Albuquerque Indian School
Albuquerque Indian School in 1885, Relocated from Duranes to Albuquerque in 1881. - NARA - 292865.tif
Albuquerque Indian School in 1885
Address
12th St. and Indian School Rd.

,
New Mexico
87102

United States
Coordinates35°06′31″N 106°39′20″W / 35.1087°N 106.6555°W / 35.1087; -106.6555Coordinates: 35°06′31″N 106°39′20″W / 35.1087°N 106.6555°W / 35.1087; -106.6555
Information
TypeNative American boarding school
Established1881
Closed1981
Campus typeSuburban
Color(s)Orange and Black   
MascotBraves
[1]

Albuquerque Indian School (AIS) was a Native American boarding school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which operated from 1881 to 1981. It was one of the oldest and largest off-reservation boarding schools in the United States.[2] For most of its history it was run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Like other government boarding schools, AIS was modeled after the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, using strict military-style discipline to strip students of their native identity and assimilate them into white American culture. The curriculum focused on literacy and vocational skills, with field work components on farms or railroads for boys and as domestic help for girls. In the 1930s, as the philosophy around Indian education changed, the school shifted away from the military approach and offered more training in traditional crafts like pottery, weaving, and silversmithing.[2]

In 1977, administration of the school was taken over by the All Indian Pueblo Council, a coalition of the 20 Pueblos in New Mexico and Texas. By this point the campus was in disrepair and it closed soon afterward. Most of the abandoned school buildings burned down and were razed between 1981 and 1993.[1] As of 2022 the sole remaining building is the Employees' New Dormitory and Club.

History

The school opened in 1881 in an adobe hacienda in Duranes, a village just north of Albuquerque which was later absorbed by the city. It was operated by the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions under contract to the Department of the Interior and had an initial enrollment of 40. In 1882, the school moved to its permanent site at 12th Street and Indian School Road. By 1884, the enrollment was 158. It became directly operated by the BIA in 1886.[1][3] In 1925, the school expanded from primary grades to high school, and enrollment peaked at about 1,400 students in the 1930s.[4]

Girls in a sewing class at AIS, circa 1910
Girls in a sewing class at AIS, circa 1910

Enrollment declined, with prospective students instead enrolling in to on-or near reservation public schools, after the 1953 Indian Termination Act. Following the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975, the All Indian Pueblo Council (AIPC), a coalition of the 20 Pueblos in New Mexico and Texas, requested and was awarded a contract to operate the school starting in the 1977–78 school year. AIS thus became the first BIA school to be transferred to local tribal control.[5] By this point the campus was in poor condition and the AIPC began advocating to move its students to the Santa Fe Indian School campus instead.[6] The BIA agreed to the move after 22 students had to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty furnace in early 1981.[7] The merger into Santa Fe Indian School was completed later in the year and AIS ceased to exist as an independent entity.[1]

Employees' New Dormitory and Club, the sole remaining building
Employees' New Dormitory and Club, the sole remaining building

Post-closure

After the school closed, the campus was abandoned. In 1984, the property was transferred from the BIA to the AIPC, which still owned it as of 2002.[8] Between 1981 and 1993, nearly all of the school buildings were destroyed by a series of fires. At least 29 separate fires occurred, with 16 in 1987 alone. Most of the fires were suspected to have been started intentionally.[9] When the last school building burned down in 1993, witnesses saw six men leaving the scene.[10] The only building to survive was Building 232, the Employees' New Dormitory and Club, which was across the street from the main part of the campus. This building was renovated in 2013 to house the Native American Community Academy charter school.[11]

In 2009 the city government and the Indian Pueblos Federal Development Corporation created an agreement on possible development of the site.[12]

There was a plaque that commemorated Native American children who attended in the 1800s who disappeared. In 2021 the plaque disappeared.[13]

In July 2021, The Paper reported on the rediscovery of the site of the Albuquerque Indian School's cemetery. Jonathan Sims' investigation was prompted by the recent discoveries of multiple mass graves associated with historical sites of residential schools in Canada. 4-H Park, across the street from where the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is now located, used to have a plaque that explained that this park had previously been a burial site for Zuni, Navajo, and Apache students of the school. Ed Tsyitee, a groundskeeper employed by the school, had maintained this cemetery until his retirement in 1964. A later article, according to Sims, "claimed the city and AIS agreed to seed and plant trees in the area to not draw attention to the site." The Paper's report also sites an article published in the Albuquerque Journal on Saturday, October 6, 1973. This 1973 article says that workers installing a sprinkler system had uncovered remains while working in the park. [14]

Campus

Albuquerque Indian School campus circa 1910
Albuquerque Indian School campus circa 1910

The AIS campus occupied a 45-acre (18 ha) site near 12th Street and Indian School Road in the Near North Valley neighborhood. At the time the school closed, it comprised 44 buildings.[8]

Three of the school buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

The latter two buildings burned down and were removed from the register.

