Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum

Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum Information

Image title

Native American boarding schools were established in the late 19th century to educate and “civilize” or “Christianize” Native American children according to Euro-American standards.  Many were founded by missionaries on reservations and were supported by the federal government, operating on the assimilation model of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. 

In many cases, children were separated from their families and forced to abandon their Native American identities by altering their appearance with new clothes and haircuts and banning their culture and tradition, including speaking their native languages.  The number of children in the boarding school system peaked in the 1970s, with about 60,000 students enrolled.  Community-based schools have contributed to the decline since that time; most Native American boarding schools are closed today.

Hear the ups and downs of student life at a Native American boarding school by visiting Stewart Indian School, three miles southeast of Carson City. For ninety years, Stewart Indian School fulfilled a federal commitment to pursue Native American education in Nevada.  Closed in 1980, the school has since been placed on the National Registrar of Historic Places.  Today, you can walk the Stewart Indian School Trail on a self-guided audio tour and listen to former students share their experiences on campus.

The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum was created in 2019 by the Nevada Indian Commission to tell the school's history as a federal boarding school for Great Basin tribal nations from 1890 to 1980. The school implemented the government's cruel assimilation policy which removed Native children from their families to send them to schools like Stewart to learn English and vocational skills. Eventually, over 200 tribal nations from the Western states were represented at Stewart, and it evolved into a high school for Native students.

The Cultural Center interprets the complicated history of this school and tells the stories shared by alumni, led by a Cultural Advisory Committee made up of Stewart alumni and family members. In addition, the museum features a contemporary Great Basin Native Artist gallery, a Storytelling Room, a Research Room to share historical documents and photos with Stewart alumni and families and a gift shop with locally made Native art. The museum's vision is to tell the stories of the students' experiences from their perspective and help them and their families heal from the historical trauma of the boarding school experience.

Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum

Travel information
  • Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time

Related Listings
Listing City Phone Web
Stewart Indian School Culture Center Walking Tour Carson City, Nevada (775) 687-7608

Newsletter Signup