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The Phoenix Indian School: Forced Assimilation in Arizona, 1891-1935

Robert A. Trennert (1988)


The Phoenix Indian Industrial Boarding School was founded for the specific purpose of preparing Native American children for assimilation. During its first forty years, the main goal was to remove Indian youngsters from their traditional environment, obliterate their cultural heritage, and replace that background with the values of white middle-class America. (xi)

During the 1880s the United States committed itself to incorporating the Indian population into the mainstream of American life. Having finally defeated the Indians militarily and settled them on reservations, national leaders believed that the time had arrived to make good on the centuries-old pledge to exchange native lands for "the gift of civilization." Although this promise meant little to Native Americans, the reformers of the late nineteenth century felt honor-bound to carry it out. (3)

The end of the Civil War signaled the beginning of direct federal involvement in Indian education. (4)

Carlisle was designed to transform the Indians by placing them in direct contact with American society. The masthead of the the school paper perhaps most succinctly stated Pratt's outlook: "To Civilize The Indian; Get Him Into Civilization. To Keep Him Civilized; Let Him Stay." To the innovative schoolmaster, returning a child to a tribal home was counterproductive, negating the basic purpose of his education and destroying individual initiative by placing him under the "communistic government of the tribes." Pratt saw the nonreservation boarding school as a place where Indians could be shorn of their cultural heritage. (7)

Although the schools were usually situated near a major reservation, the idea of separation remained supreme, and students were discouraged from direct contact with their relatives. (9)

Suffering a chronic shortage of resources, the schools were forced to rely on student labor. Therefore, instead of receiving a full-time education, Indian pupils were pressed into service making school uniforms, doing the laundry, serving as cooks, and providing other menial labor. By the end of the 1880s this pattern had become institutionalized, and students were playing an increasingly significant role in maintaining the schools. Unfortunately, the drudgery discouraged students, many of whom ran away. Even those who remained at school acquired few usable skills and quickly returned to the ways of their people once their school days ended. (9)

Despite admiration for these hard-working people, Anglos demanded they be ''Americanized.'' (13)

Federal Indian agents in Arizona also favored a centralized school. Reservation schools, suggested one agent, hampered the educational effort by leaving Indian children too close to their parents. As soon as Indian children returned home, he noted, they "drop back into their old filthy ways." (14)

Dorchester closed his report with an appeal for immediate action: "The Indians of Arizona, long under the tutelage of a Mexican Civilization, are now exposed to the no less debauching influence of Mormonism. Now is the fit time for the Government to render them its best service. This golden opportunity should not be allowed to pass unimproved." (15)

Dorchester had little difficulty selling his proposal to Commissioner Morgan, who was eager to get Indian children into the schoolhouse. Upon completing his visit, he wrote his superior several enthusiastic letters, cautioning only that "the small politicians of Arizona" should have no say in school operations. (15-16)

Rich made plans to open his school without any firsthand knowledge of conditions in Arizona. He knew nothing about the Indians he was supposed to educate or the area where the school would be situated. What he did know was how Indian schools were supposed to work in theory. Therefore, when it came to selecting a staff, he was guided by Commissioner Morgan's desire that teachers have a high degree of moral fitness and a "positive religious character." "You will be called upon," he was told, "to train pupils who, for the most part, if not positively pagan or heathen, are at least those who have had little or no religious training." (16-17)

Ever aware of political considerations, Morgan wondered if the superintendent's appointments might be taken as an insult by Arizona politicians and suggested that one or more territorial residents be added to the staff. Rich rejected the idea. (17)

As it became obvious that Fort McDowell would not work out, the residents of Phoenix began to take an interest in having the school located near their city. Just twenty-three years old and supporting a population of no more than three thousand, Phoenix did not have a particularly good record in dealing with Indians. Those natives who came to town to sell their handicrafts, to deliver wheat to millers, or to purchase such necessities as calico and thread, were treated with scorn and ridicule. In an attempt to control access to the city, a municipal ordinance was passed in 1881 requiring all visiting Indians to wear "sufficient clothing to cover the person" and to leave at sundown. After that time white citizens seem to have considered the Indians who congregated on city streets during day light hours a public nuisance and often expressed the opinion that such transients were giving Phoenix a bad reputation. (19)

Christy and Murphy controlled large sections of land and all northside canals, were active in developing the valley's first citrus orchards, and were well aware that a federal facility could enhance the value of their holdings. A strategically placed Indian school promised to encourage real estate development, while students from the school could provide cheap labor for the adjacent orchards through the outing system. (20)

Unfortunately for the promoters, the proposed site was occupied by several families of squatters, some of whom had lived on the land for a decade. Upon receiving word that their farms might be taken for the school, the settlers immediately petitioned the Indian Office, stating that certain parties had acquired large tracts of land adjacent to their farms and were attempting to eject them. Calling themselves "pioneer settlers" the petitioners asked that there be no arbitrary decision regarding the school site. (20)

Commissioner Morgan then mounted the platform, and using the theme that it was "Cheaper to Educate Indians Than to Kill Them," spelled out the philosophy of reform groups and government leaders regarding industrial schools. Uneducated native children were pictured as obstacles to progress, while those with training would become producers and wage earners contributing to the general prosperity. (22)

In an article on Indian education, the Arizona Republican proudly proclaimed that history gave ample evidence that civilizing the Indians was practical. And, added the Herald, "under the able tutelage of Professor Rich, Maricopa county will soon have a number of educated and intelligent laborers, whose training will be especially appreciated by the fruit growers." (32)

Like any good administrator, Rich knew exactly what he wanted to achieve. "In order to civilize, to make good citizens of Indian youth," he wrote in 1893, "it is absolutely necessary that they be inspired with a strong desire for better homes, better food, better clothing, etc., than they enjoy in their natural state, and that they be qualified to obtain these things by their own exertions," These goals could only be attained through specialized industrial training. (34)

The decree simply stated that henceforth no pupils were to be transferred to nonreservation schools without the full consent of their parents and agent. In defending the order as a means of curtailing unsavory recruiting practices, the commissioner acknowledged that "even ignorant and superstitious parents have rights." (40)

As in most Indian schools, the emphasis on speaking English was reinforced by regulations prohibiting students from using their own tongue. (46)

Federal officials praised the superintendent for "having had experience enough in the Indian service to know that an Indian boy or girl will have to make their living by the 'sweat of their brow,' and not their brains." (47)

Superintendent Hall stated that by cleaning rooms and dormitories, the girls strove "to excel [sic] each other by performing their work and attaining that which makes the true woman .... From slouchy, dissatisfied girls, the year produced neat, ladylike, agreeable young ladies, who are proud of exhibiting their achievements, and who I feel have made great strides toward civilization and the higher aim in life." (47)

Dressed in uniforms and calico dresses, they gave the appearance of following the white man's road. Yet these children were far from being assimilated, and a review of their experiences indicates the great gulf existing between government perceptions and what was actually happening. (48)

When Hall became superintendent in 1893, about twenty pupils were working for local employers at wages "not equal to those paid to white people but ... quite satisfactory to the Indians." (52)

Despite apparent success, the recruitment effort was soon embroiled in controversy. From the beginning, the Pimas did not like mixing with "foreign" students. Having come to regard the school as their own, they resented the infusion of new students and refused to welcome them. Some pupils, forced to associate with old enemies, could not accept the situation and ran away. (64)

The superintendent summed up his philosophy in 1898 by boasting that "we pride ourselves on being a working school. No child is permitted to work as he pleases. 'Putting in time' is not sufficient. The child is taught how to do a thing, when to do it, and to do it whether he wants to or not." Indeed, teaching Indian students to work became the supreme goal of the institution, its motto being "Indolence is the cankerworm of progress, so our pupils are taught to kill the worm." (68)

Surprisingly, the headmaster was not particularly impressed with the graduates. His tendency to stereotype Indian abilities led him to conclude that only one had "ambition enough to become more than an ordinary breadwinner." Another of the pupils was described as being quite bright but tending to the "indolence peculiar to his tribe." McCowan predicted this student would soon become "a degenerate blanket Indian." (70)

Once home the former students generally did not practice what they had learned at school. As McCowan remarked, the returned "child is made so welcome and life so easy that he forgets the strenuous school life that had begun to make its impression and succumbs to the ease and abandon of reservation existence." With the exception of a few who were able to secure agency jobs, most had no opportunity to use their skills and "returned to the blanket." Despite concern for this situation, neither McCowan nor his superiors were willing to admit that the vocational program was not working. (75)

During the 1890s, children were packed into facilities so rapidly that health became severely endangered. Overcrowded conditions produced epidemics of smallpox, influenza, measles, and whooping cough at most western boarding schools. In some instances schoolmasters were so anxious to fill their classrooms that they knowingly enrolled sick children, thus spreading disease even more rapidly. (76)

