Wednesday, May 6, 2009

INTERMOUNTAIN INDIAN SCHOOL




This year Intermountain School is the subject of the oral histories we will be collecting for Brigham City Library Oral History Collection. If you attended Intermountain Indian School, worked at the school in any capacity or if you know of someone who was associated with the school; please contact the Library at 723-5850 or me personally at 723-8777.




Hal Reeder taught at Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City from 1962 until the school closed in 1984. During those years he held the positions of coach, teacher of physical education and English, and eventually became Academic Director of the school. In his early years of coaching, the Indian students competed with athletes from the big high schools of Region 1 and had little success. In an oral history conducted last month, Reeder told of memorable experiences as a coach and as an English teacher:

Most Navajo kids that came to the school didn't come from Little League or junior high programs, and Navajos are quite a short people. I never had a player over 6 feet, and the first year we played basketball in the league, we didn't win a game. I decided I was going to get out of coaching, but the next year made it all worthwhile. Our win-loss record was 0 and 9, and we played Logan High whose record was 9 and 0. Rod Tueller, the future coach at Utah State University was the coach of Logan High. We had already played them in one game, and they'd beat us by 30 points. They came to play us at Intermountain. I remember one of my players Andy Charley said, “Coach, do you think there's any chance that we can ever win a game?”

I said, “On any given night, any team can beat another team.” I knew I was lying to him. Well, Logan came to town, and they had the all-state player Robert Lewinsky, 6'8”, who went on to be a college player. Our kids came out to play, and Logan had come to see how many points they could run up against us. We beat them 66 to 61! I left the score board turned on in the gym for two weeks straight. They were so excited I thought the building was going to fall down!

I used to listen to Coach Tueller any time they were talking to him about games. They'd say, “Oh, you should handle this team easily.”

He'd say, “Let me tell you – you can be beat by anybody. We were beat by a bunch of Indians that didn't have a kid over about 5'10”. We had never lost a game, and they beat us.”

It was exciting! I was in sports since I was a little kid, and I loved everything about sports. I played football at the University of Utah for a year, and I lettered in baseball at Utah State. I'd known success, and it was just eating me up to not find a way to win, and so to pull off maybe the greatest upset that's ever happened in Utah basketball was more than I could have hoped for!

They took us out of Class A finally and put us into Class B, and our cross country teams were dominant. Those kids came off the reservation where they walked miles and herded sheep on foot, and they were lean and built to run distances. On the national physical fitness test, the students averaged in the 90th percentile.

In our language arts program we published a book of poetry through a grant. I liked their writing because it came across as honest and reflected their culture so well. I remember one poem that still sticks in my mind. It was called Sister Weavers. It was just a simple few lines, but I'd been on the reservation and had watched the people weave. They had no written patterns. The poem went something like:Sister weavers, sitting in the shade, talking and weaving, but the rug is done already because she's designed it in her mind.

They had an oral tradition because a written language makes the oral tradition not only more powerful, but they're more skilled at it. I loved the creative writing classes that I taught.


I'll tell you how much that school meant to me. For two years after it closed, I had melancholy dreams about the school. I didn't drive around the campus for about three years. The first time I drove around the campus, I cried all the way. In some jobs when you come home at night, you ask yourself, “Have I done any good in the world today?” At Intermountain I knew I could make a difference every day.

Kathy

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

if we could just fix them up and mack them look nice we could keep them and tern them into like an old folks home or apartments how knows

Anonymous said...

This school provided opportunity to many. A home away from home. Invite others to post oral histories of what they experienced and how they grew from their experience here. Who they are today and how they attribute their life from this school

becky_smokey@yahoo.com said...

I have many fond memories of this school. I entered the school after it became an intertribal school. Intermountain High School offered opportunities, friendships, sports, cultural and language exchange, a dedicated staff of teachers and mentors. I would love to see stories added to the oral history of this school to share with the community so they would know how this school attributed to their successes.

becky_smokey@yahoo.com said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
becky_smokey@yahoo.com said...

I have traveled to Brigham and took pictures of what is left of the school. It is sad to see the buildings which provided home to many students. The campus store, recreational buildings, skating rink, rodeo, drafting, auditorium, swimming pool, boys&girls gymnasiums, the flagpole and many other buildings. I tried to remember my daily route to school. It was hard to do as many buildings are gone now.

becky_smokey@yahoo.com said...

I entered Intermountain High School in my freshman year. This was the best time of my life. It was exciting to meet students from many tribes and establish friendships. I remember meeting friends at the flagpole and walking around the campus at least 10 times each night. I often wonder if my friend became an engineer. He loved drafting and was well on his way to become someone who would contribute to this world. He stayed in the post high building and was a great student. He was also a swimmer. The first year he was like everyone else. The next year he was a cowboy. I believe he married his High School Sweetheart.

Evonne said...

My mother attended Intermountain High School. She always talks about it as the best time she had. Although she graduated from a different school, she has very fond memories of the school. I want to one day take her back to Brigham City to relive some memories.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I've learned more about Mr. Reeder from reading this than anything I have learned about him during my four years at Intermountain. Please continue recording oral histories about Intermountain. There are more stories like this one out there and Mr. Reeder, Thank you for sharing your life with us. You have made a difference.

Anonymous said...

I saw this site 2 days ago about the oral history of the school. Thank you. This school meant home to many students. I have contacted people where I live and some of them about this site and to spread the word. Pls look for Ada James Johnson, Sherry Johnson, Faye Mitchell, Judy James Murphy, Lloyd Wyatt, Harvey Mitchell, Jr., Colleen, Carmen, Lorraine Keller, Amanda Astor, and Violet Pete. I will look in the yearbook and contact other students.

