The School Days of an Indian Girl is an autobiographical narrative by Yankton Dakota writer, teacher, activist, and composer Zitkala-Sa (1876–1938). The sections you would like to have summarized comprise the first two parts of the story, which is narrated in first person. The author’s language is straightforward but very evocative. I will first provide some autobiographical background to help you understand the context of the account and assist you in providing your own summary.
Zitkala-Sa was born on the Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1876, the daughter of a Dakota mother and a German-American father who abandoned the family. Her mother’s extended family cared for her and provided a safe and happy environment. When the author was eight years old, Quaker missionaries came to the reservation and took her and seven other children away with them to attend White’s Indian Manual Labor Institute in Wabash, Indiana.
In the first section, "The Land of Red Apples,” Zitkala-Sa recounts the train (“iron horse”) journey that takes her and the other seven Native American children to the institute. They are three “young braves,” two “tall girls,” and three “little ones” (including herself). During the journey, which takes several days, the author feels uncomfortable among the white people who stare at her moccasins and blanket. Upon her arrival at the institute, a “paleface” woman picks her up and tosses her into the air, an unfamiliar and frightening gesture. Everything new around her is jarring and frightening. Zitkala-sa falls asleep crying for her mother, brother, and aunt.
In the second section of the story, “The Cutting of My Long Hair,” Zitkala-sa writes that the first day in the “land of apples” is very cold. There are many “hard noises” (such as the clicking of shoes) that are strange and irritating. She has not yet learned English, and the unfamiliar speech also bothers her, as does the rigid taking of meals or “eating by formula.” The white people’s lack of cultural understanding and respect repeatedly humiliates the child—especially so when she is dragged out from under a bed to have her long braids cut. In her culture, cut (“shingled”) hair is only worn by mourners and “unskilled warriors captured by the enemy.” The day ends with the following thought: “No soul reasoned quietly with me, as my own mother used to do; for now I was only one of many little animals driven by a herder.”