Cante Sica [shan-tay she-cha]

Lakota expression, literally “heart bad”; refers to a person’s devastating sorrow



Beginning in the late nineteenth century, the American government instituted a system of boarding schools with the goal of indigenous cultural and linguistic erasure. Over nearly a century, these schools removed children from their families and suppressed the already threatened cultural identities of Native Americans.

Who We Are

The Cante Sica Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities for healing, understanding and reconciliation around the legacy of the Native American boarding school system, the U.S. Government’s policy of forced assimilation of indigenous peoples between 1879 and 1975.


What We Do


Visual History Collecting

We train Native filmmakers and historians to collect visual histories with the intent to preserve historical narratives and connect indigenous youth with community elders.

Visual History Archive

We make our visual histories available to Native communities, scholars and students worldwide as an online archive through our collaboration with the Autry Museum of the American West.

Visual History Curriculum

We bring the visual histories into the classroom through an interactive online curriculum with innovative educational activities that prompt reflection and expression.

The Cante Sica Foundation is a 501c3 foundation whose purpose is to implement the Boarding School Stories visual history project. The Cante Sica Foundation also develops content and shares resources for related artistic projects including museum exhibitions, documentary films, books, and theater projects. This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Vision Maker Media, and the Kalliopeia Foundation.

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