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The legacy of boarding schools in Upstate New York is one that non-Natives seem to have forgotten. This historical amnesia compounds other acts of genocide, including cultural genocide, of the Haudenosaunee people throughout US history. Established in 1855 at the Cattaraugus Reservation (Seneca), the Thomas Indian School would serve as an institution of forced assimilation and displacement, much like the other Native American boarding schools. While the larger US population has grown to forget these schools' existence, the shadowed legacy of institutions, like the Thomas Indian School, Haskell, and Carlisle Indian Industrial School, the rippling effects of these schools’ practices is glimpsed in Upstate NY’s Native populations. One such way of historical preservation is within the literature of the Native descendants of these schools, for example, within the poetic works of Eric Gansworth (Onondaga). Gansworth brilliantly crafts poems regarding his youth on reservations and within this youth demonstrates the last intergenerational impacts of the US boarding schools.




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