Intermountain Indian School photograph collection, 1955-1970  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Geographical Surveys West of the 100th Meridian (U.S.)
Intermountain Indian School photograph collection
1955-1970 (inclusive)
1958-1962 (bulk)
1 box, (0.5 linear ft. )
Collection Number
Contains publicity photographs taken of Navajo students who attended the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah. The photos were probably taken in the late 1950s or early 1960s and document various school activities including vocational training, classroom scenes, social activities, student artwork, music, theatre, and athletics.
Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives Division
Special Collections & Archives
Merrill-Cazier Library
Utah State University
Logan, UT
Telephone: 435-797-8248
Fax: 435-797-2880
Access Restrictions

Open to public research.

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Historical NoteReturn to Top

In the early decades of the twentieth century federal indian policy revolved around the idea that through education and job training the various Indian tribes could be assimilated into mainstream America. For the nation's largest tribe, the Navajo, Arthur Watkins, Republican Senator of Utah, secured a vacant veteran's hospital in Brigham City, Utah, just days before it was to be sold and transformed into a co-educational military academy in 1948. In May of 1949, Congress approved nearly four million dollars for the remodeling of the school and agreed to educate two thousand students. The school eventually became known as the "world's largest boarding school."

Even though Congress approved funds for remodeling, the former hospital did not lack for resources. Built in 1942, Bushnell Hospital owned over one hundred buildings, four tennis courts, two gymnasiums, four baseball diamonds, and four bowling alleys as well as a swimming pool, a golf course, and a three-hundred seat theater. At it's height, the hospital housed over forty-five hundred veterans and more than 10,000 German, Italian, and Japanese prisoners of war.

In January 1950, the Intermountian Indian School opened to the first five hundred students. The primary goal of educators was to teach these teenage children English and the basic academic disciplines since most of them had not received any formal schooling outside of their tribe. Vocational training was also emphasized as policy planners felt this was the best way Indians could successfully survive in society. The Navajo Nation had reservations towards the school as they felt the system stripped children of their native culture and traditions and that schools should be established on the Navajo reservation. Because of threats to pull their children, school officials proposed to open the school to other tribes and in the fall of 1974, students from twenty-seven tribes entered. Tensions remained high since many of these tribes were long-time enemies and in February of 1975 rioting erupted. During the three-day melee, students injured three officers and destroyed several police cars. Twenty students were arrested. After this incident, enrollment fell and the stability of the school was called into question. Moreover, the federal government, headed by President Richard Nixon, reversed previous rulings regarding the assimilation of Indians and removed federal control. The Intermountian Indian School closed its doors permanently on May 17, 1984.

  • Sources:
  • Williams, Lewis A. The Intermountain Indian School. Master's Thesis. Utah State University, 1991.
  • Reynolds, Dennis Ferron. History of Intermountain School, Brigham City, Utah 1950-77. Master's Thesis. University of Utah, 1968.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection contains publicity photographs taken of Navajo Students who attended the Intermountian Indian School in Brigham City, Utah. The photos were probably taken for publicity reasons in the late 1950s or early 1960s and document various school activities including vocational training, class-room scenes, social activities, artwork, music, theater, social activities, and athletics.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use


It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Utah State University Libraries, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Permission to publish material from the Intermountain Indian School photograph collection must be obtained from the Special Collections Photograph Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.

Preferred Citation

Intermountain Indian School photograph collection, 1955-1970. (P0327). Utah State University. Special Collections & Archives Department.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

AcademicsReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 1

Container(s) Description
box folder
1 1
1:01:01: Aerial photograph of Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah
1:01:02: Negative of 1:01:01
1:01:03: A white and black woman examine the ESL language program. Attached note reads: "ESL Team members proof reading copy of the language laboratory"
1:01:04: Students entering school
1:01:05: Students sitting in classroom while instructor teaches them English (English sounds written on board)
1:01:06: Duplicate of 01:01:04
1:01:07: Students in classroom learning English (Instructor points to simple English sentences written on board)
1:01:08: Girl dissecting a frog
1:01:09: Five students stand around podium in front of classroom, giving a presentation(?)
1:01:10: Students and faculty sit around a table listening to one girl speak. Included in the photo are Lillian Chavis, Joanne Yellowman and Wallace Begay
1:01:11: Female students sitting at desks looking towards the center girl who is standing
1:01:12: Male students, and perhaps faculty members, sit at desks listening to two boys speaking at the front of the room
1:01:13: Boy speaking into or listening to an audio recorder
1:01:14: Girl operates a "Tac X" word flasher while other students look at screen. An included note states the machine was used to increase the students' word recognition time
1:01:15: Four students watch as instructor shows them how to write a personal letter
1:01:16: Eugene Bennally poses in front of his science project, the "Demonstration on Mendal's Law of Heredity." A posted sign reads that he won first place in zoology
1:01:17: Students reading books at tables in the library
1:01:18: Three students sit in front of their art projects while fourth student looks over their shoulders. T.K. Begay written on wooden sign
1:01:19: Duplicate of 1:01:17
1:01:20: Instructor helping girl with beading
1:01:21: Three students with microscope dissecting animal
1:01:22: Instructor helps two students use a telescope
1:01:23: Instructor helps a boy draw house plans
1:01:24: Girl using dexterity testing device(?)
1:01:25: Instructor helps two students use a typewriter(?)

Vocational TrainingReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 2

Container(s) Description
box folder
1 2
1:02:01: Boy masking a vehicle to be painted
1:02:02: Boy points at scratch in car door
1:02:03: Boy works on car part in auto mechanic shop
1:02:04: Two boys work on car part in auto mechanic shop
1:02:05: Boy cutting or sanding a piece of wood
1:02:06: Two boys kneel on scaffolding to paint inside of church(?) Two older men painting
1:02:07: Two boys paint the inside of a room
1:02:08: Boy working on a piece of equipment with soldering iron
1:02:09: Two girls ironing and folding clothes in a home economics room
1:02:10: Four girls fit clothing on a dummy while a male instructor assists
1:02:11: Two boys standing near equipment, discussing machine parts
1:02:12: Boy working on unupholstered chair
1:02:13: Boy working on engine in auto mechanic shop
1:02:14: Girl filing the fingernails of an elderly woman sitting under a hair drier in beauty parlor
1:02:15: Girl in uniform cleaning dishes in a large, commercial kitchen
1:02:16: Girl (Dolly Antony) helping four small children make ice sculptures on trays
1:02:17: Two Navajo girls (Louise John and Lucy Begay) in uniform teaching white and African-American children while the children's teacher looks on
1:02:18: Girl in uniform helps two small children paint at an easel

School Related ActivitiesReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 3

Container(s) Description
box folder
1 3
1:03:01: Boy given an eye exam with Keystone telebinocular testing instrument
1:03:02: Boy given hearing test using Beltone equipment while another boy waits
1:03:03: Duplicate of 1:03:02
1:03:04: Dentist and assistant with boy
1:03:05: Students eating school lunch. Valentine's Day decor on table, Glenna Bileto (Sp.?) at head of table
1:03:06: Students eating school lunch while others stand in a line waiting to serve themselves
1:03:07: Two girls eating hors d'oeuvres in classroom
1:03:08: Students stand in line for hors d'oeuvres served on toothpicks for classroom party
1:03:09: Students put on a rehearsal Christmas performance of birth of Jesus Christ/ Nativity scene. They are dressed in Native American attire and the background is a desert scene
1:03:10: Nelson Tsosie beats a drum while speaking or singing into microphone on stage
1:03:11: Students wearing skirts and dress clothes at a dance
1:03:12: Navajo all-male band with cowboy hats, Jefferson Yazzie singing
1:03:13: Formal school dance portrait, Left to right: Richard Chee, Mary Navajo, Joanne Yellowman, Herman Chee
1:03:14: Boys gather in lounge area for an informal meeting. They sit on sofas talking and laughing while two supervising men stand by door
1:03:15: Two girls kneel on the floor of their dorm near a small artificial Christmas tree between bunk beds, holding gifts. The walls are covered with photographs of their families and Navajo decor. One girl wears a cheerleader uniform
1:03:16: Three boys ironing clothing
1:03:17: Graduation ceremony
1:03:18: Graduation ceremony. Boy receives his diploma
1:03:19: Boy in cap and gown poses outside for a photo with a woman in native dress. Other boys in cap and gown look on

AthleticsReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 4

Container(s) Description
box folder
1 4
1:04:01: Boy clears the high jump while coaches (Native-American and African-American) and others look on
1:04:02: Gymnasium full of spectators watching boys basketball
1:04:03: Two boys wrestling
1:04:04: Two boys wrestle while a referee points
1:04:05: Male and female cheerleaders perform during a boys' basketball game
1:04:06: Girls' basketball team posing for picture. Includes Bessie Yellowhair, Minnie John, and Catheryn Anderson
1:04:07: Girls in dance uniforms pose for picture, 1968. Includes Hellena Begay
1:04:08: Girls' swim team

ArtReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 5

Container(s) Description
box folder
1 5
1:05:01: Painting of a man and woman each riding a horse in a desert sunset while the man smokes
1:05:02: Painting of Navaho symbol
1:05:03: Drawing of a boy laying on his back, thinking
1:05:04: Portrait of a boy. Anton Ashley artist
1:05:05: Collection of pictures of Christmas and desert scenes, deer, and Navajos pinned on a board in the shape of a Christmas Tree
1:05:06: Painting of a desert scene
1:05:07: Desert scene
1:05:08: Picture of a horse
1:05:09: Drawing of a sheepherder astride a donkey watching over his flock in the desert
1:05:10: Painting of a small cabin near a meadow, pine trees, and a stream
1:05:11: Desert scene
1:05:12: Sheepherder lassoing a lamb in the desert
1:05:13: Sheepherder watches over his flock in the desert
1:05:14: Portrait of a woman
1:05:15: Portrait drawing of an elegant white(?) woman. Timothy Morgan artist
1:05:16: Drawing of a house and trees
1:05:17: Duplicate of 1:05:09
1:05:18: Duplicate of 1:05:05
1:05:19: Painting of a flower arrangement
1:05:20: Picture of a deer
1:05:21: Sketch of flowers and willows in pot next to a broken sculpture
1:05:22: Drawing of a bottle and cup surrounded by vegetables
1:05:23: Sketch of small house surrounded by cactus and sagebrush in the desert
1:05:24: Painting of a small wood house surrounded by pine trees and foliage
1:05:25: Desert Scene
1:05:26: Drawing of three men pointing their guns at something in the nearby hills
1:05:27: Portrait of a boy. Anton Ashley artist
1:05:28: Duplicate of 1:05:19
1:05:29: Desert Scene
1:05:30: Drawing of a boy sitting on a chair

MiscellaneousReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 6

Container(s) Description
box folder
1 6
1:06:01: Boy sits in desert next to sand painting. He is wearing Navajo dress and sits on a Navajo rug
1:06:02: Navajo Girl lies in a hospital bed while Ida Lynch helps her knit
1:06:03: Several boys getting ready to take a sleigh ride drawn by Clydesdale horses
1:06:04: Native American art display outside school during winter
1:06:05: Leo Cadman dressed in military uniform poses near a female instructor for picture
1:06:06: A collection of images from six different churches in Brigham City

Inventory Addendum:Return to Top

Negatives and photos of Intermountain Indian School from the Compton Photograph Collection (P0313). Note: Several photos listed in the collection were not related to school functions so were omitted from this addendum.