When the epidemic erupted, the alarmed citizens of Phoenix spread rumors that the campus was infected with scarlet fever, chicken pox, diphtheria, and even smallpox. Indian parents, too, became alarmed and many visited the school during the crisis. McCowan provided them with food and forage and was quite relieved when the "ignorant old people" agreed to leave their children in "the care of the white man." By March the epidemic had run its course. School authorities were confident they had done all they could to save lives and concluded that conditions at the school were not to blame. Such an attitude hardly boded well for the future. (77)

On one occasion some Apache students were permitted to present "a real Apache war dance." Although retention of traditional cultural practices was discouraged, it was permitted on this occasion because members of the territorial legislature were in attendance. It appears that school administrators wanted to impress their guests with the great changes in Indian behavior and used the traditional dance as a point of contrast. (79)

Fans liked to wish the athletes well by recalling their Indian heritage. "It is hoped the Indian school footballists will return with a number of scalps dangling from their belts," wrote one newspaper. (81)

A final tribute to the headmaster came in May 1901 when President McKinley visited the campus. . . . The presidential party was treated to a spectacular celebration of the assimilation program. The band played "Patriotic Airs"; McCowan, mounted on a black horse, led a massive procession of marching students, and the students shouted "we give our head, our hands and our hearts to our country." McKinley uttered a few words, shook a few hands, and left for his next destination, leaving everyone convinced that Indian education had made great strides in Phoenix. (83)

He considered Phoenix a "real" Indian school because of the high percentage of full-blood students. Goodman was determined to run his institution efficiently and to raise the "standards of right thinking and right living among our pupils." (86)

During the same period Estelle Reel, the superintendent of Indian schools, spent six weeks in residence introducing teachers to the new Course of Study for Indian Schools that she had prepared for the Indian service. This guide focused on providing students with a "practical" education. Teachers were reminded that Indian pupils were not likely to make any great intellectual advances and that classes should emphasize developing the work ethic. The staff warmly received the new course of study and expressed the sentiment that it would improve the effectiveness of their teaching. (86-7)

Building on a viewpoint that had already manifested itself among school superintendents, Leupp wanted to place additional emphasis on vocational training. Under the presumption that Indians would remain in remote frontier locations and either become farmers or work in "the general labor market as lumbermen, ditchers, miners, railroad hands or what not," academic education seemed useless. Only a few fundamentals were deemed necessary. "Now," he sarcastically remarked in 1905, "if anyone can show me what advantage will come to this large body of manual workers from being able to read off the names of the mountains of Asia, or extract the cube root of 123456789, I shall be deeply grateful." (95)

Chingren enthusiastically supported vocational education and encouraged her girls to make a living as domestic servants rather than "going back to the blanket." The crusty matron became a fixture at Phoenix, dominating the lives of her girls. (101)

Outbreaks of tuberculosis were so serious and widespread that the Indian Office joined with the Smithsonian Institution in 1908 to investigate the problem. During the summer of that year Dr. Ales Hrdlicka visited the Phoenix Indian School as part of a western tour. He found several disturbing conditions. Of particular concern was the fact that the school was surrounded by private lands being used as tuberculosis camps. Because of its dry climate, Phoenix had become a haven for health seekers, especially those afflicted with respiratory ills. Many of these invalids flocked to squalid tent colonies, some of which were adjacent to the school. "In fact," Hrdlicka remarked, "the district in which the school is situated is, as a whole, a Mecca for consumptives, particularly in winter, when the number of sick patients in the valley reaches into the thousands." (102-3)

Leupp issued an order permitting students to incorporate some of their native traditions into classroom activities. Although none of this was viewed as inhibiting the assimilation goals of education, the commissioner saw no reason why Indian music, arts, and crafts could not be made a part of the educational process. He even made concessions on the language restrictions, remarking that "I do not consider that their little songs in their native tongue does anybody any harm, and it helps to make easier the perilous and difficult bridge which they are crossing at this stage of their race development." (109)

"Be a Phoenix student not a reservation bum" was a well-known student slogan symbolizing the commitment to assimilation. (112)

Some came willingly, others did not. Parents or guardians generally made the decision to transfer their children off reservation, although pressure from federal officials could be so intense that it was not really a matter of choice. (113)

