Phoenix Indian School Visitors Center
Students at Phoenix Indian School line up with marching band members in the front. Photo estimated to be taken between 1900-1930. Courtesy Billie Jane Baguley Library and Archives, Heard Museum, Phoenix.
Native American Connections needs your help to preserve the rich history of an important place in our community. Please join us in restoring the music building at the Phoenix Indian School and sharing the important contributions the school made to the state of Arizona and especially to the city of Phoenix. This legacy includes educating thousands of Native American children, many of whom have become leaders in our community today.
Native American Connections (NAC) appreciates your interest and support of our Phoenix Indian School Visitors Center, formerly known as the Phoenix Indian School Legacy Project. NAC is working with the Phoenix Indian Center (PIC) on this historic project and the partners have signed a Letter of Understanding with the City of Phoenix to renovate the music building. We appreciate LISC Phoenix for recognizing the importance and investing in this historic project.
The music building is located inside Steele Indian School Park, the former site of the Phoenix Indian School. The boarding school, at Central Avenue and Indian School Rd., served Native American children and was operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs from 1891 to 1990. When the building was constructed in the 1930s it served as the elementary school. In later years it was converted into the music building and housed the famous Phoenix Indian School Marching Band. The band played at many historic occasions, including Arizona’s Statehood celebration in February 1912!
When the school was closed in 1990 the City of Phoenix (COP) acquired the land. The music building has been vacant since then and the community strongly supports the renovation of the space to bring a Native American presence back to the site. We have more than 20 letters of support from tribal nations and organizations for this renovation project.
Through a charrette process, the community determined the use of the space to be a gallery dedicated to the history of the Indian boarding school, a conference area that will accommodate 120 people, a commercial kitchen which can be used for catering/food preparation (small business development and entrepreneurialism) and teaching nutrition courses featuring indigenous foods to promote health and wellness in the Native American community.
We need your help to make this happen. With your donation you can be a part of this important history and legacy for generations to come.
Your donation will directly support the $1.8 million renovation costs. Every dollar donated will go to the project. Donations will not be used for administrative costs or overhead.
With your help we will be able to reach our goal to open the Native American Cultural Center which will serve all the people of Arizona.
We also wish to identify and interview former students and employees of PIHS. If you attended the school or know of someone who did, please contact us: 602-254-3247 or email: PIVisitorsCenter@Nativeconnections.org