The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue: Voices and Images from Sherman Institute, is now available for pre-order. You can pre-order the book from several venues, including Oregon State University Press ($24.95) and Amazon ($22.52). Royalties from the book will go to support educational programs at the Sherman Indian Museum in Riverside, California. The Indian School on Magnolia Avenue is scheduled to appear this December.
I recently returned from a trip to California where I presented a paper titled “Hopi Marathon Runner Louis Tewanima and the Olympic Games, 1908-1912” at the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association conference in Sacramento. I also heard a great presentation by Hopi educator and scholar Darold H. Joseph from Moencopi titled “Re-Centering Indigeneity: Culturally Responsive Schooling Practices for American Indian and Alaskan Native Youth.” Darold is a Ph.D. candidate in Special Education at the University of Arizona. After the conference ended on May, 22, I traveled to the University of California, Riverside, to give two talks, one of which was titled “Publishing in the Academic World: Developing Dissertations to Books, An Example from Hopi.” Both events were sponsored by the California Center for Native Nations. I spent my remaining time in Riverside conducting research at the Sherman Indian Museum.
I recently returned from the 25th Anniversary California Indian Conference held at the University of California, Irvine. My former graduate advisor from UC Riverside, Cliff Trafzer, organized a panel on Sherman Institute titled “Out of the Vault.” In addition to myself, the panel members included Lorene Sisquoc, Director of the Sherman Indian Museum, Galen Townsend, Sherman Indian Museum Volunteer, Kevin Whalen, a graduate student in history at UCR, and Leleua Loupe of California State University, Fullerton.
Sisquoc began the panel by talking about the unique relationship between UCR and the Museum. For the past 10 or so years, UCR history graduate students have worked alongside Sisquoc as researchers, volunteers, and interns. Beginning with Jean A. Keller, author of the first book on Sherman Institute, Empty Beds, graduate students have utilized the Museum’s collections to write two monographs, and several master theses, dissertations, and articles. Today, the mutually beneficial relationship between UCR and the Museum continues, and provides an excellent model of collaboration and community.
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
In less than a week, family members of Hopi runner Louis Tewanima will host the 37th Annual Louis Tewanima Footrace at the village of Shungopavi on Second Mesa. Tewanima is one of the most celebrated runners in Hopi history and he is best known for winning a silver medal at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. As I think about the upcoming footrace, I am reminded of another Hopi footrace on Second Mesa that involved Tewanima.
In a previous post, I wrote about a Hopi runner named Philip Zeyouma who competed for Sherman Institute at the same time Tewanima ran for the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. In April 1912, Zeyouma won the Los Angeles Times Modified Marathon of 12 miles, which earned him an opportunity to compete for the U.S. team in Stockholm. On the other side of the country, Tewanima, who by this time had won several running events, was also scheduled to run in the Olympics.
When news that the two Hopi runners would race against each other in Sweden, excitement spread among the students at both schools. Students at Sherman Institute gloried in the thought that one of their Hopi runners would defeat the famous Louis Tewanima, and the pupils at Carlisle had great confidence that Tewanima would outrun the Hopi runner from Sherman. But the showdown between Zeyouma and Tewanima at the Olympic Games in Sweden never took place.
Shortly before Zeyouma was supposed to leave for Sweden, his father expressed disapproval of his son’s participation in the Olympics. Not wanting to disappoint his father, Zeyouma honored his request and went back to the Hopi Reservation for the summer. However, in my article “Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930,” I note that the
rivalry between the two Hopi runners did not cease when Tewanima migrated back to the Hopi mesas as an Olympian. In September 1912, shortly before they returned to their schools, Tewanima and Zeyouma challenged each other to a race on the Hopi Reservation. On the day of the race, Hopis from the surrounding villages gathered around the starting line and anxiously watched as the two runners made their mark for the twelve-mile course. Zeyouma proudly wore his “Sherman colors,” while Tewanima “appeared in his Carlisle track suit.”
By wearing their running uniforms, the Hopi athletes saw the event as a race between the two schools and identified themselves according to their school affiliation. However, such a display of school loyalty did not go unchallenged by the other Hopi runners in the crowd. Seconds before the race began, some of the older Hopi men remarked that the “boys did not look like [Hopi] runners” at all, and teased Zeyouma and Tewanima for wearing their running outfits. A New York Times reporter noted that when Tewanima heard the men’s insults, Tewanima replied, “If you don’t like our looks get in, and show what you can do.”
The men promptly accepted his challenge and entered the race with no shoes or track suits, and wore “merely discarded” clothes. Six miles into the race, the older men proved too much for the young runners and Zeyouma and Tewanima quit and left the “race to the barefooted runners in the lead.” Coach Joe Shoulder recalled that the winner was about fifty years old, and he looked like he was “dying of consumption” (tuberculosis).
The outcome of the race provides a telling commentary on running in Hopi culture, as well as the relationship between older and younger runners. While the younger runners migrated to off reservation Indian boarding schools, the vast majority of the Hopi people, including older men who were known for the ability to run long distances, remained at home. Consequently, some of the best long-distance runners in U.S. history received little or no attention by those outside of the Hopi community. Although newspaper reporters seemed surprised that men in their fifties had the ability to defeat the younger athletes, the people knew that other Hopis could easily outrun the Hopi Olympian and the track star from Sherman Institute. [“Hopi Footraces and American Marathons, 1912-1930,” American Quarterly, March 2010, vol. 62, no. 1, p. 87, 88]
On Sunday September 5, 2010, runners of various ages will come together to run a footrace on Second Mesa. They will once again make their mark on the start line and run a course similar to the one taken by Tewanima, Zeyouma, and the older runners of the village. In honor of Tewanima, who still inspires thousands of individuals to run, the annual Louis Tewanima Footrace gives testimony to Tewanima’s legacy as an Olympic runner and the continuation of footraces among the people.
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
As part of the school plan the outing system is practiced each year. Students have no difficulty securing positions, the girls in the best families in Southern California and the boys on ranches or other industrial lines. The extensive production of oranges, berries, and other fruits, cantaloupes, and grain furnish employment for the boys at all seasons. The practice of sending out students for experience and to earn a little money during vacation is an advantage to the students, but it is not compulsory. The wishes of the individual and of parents, if necessary, are always consulted. – Sherman Institute Booklet (1908), Sherman Indian Museum, Riverside, California
One of the gaps in the historiography of Indian boarding schools is a book length study on the Outing System. Government officials established Outing programs at off-reservation Indian boarding schools to create an Indian working class. At Sherman Institute, the boys labored on farms and ranches, while the girls worked in homes in the greater Riverside community.
Although school officials wanted the girls to be exposed to the so-called civilizing influences of white Americans, the system ultimately “trained” girls to become domestic servants. The girls often spent their days cleaning, making food, and taking care of children who belonged to white families.
In BEYOND THE MESAS, Eilene Randolph and Leslie Robledo from the village of Bacavi on Third Mesa note that Hopi girls at Sherman did not have trouble securing work in the school’s Outing program. Hopis had a reputation of being “hard workers,” and the people in the community routinely “hired up” the girls to work in their homes.
Local farmers were also eager to employ Hopi boys to work in their fields and orchards. The boys had come from an agricultural based society and used their knowledge of planting and harvesting in Southern California.
While I have written more about the Outing System in my book Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929, and other scholars have examined the topic in their works, a comprehensive study (book) devoted entirely to this important program has yet to be published.
Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert