Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929

Synopsis

Education beyond the Mesas is the fascinating story of how generations of Hopi schoolchildren from north-eastern Arizona "turned the power" by using compulsory federal education to affirm their way of life and better their community. Sherman Institute in Riverside, California, one of the largest off-reservation boarding schools in the United States, followed other federally funded boarding schools of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in promoting the assimilation of indigenous people into mainstream America. Many Hopi schoolchildren, deeply conversant in Hopi values and traditional education before being sent to Sherman Institute, resisted this program of acculturation. Immersed in learning about another world, generations of Hopi children drew on their culture to skilfully navigate a system designed to change them irrevocably. In fact, not only did the Hopi children strengthen their commitment to their families and communities while away in the "land of oranges"; they used their new skills, fluency in English, and knowledge of politics and economics to help their people when they eventually returned home. Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert draws on interviews, archival records, and his own experiences growing up in the Hopi community to offer a powerful account of a quiet, enduring triumph.

Excerpt

This book is first and foremost a historical account of the Hopi people of northeastern Arizona and their experiences at Sherman Institute, an off-reservation Indian boarding school in Riverside, California. the Hopi Tribe possesses no greater historical source than its people. Therefore, a book on the Hopi people should also rely on the involvement and cooperation of the Hopi Tribe. the protection of intellectual property has long been a concern for American Indians, and in response to years of misrepresentations of Hopi culture by Hopis and non-Hopis, the Hopi Tribe established the Hopi Culture Preservation Office (HCPO) in Kykotsmovi, Arizona. Since its founding in the 1980s, the hcpo has acted as a protector of Hopi intellectual property and determined rules and regulations for those who wish to perform research on the Hopi Reservation. Although in the past some researchers have bypassed community involvement and permission when they conducted research on the reservation, I made certain that the Hopi Tribe had a central role in a book that involved the Hopi people.

To accomplish this, I sought the assistance of Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma from the village of Bacavi, director of the hcpo, and Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa from the village of Hotevilla, archivist for the Hopi Tribe. Both of these officials made helpful comments and suggestions on various aspects of my research . . .

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