UC Riverside, Sherman Indian High School Host Symposium

Scholars of the Native American boarding school experience will convene Feb. 7-8

Postcard image of Sherman Institute

A symposium on Sherman Institute and the Native American boarding school experience will be held Feb. 7-8. Credit: Sherman Indian Museum

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Scholars of Native American history will gather at the University of California, Riverside and Sherman Indian High School in Riverside for a two-day symposium, “Sherman Institute: The American Indian Boarding School Experience,” on Feb. 7 and 8, beginning at 9 a.m.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Feb. 7 activities will take place in Costo Library, located on the fourth floor of the Tomás Rivera Library at UCR. Parking is $6. The symposium will move to the Sherman Indian High School auditorium, 9010 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, on Feb. 8. Thursday’s presentations will be live streamed at www.ccnn.ucr.edu/.

Scholars will address a variety of topics specific to the experience of Native Americans at Sherman Institute — which became Sherman Indian High School in 1970 — as well as the boarding school experience more generally.

“We want people to understand about the attempted assimilation of American Indian children by taking them out of their homes and putting them in boarding schools,” explained Clifford E. Trafzer, Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs at UC Riverside and co-editor of the recently published book “The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images from Sherman Institute.” The book was written and edited by historians connected to UC Riverside and Lorene Sisquoc, curator of the Sherman Indian Museum and a UCR master’s degree site supervisor. “In spite of that, many children used their education and experiences — sometimes positive, sometimes bitter — to help their tribes understand U.S. government, business and culture.”

Presenting research in the UCR portion of the event will be: David Adams of Cleveland State University, “What We Don’t Know about the History of Indian Boarding Schools”; Robert McCoy, Washington State University, “Building to Assimilate: Mission Architecture of Sherman Institute”; Diana Bahr, UCLA, “Robert Kennedy and Sherman Institute, A Promise Fulfilled”; Leleua Loupe, California State University, Fullerton, “A Network of Control: Exploiting Indigenous Labor in the West”; Kevin Whalen, UCR, “Indian School and Company Town: Sherman Student-Laborers at Fontana Farms Company, 1907-1930″; Jason Davis, CSU San Bernardino, “Paradigm Shift: Assimilation to Preservation at Sherman Indian School”; Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, University of Illinois, “Hopi Runner Harry Chaca and the 1929 Vallejo Pre-Olympic National Marathon”; William O. Medina, Riverside Community College, “Patriotic Indians at Sherman Institute”; Kathleen Bartosh, UCLA, “Domesticity and Defense: The Female Experience at the Sherman Institute, 1930-1960”; Jean Keller, Palomar College, “Before Sherman Institute: The Perris Indian School.” Trafzer and Sisquoc will serve as moderators.

At Sherman Indian High School, current and former students, staff and faculty as well as Sherman scholars and historians will convene for three panel discussions in the morning. The museum will be open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and a visit to the off-site school cemetery is planned from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The symposium is sponsored by the Sherman Indian School Museum and UCR Costo Chair, California Center for Native Nations, Native American Educational Program, and Native American Student Programs of UC Riverside.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Cliff Trafzer
Tel: (951) 827-1974
E-mail: clifford.trafzer@ucr.edu

Lorene Sisquoc
Tel: (951) 276-6719
E-mail: lsisquoc@gmail.com

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