Rexine Williams, Invisible Walls of Violence

Rexine Williams (Diné Nation)
Invisible Walls of Violence
Poetry, 2019, and photographs

I come from a large family of aunts and uncles that attended boarding schools during the 1950’s through the 1970’s. This poem was written about the experience of one of my aunts that was taken from her home at a very young age without the consent of her parents. This is the story of so many Indigenous young children.


Grade school photo of my mother Grace, two of her sisters, Sandy and Betty Jean, and other classmates. Although they were different ages, they attended class together. Unknown Location.




Many of these photos were taken at Stewart Indian School, Carson City, Nevada. These are photos of my mother and her sisters.


In this photo is my mother, Grace, my aunt, Sandy, and my aunt Betty Jean. My aunt Betty jean on the right was a seamstress and made all her own clothes and clothes for her sisters. Stewart Indian School, Carson City, Nevada.


Prom night, 1963, Stewart Indian School. Carson City, Nevada.


This is a photo of my aunt Sandy, my mother Grace, and aunt Betty Jean with an unknown male. Stewart Indian School, Carson City, Nevada.


A photo of my mother, Grace, standing outside a building on school campus. My mother used to work for the Nevada state Governor and his family. She would receive the hand-me-down clothing from the Governor’s wife. Stewart Indian School, Carson City, Nevada.


A photo of my aunt Betty Jean in her Letterman’s Sweater. Stewart Indian School, Carson City, Nevada.


A photo of my aunt Sandy, sitting at a desk in her classroom. Stewart Indian School, Carson City, Nevada.


During the summer break of 1965 my mother, Grace, and her sisters, Betty Jean, Mary Lou, and Sandy were given a luggage that their father found. Inside the luggage was clothing that belonged to an unknown male. Their father worked with the railroad company and since the luggage was never picked up, he let his daughters have the luggage. My mother and her sisters had a great time trying on all the clothes. My aunt Betty Jean was a seamstress and used these old clothes to sew together new clothes for herself and her sisters. The photo was taken at their home in Dennehotso, Arizona.


As Seeds, We Grow: Student Reflections on Resilience Exhibit Catalog Copyright © 2023 by Elise Boulanger; Shenay Atene; Kirbie Bennett; Paige Brown; Keo Crank; Ana Henry; Hannah Jacks; AJ Lopez; Camela Manheimer; Sam McCullar; Destiny Morgan; Desirae Bernice Rambler; Andrea L. Rogers; Eugene Rogers; Maddie Sanders; Kaitlyn Sebwenna-Painter; and Rexine Williams. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book