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Stewart Indian School to reopen museum Monday

Staff Reports

The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum will reopen to the public on Monday, thanks to a donation from the family of a former Stewart Indian School principal. Opened in January and closed to the public in March because of the current health crisis, the Cultural Center faced severe budget cuts. However, with a donation $50,000 to support the museum’s operation, the staff can now reopen to the public Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., except on state and federal holidays.

“We are thrilled that the families of Albert Hawley and Martha Berger have chosen our museum for this gift,” said Museum Director Bobbi Rahder. “The timing was absolutely perfect.”

Hawley, of Gros Ventre and Assiniboine descent, worked at Stewart Indian School for a total of 16 years as boys’ adviser, athletic director, reservation principal, and principal. He attended Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kan., in the 1920s, played center on the football team from 1925-1927, and was elected team captain. Hawley was a naval officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He also earned a master’s degree at Stanford University. In 1966, he was recognized by the Department of Interior with the Distinguished Service Award for his work in Indian Service. Hawley was inducted into the American Indian Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Stewart Hall of Fame in 1974.

Berger was a long-time resident of Carson City. She passed away in 2019 at the age of 100. A lifetime professional in banking, Berger also worked for the State of Nevada, and left a trust fund to benefit several Carson City organizations.

Jan Leonard, granddaughter of Hawley and niece of Berger, presented the cash donation to museum staff last week. In addition to the donation, the family will install a memorial bench at Stewart in honor of this family that has a long history at the school.

The Cultural Center tells the stories and experiences of students who attended the Stewart Indian School from 1890-1980. Stewart Indian School was operated by the federal government for 90 years to forcefully educate Native American children. This assimilation policy impacted thousands of Native students not only from the Great Basin tribal nations, but over 200 tribes in the west.

For information about the Cultural Center contact Bobbi Rahder, Museum Director, at 775-687-7606 or e-mail at brahder@nic.nv.gov.