Baseball team at AIS, 1911
Baseball team at AIS, 1911

Student body

Most AIS students came from the Pueblos and the Navajo Nation. In 1887, the student body was 77% Pueblo, 5% Navajo, and 18% from other groups including Mescalero Apache, Tohono Oʼodham, and Pima. By 1904 the makeup was 61% Pueblo, 36% Navajo, 2% Apache, and 1% from other groups.[3] Starting in the 1950s, the number of Pueblo students sharply decreased as these students began attending on-reservation day schools instead. In 1960, the school's population of around 1,000 students was 87% Navajo and only 12% Pueblo.[17]

In 1968, 12 Native Americans from the Ramah, New Mexico area went to Albuquerque Indian School.[18]

Sports

AIS competed in the New Mexico Activities Association. The school won state championships in baseball (1941 and 1976),[19] boys' basketball (1928),[20] and boys' track and field (1928).[21]

The 1928 basketball team compiled a 26–1 record to earn the state title[22] and traveled to Chicago to compete in the national championship tournament hosted by the University of Chicago. However, the team lost both of their games in the tournament.[23][24]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Linthicum, Leslie (2002-08-11). "Gone, but not forgotten". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, New Mexico. pp. B1, B5. - Clippings of the first and of the second page at Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ a b c "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Employees' New Dormitory and Club" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  3. ^ a b McKinney, Lillie G. (April 1945). "History of the Albuquerque Indian School". New Mexico Historical Review. 20 (2): 109–138.
  4. ^ "History of Indian Training in Albuquerque". National Indian Programs Training Center. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  5. ^ "Indian School Begins New Chapter". Albuquerque Journal. August 7, 1977. Retrieved January 4, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Council Awaits BIA Decision On Takeover". Albuquerque Journal. April 6, 1979. Retrieved January 4, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Voisin, Debra; Wieck, Paul (April 2, 1981). "U.S. Moves Indian School from City to Santa Fe". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved January 4, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ a b Nauman, Talli (July 24, 1984). "Pueblos Gain Indian School Land Title". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved January 4, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Bartley, Felicia (November 3, 2021). "Scorched Memories of the Abandoned Albuquerque Indian School". Brown University. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  10. ^ "Indian School Fire". Albuquerque Journal. March 19, 1993. Retrieved January 5, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Tassy, Elaine (August 25, 2013). "Moving Forward: Native American charter school finds home on Indian School campus". Albuquerque Journal. p. B1. Clippings of the first and second pages via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Montoya, Isaiah (2009-07-09). "Remembering the 'Pueblo Training School'". Navajo Times. Retrieved 2021-07-19.
  13. ^ "Indigenous group questions removal of boarding school plaque". 2 July 2021.
  14. ^ Sims, Jonathan (2021-07-27). "Indian School Graves Rediscovered Under City Park". The Paper. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  15. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form: Gymnasium-Auditorium Building". National Archives Catalog. National Park Service. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  16. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form: University of New Mexico Lodge, Building 219". National Archives Catalog. National Park Service. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  17. ^ "Albuquerque: Portrait of a Growing City - Part IV: The United States Government". Albuquerque Progress. Albuquerque National Bank. 28 (5). November–December 1960.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: date format (link)
  18. ^ "Ramah Faces Disapproval of High School". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, New Mexico. 1968-03-31. p. D-1. - See clipping from Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ "New Mexico State Baseball Champions" (PDF). New Mexico Activities Association. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  20. ^ "New Mexico Boys State Basketball Champions" (PDF). New Mexico Activities Association. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  21. ^ "Track Boys State Champions" (PDF). New Mexico Activities Association. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  22. ^ "Indians Hang Up Great Record in 1928 Season To Capture State Title". Albuquerque Journal. March 21, 1928. Retrieved January 5, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ Granville, Eddie (April 4, 1928). "Indians Fail To Hit Basket and Lose Game To Kentucky Wonders". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved January 5, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ Granville, Eddie (April 5, 1928). "Indians Defeated by Englewood 29 to 22; Suffer by Penalties". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved January 5, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.

Further reading