Pipestone : My Life in an Indian Boarding School
This extraordinary memoir follows the life of Ojibwe activist and author Adam Fortunate Eagle from 1935 to 1945, from age five to fifteen. It’s told in the close-up lens of his younger self, a resilient trickster spirit called on to be ever curious about his surroundings. Encouraged by a new Depression-era vision of the federal boarding school system that honors Indian language and customs even as it seeks to “assimilate,” Adam thrives, albeit with a share of scars. As America enters World War II, his older brothers graduate and sign up while the school participates in home front duty. Adam becomes a firefighter when visiting his mother’s new family in Oregon, then fights to return to the school that has become a cherished home for his final year
Pipestone is a welcome addition to literature about Indian boarding school life, seen from the inside. It’s brimming with life, episodic in the ways of the storyteller, often funny and deeply moving.