The Stewart Indian School is embracing its ‘living legacy’ with their Father’s Day Pow Wow which takes place this weekend June 16 through 18 on the grounds of their location as a former Native American residential boarding school.
Like Residential Schools in Canada, the Native American Boarding Schools Project in the U.S. was seen as an ideal solution to the “Indian Problem”. Implemented in 1887, these schools became infamous for the forced removal of tens of thousands Native children from their families and communities with the ultimate goal of assimilation via the imposition of Euro-American standards.
Native names, languages, and spiritual practices were forbidden and abuses of all kinds were widespread in these Christian and government-run institutions. It was important to “kill the Indian and save the man”, according to Richard Henry Pratt who pointedly said “all the Indian there is in the race should be dead.”
The Stewart Indian School (alternatively known as Stewart Institute, Carson Industrial School, and Carson Indian School) was one such institution. The school opened on December 17, 1890 with 37 students from local Washoe, Paiute and Shoshone tribes and “fulfilled a federal commitment to pursue Native American education in Nevada for ninety years”. The school eventually “accepted” children from tribal nations throughout the West. In a May 2008 interview with NPR, former Stewart student Bill Wright was reported to still suffer from nightmares of the severe discipline he endured.
Located three miles Southeast of Carson City, Stewart served as the only off-reservation Indian boarding school in Nevada through 1980. The Stewart “campus” was acquired by the State in the 1990s and uses it for training and agency offices including the Department of Corrections and the Nevada Indian Commission located in the former school Superintendent’s home.
The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California established the Stewart Community in 1890 and today it encompasses much of the the school’s former 240 acres of land where the community also utilize some of the 63 buildings.
The Stewart Indian School has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985. School “Memorabilia” is on display as part of the Nevada State Museum’s award-winning Under One Sky exhibit which has been running since 2002.
The public is invited to attend the annual Stewart Father’s Day Pow Wow which takes place June 16 through 18 in the grounds of the former school. Gridley Hilpert is MC and the arena director is Sam Johnson. Host drum is Blood River Singers and head man and lady dancers are David and Julie Johnson with William Koipa and Precious Masters as head teen boy and girl respectively. Admission to the Father’s Day Pow Wow is free.
2016 Stewart Father’s Day Pow Wow – opening ceremony
Here is a select list of pow wows and Father’s Day Pow Wow’s happening across Turtle Island June 16th through 18th:
Red Road 15th Annual Sobriety Pow Wow, June 17-18
979 Somerset Ave
Dighton, MA 02764
For more information phone 508-493-5520.
Honoring Saganing Traditional Pow Wow, June 17-18
Pow Wow Grounds (next to the Standing Eagles Casino & Saganing Tribal Center)
2750 Worth Road
Standish, MI 48658
For more information visit the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe website.
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