Father's Day Pow-wow to generate funds for Stewart Indian School museum

The Father's Day Pow-wow is back at Stewart Indian School, along with renewed hope for the school's museum that closed its doors in May 2001.

A powwow is a time to renew old friendships and, for the first time, the money generated will be set aside for the re-establishment of the Stewart Indian School Museum and Indian Cultural Center, as well as other annual events.

This is also the first time since 2000 there has been a Father's Day Pow-wow.

"The people I've talked with, especially the school's alumni, are supporting this effort," said Sherrada James, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission. "And this is such a great opportunity for people from all over to come together."

American Indians representing tribes all over the Western United States are expected attend the event, which includes competition dancing, art and craft vendors, raffles and food vendors. The first grand entry, or display of colors, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday evening and the ceremonies are performed intermittently throughout the weekend.

A Northern Nevada group called Echo Sky will provide the drumming.

Stewart Indian School was built and owned by the federal government to educate tribal members. From 1890 to 1980, American Indians from about 200 tribes were educated there.

When the school closed, the facility was deeded to the state of Nevada with the condition that buildings 1 and 3 be set aside for a museum to preserve, protect and develop an American Indian cultural center.

Several nonprofit organizations operated the museum, which displayed memorabilia reflecting the historical school experience.

Sheila Abbe, president of the last nonprofit organization in charge of the museum, did much renovation work on Building 1, but James said costs for furnishing and opening the museum are estimated at about $500,000.

The fund-raising has just begun. The money collected at the powwow will go into a special gift account with the Indian Commission, a branch of the Nevada's Department of Human Resources.

"A museum needs security, climate control and proper lighting," James said. "We also need carpeting, furniture, display cases and staffing."

The museum once housed and displayed more than 700 items, much of it school memorabilia owned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Most of the collection is being held in storage by the Nevada State Museum for future display, but James expressed concerns about how long the collection would remain in Nevada if the museum is not reopened.

"Much depends on how soon funding generated," she said. "We'll be looking at grants, fund-raisers and anyone else who's interested in supporting this effort."

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Tribal Council, Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Microsoft Licensing Inc. and The Plaza Hotel in Carson City are among the sponsors

For information call Sherrada James or Jane Gardner at 688-1347.


What: Father's Day Pow-Wow

When: Friday through Sunday

Where: Stewart Indian School campus, Snyder Avenue, Carson City


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