Teri’s notebook: Students volunteer with Stewart Indian School, Washoe Tribe | NevadaAppeal.com

Teri’s notebook: Students volunteer with Stewart Indian School, Washoe Tribe

Teri Vance
For the Nevada Appeal

After spending a week working at Stewart Indian School and with other tribal organizations, Adriana Rocha, 21, an education major at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, saw gaps in her own curriculum.

“Native heritage is something I know nothing about,” she said. “I didn’t learn anything about it in school at all. Just being here is mind blowing.”

Rocha is the student leader for a service learning trip where the students helped clean up the Stewart Indian Cemetery and the Tahoe Indian Parish, along with other acts of service as part of UNLV’s Alternative Spring Break.

They also spent time learning about the Stewart Indian School, the Great Basin American Indian culture while visiting the Pyramid Lake Museum and the Lake Tahoe area.

“It’s been really fun and very much a learning experience for me and I hope for everybody else,” said Michaela Moen, 18. “We learned some of the stories and history of the Washoe people and the Paiute people and the culture of the tribes from around here.”

As part of the tour of Lake Tahoe, they were introduced to some sacred areas, including Cave Rock. They also were allowed into the Stewart Cemetery, the first outside visitors in eight years.

“For them to welcome use so openly was a real honor,” said Nicole Furushiro, 18. “We felt like we were accepted immediately.”

Sherry Rupert, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission, coordinated the effort.

“I think it’s a great partnership. I hope it continues,” Rupert said. “It’s a great learning tool for students. It’s so important for people to know about our tribes here in Nevada and our history.”

Sam Leif, 31, the staff site leader, said the group will help to spread that message.

“We will take what we’ve learned back and disseminate it through our friendships,” Leif said. “We will be able to explain the culture to our own social groups. I think that’s really powerful.”

It also inspired them to learn more about Nevada’s American Indian history.

“Even as much as we have learned, we really have just barely scratched the surface,” said Samantha Varrone, 25. “This experience just makes you want to learn more. We’ve already been so enriched, it’s mind-boggling to think there’s so much more out there.”

•••

For the first time in three years, the combined Carson and Douglas high school rodeo clubs will be hosting a rodeo, featuring competitors from across the state.

The rodeo, sponsored by Carson Chrysler Jeep Dodge, will run 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

More than 200 participants are expected to compete.

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.