July 26, 2023
Workshop at Oklahoma History Center to Focus on History of American Indian Boarding Schools
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma History Center will host a workshop on Saturday, August 5, that focuses on American Indian boarding schools in Oklahoma. A 2022 report from the US Department of the Interior detailed the assimilationist policies and inherent abuse that the schools employed for decades. The report identified more than 400 schools across 37 states that operated between 1819 and 1969, including 76 in Oklahoma.
From 10-11:30 a.m., Dr. Farina King (Diné) will give an overview of the history of American Indian boarding schools in the state through a spatial lens while building on her work with the “Mapping Tahlequah History” project at Northeastern State University. This project demonstrates the value of citizen-led history to historical analysis.
From 12:30-2 p.m., Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) archivist Mallory Covington will provide an overview of the American Indian records at the OHS with an emphasis on documents relating to American Indian boarding schools.
The sessions with King and Covington are open to researchers, students, educators and the general public.
A session for educators only will take place from 2-3:30 p.m. It will focus on bringing this topic into the classroom and connecting it to social studies standards OKH 5.1, WG.3.3 and USH.1.3.
The sessions will be available in person at the Oklahoma History Center and virtually via Microsoft Teams. The workshop is free, but registration is required. A lunch break will take place from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., but lunch is not provided. Those attending virtually will receive a confirmation email with a link before the event.
Dr. Farina King is Bilagáanaa (English American), born for Kinyaa’áanii (the Towering House Clan) of the Diné (Navajo). King is the Horizon Chair in Native American Ecology and Culture and associate professor of Native American studies at the University of Oklahoma, homelands of the Hasinais, or Caddo Nation, and Kirikirʔi:s, or Wichita and Affiliated Tribes. Between 2016 and 2022, she was an associate professor of history at Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, in the homelands of the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees. She was also an affiliate of the Cherokee and Indigenous Studies Department and the Director of the NSU Center for Indigenous Community Engagement. She is a past president of the Southwest Oral History Association (2021-2022).
Mallory Covington attended the University of Central Oklahoma, where she graduated in 2010 with an M.A. in Museum Studies. She started with the Oklahoma Historical Society in 2011, working on a newspaper digitization project for The Gateway to Oklahoma History and cataloging oral history. During that time, she also worked in photos, maps, registration and cataloging film and video. In 2013, she moved to the manuscripts department and, in 2017, became a Certified Archivist. In 2019, she became the Archival Collections Manager.
The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr. in Oklahoma City. It is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Please call 405-522-0765 or visit www.okhistory.org/historycenter for admission costs and group rates.
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.