Domesticity in the federal Indian schools: the power of authority over mind and body


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97 Scopus citations


This study of off‐reservation boarding schools for Native Americans illustrates how Indian students contested federal authority. Analyzing domesticity training and notions of proper dress for female students, it sheds light on the relations of power within the schools as the U.S. government tried to train Indians for subservience according to 19th‐century racist theories of their circumscribed physical and mental development. Archival records document federal practice; narratives by alumni of the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School in Oklahoma provide student perspectives. The bloomer story, an important shared narrative, symbolizes student cooperation within (and competition between) gender‐defined peer groups. [American Indians, education, women, boarding schools, power relations, resistance, ethnicity] 1993 American Anthropological Association

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-240
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Ethnologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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