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Originally published May 20, 2022

RED WING, Minn. (WCCO) – A trip to the Goodhue County Historical Society’s basement in Red Wing is a trip back to a complex and complicated time in United States history. And right now, the traveling display the organization spent years trying to secure is once again a topic of national conversation.

READ MORE: Interior Dept. Investigation Identifies 21 Federal Indian Boarding School Sites In Minnesota

Titled “Away From Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories,” the display on loan from Arizona’s Heard Museum details the decades Native American children spent in federally run boarding schools across the country through artifacts and first-person testimony.

“This is definitely a conversation that needs to be had,” said Collections Curator Afton Esson. “It’s one of those topics that’s powerful and emotional and having it right now is the perfect time to share this topic with the community.”

The perfect time, perhaps, because for the first time ever the United States is attempting to extensively document exactly what happened at the schools scattered around the country. The Department of Interior launched the effort in 2021, shortly after a closer look into similar schools in Canada revealed a massive number of unmarked graves at multiple locations.

A Complicated History

University of Minnesota Professor Brenda Child has long been fascinated by the concept of Native American Boarding Schools. A Red Lake Citizen herself, Child says some of her earliest memories involve listening to her grandmother’s stories of attending Flandreau Indian School north of Sioux Falls.

“She’s the first person who told me about boarding school – I could hear her voice,” Child said. “She told me she had worked as a domestic servant for the local white households, and that this is what the Indian girls did.”

Schools like Flandreau began opening across the country towards the end of the 1800s, Child said. Initially, they were a home for children whose parents were prisoners of war in the ongoing battles between Native Americans and colonizers of the time.

As the United States Government worked to move Native Americans into reservation areas, the schools boomed in numbers. At their peak, Child says one in three native children were being sent to an off-reservation boarding school. There, not only would they have no contact with their families, but they’d also be made to cut their hair, speak English, learn Christianity, and remove themselves from tribal customs. This was an act of forced assimilation, Child said.

“The idea was that they wouldn’t really need a homeland anymore. They could go out into American society and live like everybody else,” she said.

At the same time, Native Americans had their land taken from them at a rate faster than ever before, Child said. This period of dispossession, highlighted in Minnesota by the Nelson Act of 1889, took more than 90% of native land away from tribes throughout the state.

READ MORE: Native Americans Call On State Lawmakers To Build New Community Facilities

“Boarding schools in a sense did not benefit American Indians. It was a twin policy that went along with dispossession that left American Indians in the 1930s poorer than they’d ever been before.”

A Deadly Stay

Conditions at schools across the country ranged from cramped and crowded to negligence. This meant diseases of the time, Tuberculosis and an influenza epidemic, could ravage through the dormitories in classroom at record pace. To this day, it’s unknown how many students died at boarding schools during this time.

The Department of Interior’s second phase of its Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative seeks to answer this question.

Child says in addition to disease, it’s likely students were beaten through a system of corporal punishment.

“If you ran away from boarding school or you were really rebellious one way or another, you could go to jail on campus, and they had buildings where they sometimes locked students up for punishment.”

Understanding An Impact

Professor Child says unlike many, her grandmother and great-grandfather were not punished for speaking their native language.

In fact, Child’s book, “Boarding School Seasons,” details hundreds of firsthand accounts through letters and other records of students who not only attended the schools, but recommended friends attend also.

Still, she says the impact of the schools is apparent – and takes understand the assimilation era and Native American dispossession to gain the full context. Reparations, she says, should focus first on returning land to the tribes it was taken from.

“The idea of the boarding schools during that era was to separate Indian children from their families and communities,” she said. “The idea was to kind of get people away from Minnesota.”

MORE NEWS: House Dems Propose Changing Minnesota Flag To Reflect 'Shared History'

“Away From Home” will be on display at the Goodhue County Historical Society until May 25. It is a no-cost exhibit.

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The 6 first aid skills every parent should know for when the unthinkable happens

EVEN knowing a little bit of first aid could mean you’re able to save a life.

And as a parent, having a bit of first aid skill can really put your mind at rest.

2First aid knowledge goes beyond plasters - but it's not as hard as you might thinkCredit: Getty

Dr Lynn Thomas, Medical Director for St John Ambulance, has shared the top first aid tips every parent should know.

She says: "We want everyone, and every parent, to know what to do in an emergency and have the confidence to be able to step in and save a life, if the unthinkable happens.

“Learning these skills are so easy to do and can really make all the difference in helping you save a life one day. 

“We have a vast range of online resources, in multiple languages, as well as first aid courses across the country for anyone wanting to learn a lifesaving skill. 

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“There are also lots of opportunities for young people to get involved and learn these skills too - through our six youth programmes.  

