At the end of the 19th century, a number of "Indian Schools" opened in Arizona following the traditions of the Carlisle Industrial School founded in 1879 in Pennsylvania. The Phoenix Indian School was run by the Federal government, and gathered students from across the state to receive an industrial or domestic education. In contrast, the Tucson Indian Training School was a contract school run by Presbyterians. Students came primarily from Pima and Papago tribes, and religious education was emphasized. By the 1920s, the Phoenix Indian School was falling into disrepair and attitudes towards American Indian education were changing. Assimilation of American Indian students was deemphasized, paving the way for the Johnson O'Malley Act in 1934 (Trennert, 1988).
Read About It
- Bulletin of the Indian Summer School of the Presbytery of Phoenix, July 15, 1924
- Chapel and other buildings on grounds of Tucson Indian Training School
- American Indian girls and Anglo woman outside a brick building with kitchen tools
- Letter from Charles R. Osburn to Mulford Winsor re: Tucson Indian Training School
- Randall Booth and Family, 1925
- When were schools for American Indians founded in Arizona? Are any of these schools still operating today?
- How were American Indian children’s lives different at schools than at their homes?
- Who created the documents linked above? What was their perspective on American Indian education? Whose perspective is not represented?
- If you had lived in Arizona in the 1920s, would you have supported sending American Indian children to “Indian schools?” Why or why not?
Visit the websites below to learn more. Based on this new information, have your answers to the questions above changed?
- Archaeology of the Phoenix Indian School
- Children & Youth in History: Carlisle Indian Industrial School Group Photos [Photographs]
- Children & Youth in History: The Phoenix Indian School
- Library of Congress: American Indian Reservation Controversies
- The Heard Museum: The Boarding School Experience
The Whole Story: Books About Arizona Indian Schools
Archuleta, Margaret, Brenda J. Child, and K. Tsianina Lomawaima. 2000. Away from home: American Indian boarding school experiences, 1879-2000. Phoenix, Ariz: Heard Museum. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/43936847
Trennert, Robert A. 1988. The Phoenix Indian School: forced assimilation in Arizona, 1891-1935. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.