The American West Center is pleased to announce our new project, the historical register nomination for the Stewart Indian School located just south of Carson City, Nevada. The boarding school opened in 1880 in an attempt to Americanize Native youth through education. For nearly a century, the Stewart Indian School followed national models for the forced assimilation of Native American children.
Although the school closed in 1970, the complex remains a vital heritage site for Native Americans. Thousands of alumni throughout the West recall their days at Stewart. For some, painful memories still haunt them as they were forced to leave their families and cultures behind. Still other former students recall their days at Stewart with fondness, often where they formed friendships that lasted a lifetime. Many recognize their memories at the Stewart Indian School as an amalgamation of both positive and negative experiences. The Stewart Indian School offers a rare glimpse into the past of Indian assimilation programs, education systems, and cultural exchange.
Today, the Stewart Indian School Complex has over 80 extant buildings and structures and is listed on the National Historic Site Registry. The American West Center holds the unique opportunity to nominate the boarding school as a National Historic Landmark, furthering the preservation of the site. The complex’s rich history illuminates how communities in the American West negotiated a landscape of intense cultural and societal changes.