Díí Agódzáá (This Happened): Cultural Persistence and Survivance at the Theodore Roosevelt Boarding School

Current archaeological-anthropological research about boarding and residential schools in North America is contributing to better understandings of the complicated and dynamic experiences within North American Indigenous educational systems. During an oral history project conducted with the White Mountain Apache Tribe at the Theodore Roosevelt Boarding School, individual and community experiences and memories were documented in order to contribute to the ongoing persistence and cultural survivance of Ndee identity. Although many first-generation students who attended the school in the 1920s have passed, living Ndee elders who attended the school in later years recognize the loss of such cultural treasures and irreplaceable knowledge and want to preserve such knowledge for contemporary Ndee youth and future generations. In this lecture, Nicholas Laluk recounts his collaborative research with the tribe, focusing on the powerful ways Ndee youth defined their educational experiences to persist in their own ways.

The Old Leupp Boarding School

The Old Leupp Boarding School (OLBS) is a historical archaeological site that is significant to the Diné (Navajo) communities of Leupp and Birdsprings, Arizona, on the southwest Navajo reservation. The US Federal Government established this federal Indian boarding school to educate Navajo children from 1909 to 1942. After the start of World War II, however, the US War Department reutilized the OLBS as a Japanese Isolation Center to imprison Japanese American citizens. In this presentation, Davina Two Bears will explore the Old Leupp Boarding School’s history as a federal Indian boarding school in the early twentieth century and its reuse as a Japanese Isolation Center in 1943.

An Archaeological Encounters lecture duet.

Nicholas Laluk is a member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe located in east-central Arizona and is an Indigenous archaeologist interested in the continued decolonization and Indigenization of the archaeological discipline. Currently, his research focuses on sovereignty-driven research and utilizing tribal best management practices and cultural tenets to better address the wants and needs of Tribal nations engaged in collaborative archaeological research.

Davina Ruth Two Bears is Diné (Navajo) and originally from Birdsprings, Arizona. She is currently a presidential postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State University in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Her new project involves researching the history of the Old Leupp Boarding School, an early twentieth-century federal Indian boarding school on the Navajo reservation, and its reuse as a Japanese Isolation Center in 1943 during World War II.