1920s photo of Hopi girls at Sherman Institute

I was once asked how many photos and other images we included in Beyond the Mesas. I do not know the exact number, but it had to have been over a hundred. Some of these photos came from people who we interviewed for the film, others we uncovered at various archives. One of these photos was of a group of Hopi girls at Sherman Institute during the 1920s. I came across this picture in the Veva Wight Collection at the Sherman Indian Museum in Riverside, California. Wight was a Protestant missionary who led Bible studies and other Christian activities at the school. She worked as a “Religious Worker” at Sherman for more than thirty years. Although government officials allowed Christianity at Sherman to encourage the assimilation of Indian students, some Hopi girls had a genuine committment or interest in the Christian faith.

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert