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June 24, 2012
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Stewart Indian School roommates return after 60 years

Reynelda French James and Helena Jones Melendez remember whispering in Paiute to each other in their room at night to avoid punishment for speaking in their native tongue at Stewart Indian School.

"They taught us not to speak our own language," Helena remembered. "That was the hardest part. We didn't know anything about English."

More than 60 years later, the two were roommates once again in their old dormitory, this time slipping effortlessly between English and Paiute, and not caring who heard.

Both women, who went on to teach Paiute in Washoe County schools, were guest speakers during a workshop …

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jun 25, 2012 01:34AM Published Jun 24, 2012 05:12AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.