Boarding school in Phoenix lasted 100 years
For 100 years, through good times and bad, hundreds of students attended the Phoenix Indian School in Arizona.

Mary Lomahaftewa, 84, was forbidden from speaking Choctaw at the school. But she said fellow students were able to share their culture when teachers weren't around.

"You couldn't talk your native language or have your native tradition or culture mentioned," Lomahaftewa, who graduated in 1943, told The Arizona Republic. "But when our matrons weren't around, we'd laugh and tell each other about how our tribes were, we'd talk about our parents and what they did. We were lonesome."

The school was in 1891 to educate Indian students who lived in the state. But during World War II, enrollment was expended to other states because so many male students were being drafted into the military.

The school finally closed in 1990. Former students and tribes are seeking to build a cultural center at the site.

Get the Story:
Boarding schools' repressive past (The Arizona Republic 8/11)

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