Concho Indian School

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City/Town:
Location Class:
Year Built: 1909 | Year Abandoned: 1983
Historic Designation: Native American Heritage Site
Status: AbandonedGuttedUnder Renovation
Photojournalist: AbandonedOK TeamBilly DixonMichael SchwarzEmily Cowan

Assimilation

In 1867, the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes were forced to move to a reservation land in Indian Territory near Fort El Reno, Oklahoma. The Dawes Act broke up the reservation land stating that any land not owned by a Native American individual would be open to settlement during the Land Run of 1892. Then came the Curtis Act of 1898 which resulted in the tribal governments fallout as an attempt to assimilate the tribes. They would need to lose their traditional ways of thinking, living, and culture to become what the government considered “Americans”. 

Curriculum

After the close of The Darlington Agency, it was relocated to Concho, Oklahoma and renamed Concho Indian Boarding School. Built in 1909, it was run with a military routine and a government assimilation curriculum. Students woke up at sunrise, did military exercises and went to class at 6am. Their days were split into two parts with the first half of the day being in classes. Classes consisted of teaching the students to read, write, and speak in the English language. Speaking in their native tongues or practicing their culture resulted in punishment of one hour of labor work. They were forced to change the way they presented themselves in society such as cutting their hair and changing the style of clothing they wore. For the second half of their day they participated in labor. Boys were taught farming methods such as planting techniques and caring and raising livestock. While girls were taught domestic labor such as cooking, cleaning, sewing and nursing. In addition to their studies they were taught Christianity. Although most of the Indians and the children reluctantly accepted most of the assimilation methods most refused to accept Christianity as their religion. In the 1920’s they  formed sports team, music and art classes and educational subjects and curriculum just like other public schools in the area.

Final years

Concho served grades 1-8th and on May 14, 1982 had its last graduating class of 142 students. It was closed due to federal budget cuts shortly after. Parents of the students and tribe members fought to keep their school open but due to lack of funding was permanently closed by the end of the 1983 school year. The buildings were turned over to the tribes in 1985 where they still sit abandoned to this day although a recent revisit has shown signs of some restoration to a few buildings with the future of the others unknown.

Murals

The murals of Concho Indian School were started in 2014 by 38 year old artist Steven Grounds to pay tribute to the Cheyenne and Arapaho indians that once attended the decaying assimilation boarding school. Amongst the murals is Chief Black Kettle an important tribal figure of the Northern Cheyenne. Chief Black Kettle was known for being a peacemaker with the US government by accepting treaties and while still protecting his people. His murals depict people from photographs found in tribal archives as well as Native American advocate Suzan Shown Harjo who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014. What he thought would be just one big mural at the beginning turned into an artistic journey of multiple murals throughout the abandoned Concho buildings. Steven doesn’t have plans to stop and has even been in talks with Cheyenne and Arapaho tribe leaders to help restore the buildings and turn them into a mural gallery.

Bibliography

“Concho Indian Boarding School.” Concho Indian Boarding School – Asylum Projects, www.asylumprojects.org/index.php/Concho_Indian_Boarding_School.

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Teresa Dorsett
Teresa Dorsett
1 year ago

I went to Concho Boarding School my 6th and 8th grade year. I have good memories other than my younger siblings running to the opposite side of the dorms at night to sleep with me because they were scared. But overall it was a good experience. Was introduced to the game of basketball by Mrs. Martha Sealy and acquired a second dad, Mr. Red StoneCalf who helped me tremendously in life with encouragement throughout high school and college. When I graduated from college he sent me a card with a $100 bill in it, something I will never forget! Yesterday… Read more »

Denise
Denise
Reply to  Teresa Dorsett
1 year ago

I attended from 72-75. At age 12 I suffered from extreme homesickness my first year but I eventually acclimated quickly after several months. At first I was called an apple for not acting Indian enough. Within a few months, I spoke and acted like everyone else. I got jumped several times by girls when I was 14ish, so I had to learn how to take up for myself. Eventually, I made friends with the tough girls so no one bothered me except my last year there–when the bully kept after me until I kicked her ass. When I was 15… Read more »

Hildreth Ann Green
Hildreth Ann Green
1 year ago

I remember those days lots of fun n met lots of friends

Sandra K Gordy
Sandra K Gordy
4 years ago

O attended concho for 8 yrs . it was a safe place for me comong from a torn family.
But i was happy to have a chance to learn and become a strong person while i never seen my parents being half breed i wss bullyed by other students . but i survived and became a indapendant strong person. Haunted yes i seen and heard strange actions . but i close my eyes prayed to hod yo keep me safe . sad it closed it was home to all of us that didnt have a home . <3

Mercedes Bailey
Reply to  Sandra K Gordy
3 years ago

do you know who owns this school? i am interested in seeing it but i would like to get permission first. if you know or could tell me how to get permission for this school please email at mercedesbailey6314@yahoo.com Thank you

