Feb. 11, 2020—Twenty-four museum representatives visited Haskell Indian Nations University’s Campus as a part of their training session. There were Museum Directors, Educators and Curators that met with five current Haskell students and one student from the University of Kansas. These reps took a tour of the campus and visited the Cultural Center and Navarre hall. They were here to learn more about the boarding school era and what the six students’ knowledge about this important part of their history was. Dr. Anderson helped by showing these representatives around the campus and giving them a brief history powerpoint about Haskell’s History.
The students were asked a wide range of questions about how to reach out to different tribal communities for help with the exhibit. Haskell was a part of the boarding school era and very much made an impact on the future generation. Now it is a Federal Institution which now gives Native students a start to further their college careers.
Dr. Anderson stated that the students did an exceptional job on answering the questions in such detail. Will this exhibit show how bad that era was? Yes, it will also tell the true stories of our ancestors and show how it has made Native people stronger than ever.
The exhibit was made possible by The National Endowment for the Humanities on the road which was adapted from a permanent exhibition, Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories, organized by The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. This exhibit has existed since 2000, but was first called Remembering Our Indian School Days: The Boarding School Experience. The exhibit was maybe possible by a group of Native scholars and individuals who either attended boarding schools or got information from their family members who were in the boarding school system. The Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) which is located in Kansas City, Missouri helps develop traveling exhibits. The M-AAA has helped the Heard Museum, in Phoenix, Arizona, develop it into a smaller traveling exhibit which also includes even more stories from all regions of the United States.
Six of the hosting venues are museums that are on college campuses’. Which will help to spread the stories to fellow college students. But each museum has a different way of reaching out to different Native tribes and students to get as much information and understanding as possible. Stephanie Seber, an Educator from Mid-America Arts Alliance stated, “Perhaps the briefest description of the goal of the Away from Home traveling exhibition is to share the very complicated history of off-reservation Indian boarding schools with broad audiences all across the country, by focusing on first-person accounts by survivors and alumni of the boarding schools.”