This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Memories of the Phoenix Indian School


When I first moved to Phoenix, I remember thinking that some day the street named "Indian School" would become a trivia question. And now the school itself has been closed for so long (since 1990), memories of it are hazy.

I am interested in Phoenix history, and I am interested in learning. And to me, the saddest thing is to see precious history get lost forever. My motto is "don't throw it in the trash!" And, yes, that includes some things that people may not want to talk about. And maybe we shouldn't dwell on certain things, like the fact that Indian people were forced to attend a United States Indian School beginning in 1891, or that fact that people have done some pretty shameful things, perhaps with best intentions, perhaps not.

I post photos on a Google+ page called Phoenix, Arizona Historical Images. And have to admit that I was reluctant to post images of the Phoenix Indian School. It seems to bring out what I call "all of the convictions of the uninformed", which can be a terrible thing to see, especially if you care, like I do, for the truth.

But I am getting braver. I am seeing encouragement from people who must be a little bit like me. People who aren't looking to start an argument, people who just want to learn, and preserve. And yesterday I got an email that underlines everything that I have been thinking about - memories of the Indian School. I had never seen anything like this, and I would like to believe that there are more people who do have good memories, and would be willing to share.

Message:
Sir, I lived in the Phoenix Indian School from birth, 1933 to Aug 1940.  My father taught English there before transferring to an Indian School in Oklahoma.
Do you know of any old timers who might be able to answer some questions for me?
My questions concern Indian School people and happenings in the 1933-1940 time frame. 
I remember that living there was a very happy time of my childhood.  My mother helped some of the budding artists with their work.  I well remember the beauty of the campus.
I am hoping you can direct me to someone who wants to discuss the old days on the campus of the School.

I wrote back to this person and said that I would ask around. If you do have good memories of the Phoenix Indian School, and would like to share, please do so.

Image above: the Memorial Hall of the Phoenix Indian School in the 1940s.


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