Description Dates
1949:439.5: Man in tie stands while two women (secretaries) sit at desk in an office
1949:464: Three men installing projector
1949:407. 1-: Boys standing in baseball field
2- : Outdoor class photograph
3- : Principle(?) sitting at desk
4- : Photo of entire school grounds
5- : Principle(?) sitting at desk
6- : Boys playing baseball
7- : Three teachers walking down corridor
8- : Indian School buildings
9- : Empty gymnasium
10- : Building
11- : Empty indoor swimming pool
12- : Empty room
13- : Outdoor class photo
14- : Empty room
15- : Principle(?) sitting at desk
16- : Empty Church
17- : Three teachers walking down corridor
18- : Empty swimming pool
19- : Principle(?) sitting at desk
20- : Empty auditorium, curtains closed
21- : A few buildings
22- : A few buildings
23- : One building
24- : Two buildings
1949:417. 1- : Three men conversing near a chalk board
2- : Faculty photo? Six men, three women
3- : Four men tearing down wall
1950:789. 1- : Principle(?) talks to three male students in their dorm, near bunkbeds
2- : Principle(?) stands near a car with a US Government label
3- : Principle(?) with six male students eating around a table in dorm
4- : Principle(?) talks to several female students while they eat lunch
5- : Principle(?) stands near his car
1950:465. : Baseball team in group photo
1952:150. : Sixteen photos of drawings of farming and water/soil conservation
1954:1626: Girls' playing some type of sport using a volleyball and four bowling pins
1- : Girls stand in line in gymnasium - using a volleyball and bowling pins
2- : Girls playing the game
3- : Team photo. Girls pose with ball, trophy, and four pegs/pins
4- : Team photo with supervisors, ball and pins. Three girls in the front wear shirts that read, "I.I.S. Phys. Ed. Dept."
5- : Team pose
6- : Team pose
7- : Team pose
8- : Team pose
1954:1037: Social activity in a room with adults and students. The room is decorated in a fall scene with a table laden with food and drink
1955:570: Meeting in session
1958:1619.5: Numerous yearbook group photos - some groups are only girls, some only boys, and some are mixed
1958:397: A student meets with the principle(?) in his office
1959:290. 1- : Four students in native dress standing on stage, holding a banner which has a picture of an eagle and reads: "Remember Our Words: Finish Your Education. Be on the bus in August."
2- : Same four students joined by a fifth on stage
1959:355: Older man with braids with a young girl beating on a drum outside
1959:275: Graduating class of
1960:48 : Cooks in uniform in the school's kitchen
1960:292: Group photo of female students holding a sign, "Golden Eagle Building 20"
1960:293: Group photo of female students
1960:294: Group photo of female students
1960:295: Group photo of female students
1960:297: Group photo of female students
1960:298: Group photo of female students
1960:299: Group photo of female students
1960:300: Group photo of female students
1960:323: Group photo of female students
1960:324: Group photo of female students
1960:325: Group photo of female students
1960:326: Group photo of female students
1960:327: Group photo of female students
1960:328: Group photo of female students
1960:368: Group photo of female students
1960:369: Group photo of female students
1960:370: Group photo of female students
1960:371: Group photo of female students
1960:372: Group photo of female students
1960:373: Group photo of female students
1960:438: Graduating class of
1960:1561: Cooks, faculty, and students pose in group photo
1960:1580: Group photo of older women wearing dresses
1961:25 : Class photo(?) Over five hundred students pose in normal school clothes
1961:137: Group photo of students posed outside - some in native dress
1961:255: Group photo of female students inside a room
1961:558: Men speaking in Indian School auditorium
1961:2047: 3 boys, 4 girls on/in a corvette for a parade
1961:256: Group photo of female students and older women
1961:257: Group photo of female students and older women
1961:258: Group photo of female students
1961:259: Group photo of female students
1961:260: Group photo of female students
1961:261: Group photo of female students
1961:263: Group photo of female students holding banner that reads, "Thunder Bird Bldg. 191"
1961:264: Group photo of female students sitting behind seven trophies
1961:265: Group photo of female students
1961:266: Group photo of female students
1962:529: 2 female dental assistants work on a girl's teeth
1966:509: Graduating class of
1968:356: Graduating class of 1968 pose outside in cap and gown
1969:328: Graduating class of 1969 pose outside in cap and gown
1970:273: Graduating class of 1970 outside in cap and gown
1971:242: Graduating class of 1971 pose outside in cap and gown
1972:277: Graduating class of 1972 pose outside in cap and gown with a picture of an eagle with logo "Home of the Eagles"
1973:233: Graduating class of
1974:163: Graduating class of 1974 with a picture of an eagle with logo, "Home of the Eagles."
1975:173: Graduating class of 1975. Sign reads, "Congratulations class of ‘75 - The Eagles have gathered"

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Navajo children--Education--Utah--Brigham City--Photographs.
  • Off-reservation boarding schools--Utah--Brigham City--Photographs.
  • Student activities--Utah--Brigham City--Photographs.
  • Teenagers' art--Utah--Brigham City--Photographs.
  • Vocational education--Utah--Brigham City--Photographs.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Intermountain School--Faculty--Photographs.
  • Intermountain School--Photographs.
  • Intermountain School--Students--Photographs.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Brigham City (Utah)--Photographs.