The trip to Phoenix was often frightening. Few children had been separated from home and family for any length of time. Among the Hopi, where there was considerable opposition to the transfers, heartbreaking departures were common. Because they might run away if they knew what was in store for them, children were not told of the move in advance. Tony Youhongva (Dukepoo) remembered that his mother packed him a lunch one September morning and sent him off to Polacca Day School. When he arrived, the superintendent told him he was to go to Phoenix. Along with several other youngsters, he was loaded into the back of a Dodge truck equipped with a wire cage and driven to Winslow to catch the train. The children were frightened by their first contact with the white world, clinging to comrades for dear life and afraid they might never see home again. (114)

One of the most difficult adjustments involved what one historian has termed "de-Indianization." The school, of course, operated on the assumption that Indian children needed strict discipline. The introduction of military-style routine—the forming of regular habit, that mother of self-control, which distinguishes civilization from savagery"—therefore came immediately. Permitted to retain their traditional clothing only long enough to have a photograph taken (which might later be used to contrast with their "civilized" look), new pupils were issued a uniform, school clothes, and work outfits, and were assigned a dormitory. Almost as rapidly, they were separated from friends and fellow tribesmen to make it more difficult to speak their native tongue. Indeed, the first thing new arrivals learned was to avoid using their own language, although, admitted one, "sometimes we forget and talk Pima." (115)

A company of boys drilled with the Arizona National Guard and eventually were attached to the 158th Infantry. Calling themselves "Bush-misters," [sic; Bushmasters] this company, trained by a former military officer, formed an elite campus group. (116)

The militaristic atmosphere extended far beyond uniforms and drills. Everything operated on a schedule, and the campus resembled an army boot camp. In contrast to the leisurely pace of reservation life, children were required to study, clean their rooms, sleep, and eat at specific times. Sundays were devoted to discipline. All pupils (described by the school paper as "former denizens of some 'Land of Poco Tiempo'") had to stand inspection at 7:30 A.M. Once lined up on the parade ground, companies were reviewed by school dignitaries. Young men dressed in army uniforms, while the women were "uniformed in white shirt waists and blue jumpers, well tailored suits, but unmistakenly feminine." Hopi schoolgirl Helen Dowawisnima (Sekaquaptewa) described Sunday inspection: "The boys gave a military salute as the officers passed, and the girls held out their hands to be inspected. The officers noted every detail and would say, 'Your shoe string is not tied right,' 'Your hands are dirty,' or 'Your shoes do not shine.'" Inspection was followed by church services and an afternoon dress parade. The evening meal followed prescribed routine. Students marched into the dining hall, waited in complete silence until grace was said, ate in twenty minutes, and marched out to musical accompaniment. (117-18)

Punishment played a big part in the routine. Students were chastised for infractions of the rules, not doing their work properly, or running away. Corporal punishment was meted out, though not excessively. Penalties more often consisted of a stay in the guardhouse, several days on bread and water, and various forms of ridicule. Treatment of this sort was alien to most Indian children. Anna Moore remembered that "we did not understand this punishment at the time; we just assumed that [the matron] was mean like a witch." The rigorous routine and harsh punishment could be baffling. "I worked in the dining room, washing dishes and scrubbing floors," Moore continued. "My little helpers and I hadn't even reached our teen-aged years yet and this work seemed so hard! If we were not finished when the 8:00 a.m. whistle sounded, the dining room matron would go around strapping us while we were still on our hands and knees .... We just dreaded the sore bottoms." (118-19)

Students were required to memorize selected classics and compete in recitation. Given the government's expectations, youngsters were probably asked to do more than might reasonably be expected. Fourth-graders were supposed "to read current events and magazines and to pass judgement on what they read with regard to the beauty of thought expressed, its truth, and its rhythm." One official noted with some truth that most adults could not meet the same requirement. (120)

Teachers used standardized textbooks that made no concession to a pupil's cultural heritage. Indeed, many instructors did their best to ignore or ridicule tribal heritage by emphasizing the achievements of the white race and stressing theories of Anglo-Saxon superiority. (120)

Using sewing machines may have prepared the students to become domestic servants, but they were virtually useless for the reservation life, where no such machines were available. (121, capt.)

