From 1918 to about 1942, the Bay Area Outing Program (BAOP) coercively recruited thousands of Native women from US Indian boarding schools to work as live-in housemaids. Though largely unknown, these labor programs were integral to the Indian assimilation project. This historical project situates the BAOP within a long history of Indian servitude in California and unpacks a thriving exploitative labor market. Significantly, this project places Native women’s experiences, agency, and resistance at the center of its analysis. It traces gendered Indian labor and the history of this unique, city-based program, and examines Native women’s forms of resistance, such as running away and fighting for wages. This project addresses how this outing program compares to other colonial labor practices, the ways in which Native women overtly and covertly subvert domestic service assimilation and labor exploitation, and the modern implications of the BAOP. “Unsettling Domesticity” deepens the outing story.


ACLS Fellowship Program, 2022


Unsettling Domesticity: Native Women and 20th-Century US Indian Policy in the San Francisco Bay Area


Feminist Studies


From 1918-1942, the Bay Area Outing Program recruited thousands of Native women from Indian boarding schools to work as live-in housemaids across the Bay Area. "Unsettling Domesticity" uncovers how Native women navigated the challenges and opportunities of outing. The book asks, within the confines of domestic labor, how did Native women comply, resist and negotiate their circumstances? It closely analyzes over 4,000 outing records. Native women’s voices are at the heart. This study departs from existing studies, situating outing within California’s history of Indian labor exploitation and centers Native women. It advances work on Indian boarding schools, Urban Indians and the history of Native California.