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The Thomas Indian School and the 'Forgotten' Indian Children of NYS | Arts & Culture

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The Thomas Indian School and the 'Forgotten' Indian Children of NYS
The Thomas Indian School and the 'Forgotten' Indian Children of NYS

On Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m., Dr. Keith Burich, professor at Canisius College, will speak about the history of the Thomas Indian School. The topic has both deep roots in the past and continuing relevance for the present.

Dr. Burich is the author of a book entitled Conceived In Hope, Born in Despair: The Thomas Indian School and the “Forgotten” Indian Children of New York which traces the history of the Thomas Indian School from its origins as the Thomas Asylum for Orphan and Destitute Indian Children in 1855 until its closing in 1957.

The Thomas Indian School was a boarding school on the Cattaraugus Seneca Reservation founded by Presbyterian missionaries to house and educate orphaned and destitute Indian children from across New York State. It reverted to state control in 1875, and over the course of its 102 year history, thousands of Indian children were taken from their homes, sometimes as infants, were placed under the control of strangers and alienated from their language, culture and families, only to be released as adults into a world that they were not prepared to enter and that was not prepared to accept them.  The end results were broken homes, broken families, and broken lives, the scars from which are still visible on reservations across New York.

Dr. Burich will explore the affects of boarding school life on the children, their families and subsequent generations in the larger context of the history of Native Americans in New York.

 

WHAT: Lecture: “Conceived in Hope, Born of Despair: The Thomas Indian School and the ‘Forgotten’ Indian Children of New York State”

WHO: Dr. Keith Burich, Professor of History at Canisius College

WHEN: Wednesday, November 9, at 6 P.M.

WHERE: Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, 25 Nottingham Court

TICKETS: FREE to Historical Society members, $7 general admission

INFO: www.buffalohistory.org, (716) 873-9644 x319

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