Avoca Native American School History to be Explored at Next Dinehart Lunchbox Lecture
On Thursday, April 13 at noon, presenters Anita Talsma Gaul and Janet Timmerman will co-present on the topic of the Avoca Native American girl’s school that operated from 1883 through 1889 under the auspices of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus. Their talk, entitled “We Remain Your Grateful Children,” begins at noon at the 4-H building on the Murray County Fairgrounds in Slayton.
The topic of Indian school history is one charged with emotion and fraught with misinformation. Native children were taken from reservations and sent to distant schools as an effort to “assimilate” them into white culture. Often children as young as four years old were sent and, by common practice, could not return home or see their family for three years. In 1883 Avoca became home to a boarding school for native girls and as many as fifty children attended. Some were from reservations in the Dakotas, some from Minnesota reservations, and some were metis, but all were far away from home and under the care of the Catholic nuns who ran the school. In Avoca, the school was owned by an order that originated from the Philadelphia area. They had been encouraged to accept the project by Bishop John Ireland. During the seven years that the school existed, six of the children died and were buried at the St. Rose of Lima Cemetery, where they remain today.
Everyone is welcome to attend. Bring your lunch. The Historical Society provides coffee and tea. Cost is $3.00 and members of the Murray County Historical Society attend for free. For more information contact Jtimmerman@co.murray.mn.us or call 507-836-6533.