul page on Facebook got me thinking about the National Register of Historic Places for my city and county. With the links below, I’m sure you can find similar lists for your current and ancestral localities. I have read some of the applications and these include details on people, buildings, and organizations. I love looking at the photos of libraries, historical societies, and courthouses in addition to the homes.
The National Park Service pages include these statistics: “Since its inception in 1966, more than 95,000 properties that Americans believe are worthy of preservation have been listed in the National Register. Together these records hold information on more than 1.4 million individual resources–buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects–and therefore provide a link to the country’s heritage at the national, state, and local levels.”
In June, I spent a week as a faculty member of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. 10-12 hours each day of online teaching and consulting and follow-up research on students’ questions. It was both an exhilarating and exhausting week.
Now I am catching up on research and reports for client plus working on handouts and PowerPoint slides for my August-October presentations. All will be done virtually. I have also updated my speaking calendar. Each date has a live link for the sponsoring organization so that you can register for the webinar or other presentation. http://genealogybypaula.com/speaking/ is the page where you can click to see the calendar.