Gaylord Nelson Papers, 1954-2006 (bulk 1963-1980)

 
Contents List
Container Title
Box/Folder   5/10
No.   1255A/95-97
Poupart, Dorothy,1992 July 10, Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin
Biography/History

Dorothy (Bluejacket) Poupart was born on February 2, 1910 in Mirama, Oklahoma. Her mother and father were members of the Eastern Shawnee tribe. She was the third of four children, having two brothers and one sister. When she was nine her father was disabled in a farming accident and was unable to work. Shortly after this Dorothy, her sister, and one brother were taken to the Haskell Institute, a BIA-run school in Kansas. Dorothy entered the teacher's normal school program offered at Haskell and earned her teaching certificate in 1928. Faced with a choice of jobs in either Puerto Rico, Arizona, or Wisconsin, she chose Wisconsin and came to the Lac du Flambeau tribal school in May, 1929.

Shortly after her arrival to the school, Dorothy met Ben Poupart, a painter/laborer from Lac du Flambeau. They were married in 1930 and eventually had eight children. Mrs. Poupart taught at the Lac du Flambeau tribal school until 1921, when she quit after her first child was born. She worked at home raising her children until 1965, when she became involved with the tribal school and its efforts to receive federal aid under the Johnson-O'Malley Act. Retired in 1974, Mrs. Poupart today divides her time between her numerous grandchildren and Nokomis, a social group made up of Lac du Flambeau Chippewa elders whose primary objective is the education of Chippewa youth of the traditional ways.

Scope and Content Note

Mrs. Poupart begins her interview by discussing her reactions to Pearl Harbor. Her younger brother, enlisted at the time in the Navy was shot down and killed in Austria in 1943 and she briefly explains how her family was notified. She then discusses her background, recounting her education at Haskell and how she came to Lac du Flambeau. She describes meeting her husband and their marriage, and their separation for periods of time during the war when he worked at the Baraboo Munitions Plant.

Mrs. Poupart then describes what Lac du Flambeau was like during the war, and her involvement with a church-sponsored women's group that met weekly to make things for the soldiers and for the local children. She makes note of the fact that she often sold her ration stamps to the non-Indian people who owned cabins around Lac du Flambeau. She mentions the relationships between the local non-Indian townspeople and the Indians, making mention of the storekeeper in particular.

Mrs. Poupart ends the interview by discussing her involvement with Indian education and her efforts at a cultural revitalization. She also expresses her regret that she never went back to teaching or obtained her college degree.