New Documentary on the American Indian Boarding School Experience

Riverside, CA –The Museum of Riverside, Sherman Indian Museum, and Costo Endowment of American Indian Affairs at the University of California, Riverside, are pleased to announce three upcoming events that feature a new documentary “These Are Not ‘Stories’: American Indian Boarding Schools in Southern California.”

The documentary features the voices of eight former boarding school students and family members, as well as Lorene Sisquoc, Curator of the Sherman Indian Museum. The accounts are not “stories,” but the true experiences of students at American Indian boarding schools.

Members of the Cahuilla (Mountain Cahuilla, Member of Cahuilla Band of Indians and Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians), Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of the Chemehuevi Reservation, Hopi, Hualapai Tribe, Salt River Pima/Maricopa, and Tohono O’odham peoples shared their own words for this project. The interviews delve into the range of boarding school experiences, from the shameful and oppressive practices of early American Indian boarding schools to the more recent years when students enjoyed fulfilling and transformative educations. The experiences recorded for this project will be preserved and shared for future generations.

All three viewings of the documentary are free and open to the public. The premiere will be at 2 p.m. Feb. 25 in the Robert Levi Auditorium of the Sherman Indian High School. The premiere will be followed by a question-and-answer period with UCR Distinguished Professor Clifford E. Trafzer Ph.D. (Wyandot ancestry) and Lorene Sisquoc (Mountain Cahuilla/Fort Sill Apache), Curator, Sherman Indian Museum.

Additional screenings include:

11 a.m. March 18, UCR Palm Desert Campus Auditorium, 75080 Frank Sinatra Dr.

2 p.m. March 25 at The Box, 3635 Market St. in downtown Riverside.

This documentary and events were made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Sustaining Humanities through the American Rescue Plan Act (2021) in partnership with the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums.

The Museum of Riverside received a $19,150 grant for a partnership with Sherman Indian High School through the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Native Institutions. This grant program is intended to help Native cultural institutions recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and provide humanities programming to their communities. This project would not be possible without the partnerships of the Sherman Indian Museum and Costo Endowment of American Indian Affairs, University of California, Riverside.


The Museum of Riverside is grateful to stand on the traditional and ancestral lands of the Cahuilla, Gabrielino-Tongva, Luiseño, and Serrano peoples. The Cahuilla, Gabrielino-Tongva, Luiseño, and Serrano continue to live and thrive in Southern California.

We at UCR would like to respectfully acknowledge and recognize our responsibility to the original and current caretakers of this land, water, and air: the Cahuilla [ka-weeahh], Tongva [tong-va], Luiseño [loo-say-ngo], and Serrano [se-ran-oh] peoples and all of their ancestors and descendants, past, present, and future. Today this meeting place is home to many Indigenous peoples from all over the world, including UCR faculty, students, and staff, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to live and work on these homelands.

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Source: New Documentary on the American Indian Boarding School Experience |