Historical Trauma and the Native American Boarding School Experience

Photo: Courtesy Dr. Robbie Paul.
Photo: Courtesy Dr. Robbie Paul.

Date & Time

Thursday, November 18
5:30 PM

This event is in the past.


Pay what you wish;
registration required.




Join us from your home!


Join Dr. Roberta “Robbie” Paul (Nez Perce) in conversation with Burke Museum Director of Diversity, Equity, Access, Inclusion, & Decolonization and Tribal Liaison Polly Olsen (Yakama) live from the Burke Museum as they discuss the cultural and multigenerational effects of Indian boarding schools. Dr. Paul is the curator of Grandfather’s Trunk: Spirit of Survival, an exhibit documenting three generations of the Paul family and their experiences in Indian boarding schools beginning in 1880 with her grandfather, Jesse. During the program, Dr. Paul will share items and photos from the exhibit, followed by an opportunity for Q&A.

The link to join this virtual program will be provided in your confirmation email and a reminder email the morning of the program. If you need assistance accessing the Zoom webinar, please contact burkevis@uw.edu.

We invite you to pay what you wish for access to this program. All proceeds from this program support ongoing decolonization and healing efforts at the Burke Museum.



About Dr. Robbie Paul:

Robbie Paul, PhD, is an enrolled Nez Perce (Ni mii puu) tribal member, who was born and raised on the Nez Perce Reservation in the small community of Craigmont, Idaho. Her father was Titus J. Paul and her mother was Maxine S. Caster Paul. Her paternal Grandfather was Jess Paul; he was a survivor of the Nez Perce War of 1877 and was one of 7 Nez Perce children sent to Carlisle Indian Boarding school in 1880 from the exile camp of the Nez Perce Camp in Oklahoma. Her grandfather Jesse Paul helped form the first Nez Perce Tribal council and government in the 1920’s. She is the mother of two grown children and the grandmother of three granddaughters. Dr. Paul attended the University of Idaho obtaining a BS in Clothing, Textiles and Design, 1972; Eastern Washington University, MS in Psychology, 1994; Gonzaga University, Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership Studies, 2007.   Dr. Paul’s research for her dissertation was historical trauma and healing, which involved researching five generations of her Nez Perce family going back to 1793 to her great-great grandfather Chief Ut-Sin-Malikan. Dr. Paul developed a healing model for her family for understanding the historical trauma that affected her family. This research is ongoing and she enjoys digging in the archives of museums, reading history books, and looking for old photos of family history. Dr. Paul retired October 2016 from Washington State University Spokane as the Director of Native American Health Sciences. She also directed the Na-ha-shnee Native American High School Health Science Institute. Dr. Paul still mentors and works with Native American students both high school and college and wants our Native American students to succeed in the health care professions. Serves as Affiliate Faculty for WSU Plateau Center and serves on the University of Washington Native American Advisory Board.

Dr. Paul's latest endeavor has been as a curator for an exhibit at Washington State University Titled: Grandfather's Trunk Spirit of Survival: Three Generations of the Paul Family's Native American Boarding School Experience. The exhibit opened October 25, 2019 and closed September 2020. The Exhibit will be moved to the Nez Perce National Park, where the exhibit will be displayed sometime in a couple of years.

Dr. Paul is also currently writing a book on the Paul Family and Intergenerational Trauma and Healing, hopping for publication in the near future.

Dr. Paul has also been awarded several awards in her education journey: Woman of Distinction Washington State University, March 2014; Enduring Spirit Award from the Native Action Network, May 2015; Spokane YWCA Women of Achievement, Community Enhancement, Oct. 2016; and University of Washington Women's Center, Women of Courage Honoree, March 2018.