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Otoe-Missouria Tribe

Education - History

Photograph of young Otoe braves in native costume"Quakers originally established the Otoe-Missouria Boarding School on the Big Blue reservation. When the tribe removed to Oklahoma the teachers and school equipment accompanied them. At Red Rock a new frame school building was erected and by 1882 classes again were in session. The school's curriculum reflected a mixture of white social and academic standards. In addition to such basics as reading, writing, and arithmetic, Otoe-Missouria students learned a variety of vocational subjects. Boys were taught carpentry or agriculture while their sisters learned how to cook, sew, or clean house. The students also were indoctrinated with white cultural values. The Indian children were often taught that everything Indian was undesirable. The students were urged to exchange their tribal ways for those of the white man. Many students received their secondary education at Indian boarding schools such as Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas.

Ironically, the school's success in introducing white values among the tribe eventually contributed to the institution's closure. By 1918, many Otoe-Missouria parents preferred to send their children to public schools in neighboring white communities and the school closed. The buildings later were used as part of the Otoe-Missouria Tribal Center.