Davina Two Bears, PhD candidate, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mellon fellow at SAR
Navajo historic archaeological sites may seem to receive little attention by Southwest archaeologists; however, as Diné (Navajo) archaeologists enter the discipline of anthropology, they are beginning to research topics and places of significance to the Diné people. The Old Leupp Boarding School (OLBS), a Federal Indian boarding school located on the southwest corner of the Navajo Reservation, in operation from 1909-1942, is just such a place. Although hundreds of Diné children attended the OLBS in the early twentieth century, its history is absent from the literature of Navajo studies. Motivated by her maternal grandparents’ stories of attending the OLBS in the past, Davina Two Bears incorporates non-destructive decolonizing research methods to document and examine the history of the OLBS and the oral history of Diné survivance within the context of this Federal Indian boarding school. Through oral history interviews with Navajo elders, who attended the OLBS in the 1930’s and 1940’s, and a critical examination of historic documents and photographs, Two Bears pieces together the history of the OLBS and narratives of Diné survivance, resistance and resilience in the face of assimilation. She notes that she researches her heritage for the benefit of her Diné people, as well as the education of all Americans.
This event is free and open to the public. The presentation will take place in the Eric S. Dobkin Boardroom on the SAR campus. Advanced registration is encouraged.