Some of the student attitude can be gleaned from home letters. School authorities encouraged frequent communication with relatives on the reservation, although they also censored mail and made every effort to suppress negative comments. Even so, the letters are revealing. "Father," wrote one boy, "I am so thankful to God for the beautiful school I am in and the good chance we are having to learn, for we will sometime go out into the wide world and find something to do which God intended us to do." Another child told his parents, "I am quite proud to say that almost all of my classmates were promoted, including myself. I thank you very much for sending me here. I can still remember that several years ago when I first entered school I was wild and ignorant; but I am glad to say that now I am neither." These comments naturally reflected what school officials wanted students to say and may not represent their true feelings at the time. (124-5)

A Phoenix newspaper pointed out that escapes could not be permitted to pass unnoticed: "Not that Indian boys are so scarce as to be particularly valuable to Uncle Sam at this time, but because strict discipline must be observed if the pupils of the school are to be educated and civilization, happiness and prosperity thrust upon them regardless." (125)

Returned runaways were subjected to great humiliation. School authorities deliberately created an atmosphere of fear among the students, hoping to prevent recurrences. Unfavorable comments by relatives and students regularly appeared in the school paper, as did letters from former pupils saying, "Don't be thinking about running away." Public disgrace in front of peers provided an even more effective deterrent. The punishment for girls could range from a stint cutting grass with scissors while wearing a sign saying "I ran away" to being prohibited from going to the movies, sports events, or social gatherings. Boys were usually put in jail. Boys who repeatedly ran away had their hair cut off and were forced to wear dresses. Despite such treatment, some never conformed and were eventually transferred to reformatories." (126)

In a similar vein, Indian youngsters were encouraged to participate in groups connected with issues of public interest, with the exception of activist organizations such as the Society of American Indians (a vocal pan-Indian group opposed to Bureau of Indian Affairs policies), which was not welcome on campus. (132)

Over the years different groups came and went, but they were all pretty much the same. Divided by sex, the literary societies held meetings emphasizing reading, discussion, and debate with the object of cultivating "the correct mode of speaking, and the managing of business meetings." (132)

The matrons kept tabs on the girls' menstrual cycles and dealt severely with anyone who lapsed into "moral delinquency." (134)

Estelle Brown, who worked briefly at the school, tells a story in her book Stubborn Fool about a young Navajo woman who became pregnant while home for the summer. Being a bit on the heavy side, she was able to hide her pregnancy upon returning to school. Eventually she gave birth, then smothered the child. The matron soon discovered the deed. It came out that the Indian mother had been married in a Navajo ceremony, but the matron's insistent preaching that Indian marriages were a sacrilege prompted her to kill the child because "God will burn me forever if He finds out." (135)

Whenever romance blossomed, the young couple could expect to be called before the matron to hear a lecture on moral responsibility and the necessity of obtaining a license and having a "proper legal marriage." Staff members frowned on traditional Indian ceremonies. Should a couple insist on pleasing "their people by conforming to the ancient customs," they were urged to have a Christian wedding as well. (136)

Hopi schoolgirl Elizabeth White, who attended Sherman Institute, related an event that many Phoenix girls undoubtedly experienced. She returned home an accomplished cook only to find that her family shunned the cakes and pies she made in place of traditional food, called her "as foolish as a white woman," and treated her as an outcast. (145)

Part of the difficulty stemmed from the attitude of the students. Pupils frequently returned home convinced that their parents were backward, degraded people, and treated them as such. Some actually felt ashamed of their relatives and the way they lived. One girl had difficulty fitting back into her family because there was no money to buy dresses and other things she wanted. Her uncle offered to make her an Indian dress, "but I told him I didn't care for anything like that," she said, just before running away to find a job in Phoenix. The school realized that such attitudes intensified the opposition to boarding schools. (145-6)

Eventually a new breed of reformers appeared on the scene. Led by such individuals as John Collier, these critics attacked the existing system for its inefficiency, its failure to achieve results, and its clear intent to obliterate native culture. They wanted forced assimilation ended. As the 1920s dawned, this reform movement grew in intensity, eventually focusing significant attention on the problems of Indian education. All these events affected the Phoenix Indian School, making it more difficult than ever to achieve satisfactory results. (150)

Despite his bureaucratic knowledge, the new superintendent was a member of the "old guard," temperamentally ill suited to deal with twentieth-century Indian problems. He was overbearing, lacked a sense of humor, and held a Victorian view of human relations. Deeply religious, he disapproved of current social fads, considering it a point of honor to protect the good name of his school. Whatever else, he insisted his students live in a wholesome, moral environment. Anyone violating his rules would be subject to harsh and immediate punishment. Like most Indian service professionals, Brown saw little value in traditional Indian cultures, fervently desiring that his students adopt white life-styles. (151)

