Through the study of Native American memoirs we capture the time period in history when Native American children were taken away from their families and sent to boarding schools. Participants read excerpts from, American Indian Stories by Zitkala-Sa, Rattlesnake Mesa by Edna New Weber, Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell and poetry from Birthright: Born to Poetry-A collection of Montana Indian Poetry and It’s Like my Heart is Pounding. Students, then, quickly write their own memoir centered around brainstormed “Big Ideas” such as, force, beguiled, trust, and school memory. The participants choose a genre to write and then present their memoirs to the class.
Kim Quigley has been a Montana educator since 1981 and has always incorporated historical and contemporary Native Peoples’ lives into her curriculum. She has taught students from age two to college age in the past 44 years as a speech therapist, classroom teacher, librarian, speech and drama teacher, principal and as an educational coach. Since 2015 she has written and presented curriculum for Indian Education for All and incorporated it into Montana’s adopted common core.