“I would really encourage everyone to visit our website - - and take a few minutes to either sign up for a course or watch a first aid video online. You never know when you may need it.” 

Here's St John Ambulance's ultimate guide to first aid as a parent…



  • Slap it out:
    • Lay the baby face down along your thigh and support their head  
    • Give five back blows between their shoulder blades  
    • Turn them over and check their mouth each time  
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    2. Squeeze it out:

    • Turn the baby over, face upwards, supported along your thigh 
    • Put two fingers in the centre of their chest just below the nipple line; push downwards to give up to five sharp chest thrusts 
    • Check the mouth each time  

    3. If the item does not dislodge, call 999 or 112 for emergency help  

    • Take the baby with you to call  
    • Repeat the steps 1 and 2 until help arrives 
    • Start CPR if the baby becomes unresponsive (unconscious)  


    1. Cough it out  

    • Encourage the casualty to keep coughing, if they can 

    2. Slap it out  

    • Lean them forwards, supporting them with one hand 
    • Give five sharp back blows between the shoulder blades 
    • Check their mouth each time but do not put your fingers in their mouth  

    3. Squeeze it out  

    • Stand behind them with your arms around their waist, with one clenched fist between their belly button and the bottom of their chest 
    • Grasp the fist in the other hand and pull sharply inwards and upwards, giving up to five abdominal thrusts 
    • Check their mouth each time  

    4. Call 999 or 112 for emergency help if the object does not dislodge  

    • Repeat steps 2 and 3 until help arrives 
    • Start CPR if the person becomes unresponsive (unconscious) 

    5. Always seek medical advice if abdominal thrusts are used 


    What to look for: 

    • loss of or lack of a response 
    • vigorous shaking, with clenched fists and an arched back 
    • signs of a fever, with hot, flushed skin and sweating 
    • twitching of the face 
    • squinting, fixed or rolled back eyes 
    • breath holding with a red face and neck 
    • drooling at the mouth 
    • vomiting 
    • loss of bladder or bowel control 

    How to treat a seizure: 

  • Clear any dangerous objects: Place soft objects such as pillows, or soft padding like rolled up towels around the child or adult. This will protect them from injuring themselves while having a seizure.
    Do not restrain or move the patient unless they’re in immediate danger. Don't put anything in their mouth 
  • For children, cool them down: Take of any bedding and clothes such as t-shirts to help cool them. You may need to wait for the seizure to stop to do this. Make sure fresh air is circulating but be careful not to overcool the child. 
  • When the seizure has stopped, place them in the recovery position. Keep their airway open and call 999 or 112 for emergency help.  
  • Monitor the child’s level of response. While you wait for help to arrive, reassure the child and monitor them. 
  • In adults emergency advice should be sought if:
  • The casualty is having repeated seizures, or it is there first one 
  • The seizure continues for than five minutes 
  • The casualty is unresponsive for more than ten minutes 
  • The casualty has injured themselves

    What to look for: 

    • red skin and swelling 
    • pain in the area of the burn 
    • blistering may start to appear. 

    How to treat minor burns and scalds: 

  • Cool the burn or scald quickly
    Hold it under cool running water for at least 20 minutes or until the pain feels better 
  • Remove jewellery or clothing. Do this before the area begins to swell, unless it's stuck to the burn. 
  •  When the burn has cooled, cover the area loosely with clingfilm lengthways.  
  • Do not break blisters and don’t use ice, creams or gels. They may cause damage and increase the risk of infection. 

    If you think the baby or child has an object in the ear or nose, then call 111 for advice, they will be able to direct you to the most appropriate medical care. 

    How to treat an object in the ear nose: 

  • Do not try to remove the foreign object yourself
    You might push the object in further. 
  • Keep the casualty calm 
  • If there’s an insect inside the ear you can support the casualty’s head with the affected ear facing upwards and gently flood the ear with tepid water. The insect should float out. If flooding doesn’t remove the insect, seek medical advice. 

    What to look for:  

    • bump or bruise to the head 
    • possible head wound 
    • dizziness or vomiting 
    • short period of unresponsiveness 

    How to treat a minor head injury: 

  • Reduce swelling. Hold something cold against the injury like an ice pack or frozen bag of vegetables wrapped in a tea towel. 
  • Try to assess level of response using the ACVPU scale.
    A – Are they alert? Are their eyes open?
    C - Are they confused? Is this new for them
    V – Can they respond to you if you talk to them?
    P – Do they respond to pain? This can be difficult in babies so flick the bottom of their foot, or pinch their ear lobe, do they respond to you by moving or opening their eyes?
    U – Are they unresponsive to all of the above? If they are unresponsive or you are worried, call 999 or 112 for emergency help. 
  • Treat wounds. Clean the wound. Put pressure on the wound with a clean dressing. 
  • Keep checking level of response until they’ve recovered, or medical help arrives. 