Anonymous said...

man i couldnt believe the pix that i seen on the web site i do have a lot of nice memories and all the friends i made there my freshman year. alot of people from utah and south dakota and navajos... memories and names i will always keep now if i can name everyone and their faces...

jan pogoree said...

hey nice to know that there is a web site on this old school i was there back in 1980-1983 and had alot of nice memories and fun crazy times with everyone that i can recall. Kennth Northup, Pholhers brothers, Harriet Johnson, Tilden Arrates, so many i cant mention everyone. The disco hall and camping out and walking around and around the building each night..

Rebecca said...

This is wonderful! I'm planning on writing a dissertation on the Intermountain Indian School. Are you still collecting oral histories? I would love to be involved.

Rebecca Andersen

Tsosie said...

WOW...what a game that was that day. I still remember vividly how Hal paced the sidelines and the one game to win was against this team....EAGLES WIN!!!!

We had some awesome coaches, athletes, and teams...was a great school. Hal Reeder and O'dell Rice you are my heros...Thanks.

The Tin Bucket said...

I grew up in the Cache Valley and remember going past this school. It made me sad that kids were taken from their families. I never felt it was fair to the cultures. I do have some questions if someone is willing to answer them.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone out there that knows how to obtain school records from the 1950's from Intermountain Indian School. Please provide address or contact information.

Brigham City Carnegie Library said...

75.20.22 Records of the Intermountain Indian School, UT

Textual Records (in Denver): Student case files, 1953-71.

This found on

http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/075.html

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the National Archives.

Hope this helps.

chizhiione@yahoo.com said...

my mom went to this school. from '57 to '61. just a few mins ago i showed her pix online of the school now. she smiled and almost cried. although she was far from home at that time i know now she misses it. and had goodtimes there. she mentioned to me if her teacher was still alive. lol. elene hardy(her teacher) she says fondly.

Anonymous said...

I attended IHS during the 60's. The thing that I will always be thankful for was the household things that were instilled in us. How to make up a bed,keeping a clean room, a neat locker. These things made it a breeze in military bootcamp

Anonymous said...

Intermountain was the best indian boarding there was...my greatest memories of my high school years where fr there....I went there fr 1982 till it closed in 1984...I was on the drill team and I loved it....I miss that place so much!!

ken said...

Wow. So much history transpired in the 60's and I was there at IHS watching it pass by. IHS also has passed through history and it's no more. IHS has a permenant place in my heart. I was in Bldg. 63 where I met and learned the facts of life.

Anonymous said...

I come from AZ the metro area and I went to public schools and they do not compare to Intermountain. Becky hit on the nail about culture,friendship and so one. I granduated from Intermountain and now in the medical field. I love my job and I feel I owe Mrs. Pomyavich for everything. She was the one that gave me so much incouragement in my life. Bless her little heart. WOW as I am typing I see their is so many Individuals that are doing the same thing. NICE :) I don't think no one was forced to go to a boarding school maybe back in the day. But as for me I told my mom I want to come to Intermountain. I try and look for more pictures on line but it is a little hard. My my question to everyone. Does any one know how to get a year book? If so please let me know thanks...

ken said...

Intermountain was and is a bitter sweet memory.One person took me in hand at the critical moment of growing up. I will always be in her debt. She became a teacher of consequence. She began her career by sitting in a tree in her backyard and writing from her heart. Ciao.

nessasalt said...

who would know a guys the name of jackson gillis he went to school there like 1958 -1959? can any one tell how this person was like than?plz!

nessasalt said...

any one know this guy the name of jackson gillis, he went to school at intermouontian indian school in 1958-1959? what was he like back than? plz?..thanks

Tree Huskett said...

My name is Teresa Huskett "Tree" i attending IMS fr 79-83, was born n raised in brigham City. I dont see many names on this site but i want to invite you to contact me to be added to my email IMS listing. We recently held a rehnion for all year students n staff in March 2012 in Brigham. As we sat on the "I" (yes we hiked) we made a vow to have a final reunion in 2013 during Peach Days. So I want to invite you all to join us: students, staff, and family of... Please contact me at trebill265@yahoo.com. Hope to hear from you, take care....forever Eagles...

Anonymous said...

Forever fond lifetime memories at IMS. friendships campus shop, rec hall and dont forget care center :) Did not graduate but they let me back in lol best times of my life meeting all the family, friends (eagles.) kudos goes to Mr.Nessifer wanna be Menominee lol and Ms.Mona Begay. (art teacher) bless her heart.
- Inner Mountain Eagle Forever.
C.F '79-82'

Brigham City Carnegie Library said...

Photos from the Intermountain Indian School are online at http://digital.lib.usu.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/IndSchool

They'd love help identifying people and places in this photograph collection if you can take a few minutes to help. This way they can make the collection more searchable.

If you have information to add, look for the link next to the "What else do you know about this item?" under the description information.

Anonymous said...

The best school ever! Attended 1980-1984.Met the greatest people there! Very proud to have graduated at the end of the last school year! Go Eagles!Forever...

Tarzan&Jan said...

Great to read the posts on this site. I'm old enough to admit a tear or two leaks down my cheeks as I read these posts. I was a teacher, coach and administrator from 1962 to closing in 1984. I just had a phone call (2014) from the art teacher who was responsible for painting the eagle on the back of the auditorium. A year never goes by that I don't hear from someone I taught or knew. George Keams called me last year (2013) And our dear friend, Max Baty passed in Nov. 2013. Go Eagles, forever!!