“Home From School” documentary comes to Lexington

The first film, called "Home From School," will be screened Thursday night at the Living Arts and Science Center

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Living Arts and Science Center is kicking off its spring semester film series screening with the documentary Home From School.

It’s part of a three-part monthly film screening at the center through The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers.

The film follows 19th-century Northern Arapaho Native Americans in Wyoming whose children were taken from reservations and sent to boarding schools, oftentimes far away from home.

It particularly focuses on the families seeking the remains of their ancestors who attended the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.

According to the film’s director, producer, and writer Geoffrey O’Gara, many of these children were forced to only speak English and abandon other cultural traditions, such as their dress.

“Some of them died from European diseases they were never exposed to. They were buried at these boarding schools far from home. Today, in some cases, Native American tribes are trying to go back and find their remains and bring them to be re-buried with their ancestors,” said O’Gara.

O’Gara says from his research, he discovered while the journey was a sorrowful process, he also observed the healing that took place for many families who finally got to bring their ancestors home.

O’Gara, a Wyoming journalist, says he spent decades with the Northern Arapaho and Navajo tribes, and that they had tried for decades to bring their ancestors back. He says the Carlisle Indian School is now a U.S. Army base and the tribes experienced pushback.

“But in 2017, a breakthrough happened where the Army said, ‘we’re going to let you take these children back.’ So they put together a delegation of youth and elders to retrieve the remains of three of these children, and we happened to be there because we knew the families involved,” said O’Gara.

O’Gara says he hopes the documentary gives viewers an empathetic look at the hardships 19th century Native tribes endured and what they still face.

“A lot of us have Native Americans in a mythological form…these are people living in this century with us. They are our neighbors. Getting to know them as real people, that’s really important,” said O’Gara.

Home From School will be screened February 9th at 6:30PM at the Living Arts and Science Center with a Q & A session with Geoffrey O’Gara. Admission is free.

For more information about the film series, click here.

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