By Sue Reichert, M.M, M.A
The 19th century began with a U.S. government “Indian Problem” that cultivated into a tragic and deadly period for our Native American ancestors. “Their Spirits Still Cry” – Life in an Indian Boarding School links the written and oral history of what life was like at the schools, and how it impacted Native American lives and the lives of their families and generations to follow. By linking these oral and written accounts with historical documentation, photos, treaties, the Meriam Report, and archaeological findings, we can try to pull together a picture of what life was like at an Indian Boarding School. This program is also a tie-in to the 2023-24 Great Michigan Read* selection of THE FIRE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER by Angeline Boulley which will be discussed in book club May 28th.
Sue Reichert earned her Masters of Anthropology from Western Michigan University in 2016 beginning a new chapter after 37 years at the Kellogg Company in Quality and Research & Development. While studying for her master’s degree she focused on Indian Boarding Schools, an area she is very passionate about because of her Native American ancestry. Another of her passions is bringing archaeology into schools, creating an in-depth curriculum fitting within Michigan school standards. Getting students excited about archaeology and that “it is not what we find, but what we find out” (Michael S. Nassaney, Ph.D.), is crucial.
*The 2023-24 Great Michigan Read is presented by Michigan Humanities and supported by national, statewide, and local partners, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Meijer Foundation, Library of Michigan, Image Creative Group, and BiblioBoard. Laborers’ International Union of North America, MSU Federal Credit Union, and Library of Michigan.