Dora Brought Plenty is 71. She’s a Standing Rock Sioux, a Native American who came to Dallas 50 years ago. She’s a self-taught artist – self-taught because as a child, raised in a native boarding school in South Dakota, her art helped her escape repeated beatings.
“I learned very quickly that some teachers liked my art,” Brought Plenty said. “And that was what saved me. I could do my art and I would be kept from being beaten. And that’s what I learned at that school – was fear. ”
Brought Plenty recently spoke on a panel about American Indian boarding schools at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.
After her mother had been murdered, and after she’d been through a blur of several foster homes, Brought-Plenty was forcibly taken to the boarding school. There, she said, her braids were cut, her clothes were taken, she was ordered to take a shower.
“And at that time they told me, ‘you are never to use your name again. Your number is 199,'” she said.
Dora Brought Plenty was six years old.