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Grant to boost tourism appeal of Stewart Indian School

NNBW Staff

Carson City plans to promote the historic Stewart Indian School as a tourist attraction.

Nevada Indian Territory, a non-profit entity charged with working with tribal organizations and promoting tourism, received

$16,500 from the state government to create a walking tour of the campus.

The self-guided 20-stop tour will allow visitors to hear interpretive recordings on their cell phones at each of the school’s buildings. The recordings use technology provided by a San Francisco company, Guide by Cell.

The messages will include personal stories about the school and its buildings from school alumni, former employees and the project director.

Other interpretive aids will include a kiosk, brochures and signage along the trail to give the public a sense of what it was like to attend the school.

The challenge, says Sherry Rupert, executive director of Nevada Indian Commission, will be finding school alumni to tell their stories. She plans to visit a list of alumni at their homes.

Funding is another challenge, says Rupert, who seeks a grant to contract for development of a Web site from which the recordings can be heard as podcasts or downloaded onto an mp3 player. And she’s seeking another grant to hire a consultant to study how many tourists the Stewart Indian School project will draw.

The trail will serve as a harbinger of a proposed Stewart Indian Cultural Center, which is maintained by the state’s division of buildings and grounds.

Stewart Institute opened in 1890 with 37 students. The 240-acre campus is located three miles south of the capitol at 5366 Snyder Ave. in Carson City.

Most of the buildings now are closed or house state offices. But between 1890 and 1980, more than 30,000 Indian children attended the school. It drew children from more than 200 American Indian tribes in 11 western states.

The grant for the Stewart Indian School is part of a package of grants totalling nearly $400,000 that will fund 19 tourism-related projects throughout Nevada. The money is intended to help build or repair the infrastructure of sites crucial to the tourism industry, and the program is a joint effort of the Nevada Commission on Tourism and the Nevada Commission on

Economic Development.

Among other grant recipients, West Wendover received $10,000 for its Victory Highway Historical Walking Park.

A grant of $19,520 went to the Ely Renaissance Society for expansion of its Sculpture Park.