The Indian Boarding School Project is a multifaceted one that explores and exposes the decades of silence surrounding the boarding school experience. The Project will consist of a documentary examining the history of the boarding schools and their impact on Native American communities; a companion book of essays by noted scholars and Native American elders; and a mobile educational exhibit on the boarding schools.
THE WAY HOME TOUR is a national campaign planned to support a collective healing of Native American peoples from the curse of “intergenerational trauma” believed to have its deepest roots in what Native children experienced at the Indian boarding schools.
The vision of the TOUR is to further the efforts of Native American communities to heal themselves by:
The documentary film Remembering for Tomorrow: The Indian Boarding School Experience will revisit the era of the Native American boarding schools and the aftermath of that era as it relates to contemporary Native life. It will conclude with the on-going process of seeking both “truth and reconciliation” in ways that honor Native traditions. Through scholarly research, personal testimony, and compelling story-telling viewers will gain a better understanding of what was done in the name of cultural assimilation and the legacy that those efforts left behind.
The oral tradition, within Native communities, is integral, essential and dependent upon elders for intergenerational transmission of culture and spiritual beliefs. Sadly, many of today’s elders have been effectively shamed into silence due to the abuse and cultural degradation they experienced when the boarding schools forbid the practice of their languages, customs and heritage. The intergenerational impact of this cultural degradation has contributed to community-wide ‘soul wounds’ and the numerous destructive effects of substance abuse, suicide, violence and family dysfunction.
A mobile, multi-media exhibit on the boarding schools will travel with THE WAY HOME TOUR across the United States. Photos, historical videos, and documents from the Heard Museum in Phoenix, will be the foundation for the exhibit. The focus will be on the history of the schools, stories of personal experiences, intergenerational trauma and its impact on Indian communities, and Indian education in the future.
*Photo courtesy of the Heard Museum - Phoenix
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