Blessing ceremony set for Stewart Indian School museum

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Spiritual leaders from the Paiute, Washoe and Western Shoshone tribes will conduct a special blessing ceremony at site of the future Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum on July 11.

The 9:30 a.m. ceremony is intended to bless the site before construction begins to renovate the former Stewart Administration Building into the new cultural center and museum, said Sherry L. Rupert, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission.

“We want to start our renovation of the building with a good heart and good intentions,” Rupert said. “We also wanted an opportunity to thank Gov. Brian Sandoval and the legislators for supporting our efforts in the Stewart Indian School Living Legacy Initiative. And finally, we want to honor the alumni who attended Stewart Indian School.”

The Nevada Indian Commission was allocated $4.5 million in the 2017 legislative session to renovate the administration building into the new museum building and the first Stewart Post Office building into a new welcome center.

The Paiute, Washoe, and Western Shoshone tribes were the first three tribes whose children were sent to attend school at the Stewart Indian School when it opened in 1890. The federal government closed the school in 1980 and the state of Nevada currently owns the property. The Nevada Indian Commission oversees the revitalization of the campus through the Stewart Indian School Living Legacy Initiative.

The ceremony is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Tours of the Stewart campus will be provided by museum staff.

The development of the new Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum will be carried out by Museum Director Bobbi Rahder and Curator Chris Ann Gibbons. Guiding the museum staff will be a Museum Cultural Advisory Committee composed of Stewart alumni and relatives of alumni.

The Cultural Center will feature an exhibition about the unique history of the Stewart Indian School, a research room where researchers and alumni can find archival information about the school’s 90-year history, a room for storytelling and craft making and a temporary exhibit gallery for contemporary Native art.

Museum staff are currently collecting and preserving archival documents, photographs, student newspapers and yearbooks, clothing, commencement programs, books, tools, teaching and curriculum materials and other historical artifacts documenting the school’s history.

The new welcome center at the front of the Stewart Indian School campus will offer tours, house campus maps, the Stewart Indian School Trail brochures, as well as information about Stewart Indian School preservation efforts and future projects.

If you would like more information about this event, contact Sherry L. Rupert, at 775-687-8333, or e-mail her at


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