Objects of Survivance

A recent addition to our library collection is Objects of Survivance, a new book from University Press of Colorado that discusses the American Indian school experience. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a number of schools were set up on Indian reservations with the aim of assimilating Native American children into white society. These schools forcibly stripped away the children’s Indian cultural identity, demanding they dress as whites, take Anglo names, and give up their language and cultural traditions. However, there was one teacher who actively tried to preserve some of the culture he saw rapidly disappearing. Jesse Bratley, who taught in Indian schools from 1893 to 1903, carefully collected and preserved hundreds of American Indian artifacts from numerous tribes. He also took numerous glass-plate photographs documenting the students and their experiences. These items now constitute the Jesse H. Bratley Collection at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Objects of Survivance explores these incredible artifacts and images, and how they helped a vanishing culture survive.

This is one of several books co-published by University Press of Colorado and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science that explore the latter’s extensive anthropology collections. Other titles include

  • Crossroads of Culture: Anthropology Collections at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
  • Navajo Textiles: The Crane Collection at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
  • Stories in Stone: The Enchanted Gem Carvings of Vasily Konovalenko

All of these titles are available for checkout from the State Publications Library and are available for request on Prospector.