We always talk about our teacher and memories of the school and the games we played.

Ms. Swenson talks about attending school as a child.

Audio Chapters

LS: I went to the Bishop Whipple Mission School here, and it’s still standing, it’s at the reservation. It’s the Social Services building; that’s who’s in the building now, Social Service.

DL: Tell me about that school. What do you remember from being a child at that school?

LS: I remember we walked to school and it was just right past the church there, so probably a third of a mile. I was there from first to sixth grade. In the middle area was the school area. They had grades one through six. The next room was a lunch room and we’d eat there every day, a hot meal. Then the third room was a library/play area. So we had all six grades in one room.

DL: Do you remember any of your teachers?

LS: I only had one through the whole six grades; her name was Mrs. [sounds like] Keldon. And I visited her up until, probably five years ago; she was still alive. And I’ve got nothing but good memories of the school.

DL: What was your favorite class, and do you have other memories from then?

LS: Oh wow, how do I start? [The teacher] was very, very understanding, gentle, patient -- I guess that would probably be one of the ways to describe her. She was a Norwegian lady. When I look back at all the teachers that I’ve had through the years, she’s the one I remember. To hold six classes in one room, really took something. So I’d say [there were] maybe 20 children were total. I had one boy in my class, whom I still visit today. I saw him New Year’s Eve, and we’re going to visit in March, eat together in the Twin Cities. We always talk about our teacher and memories of the school and the games we played.

Of course, there wasn’t much money there. The one game we thought about was when a lot of the kids would stand in a circle and [the teacher would] bring one of her old shoes and tie a rope on it and swing it around and everybody would jump over it. So they made a game out of that shoe. Whoever got the shoe stood in the middle and twirled the shoe around while the kids jumped over it. She really had a lot of ways where we didn’t need money to have fun. And that had to have been hard on rainy days, to have everybody in that small room. I go look at it now, and the building is offices. Where did all the children play with all the books? It amazes me how we got through that. That’s probably one of the good memories that I have of being a child, away from my family, was in that little school room. We used to have neighboring schools come visit maybe just to come and see the Indian children. We’d sing songs for them and got to visit with the younger children.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator LaVonne Swenson Interviewer Deborah Locke made in Morton, Lower Sioux Community, MN | Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. We always talk about our teacher and memories of the school and the games we played. March 24, 2019. http://www.usdakotawar.org/node/1132

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