In the early decades of the twentieth century federal indian policy revolved around the idea that through education and job training the various Indian tribes could be assimilated into mainstream America. For the nation's largest tribe, the Navajo, Arthur Watkins, Republican Senator of Utah, secured a vacant veteran's hospital in Brigham City, Utah, just days before it was to be sold and transformed into a co-educational military academy in 1948. In May of 1949, Congress approved nearly four million dollars for the remodeling of the school and agreed to educate two thousand students. The school eventually became known as the "world's largest boarding school."
Even though Congress approved funds for remodeling, the former hospital did not lack for resources. Built in 1942, Bushnell Hospital owned over one hundred buildings, four tennis courts, two gymnasiums, four baseball diamonds, and four bowling alleys as well as a swimming pool, a golf course, and a three-hundred seat theater. At it's height, the hospital housed over forty-five hundred veterans and more than 10,000 German, Italian, and Japanese prisoners of war.
In January 1950, the Intermountian Indian School opened to the first five hundred students. The primary goal of educators was to teach these teenage children English and the basic academic disciplines since most of them had not received any formal schooling outside of their tribe. Vocational training was also emphasized as policy planners felt this was the best way Indians could successfully survive in society. The Navajo Nation had reservations towards the school as they felt the system stripped children of their native culture and traditions and that schools should be established on the Navajo reservation. Because of threats to pull their children, school officials proposed to open the school to other tribes and in the fall of 1974, students from twenty-seven tribes entered. Tensions remained high since many of these tribes were long-time enemies and in February of 1975 rioting erupted. During the three-day melee, students injured three officers and destroyed several police cars. Twenty students were arrested. After this incident, enrollment fell and the stability of the school was called into question. Moreover, the federal government, headed by President Richard Nixon, reversed previous rulings regarding the assimilation of Indians and removed federal control. The Intermountian Indian School closed its doors permanently on May 17, 1984.
This collection contains publicity photographs taken of Navajo Students who attended the Intermountian Indian School in Brigham City, Utah. The photos were probably taken for publicity reasons in the late 1950s or early 1960s and document various school activities including vocational training, class-room scenes, social activities, artwork, music, theater, social activities, and athletics.
Restrictions on Access : Restrictions
Open to public research.Restrictions on Use : Copyright
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Utah State University Libraries, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.
Permission to publish material from the Intermountain Indian School photograph collection must be obtained from the Special Collections Photograph Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.Preferred Citation :
Intermountain Indian School photograph collection, 1955-1970. (P0327). Utah State University. Special Collections & Archives Department.
The photographs have been separated into seven categories: academics, vocational training, school related activities, athletics, artwork, and miscellaneous.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Negatives and photos of Intermountain Indian School from the Compton Photograph Collection (P0313). Note: Several photos listed in the collection were not related to school functions so were omitted from this addendum.