entrance to stewart

Entrance to the Stewart Indian School in its early days. Photo courtesy of Nevada State Museum, Carson City

The Stewart Indian school is an off reservation Indian boarding school that operated from 1890 until 1980. The school educated various tribes from all over Northern Nevada. Reservation boarding schools and day schools were started in an effort to educate Indian children at a low cost; however, their proximity to their native culture and language slowed their assimilation into mainstream American culture.1 Among other problems, this led to the introduction of off-reservation Indian boarding schools like the Stewart Indian School. The school began as a federal project, and in its early days, it had a bad reputation for punishment and the forced assimilation of Indian children. All of this began to change around the 1920’s when Stewart became a home to many young Indian people. Students enjoyed participating in sports, band, and other extracurricular activities that were offered by the school. Indians from all over Nevada wanted to come to Stewart – the school was so popular that it was forced to turn away children who were not old enough to attend.2 Although the school began as a harsh and unwelcoming environment for the students, it evolved over time into a loved and cherished place for many of those who attended. The closing of the school in 1980 was devastating for the students, alumni, and the community.

IMG_2594The school grounds still stand in Carson City off of Snyder Road, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The campus has eighty-three standing structures, many of which were built between the years of 1922 and 1956.3 The school is open to the public Monday through Friday, and features a “Guide by Cell Audio Tour”4 to give visitors the opportunity to explore the historic campus in greater depth.

  1.  http://content.lib.washington.edu/aipnw/marr.html
  2. Joanne Peden, Oral History Interview, conducted March 7, 2016
  3. Seavey, Kent L. National Register Of Historic Places nomination form. 1982
  4. Stewart Indian School website-walking trail