CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND
The Dark Legacy of Indian Mission Boarding Schools
By Tim Giago
Original B&W illustrations, 192 pp., 6 x 9, CLPCHILDREN (paper) $16.95
INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER 2007 BRONZE AWARD WINNER
“Children Left Behind: The Dark Legacy of Indian Mission Boarding Schools is a must read. Tim Giago, who spent his childhood at one of these schools, examines the unholy alliance between church and state that tried to destroy the culture and spirituality of generations of Indian children. Provocative, riveting, chilling, persuasive, and original, this book leaves the reader overwhelmed. Describing almost inexpressible cruelties and triumphs, Giago pulls us into the boarding school experience. He challenges Indian Country to co-exist with the truth of what actually happened at these schools. Only then can we heal and avoid acquiescence to a system that has crushed so many souls. The book is a triumph, and a major event in Indian education.” (Ryan Wilson, Oglala Lakota, President, National Indian Education Association)
“Children Left Behind is a sad story of a nation’s best intentions gone awry. Tim Giago’s personal accounts reveal an untold tragedy of abuse of helpless children by those who had the responsibility to protect them. To fully understand the calamity, you need only to visit the graveyards of the old boarding schools and see the hundreds of graves of Indian children who did not survive the misguided assimilation efforts.” Richard B. Williams, Oglala Lakota, President & CEO, American Indian College Fund
“Children Left Behind, written by respected journalist Tim Giago, is a fascinating mix of personal stories and history about the role of government and mission boarding schools in the lives of Native people. The book provides the reader with the cultural and historical context for many of the problems encountered by Native American families in the early 21st century.” (Wilma Mankiller, Former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation)
In The Children Left Behind, Tim Giago weaves memoir, commentary, reflection and poetry together to boldly illustrate his often-horrific experiences as a child at an Indian Mission boarding school run by the Catholic Church. Through his words, the experience of one Indian child becomes a metaphor for the experience of many Indian children, who were literally ripped from their tribal roots and torn from their families for nine months of the year in order to be molded to better fit into mainstream America. They were not allowed to speak their own languages or follow their traditional customs. As a result of this traumatic and divisive policy, the Mission school experience for most young Indians resulted in isolation, confusion, and intense psychological pain, as they were forced to reject their own culture and spirituality. This has contributed to problems including alcoholism, drug abuse, family violence and general alienation in an entire generation of Native Americans. Dramatic and intensely moving black-and white illustrations by Giago’s daughter Denise illuminate the text.
About the author: Tim Giago is a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. He was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and attended elementary and high school at the Holy Rosary Indian Mission. Following a stint in the Navy and studies at the University of Nevada at Reno, he was awarded the prestigious Nieman Fellowship in Journalism to Harvard University for the years 1990-1991.
In 1981 Giago was the founder of the Lakota Times, which was re-named Indian Country Today in 1992. He served as editor and publisher for 18 years before selling the paper in 1998. In 2000 he started the Lakota Journal and served as its editor and publisher until his retirement in July of 2004. In 1984 Giago founded the Native American Journalists Association and served as its first president. He is currently the president of the Native American Journalists Foundation, Inc. and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Knight Ridder Tribune News Service in Washington, D.C. He is also the editor and publisher of the monthly magazineIndian Education Today.
Giago has received many professional awards, including the H.L. Mencken Award. His published books include The Aboriginal Sin and Notes from Indian Country Volumes I and II. Giago also edited and helped write The American Indian and the Media. He has appeared on national television on programs such as Nightline and the Oprah Winfrey Show.