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The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue

Voices and Images from Sherman Institute

Clifford E. Trafzer, Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and Lorene Sisquoc

Editors

First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies

6 × 9 inches. B&W photographs. Index. 232 pages.

2012. ISBN 978-0-87071-693-5. Paperback, $24.95.

The first collection of writings and images focused on an off-reservation Indian boarding school, The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue shares the fascinating story of this flagship institution, featuring the voices of American Indian students.

In 1902, the federal government opened Sherman Institute in Riverside, California, to transform American Indian students into productive farmers, carpenters, homemakers, nurses, cooks, and seamstresses. Indian students helped build the school and worked daily at Sherman; administrators provided vocational education and placed them in employment through the Outing Program.

Contributors to The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue have drawn on documents held at the Sherman Indian Museum to explore topics such as the building of Sherman, the school’s Mission architecture, the nursing program, the Special Five-Year Navajo Program, the Sherman cemetery, and a photo essay depicting life at the school. 

Despite the fact that Indian boarding schools—with their agenda of cultural genocide— often prevented students from speaking their languages, singing their songs, and practicing their religions, most students learned to read, write, and speak English, and most survived to benefit themselves and contribute to the well-being of Indian people.

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue will be of interest to scholars and general readers in the fields of Native American studies, history, education, public policy, and historical photography.

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