Fred washington
Fred washington
Reply to  Mercedes Bailey
5 months ago

I used to go to school there

Cindy Carpenter
Cindy Carpenter
Reply to  Sandra K Gordy
7 months ago

Hey Sandra do you remember me?

amantajo
amantajo
5 years ago

Very sad to see the pathetic situation of Concho Indian boarding school situated in northwest of El Reno. The given photos clearly describe the real situation of this school. It was one of the best schools, so the authority must need to take certain measures to make the school a better one. zipline kit

Carlos Marshall
7 years ago

never heard of concho ok. until i came back a year ago , it was a site of alot of suffering indian children in a goverment funded school ,they were taken away from there parents and sent to concho to like and go to school !

Alex J. Stone
Alex J. Stone
8 years ago

What I see here is the old chocho demo-school. is there anyone who remembes the first concho indian school? It was called the cheyenne and arapaho school and it was on the westside of the concho agency, next to the railroad tracks. it's gone now and there is nothing there. I went back to visit the old school in 1995 (summer) and took my wife and kids and showed them where each building was and the playground. That is what I call the old concho indan school. the demo school came much later.

nora jessepe parker
nora jessepe parker
Reply to  Alex J. Stone
8 years ago

yes I do, I went to school there, I only remmeber, Ms Hart, Mr Glass. we lived in a buidling called a quanshut
or a metal round building. I remmeber the railroad tracks. I was at concho at 8 to 10 years ago. I wanted to see if there was anything left of the old concho.. is there a road there.?? I seen new concho buidling destroy by vandulism. Nora jessepe Parker 1964 1965 or 1966 I think i attended

Fred washington
Fred washington
Reply to  Alex J. Stone
5 months ago

True, I didn’t go to the old concho but heard stories about it

Jenny warrior
Jenny warrior
8 years ago

My grandmother told me bout this place. Im indian an my grandmother an elders of my tribe have nothing good to say bout this place. they refuse to even speak of it

william
william
8 years ago

concho school has some really horrorble stories as i listen to lot of elders talk how they where treated in school ! i cryed when they told me how kids died in that school !

calvin white
calvin white
Reply to  william
5 years ago

I have recently done an investigation in the boys dorm…got an evp saying…"we didn't want to die" … Still kids there…but for some..that was the only place they could call home…

Fred washington
Fred washington
Reply to  william
5 months ago

A lot of them did died

jimmy black
jimmy black
9 years ago

Iv not ben in the school i went to as a boy n many years. It looks like spooks really tore it up.wow

Rick.
Rick.
9 years ago

I attended this school the last year is was open and it wasn't a good experience. I was glad to see it closed. I never saw anything paranormal while I was there, but did hear alot from the other kids about how it was haunted and how it was built over an ancient burial ground. It's only haunted by bad memories.

Lena Truster
Lena Truster
1 month ago

I am researching a man who was adopted from this school about 2978-1979. He is searching for his birth family. He was born George Samuel Dean. Can anyone tell me where I would find school records?

Cindy Carpenter
Cindy Carpenter
7 months ago

I went to school here in 8th. Grade. I loved it. Never really had scary experiences. I met alot of friends here.

trackback
10 months ago

[…] was decided in March 1927, that Seger Indian Training School would be consolidated with Concho Indian School in the foreseeable future. On August 15, 1932, the school closed permanently moving 25% of […]

Vodne Whiteskunk-Chapoose
Vodne Whiteskunk-Chapoose
1 year ago

My brother Frayne & I attended Concho Boarding School… Under the circumstances at that time this was the best place for us… We learned what homesick felt like at a very young age. It was a school for Native kids from 1st – 8th grade… We learned how to survive, a lot of fun memories I had there… I saw spooks but they never bothered us… One day I will go back & visit the place…

Martin
Martin
3 years ago

can u get in the school or is this private land

Robert Pettit
Robert Pettit
4 years ago

To believe that my grandmother was a teacher in this school around 1915. My grandfather, Wolf Face, was an Episcopalian priest in El Reno and my father was born there in 1915. They later moved to Bay City Tx, (when, I don't know) then to New Brunswick, NJ about 1926.

newakis smoker
newakis smoker
6 years ago

ah bull it is not haunted i lived there in 2003 i had to go in the building to take showers and i would walk around that place at night and in all the buildings so that is bunch of crap

Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Reply to  newakis smoker
4 years ago

You are a ghost so your comment proves it is haunted!

Fred washington
Fred washington
Reply to  newakis smoker
5 months ago

I went to school there in the ’70s and it was haunted

Melia Adolphson
Melia Adolphson
7 years ago

If you are novice to domain registrars then you are definitely a Domainbie

trackback
8 years ago

[…] Concho Indian School has a rich and interesting history and, after closing its doors due to inadequate funding in the […]

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