Seen at the Heard: Isleta Pueblo History and Boarding School Experiences

Courtesy of the Autry National Center/Southwest Museum, Los Angeles, P_8024 / Spring footraces at Isleta Pueblo. Charles Lummis – photographer. Apr 19, 1896.

Seen at the Heard: Isleta Pueblo History and Boarding School Experiences [10 Images].

A trip to Phoenix, Arizona would not be complete without a visit to the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art at 2301 N. Central Ave. Founded in 1929 by Dwight and Maie Heard, the museum has undergone several expansions; two additional galleries are slated to shut down in May for another renovation. The internationally-recognized Heard is home to an extensive collection of art, a year-long calendar of festivals and events and a comprehensive research facility.

This time around, two exhibits, one old and one new, were particularly compelling.

“Remembering Our Indian School Days: The Boarding School Experience,” is a multimedia exhibition curated by Margaret Archuleta and installed in 2002. The exhibition catalog, Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences 1879-2000, is available on Amazon. The museum is currently planning an expansion of this long-running exhibit.

The Pueblo of Isleta has mounted a traveling exhibition that presents a history of the people in photographs. The curators of “Time Exposures: Picturing a History of Isleta Pueblo in the 19th Century” note that this story is told in part through the eyes of the white photographers who took the pictures. The exhibit is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. / The entrance to the Heard Museum features the sculpture “Earth Song” by Allan Houser, Chiricahua Apache. / The boarding school exhibit shows how diseases like tuberculosis, influenza and trachoma ran riot through the boarding schools. Poor nutrition, hard manual labor and inadequate medical care made students especially susceptible to disease.

Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society Students working in the laundry at Riverside Indian School in 1901.

Photo by Tanya H. Lee / Some boarding school dormitories still look quite similar.

Courtesy Harvey W. Scott Memorial Library, Pacific University Archives / Shoemaking at Indian Training School in Forest Grove, Oregon, c. 1880.

Photo by Tanya H. Lee / “Cat’s Cradle,” a 2011 acrylic on canvas, by Rick Rivet, Metis, dominates this gallery.

Courtesy of the Autry National Center/Southwest Museum, Los Angeles, P_8405 / Group portrait at Isleta Pueblo. Charles Lummis –photographer. ND.

Courtesy of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, 87_45_799 / View of San Augustine Mission Church at Isleta Pueblo. Unknown photographer. 1880.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress Lot12833no75431 / Juana Marie, Isleta pottery painter. Karl Moon – photographer. 1906.