Pawnee Indian School

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City/Town: Pawnee
Location Class: SchoolGovernment
Year Built: 1878
Year Abandoned: 1956
Status: AbandonedNational Register of Historic Places
Photojournalist: Michael SchwarzMary Evans

The Pawnee Indian School in Pawnee, Oklahoma, was one of many federally funded boarding schools built around the turn of the century for the purpose of assimilating Indian youth into white American culture. Since native children were considered too “slow” for advanced education, the boarding schools were actually institutions of vocational training, run by military style discipline. As far as I can determine, the official name of the school in Pawnee, which taught children up to the Ninth Grade, was the Pawnee Industrial School, but most people referred to it simply as Pawnee School or descriptively as the Pawnee Indian School or the Pawnee Boarding School.

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Bibliography
https://www.newspapers.com/image/666059474/?terms=pawnee%20indian%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/666065865/?terms=pawnee%20indian%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/665826511/?terms=pawnee%20indian%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/631841373/?terms=pawnee%20indian%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/595438258/?terms=pawnee%20indian%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/666062377/?terms=pawnee%20indian%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/666051603/?terms=pawnee%20indian%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/666106689/?terms=pawnee%20indian%20school&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/666049474/?terms=pawnee%20indian%20school&match=1

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Bobby Appleman
Bobby Appleman
3 years ago

I spent two years here until it was closed in 1956, thank God I had a roof over my head, electricity and running water. I saw my first TV here. It was a safe heaven for a couple years until closed. I came from a two room house out in the middle of nowhere on Indian land.

megmeetsworld
megmeetsworld
3 years ago

Can anyone get in there?

terrysgirl300
terrysgirl300
3 years ago

Is it for sale

med-hero.net
4 years ago

It is sad that such a big and nice building is abandoned.

Nancy Kaufmann
Nancy Kaufmann
4 years ago

These boarding schools ought definitely be made into public memorials. If we don't understand our history, we'll never cope effectively with the present.

Kelly
Kelly
5 years ago

April 3 2015, I went to Pawnee for the first time in my life today. I went with a friend to the Pawnee Indian Clinic. May I say, that is a wonderful clinic. She drove me to see the old buildings. Such history. The government needs to restore it back to the original shape and bring people in to see it and teach them the truth about what happened in this school. It is such an historic place.

November Sunset
November Sunset
5 years ago

It should be saved. Not because it was a great place….I wasnt! I should be saved to remember the lives of children lost there.mit should be saved to acknowledge the wrong doing of the U.S. government to the indigenous people. If we let these things fall apart and bull doze them down, we have nothing to remind people of what happened.

Flanges
5 years ago

Indeed.

wfdscs
wfdscs
6 years ago

This is indeed not a pleasant sight to see a school lying totally in ruins, left without any concern and management. This place holds history and memories for many former students and I think it will be good if the concern authority would try to renovate it.

DogSoldier
DogSoldier
Reply to  wfdscs
6 years ago

I'm guessing you've never heard about the treatment of the children in places like this. These "institutions" were built on the principal of "Kill the Indian, Save the man." Upon entry, children recieved hair cuts and had their clothing taken away and give a uniform. They were then told to either pick a name out of a book, or they had a name assigned to them, to rid them of their "savage" identity. If caught speaking in their native tongue, they were beaten, if they tried to run away, they were brought back and they were beaten. Many of these… Read more »

DogSoldier
DogSoldier
Reply to  DogSoldier
6 years ago

My grandparents attended a boarding school in Kansas. He told me about a time his friend was caught speaking his language. All of the students were lined up along the windows surrounding the courtyard of one the buildings, the instructors told the students "This is what happens you speak in savage tongue." they then proceeded in beating the young boy. My grandpa said that when the insructor got tired, another took his place and continued beating him. My grandpa never saw his friend again after that. I'm sure that there are a few good memories amongst friends that were made… Read more »

Rick
Rick
Reply to  DogSoldier
5 years ago

Only part of what you is true. i've researched the holocaust for 20 years and Hitler did not learn anything about the treatment of the Jews from the treatment of American Indians.

Nancy Kaufmann
Nancy Kaufmann
Reply to  Rick
4 years ago

Rick, what are you trying to say? The meaning and intent of your comment is not at all clear.

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