Upon returning from border duty in May 1917, most of them volunteered for the army. Preferring to remain together, they were assigned to a predominantly Indian company of the 158th Infantry, Fortieth Division. The unit arrived in France in August 1918. Several Phoenix boys reached the front lines and two were killed in action. At the end of hostilities, the 158th Infantry Indian band received the honor of playing at ceremonies marking the signing of the armistice. In all, students distinguished themselves in combat, helping to create a positive atmosphere that eventually resulted in the act of June 2, 1924, granting citizenship to all Indians. (161)

As noted previously, Brown took a tough approach to discipline, demanding that his matrons and disciplinarians rigorously punish all infractions. As a result, harsh punishment increasingly became a part of school life. Word of such treatment, although clearly confined to a relatively few pupils, soon reached the Indian community. As early as 1919, Mike Burns, a Yavapai activist at Fort Mc Dowell, wrote to Dr. Carlos Montezuma that "old Bull Dog" Brown was jailing runaways on bread and water, putting them to work at hard labor, and beating some boys with baseball bats. Burns's call for an investigation never materialized. . . . (171)

The desire to prevent contact between the sexes, moreover, led to unjustifiable restrictions that were not only humiliating but in some instances dangerous. At some locations, it was found, girls were locked up for the night, windows were nailed shut, and fire-escape doors were bolted, all in the name of morality. Such medieval practices could be eliminated, suggested the study, without endangering students' morals or increasing "instances of disaster." (185)

Brown noted in a comment reflecting his commitment to forced assimilation, "if we would lift a race from ignorance and disease, we must do many things which they do not want done." (188)

Brown's argument was based on the assumption that schools would become totally chaotic if administrators appeared weak. "We deal with a primitive race, with persons who often lack appreciation of the better reasons for good behavior," he concluded, asking that the Indian Office return to the former policy of permitting corporal punishment as long as it was not "cruel or degrading." (189)

Even before the hearings convened, there was little doubt that corporal punishment had indeed continued at the Arizona school. Superintendent Brown, of course, favored such disciplinary measures and had apparently chosen to ignore the ban. Eventually word of this situation spread to the Indian Office, probably through some disgruntled employees, perhaps the Schmidts. The basic accusation was that head disciplinarian Jacob Duran and his assistants regularly struck children with their fists, beat them with leather straps, knocked them down, and kicked them. . . . Among the incidents that Moore reported was the severe beating of a boy who took a bath in violation of rules. (193)

At one point Wheeler queried the headmaster as to why the school's auto-mechanic course failed to produce a single qualified repairman. Brown lamely replied that distractions, lack of autos to repair, and various other difficulties seemed to cause the problem.
By the end of the day Wheeler was incensed, telling the witness that if a proper education could not be offered, none should be offered at all. "If you can not get Indians to sweep those floors as good as white people and can not get cooks over there who have been taught home economics," he informed Brown, "it is time to do away with home economics, it is time to do away with the Indian boarding schools altogether."
After his meek performance, Brown lost whatever support he might have had. At least one retired old-guard government employee wrote Senator Hayden complaining that the headmaster failed to stand up for his principles, particularly by failing to point out that Indians did not have "the ability to utilize this schooling in practical life equal to our own race." (198)

When classes opened in the fall of 1931, students and Phoenicians found the Native American discontinued and a new weekly magazine, the Phoenix Redskin, published in its place. Skinner informed readers that the new journal would confine itself to student affairs, avoiding the rambling discussions of policy matters so common under Brown. (199)

The military regimentation so long a familiar part of student life was all but eliminated. The National Guard unit continued to function, but in general a great deal more individual freedom was permitted. Restraints on social contact between the sexes were also relaxed. School officials found, much to the amazement of old-time employees, that students responded well when entrusted with more responsibility. (203)

In 1889 Indian Commissioner Thomas J. Morgan wrote that "the Indians must conform to 'the white man's ways,' peaceably if they will, forcibly if they must." His words, and the philosophy behind them, guided the Phoenix Indian School through the assimilation era. (206)

In 1987 the school was scheduled to cease operations within the next two years. The biggest controversy was over who would eventually own the property. Private developers, the city of Phoenix, and the Arizona tribes all thought that they should have the land. (212)

With the opening of two reservation high schools in 1987, the Phoenix school had for all practical purposes outlived its usefulness, and it seemed evident that it would not last until its centennial in 1991. Sometime in the late 1980s the institution will quietly fade away, lamented by few except some of the older Indians who remember it during its heyday. Arizonans, who remember it during its heyday, now seem ready to see it destroyed for the same reason—financial benefit. (213)

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