Michigan Public Radio on Anishinaabemowin and the Boarding Schools


Deleta Gasco Smith works for the Little Traverse Bay Band. She attended Holy Childhood for three years of elementary school.

“When we were in the school we were actually completely forbidden to speak the language, and if we were caught, the punishment was swift and it was severe,” Gasco Smith says.

Gasco Smith’s father was fluent in Anishinaabemowin, but he was careful not to teach his daughter the language. Gasco Smith says her Dad went to the same boarding school and knew she would be beaten for speaking Anishinaabemowin.


Holy Childhood Oral Histories

Here and here are two audio links from recent interviews with survivors of the Holy Childhood boarding school in Harbor Springs, Michigan.

From Interlochen Public Radio:

Keeping the history of Holy Childhood

Linda Stephan



A Michigan historic site in Harbor Springs is expected to be demolished next month despite a last-minute effort to save the building. It was built in 1913 to house an Indian Boarding School run by the Catholic Church.

The church owns the building, but members of tribes all over Michigan, and even beyond, have some claim to its history.

Plans for the new building have been in the works for years. But this summer the impending demolition dug up old wounds for some former students, and while some welcomed the wrecking ball, others felt the building’s demise would also erase the building’s history.

IPR’s Linda Stephan visited Harbor Springs, and filed this report.