Between 1954 and 2000, tens of thousands of Native American children went to live with Mormon families during the school year. For some, it was a chance to overcome the stresses of reservation life. For others, it was a repudiation of their identity. For everyone, it was a life-changing experience.
This story was edited by Deborah George. Thanks to the Navajo educator and artist Pauline Begay for use of her song “Cradleboard Lullaby” in the piece. Her award-winning work is available from Cool Runnings Music.
Thanks also to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for providing archival material for this piece.
And many thanks to the Placement students and families who shared their stories and let me into their lives this year, little by little. That experience, for me, is the richest part of the project.
— Kate Davidson