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Oct. 15: Author to discuss musical life of Indian school

Parkhurst-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Melissa Parkhurst, an ethnomusicologist who teaches classes in world and Native American music at Washington State University, will give a free presentation about her new book, “To Win the Indian Heart: Music at Chemawa Indian School,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, at the Nez Perce National Historical Park in Spalding, Idaho.

ParkhurstBookCover-250The book chronicles the musical life of the Salem, Ore., school, the oldest continuously operating federal boarding school for Native American children.

Parkhurst will consider the complex ways students, families, faculty and administrators have employed music at the school, both as a tool for assimilation and a vehicle for student resistance. She will explore the crucial role music was meant to play in the transformation of Indian children and the cultural recovery and resiliency it often inspired instead.

Parkhurst’s research interests include First Nations music in the Pacific Northwest, how music promotes personal and community resilience, and the role of music in cultural revitalization.

She earned a master of arts in ethnomusicology and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Melissa Parkhurst, WSU School of Music, 509-335-6481,
Gregory Yasinitsky, WSU School of Music director, 509-595-0839,

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