Stewart Indian School Oral History Project Records

 Collection
Identifier: 2017-61

Scope and Contents

Conducted from December 2016-June 2017, the oral histories in this collection document the experiences of 15 individuals who either went to school or worked at the Stewart Indian School. The interviews were conducted by Terri McBride who was on contract with the Nevada Indian Commission for the duration of the grant. The oral histories are in three formats: spiral bound, PDF, and the original audio of the interviews. Both the PDFs and audio records are stored on CD.

Dates

  • 2016-2017

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Conditions Governing Use

This Item is protected by U. S. copyright and/or related rights. It is being made available by the University of Nevada, Reno with permission of its copyright holder. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). (RightsStatements.org InC 1.0)

Administrative History

The Stewart Indian School opened on December 17, 1890 as a federal commitment to pursue Native American education in Nevada. Located three miles southeast of Carson City, the school grounds encompassed 240 acres. The first class included 37 students from local Washoe, Paiute, and Shoshone tribes and three teachers.

In 1888, the Nevada Legislature passed a bill authorizing the sale of bonds to purchase land for an Indian boarding school. Once purchased, the legislature conveyed the land to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, who established the boarding school to train and educate Indian children with the ultimate goal of assimilation. The campus opened with a capacity for 100 students and included a Victorian-style wood framed dormitory and schoolhouse. As enrollment increased, the school constructed new buildings, including shops for training, a hospital, and a recreation room. By 1906, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad establish a stop to deliver supplies and facilitate the transportation of students to and from the school. By 1919, 400 students attended the school. During the next 16 years, students learning stone masonry from their teachers, including Hopi stonemasons, constructed over 60 native stone buildings.

Student curriculum included classes in reading, writing, and arithmetic but focused on vocational training in various trades, agriculture, and the service industry. Classes offered for boys included ranching and farming, mechanics, woodworking, painting, and carpentry, while girls attended classes in baking, cooking, sewing, laundry, and practical nursing. Many of the school’s basic needs were supplied by students’ products or fulfilled by their newly acquired skills. Vocational training remained the school’s principal focus until a shift to academics occurred in the late 1960s. The school closed in 1980 due to federal budget cuts and earthquake safety issues with the masonry buildings.

The State of Nevada acquired the campus through several transactions during the 1990’s and is now used by the State for classes, training, and agency offices, including the Nevada Indian Commission, which is located in the former Superintendent’s home. The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California established the Stewart Community on much of the former school’s land where they also occupy some of the buildings. The school is listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places and is working to establish the Stewart Indian Cultural Center in the former Administration Building. Memorabilia from the former school is displayed at the Nevada State Museum’s Under One Sky exhibit.

In May 2015, the Nevada 150 Foundation awarded the Nevada Indian Commission a $20,000 grant as part of the yearlong celebration of Nevada's founding and legacy project. The grant was used to hire Terri McBride, owner of Community Past, to complete in-depth oral histories with former students and employees of the school.

[Information on the history of the Stewart Indian School is taken from the Stewart Indian School website.]

Extent

0.5 Cubic Feet (1 box)

.78 Gigabytes (32 items)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

The Stewart Indian School operated from December 17, 1890-1980 in Carson City as a federal commitment to pursue Native American education in Nevada. Student curriculum included classes in reading, writing, and arithmetic but focused on vocational training in various trades, agriculture, and the service industry. In May 2015, the Nevada 150 Foundation awarded the Nevada Indian Commission a $20,000 grant as part of the yearlong celebration of Nevada's founding and legacy project. Collection contains oral histories conducted as part of the grant that document the experiences of 15 individuals who either went to school or worked at the Stewart Indian School.

Arrangement

Arranged in the following series: 1) Interview Transcripts; 2) Digital Interviews

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Bobbi Rahder on behalf of the Stewart Cultural Center in August 2017.

Existence and Location of Copies

All 15 oral histories, both digital and physical formats, have been donated to the following intuitions as specified in the Nevada 150 Foundation grant:

Nevada Indian Commission Nevada State Archives

Oral history by Roger Sam in physical format has been donated to the following institution:

Pyramid Lake Museum

Creator

Title
Inventory to the Stewart Indian School Oral History Project Records
Status
Completed
Author
Jessica Maddox
Date
August 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Contact:
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5665
775-682-5724 (Fax)