Native Americans remained dedicated to preserving their heritage, despite the almost annihilation of their culture and society.
Lorene Sisquoc spoke at the Malki Museum about her grandmother Ida Gooday's40-year tenure as a teacher.
Sisquoc’s family was a part of Sherman Indian High School from 1969 to 2000.
“My mom was raised on the campus,” Sisquoc said. “My mother eventually worked at Sherman.”
Sisquoc was born and raised on the campus of Sherman.
She recently discovered her birth certificate and it read Sherman Institute on the place of birth line.
“In 1986 my mother was part of allowing Native American culture back at the school,” she said. “We had our first pow wow. We had to fight tooth and nail to get — We still have it today.”
Girls participated in domestic science classes, and boys learned a vocational skill.
Life on the reservation did not offer any opportunities.
Families would send their children to these schools to receive an education and a skill.
Many children were orphans, according to Sisquoc.
“Sports was an attractant to many Native American athletes”, Sisquoc said. "We excelled in sports. We even beat the USC Trojans in 1904."
“Our track and cross-country guys were good. World record holders would come, and our Hopi boys would beat them,” she said.
In later years, the Outing Program ended, and students were able to earn extra money off campus.
Music was also an open door for the students to excel.
“Music is our way,” said Sisquoc.
However, the idea of the Native American educational institution created a rift between the traditionalists and the progressives, according to Sisquoc.
“That’s all part of the healing, our communities, language, our songs and our stories,” said Sisquoc.
“I feel that our community is healing from these things (experiences),” Sisquoc said.
“It was genocide."
Sisquoc continued, any community throughout history that has had to go through genocide takes several generations to heal.
“We are just now starting to heal."
Sisquoc is glad that Native Americans are recognizing their sovereignty.
She attributes the strength of her great-grandfather Talbot Gooday for his foresight to maintain his Native American culture.
Talbot Gooday agreed to assimilate, but he was instrumental in maintaining his Native American culture.
“He was one to keep our tribal dances going,” Sisquoc said. “He made our buckskin dresses."
“We are just now, after 20 or 30 years, planning to go forward with our own destiny.”
Resiliency describes the determination of the next generation of Native Americans, according to Sisquoc.
Early in the presentation, Sisquoc praised Aaron Saubel, the grandson of Siva Saubel, one of the founders of the Malki Museum, for beginning the presentation in his native language.
Sisquoc currently teaches at Sherman Indian High School.