Journal Article

Beyond School Walls: Indigenous Mobility at Sherman Institute

Kevin Whalen

in The Western Historical Quarterly

Published on behalf of Western History Association

Volume 49, issue 3, pages 275-297
Published in print July 2018 | ISSN: 0043-3810
Published online May 2018 | e-ISSN: 1939-8603 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/whq/why035
Beyond School Walls: Indigenous Mobility at Sherman Institute

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  • Canadian History
  • US History (Immigration and Ethnicity)
  • Western US History
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • Management of Land and Natural Resources (Social Science)

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Abstract

This article examines the centrality of mobility within student experiences at Sherman Institute, a federal Indian boarding school in Riverside, California. Archival information and autobiographical accounts show that during the early twentieth century, students at Sherman moved between their campus and surrounding cities and towns to work odd jobs, take classes at local colleges and universities, and socialize. Narratives from beyond the walls of Sherman Institute join a growing chorus of scholarly voices that push back against popular and scholarly depictions of Indigenous people during the so called Reservation Era, which have often painted Native communities as isolated within the confines of boarding schools and reservations, frozen in time and space. I argue that Native people at Sherman Institute and elsewhere made mobility a central component of their lives and cultures as they faced head-on the challenges of life at a boarding school. Exploration of this student mobility reveals new layers of Indigenous agency within boarding school experiences and exposes yet-unexplored forms of neglect by administrators who failed to protect students from the dangers they experienced beyond the walls of Sherman Institute.

Journal Article.  10834 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Canadian History ; US History (Immigration and Ethnicity) ; Western US History ; Social and Cultural Anthropology ; Management of Land and Natural Resources (Social Science)

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