Sherman Indian High School | History | Current Situation

Sherman Indian High School | History | Current Situation

In an effort to integrate the Natives fully into mainstream society, the US government established various institutes and schools. One such institution is Sherman Indian School, which aims to empower Native American students with the necessary knowledge and skills while honing their unique heritage.

About Sherman Indian School

Sherman Indian High School (SIHS) is an off-reservation boarding high school for Native Americans. Originally opened in 1892 as the Perris Indian School, in Perris, California, the school was relocated to Riverside, California, in 1903, under the name Sherman Institute. When the school was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1971, it became known as Sherman Indian High School.

Operated by the Bureau of Indian Education/Bureau of Indian Affairs and the United States Department of the Interior, the school serves grades 9 through 12. The school mascot is the Brave and the school colors are purple and yellow. There are seven dormitory facilities on the SIHS grounds. The male facilities are Wigwam, Ramona, and Kiva. Female facilities are Wauneka, Dawaki, and Winona. The last dorm is a transition dorm, Hogan. In addition to the seven dorms, there is also a set of 13 honor apartments named Sunset. Only four dorms are available for students to live in including Wigwam, Ramona, Wauneka and Winona. – Wikipedia

History of the Sherman Indian School

In the late 1800s, there was a need for separate educational institutions for the Native Americans, who made up a significant portion of the American population.

Therefore, in 1890, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs ordered Mr. Horatio N. Rust to find a suitable place to build a school in California. Perris was chosen as the school's site, and in 1892, the school finally opened its gates for native students.

A lot of Native Americans came here to seek education. However, soon, Superintendent Harwood Hall realized that the water supply at Perris Indian School was inadequate, which was causing problems for the Native students.

He then requested James Schoolcraft Sherman, Chairman of Indian Affairs in the U.S. House of Representatives, to approve some funds for the reconstruction and relocation of the school to a better site.

On May 31, 1900, the grant of $75,000 was approved to build a school at the Riverside. In 1901, the school was established and named “Sherman Institute” after James Schoolcraft Sherman.

By 1902, nine school buildings were officially accepted, and by 1908, there were 550 students in the Sherman Indian School in 34 different buildings. The school got the status of a high school in 1971 and was officially named the Sherman Indian High School.

Sherman Indian School Museum

The Sherman Indian School houses a museum that opened to the public in 1970. This museum has the honor of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features the history of Perris Indian School, Sherman Institute, and Sherman Indian High School.

I recently interviewed a curator from the Autry Museum about their exhibition on Sherman.

Sherman Indian School: 100+ Years of Education and Resilience

Special Exhibition at Autry Museum

July 23, 2023 – May 2024

About the Exhibition

By the late nineteenth century, the federal government’s efforts to fully assimilate Native Americans had proved unsuccessful. Growing concerns over the welfare of Native communities led to the establishment of twenty-five federal off-reservation boarding schools for Native American children, where students could be formally educated and “civilized” through a strict program of academics, vocational training, and Christian teachings, far away from their families and tribal communities.  – Autry Museum

 Mission of Sherman Indian School

The Sherman Indian School's mission statement highlights that the School focuses on empowering Native Indian American students to be successful in life.

It provides them with opportunities to find their passion and boost their decision-making skills. The school also aims to give Native students a safe and full-of-care environment where they not only grow academically but also spiritually and physically.

Present-Day Sherman Indian High School

Today, the school is home to 224 students in grades 9 to 12. This school allows Native American students to express their unique tribal identities and indigenous roots.

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Paul G

About Paul G

Paul G is the founder, who wears many hats as a business coach, photographer, and collector of quirky shirts. Paul started in 1996 while pursuing his graduate degree. With a passion for travel, he and his family hav  traveled the world, capturing unforgettable memories and photos. When he's not coaching or clicking, he's indulging in the magic of Disney.

One Comment “Sherman Indian High School | History | Current Situation”

  • Avatar for Paula Bisera

    Paula Bisera


    My Grandmother went to school here @ 1915-1919. She and her brother were brought from the Mescalero Reservation to Riverside to work on the railroads. Can the public research for names of people who attended there? Her birth and baptismal records were lost in the mission fire in Marfa,Texas.

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