Attempts to eradicate Native American culture came in many shapes and forms, the most insidious effort, arguably, undertaken with books and bunk beds rather than swords and bullets. Native Voices at the Autry, the 20-year-old theater ensemble dedicated to work by, about and for Native American, Alaskan Native, Hawaiian and First Nations theater artists, has focused its 2014-15 season on the theme of Native American boarding schools and “Indian Education” in the Americas. Established in the late 19th century by Christian missionaries, these schools existed as places of forced and coerced cultural and religious conversions, as well as sexual, physical and mental abuse against Native American youths. Some even regarded the schools as “labor camps” and “experiments in modified slavery,” according to Harvard Magazine. For a staged reading tonight, “Native Voices at the Autry's First Look Series: Then and Now,” the Native Voices Ensemble has sourced material from autobiographical and historical books, oral histories and an archive of interviews from the Cante Sica Foundation, to edit together a new piece about the experience of living in these boarding schools. The schools, operating in full force through the late 20th century, were mostly closed down in the 2000s. The remaining schools, many now staffed entirely by Native Americans, have taken on a new life and have guided some youths to collegiate and vocational careers — but the roots of these systems run deep. Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park; Thu., Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m.; register online for free tickets. (323) 667-2000, theautry.org. —Rena Kosnett
Thu., Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m., 2014
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