Utah State University Digital History Collections


Intermountain Indian School Collection


Document Type

Digital Collection


Merrill-Cazier Library


In 1948 Bushnell Hospital in Brigham City, Utah was transformed into what would become the Intermountain Indian School, or, the "world's largest boarding school." The school opened its doors in January 1950 to five hundred Navajo students. Educational goals were to teach English and basic academic disciplines as well as vocational skills which, it was believed, would facilitate assimilation into mainstream America. Renamed the Intermountain Inter-Tribal School in fall 1974, the school enrolled students from twenty-six other tribes. Tensions ran high and in February of 1975 rioting erupted. During the riot, studentsinjured three officers and destroyed several police cars. After this incident, enrollment fell and the stability of the school was called into question. Moreover, the federal government reversed previous rulings regarding assimilation. The Intermountain Indian School closed its doors on May 17, 1984. Today there is widespread interest in the school from former students, historians of educational practices, and those studying Native American assimilation policies. This collection provides access to a wide assortment of rare sources such as student publications, classroom material, publicity photos, and congressional correspondence.