A living history

Sherman Institute marching band (1908), courtesy of the Sherman Indian Museum

Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office once said to me that the Hopi boarding school experience is a “living history.” Some of the Hopis who attended boarding schools during the era of assimilation (1880s-1930s) are still with us today. Others are not, but their stories remain with their children and other family members. My grandfather, Victor Sakiestewa from Orayvi, attended Sherman from 1906 to 1909 and he played the clarinet in the school’s marching band. He was among the first Hopis to attend Sherman in the early twentieth century. Schools such as Sherman Institute, now called Sherman Indian High School, the Phoenix Indian School (“PI”), Stewart Indian School, Ganado Mission School, Santa Fe Indian School, and the Albuquerque Indian School, play an important role in Hopi history. The Hopi boarding school experience is indeed a “living history,” and by sharing and recording these stories we will help keep that history alive for Hopi and non-Hopi people. This conviction was a driving force behind the production of Beyond the Mesas.

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Advertisements

2 Responses to “A living history”


  1. 1 debreese November 27, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    My grandfather was Rex Sotero Sakiestewa. He was born in 1895 at Mishongnovi Village. When he went to Santa Fe Indian School, they changed his name to Calvert: Rex Sotero Calvert. There, he met my grandmother, Emilia Martinez, who was from Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo). Their children were Delfino, Francis, Marcelino, Edward, Andrea, and Cecilia, or, as I know and knew them, Uncle Del, Uncle Francis, Uncle Mars, Uncle John, and Aunt Cecilia. Andrea is my mom. When we would visit Tete (our word for grandfather) at then-called-San-Juan, he’d buy us RC Cola to drink. He’d joke “See this?” pointing to the “RC” on the bottles. He’d say it was “Rex Calvert” cola.

    When we were little, we went out to Hopi to visit family there. I was too young to remember the visit. My mom and dad tell us stories about that visit, about how someone went off on a burro and came back with peaches for us. My mom and dad go out there from time to time.

    My mom met my dad at Santa Fe Indian School when they were students there in the 50s. And I met my husband there in the 80s. I did not go to school there, but taught there in 1988 and 1989. My husband, George, was a teacher there, too.

    Debbie Reese
    Enrolled at Nambe, but part Hopi, too

  2. 2 Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert November 28, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Debbie, thanks for your sharing this story! I hope others will do the same. Your comment about “peaches” reminds me of something Polingaysi Qoywayma talked about in No Turning Back. She mentioned that the day school teachers at Orayvi tried to explain to the Hopi kids that an orange was similar to a Hopi peach, except that it was much larger. I think that I will post about this at some point in the near future. And I should also note that you and I are family. All Sakiestewas are related to each other.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Copyright Notice

© Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert and BEYOND THE MESAS with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About the author

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is enrolled with the Hopi Tribe from the village of Upper Moencopi in northeastern Arizona. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and a Dean's Fellow and Conrad Humanities Scholar in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 817 other followers

Foreword to Kevin Whalen’s Native Students at Work: American Indian Labor and Sherman Institute’s Outing Program, 1900-1945

A Second Wave of Hopi Migration (History of Education Quarterly, August 2014)

Sun Chief: An Autobiography of A Hopi Indian by Don C. Talayesva, New foreword by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert (Sept. 2013)

Marathoner Louis Tewanima and the Continuity of Hopi Running, 1908-1912 (Western Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2012). Winner of Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, Western Writers of America (2013)

“Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930”, American Quarterly, Vol. 62, No. 1, March Issue 2010 (Click image to download article)

Hopi runner Philip Zeyouma’s trophy cups featured on cover of American Quarterly

Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (University of Nebraska Press, 2010)

Education beyond the Mesas – Introduction (click image to download)

“‘The Hopi Followers’: Chief Tawaquaptewa and Hopi Student Advancement at Sherman Institute, 1906-1909”, Journal of American Indian Education, (Click image to download article)

The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images From Sherman Institute (Oregon State University Press, 2012)

Arizona English Teachers Association highlights Hopi authors (click image to download)

Constitution and Bylaws of the Hopi Tribe (With all amendments, click to download)

Click to listen to KUYI On-Line

Matt’s Goodreads

Blog Stats

  • 141,741 hits

Categories


%d bloggers like this: