AAUW screens important documentary

A free public screening of the documentary titled “The Indian Schools, the Survivors’ Story,” will take place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 12 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 2441 Nichols St., Trenton

The screening is sponsored by the American Association of University Women Wyandotte-Downriver Branch. Doors open at 6:30.  Dr. Kay McGowan, cultural anthropology instructor at Eastern Michigan University and co-producer of the film, will be present for commentary.

In the film, Native Americans now living in Michigan relate their memories of being taken from their families and placed in boarding schools, the purpose of which was to facilitate assimilation of the Native population through replacement of their traditional ways with those of the majority of Americans.

For most, it was a painful and humiliating experience, and the detrimental effects are still felt today within a large segment of the indigenous population of this country. 

Inspiration for the film came to Fay Givens, director of the American Indian Services agency located in Lincoln Park.

Within a “talking circle,” participants shared recollections of their formative school years at various Indian Schools with each other. Givens and her sister, Dr. McGowan, both of Choctaw and Cherokee heritage, recognized a need to record these stories while the people were still here to tell them, and to bring this tragic chapter from American history to light. 

The Wyandotte-Downriver Branch of AAUW is comprised of both college graduates and anyone, male or female,  who supports gender fairness and equity, individual rights and social justice for a diverse and inclusive society. 

For information, contact Branch President Sheila Blair, at (734) 674-2246 or blair.s@live.com.  The group’s web page, downriver-mi.aauw.net, contains an overview of the organization, and links to our Facebook page and state, national and associated sites. 

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