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Federally Funded

The University of Nevada, Reno Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program is federally funded at $231,000.00 annually

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McNair Scholars Program

Phone(775) 784-6044
Fax(775) 784-1353
Location Thompson Building
200
Address 1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno,  NV  89557-0075
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Enrique Valdivia

Scholar: Enrique Valdivia

Enrique Valdivia

Major: Anthropology

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Marybeth Nevins

Research Topic: Legacy of the Stewart Indian School on the Washo Language

Abstract: The Stewart Indian School, located south of Carson City, Nevada, operated for approximately a hundred years from 1890 to 1980. Part of a national endeavor specifically designed for the acculturation of Native Americans, the Stewart Indian School was a boarding school which housed thousands of Northern Nevada indigenous people. Many indigenous languages in the U.S. are in a dire situation, with fewer and fewer new speakers each generation. The language of the Washo people, a tribe from the Lake Tahoe area in both Nevada and California, is one example of a community dealing with language loss. Language represents a key component of both individual and tribal identity, something which government officials understood quite well when they purposed a strictly English speaking environment and curriculum at the Indian Schools across the U.S. Indian School policies aimed at eliminating indigenous languages were effective in "civilizing" Native communities and those effects can be seen today. People trying to restore and maintain their aboriginal languages have a long and painful history to overcome, and the Washo are one of many tribes currently dealing with this process.

The purpose of this research is to examine the ethno-historic record of people's experiences at Stewart Indian School. The study analyses these student experiences and the policies installed by the administrators of the school and examines the impact and influence it continues to have on the Washo community. Understanding the specific historical and personal context of the Stewart Indian School could offer insight as to how the current state of the Washo language came to be. Although this study does not offer any solutions to revitalize the Washo language, it is hoped that it will shed some light on the conditions endured by generations of students as their language and way of life was institutionally attacked.

New Scholar: 2011 cohort

Graduating With Baccalaureate Degree: 2012

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University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Reno
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno,  NV  89557-

(775) 784-1110
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