Located approximately three miles southeast of Carson City, the Stewart Indian School encompassed 240 acres. When the school opened in 1890, it had three teachers and thirty-seven students. The original campus opened with a capacity for 100 students and included a Victorian-style dormitory and schoolhouse. As enrollment increased new buildings including shops for training, a hospital and a recreation room were constructed. A platform for the Virginia and Truckee railroad was added by 1906 to help with transportation of students to and from the school. By 1919, the school had 400 students. During the next sixteen years over 60 native stone buildings were constructed by Hopi stonemasons.
Native American children from Nevada and throughout the West were forced to attend the Stewart Institute up to secondary school age. The school was intended to teach basic trades and to assimilate young American Indians into mainstream American culture. Assimilation policies such as prohibition of speaking native languages and practicing native customs anguished both students and their parents.
The Federal policy toward American Indians radically changed with the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, after which self-determination and self-government were supported. In later years, the Bureau of Indian Affairs encouraged schools such as Stewart to let students speak their native languages and to promote classes in native cultures.
Today, the Stewart Indian School is on the National Registrar of Historic Places. The Washoe Tribe occupies some buildings and the State of Nevada occupies most of the former school's buildings. Memorabilia from Stewart's history can be seen at the Nevada State Museum's Under One Sky exhibition.
The Stewart Indian School is on Snyder Ave., one mile east of US Hwy. 395. The campus itself is owned by the State of Nevada and is open to the public. The Stewart Indian School Museum which was housed in the superintendent office is currently closed. For further information, contact The Nevada Indian Commission at 775-687-8333.