Teri’s Notebook: Carson City Christmas ornament features Stewart Indian School

Teri Vance, in Carson City, Nev., on Friday, April 19, 2019.

Teri Vance, in Carson City, Nev., on Friday, April 19, 2019.

This week’s First Nation Focus, published by the Nevada Appeal, urged us to take this time to not only give thanks, but to research the true history of the holiday, and to learn more about our Native American brothers and sisters.

Amber Torres, chairwoman of the Walker River Paiute Tribe, is quoted as saying, the whole month is an opportunity to “educate non-Indians and state or federal partners” on who Natives are, what they do, and, more importantly, what they’ve been through

This year’s Carson City ornament will give us the opportunity to do just that.

This area is rich in Native American history, particularly with the Stewart Indian School — which is featured on this year’s ornament.

Since 2002, the city has released a Christmas Ornament featuring a historic building.

“This year’s — the Stewart Cultural Center and Museum — is a little different because they added color,” said Sue Jones, who sells the ornaments at the Purple Avocado, which she owns with her husband, Stan. “People look forward to the new one each year.”

The Stewart Indian School housed more than 30,000 students between 1890 and 1980. When it first opened, it was one of 25 such institutions around the nation where American Indian children were compelled to attend. Children were forced to give up their language, clothing, customs and cut their hair.

While attendance was at first compulsory, in later years, it became a school of choice where Native American students could be with their peers.

Over the decades, the old school grounds fell into disrepair, with several of the old stone buildings being boarded up.

As part of a $4.5 million restoration project allocated by the 2017 legislative session, the Administration Building is being transformed into the Stewart Cultural Center and Museum.

It will feature an exhibition about the unique history of the Stewart Indian School, and a research room where researchers and alumni can find information about the school’s 90-year history.

Stewart alumni and their families will get the first look at the new museum with a special showing 3-6 p.m. Dec. 16. A soft opening for community partners and Nevada tribes will be 3-6 p.m. Dec. 17.

The Museum will be open for winter hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 17-20.

The museum will closed for the holidays and reopen Jan. 13. A grand opening is planned for May 2020.

The ornament is $15 and is available at the Purple Avocado, 904 N. Curry St. as well as Carson City Chamber Artisan Shop, 1900 S. Carson St.; Nevada Legislature Gift Shop, 401 N Carson St.; the Nevada State Museum, 600 N. Carson St.; and the Carson City Culture and Tourism Authority, 716 N. Carson St.

Past years’ ornaments can also be purchased and include the Foreman-Roberts House, Central School, Laxalt Building, Nevada State Mint, St. Peter’s Church, Bliss Mansion, Capitol, St. Teresa of Avila Church, Governor’s Mansion, St. Charles Hotel, V&T Depot, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church and the Civic Auditorium, the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada, the Nevada State Prison and the Brougher-Bath Mansion.

To learn more about the Stewart Indian School or to RSVP for the alumni opening, go to StewartIndianSchool.com.


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