English Professor’s Research on Boarding School Newspapers Inspires Book on Native American Student Experience

Professor Emery's Book Cover

Writings by boarding school students and Native American public intellectuals in 19th and 20th century boarding school newspapers have lacked critical attention and remain unavailable to most scholars and students of Native American literature. Dr. Jacqueline Emery, assistant professor in SUNY Old Westbury’s English Department, fills that gap with her latest book “Recovering Native American Writings in the Boarding School Press.” Emery recently was awarded the "Ray & Pat Browne Award for Best Edited Collection in Popular Culture and American Culture"  for the book, which will be presented at the Popular Culture Association's annual conference in March 2018.

Published and available for purchase by the University of Nebraska Press, the 366-page book includes a collection of student-authored texts to provide the reader insight into the boarding school legacy and its influence on Native American literary production. Emery was recently invited to speak on her research at a Global Art and Cultural Periodical Study Day at the National Institute for Art History in Paris.

“A common theme among the many Native American writers and editors in this compilation was that they employed the boarding school periodical as a powerful tool for writing against cultural erasure and for serving the interests of Native communities,” said Emery. “It is my hope that this book provides opportunities to transform the way Native American literature and the federal boarding school experience are taught in the college classroom, and help engage students in meaningful discussions.”

The idea for the book grew out of Emery’s archival research on boarding school newspapers for her Ph.D. dissertation at Temple University. She hopes that bringing visibility to these archives will spur increased efforts at preservation, digitization, and encourage further scholarly investigation into early Native American writings in the boarding school press and other newspaper archives.