    When a child is in the recovery position their airway is kept open and any vomit would drain away without interfering with their breathing. 

    What to look for: 

    • The child isn’t responding 
    • The child is breathing 

    How to put a child in the recovery position: 

  • Kneel by the child and straighten their legs. If they are wearing glasses, or have any bulky items in their pockets, remove them. Do not search their pockets for small items. 
  • Place the arm that is nearest to you at a right angle to their body, with the elbow bent and their palm facing upwards.
  • Bring their other arm across their chest and place the back of their hand against the cheek nearest to you and hold it there. 
  • With your other hand, pull their far knee up so that their foot is flat on the floor. 
  • Keeping the back of the child’s hand pressed against their cheek, pull on the far leg to roll the child towards you on to their side. You can then adjust the top leg so that it is bent at a right angle. 
  • Gently tilt the child’s head back and lift their chin to make sure their airway stays open. You can adjust the hand under their cheek to help keep the airway open. 
  • Call 999/112 for emergency help if it hasn’t already been done. Monitor their level of response while waiting for help to arrive. If they remain in the recovery position for 30 minutes, roll them into the recovery position on the other side.  
  • CPR

    Before beginning resuscitation, you should ask a helper to call 999 or 112 for emergency help while you start CPR. Ask a helper to find and bring a defibrillator if available. If you are on your own, you need to give one minute of CPR before calling on a speaker phone. Do not leave the child to make the call or to look for a defibrillator. 

    Baby (under one year old) 

    What to look for: 

    • The baby isn’t responding 
    • The baby isn’t breathing normally 

    How to give CPR to a baby: 

  • Open their airway and start CPR. Place them on a firm surface and open their airway. To do this, place one hand on their forehead and very gently tilt their head back. With your other hand, use your fingertip and gently lift the chin 
  • Give five initial puffs. Take a breath and put your mouth around the baby’s mouth and nose to make a seal and blow gently and steadily for up to one second. The chest should rise. Remove your mouth and watch the chest fall. That’s one rescue breath, or puff. Do this five times. If their chest doesn't rise, check the airway is open. 
  • Give 30 pumps. To do this, put two fingers in the centre of the baby’s chest and push down a third of the depth of the chest. Release the pressure allowing the chest to come back up. Repeat this 30 times at a rate of 100 to 120 pumps per minute. The beat of the song ‘Nellie the Elephant’ can help you keep the right rate. 
  • Open the airway and give two more puffs. Continue alternating between 30 pumps and two breaths until emergency help arrives and takes over or the baby starts showing signs of life and starts to breathe normally.  
  • If the baby shows signs of becoming responsive, such as coughing, opening their eyes, making a noise, or starts to breathe normally, put them in the recovery position. Monitor their level of response and prepare to give CPR again if necessary. 
  • Child (over one year old) 

    What to look for: 

    • The child isn’t responding 
    • The child isn’t breathing normally 

    How to give CPR to a child: 

  • Open their airway. Do this by placing on hand on their forehead to tilt their head back and use two fingers from the other hand to gently lift their chin. 
  • Give five rescue breaths. Blow into their mouth gently and steadily for up to one second until the chest rises 
  • Give 30 chest compressions. Put your hand in the centre of the child’s chest and push down a third of the depth of the chest. Release to allow the chest to rise again. Repeat 30 times at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.  
  • Open the airway and give two more breaths
    Continue alternating between 30 chest compressions and two breaths until
    emergency help arrives and takes over the child starts showing signs of life and starts to breathe normally or a defibrillator is ready to be used 
  • Use the defibrillator
    If the helper returns with a defibrillator, ask them to switch it on and follow the voice prompts while you continue CPR.  
  • If the child starts becoming responsive such as coughing, opening eyes and starts to breathe normally, put them in the recovery position and monitor their level of response. 
  • In children cardiac arrest is likely to be due to a respiratory cause and so rescue breaths can be critical. 

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    Doing rescue breaths may increase the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus but it is very likely the child will be known to you.

    However, this risk is small compared to the risk of taking no action as this will result in certain cardiac arrest and the death of the child.

    Want to learn life-saving skills? Click here to book a first aid course, join one of St John’s youth programmes (for ages 5 to 25) or become a first aid volunteer.

    St John’s training will give you essential lifesaving skills and the confidence to use them, and includes mental health first aid and wellbeing courses.

    St John is a charity and needs donations to help train and equip its volunteers, to save more lives. Donate at and follow them using #AskMe

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