News and Events

Federal Bill Addresses Cultural Genocide Caused by Indian Boarding Schools

Evie Blad October 1, 2020 For about 100 years, the U.S. government supported a system of boarding schools where more than 100,000 American Indian and Alaska Native children were stripped of their culture, their languages, and their religions and forced to assimilate to white customs. That policy, which continued until the 1960s, has continued affects on native communities today, says a bill filed this week by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M. The United States has never fully accounted for the harms caused by the schools, the lawmakers said. Their bill, which has attracted a bipartisan list of cosponsors, would form a "Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policy" to compile records and oral accounts of what happened in at 367 Indian boarding schools across 30 states. Those schools educated children as young as five years old and sometimes forced them into labor in white communities far from their homes, advocacy groups say, but many...

Bureau of Indian Education: BIE pushes for in-person classes

School opening during pandemic considered a confusing, potentially deadly challenge for reservation residents. Mary Annette Pember, Indian Country TodayAugust 18, 2020 11:56 a.m. WASHINGTON — Tara Sweeney, assistant secretary – Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior, sent a letter to tribal leaders this month indicating Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) operated schools will open Sept. 16 for in-person instruction. “To the maximum extent possible, BIE (operated) schools will operate brick and mortar schools,” Sweeney wrote. According to its website, the BIE oversees a total of 187 schools. Of those, 132 are tribally controlled, operating under the direction of individual tribes. Fifty-five are operated by the bureau. Although bureau leaders maintain they actively include input from tribal consultation and stakeholder meetings and surveys in crafting policies for both tribally controlled and bureau-operated schools, many tribal leaders disagree. “These “Dear tribal...

Boarding School exhibition wins AASLH Award of Excellence

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) announced the Heard Museum is a 2020 recipient of an Award of Excellence for its exhibition Away From Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards Program, now in its 75th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. AASLH conferred 57 national awards in 2020 honoring people, projects, exhibitions, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards Program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition to the superior and innovative...

Paiute classes at the University of Nevada, Reno and Stewart Indian School

Paiute classes at the University of Nevada, Reno and Stewart Indian School

February 18, 2020 By: Ignacio Montoya Assistant Professor, Department of English | University of Nevada, Reno As a linguist who works on Native American languages, I was certainly excited to learn that Feb. 21 is International Mother Language Day. Recognizing the strong link between language and culture and cognizant of the alarming rate at which languages are disappearing, the United Nations established this day a couple of decades ago as a way of celebrating and safeguarding the richness of linguistic expression that exists in the world. Of the approximately 6,000 languages spoken today, at least 43 percent of them are estimated to be at risk of not having any native speakers left.1 Native American languages – of which there were around 300 spoken at the time of the arrival of Europeans2 – are among the languages threatened in this way. This includes the languages indigenous to Nevada: Northern Paiute (Numu), Washo (Wašiw), Western Shoshone (Newe) and Southern Paiute (Nuwu/Nuwavi)....

Matthew Sakiestewa Lecture at the Heard Museum

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (Hopi) will present "Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running" at the Heard Museum February 22, 2020 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Monte Vista Room. Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is Professor and Head of the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona. He is an enrolled member of the Hopi Tribe from the village of Upper Munqapi. Centering his research and teaching on Native American history and the history of the American West, he examines the history of American Indian education, the Indian boarding school experience, and American Indians and sport. In January 1907, Louis Tewanima, from the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona, enrolled at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. While at Carlisle, Tewanima joined the school’s cross-country team. He won numerous races and earned the opportunity to compete in the 1908 and 1912Summer Olympic Games. Tewanima’s story represents his ability to redefine Hopi...

BRACKEEN V. BERNHARDT | INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a 41-year-old federal law protecting the well-being and best interests of Indian children and families by upholding family integrity and stability and keeping Indian children connected to their community and culture. ICWA also reaffirms the inherent rights of tribal nations to be involved in child welfare matters involving their citizens. Brackeen v. Bernhardt is the lawsuit brought by Texas, Indiana, Louisiana, and individual plaintiffs, who allege ICWA is unconstitutional. It is the first time that a state has sued the federal government over ICWA’s constitutionality. In 2018, a federal district court in Texas, in a widely criticized decision, held that ICWA violates the US Constitution. Last year, in response to appeals brought by the federal government and the intervening tribal nations at that time (the Cherokee Nation, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Oneida Nation, Quinault Indian Nation, and the Navajo Nation), a three-judge panel from...

Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum opens

Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum opens

CARSON CITY, Nevada – (Jan. 8, 2020) For the first time, the general public can get a glimpse of life at Stewart Indian School, 130 years after the government boarding school opened in Carson City and 40 years after it was closed. The new Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum – long a dream of alumni and tribal leaders in the state – opens its doors on Monday, Jan. 13. Winter hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free. Stewart Indian School is located at 5500 Snyder Ave., in Carson City. The Cultural Center & Museum occupies what was once the school’s administrative building. More than $4.5 million in funding from the Nevada Legislature in 2017 and 2019, along with the support of governors Brian Sandoval (2017) and Steve Sislolak (2019), were utilized for the renovation. The State of Nevada also funded contracts with Gallagher and Associates of San Francisco and Pacific Studio of Seattle to work with the museum staff and the Stewart Alumni...

thin banner of photographs of the inside of the Boarding School exhibition