NEH-Sharp Grant Conference
Accessibility, Archives, and Native American Boarding Schools: Pathways for Catholic History

Redemptorist Renewal Center, Tucson, Arizona
and online via Zoom

March 24-25, 2023

This two-day, hybrid conference brings together academic historians and archivists to discuss Native American Boarding Schools and the recorded legacy of the Catholic Church in their operation, roughly from 1819 to 1969. The conference is sponsored by the American Catholic Historical Association and is funded through the ACHA’s SHARP grant—a one-year project designed to place historians, archivists, and members of Native communities in conversation and collaboration. The conference builds upon three closed-door Zoom sessions between the three groups, each of which met discretely in the summer of 2022. In the second phase of the project, proposals from several individuals or institutions engaged in the history of the boarding schools were solicited and funded to help further the work of accessibility broadly conceived.

In the final phase, manifested in this conference, ten invited participants were selected to present on their current or past work and the overarching theme of accessibility—to Catholic archival repositories, to new knowledge or understandings, to new issues affecting tribal histories, especially in relation to the Church, and so forth. They will present formal papers of 20 minutes in duration, followed by questions and comments from the audience, both on-site and online. The three contemplated sessions will be scheduled for an hour and a half each. Another one-and-a-half-hour, group round table will give closure to our conference.

Please save the dates. The program is available below. For further information, please contact the ACHA grant coordinator, Dr. Patrick Hayes at [email protected].

Friday, March 24

Panel One (9:30-11 AM, MST; 10:30-12, CST; 11:30-1, EST):
Accessibility in Archives (What is Available to be Known?)

  • Archival Overview of Marquette’s Collections and Archival Restrictions — Amy Cary, Archivist, Special Collections, Marquette University

  • Boys Frozen Winter: Researching Kiowa Boarding School Experiences — Jen Graber, Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Director, Program in Native American and Indigenous Studies, University of Texas at Austin

  • Divergence & Development: Thinking Expansively about School Archives and Native American Boarding Schools — Darby Ratliff, Doctoral Student, Department of American Studies, St. Louis University

Panel Two (1:30-3 PM, MST; 2:30-4, CST; 3:30-5, EST):
Accessibility in Historical Perspective (What Can or Cannot be Known or Extrapolated?)

  • Afterlife as a Lens for Access and Interpretation: From Marty the Abbot to Marty Indian School, a Case Study in the Dakotas — Paul Monson, Dean and Associate Professor of Church History, Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology

  • Challenges, Complexities, and Opportunities: Experiences Researching a Native Boarding School at on the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation — Robert Galler, Chair, Department of History, St. Cloud State University

  • The Problem of Access: 19th Century Children’s Religion in an Adult Archive — Zara Surratt, Doctoral Student, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

  • Catholic Diocesan Archives and Complexities of Openness — Allison Spies, Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul, coordinator of the Minnesota Catholic Diocesan NABS records project, and coordinator of the Catholic Native Boarding School Accountability and Healing Project

Saturday, March 25

Panel Three (9:30-11 AM, MST; 10:30-12, CST; 11:30-1, EST):
Accessibility to Narrative (How can What We Know be Translated to Tribes, the Profession, the Church?)

  • Voices of the Diné Boarding School Survivors; Techniques of Colonizing Language — Farina King, Horizon Chair of Native American Ecology and Professor of Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma (Navajo)

  • Constructing a Language informed by Survivance: Reflections on the Enduring Boarding School Legacies — Christina Roberts, Director, Indigenous Peoples Institute, Seattle University (Nakoda and Aaniiih Nations)

  • Centering Indigenous Voices & Cultivating Accountability in Catholic Responses to Boarding Schools Legacies — Tereza Szeghi, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in English, University of Dayton

  • Opening Pathways to Rematriation — Lauren Peters, Doctoral Student, Department of Native American Studies, University of California—Davis (Agdaagux Tribe, Unangax)

Group Round Table (1:30-3 PM, MST; 2:30-4, CST; 3:30-5, EST)

For further information, please contact the ACHA grant coordinator, Dr. Patrick Hayes ([email protected]).