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News Release

Impact of Indigenous Boarding Schools to be Explored in Embedded Racism in the Law Discussion Panel

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt.

Vermont Law School (VLS) will examine Indigenous boarding schools and their legacy in Indigenous families and communities when it hosts an Embedded Racism in the Law discussion panel on Thursday, April 21, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  

Presented by the VLS Diversity Committee, the free, virtual event will be livestreamed at vermontlaw.edu/live.

Panelists will discuss the legacy of federal boarding school policies, focusing on the Intermountain Indian School in Utah, which was the largest federal Indian boarding school between 1950 and 1984. This indigenous alumni of this school produced various works of art depicting their experiences, which give context to some of the broader themes of the boarding school era. Diné student art and poetry from the Intermountain Indian School reveal how boarding school students sustained and contributed to their cultures and communities despite assimilationist agendas and policies. 

Event panelists are Farina King, PhD, Michael P. Taylor, and Dr. James R. Swenson. VLS Professor Hillary Hoffman will serve as moderator. 

King, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, is associate professor of history and affiliated faculty of Cherokee and Indigenous Studies at Northeastern State University (NSU) in Tahlequah, homelands of the Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees. King specializes in twentieth-century Native American Studies, especially American Indian boarding school histories. She is also the director and founder of the NSU Center for Indigenous Community Engagement. 

Taylor is assistant professor of English and associate director of American Indian Studies at Brigham Young University. He is the current Butler Young Scholar with the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies. His scholarship on Indigenous activism, poetry, and boarding schools has appeared in such journals as American Quarterly, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and Modernism/Modernity.

Dr. Swensen is an associate professor of art history and the history of photography at Brigham Young University. His research interests include documentary photography, American photography, and the visual representation of the American West.

The VLS Diversity Committee is comprised of members of the faculty, staff, and students, and serves as the primary catalyst for efforts to address diversity within the law school.  Its primary mission is to educate the VLS community on the diversity, differences, needs, and obstacles confronted by faculty, staff, and students with diverse backgrounds.