Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-12-03 20:29:26 –
Carson City, Nevada (AP) —When it was time for Winona James to return to school, her family brushed her near her home in Carson Valley to prevent Stewart Indian School staff from finding her. I did.
James, a member of the Washoe tribe in Nevada and California, sent more than 20,000 students to boarding schools as part of a federal program designed to force Native Americans into a dominant EuroAmerican culture. Was one of the students in California. She attended for a year, but her family was afraid of her life.
“My grandmother can remember that I never wanted to go back to Stewart because I thought I would never go home,” she said in the 1984 Nevada University Reno History Initiative. Said in an interview.
Carson City’s Stewart School is one of more than 350 residential schools planned to be investigated by the US Department of Interior as part of a federal boarding school initiative review, including student deaths and known burial ground investigations.
On Friday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak spoke with tribal elders about the history of the school. Governor, tribal leaders, heads of state government agencies, and interior ministry officials helped build schools and send children there, but historic fraud and intergenerational A boarding school facing the trauma.
The 90-year-old Paiute, Washoe, and Shoshone descendants of the Stewart School talked about the incentives offered to bring indigenous children to school. Of students trying to escape due to hunger; and extreme overcrowding in the dormitory.
“It’s a tragedy that the federal government took so long to honestly account for the immoral programs that existed here for generations,” Sisorak now houses cultural centers and museums. Said at the Stewart Indian School.
The Governor apologized on behalf of the state and promised to cooperate fully with the Home Office and its first Native American secretary, Deb Haaland. Research Oversight of federal government past policies and Native American boarding schools.
Stacy Montose, Managing Director of the Nevada Indian Commission, said the number of children attending or dying at Stewart Indian School is unknown.
The federal government never focused on student tracking, but the fact that all records and archives were obtained when the school was closed in 1980 made it difficult to account for deaths, Montose said. Said.
Despite the lack of archive material available, Native Americans in Nevada continue to consider the history of boarding schools. “There are no Paiute, Shoshone, or Washoe tribes directly related to this campus in this state.”
Since the discovery of children’s remains at a Canadian housing school, Richard Pratt, the founder of a boarding school in Pennsylvania, said in the 19th century, “The man who kills and saves Indians.”
Four-year-old indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and sent to a reservation-based boarding school. Their hair was cut. They converted to Christianity. And they were forbidden to speak their native language. They were often military-style disciplined, and until the reforms of the mid-20th century, the curriculum focused on vocational skills and, in the case of girls, household chores.
According to historians, many of the schools were crowded, physical abuse was widespread, many students died and were buried in unmarked tombs.
Tribal leaders believe the children were secretly buried somewhere on the Stewart school campus, but either dig up the bodies and return them home, or the Shoshone.of New Mexico, Utah Elsewhere, researchers are using ground penetrating radar to search for bodies. Mr. Sisorak said it would be the decision of the tribal leaders how to investigate history.
Amber Torres, chairman of the Walker River Paiute, said assimilation policies such as boarding schools have robbed Native Americans and their indigenous language descendants. She wants to teach Nevada languages such as Washoe, Paiute, and Shoshone at public schools so that the languages survive.
“If it dies, we die,” she said.
Metz is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in the local newsroom to report on unreported issues.
Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.