Following the lead of GA I’m posting these pictures and a little story about their lives.
This picture was taken in 1905 and it is of students at Tunassassa Indian School. This was a Quaker run boarding school for Indians. My grandmother is the girl above the left shoulder of the matron in white. My grandmother married another student from the school and had three children with him. After he died she married my grandfather. He had gone to Thomas Indian School. They had two children, my uncle and my mom.
One of the many things my grandmother learned in school was how to quilt, and she is the reason that I became a professional quilter.
This is my aunt in the raggedy dress that she had to wear at Indian School. She was 14 years older than my mom and married when she was 18. She had a stepdaughter and four children. The other people in the picture are my grandmother and Ernst, who died in 1930.
This is my mom. She attended the local school, and went away to college where she met my father. They were married for 43 years until his death. She had seven children, me and my brothers. She died after a long illness 2 years ago.
She attended a one room school house, then went to high school with white students. She hated to have to wear braids, and when she went to high school she cut her hair and never wore it long again.
This is one of my cousins. She was only a little younger than Mom and they grew up together. She married, had children and lived next to my aunt on the reservation. Her husband was the only native speaker of Iroquois that I ever met. She was an elderly woman the last time I saw her when I visited the reservation. Because we lived so far away, we did not get to see these relatives very often, although I did spend a summer with my aunt. My older brother moved to the rez before he joined the Marine Corps and met his wife there (she was a friend of my cousin Jenny).