Quilting project honors Native children who died in boarding schools
Ellen Pfeiffer next to one of the 186 quilts she is on a mission to make for families of children who died at a boarding school for Native American children. (AP Photo/The Jamestown Sun, John M. Steiner)
Jamestown, N.D., resident Ellen Pfeiffer first learned about Indian boarding schools from her former husband, a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe whose grandmother was taken from her family and sent to the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. She found the story heartbreaking, and began to study the era. Barbara Landis, Carlisle Indian School biographer, reports that nearly 10,000 Indian children went to Carlisle in its 40-year-history. Of those, nearly 200 children died, most of them of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Pfeiffer believes the schools, whose purpose was to assimilate Indian children, did a disservice to Native Americans. Now she’s making quilts to honor the children who died so far from their families. The project involves 186 quilts, according to this Jamestown Sun story distributed by the Associated Press.
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