In 1693, King William III and Queen Mary II of England granted a royal charter for two institutions of higher education in the Colony of Virginia. The first institution was the College of William & Mary. The second institution was the Indian School at William & Mary, known from 1723 to the present as the Brafferton Indian School.
The history of the Brafferton Indian School is a story of power, trade, land, and culture. It’s an Indigenous story. It’s also a story of English, later British, colonialism.
Over the next two episodes, we will investigate the Brafferton Indian School and the stories it tells about power, trade, land, culture, and colonialism in early America. We’ll also explore the legacy of the Brafferton and other colonial Indian schools by examining the connections between these schools and the creation of the Indian Boarding Schools that operated within the United States between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries.
In this episode, we focus on the history and origins of the Brafferton Indian School.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of Colonial Williamsburg Innovation Studios.
In honor of the 300th anniversary of the Brafferton Indian School building, we investigate the history and origins of the Brafferton Indian School and why English, later British, colonists created schools to teach young Indigenous boys tenets of the Anglican religion and English language and customs.
In this episode, we speak with Brooke Bauer, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, a citizen of the Catawba Nation, and author of Becoming Catawba: Catawba Indian Women and Nation Building, 1540-1840; Fallon Burner, Indigenous Historian at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; and Buck Woodard, senior professional lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at American University, cultural and historical anthropologist, and co-author and co-editor of Building the Brafferton: The Founding, Funding and Legacy of America’s Indian School.
What You’ll Discover
- The Indigenous East of North America prior to colonization
- The political structure of Eastern Indigenous tribes before and after colonization
- Early diplomacy between Indigenous tribes and nations and English colonists
- The establishment of the Virginia tributary system during the 17th century
- How and why the Brafferton Indian School was chartered with the College of William and Mary in 1693
- The intended purpose of the Indian School at William & Mary
- Attempts to create Indian schools in colonial North America beyond Williamsburg
- How Indigenous children were educated in their communities
- How Virginia’s governor convinced Indigenous tribes to send boys to the Brafferton Indian School
- What we know about life at the Brafferton
- The stories of some of the students who attended the Brafferton, including John Nettles, John Montour, Robert Scholar, and Henry Bawbee
- How some students used their education at the Brafferton to benefit their communities
- Some of the Brafferton’s legacies
- The names of the students we know who attended the Brafferton and the tribes they came from
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- American Indian Initiative at Colonial Williamsburg
- The Brafferton Building at William & Mary
- Building the Brafferton: The Founding, Funding and Legacy of America’s Indian School
- Becoming Catawba: Catawba Indian Women and Nation-Building, 1540-1840
- Brooke Bauer
- Fallon Burner
- Buck Woodard
- Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums, “The Greenwood Medley,” Echoes of Revolution
- Colonial Williamsburg Governor’s Musick, “Trio Sonata in F Major, HWV 389, Op. 2, No. 5,” Instrumental Music from the Colonial Williamsburg Collection
- Colonial Williamsburg Governor’s Musick, “A Scotch Tune Call’d Sawney (G Major),” Upon a Viol At Sea
- Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
- The American Indian Initiative at Colonial Williamsburg
- William & Mary, Brafferton Initiative (William & Mary is hosting an October 28th Lecture by Ned Blackhawk, “The Indigenous Origins of the American Revolution”)
- Episode 104: Andrew Lipman, The Saltwater Frontier: Europeans & Native Americans on the Northeastern Coast
- Episode 132: Coll Thrush, Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of the Empire
- Episode 171: Jessica Stern, Native Americans, British Colonists, and Trade in North America
- Episode 290: The World of the Wampanoag, Part 1: Before 1620
- Episode 291: The World of the Wampanoag, Part 2: 1620 and Beyond
- Episode 310: Rosalyn LaPier, History of the Blackfeet
- Episode 314: Colin Calloway, Native Americans in Early American Cities
- Episode 353: Brooke Bauer, Women and the Making of Catawba Identity
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