Truxton Canyon Training School – Valentine, Arizona - Atlas Obscura

Truxton Canyon Training School

Valentine, Arizona

The remains of a boarding school designed to forcibly assimilate Native American children.  

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Alongside a preserved section of the historic Route 66 sits an abandoned, fenced off red brick building. Constructed in 1903, the building is what’s left of the Truxton Canyon Training School, a school that belonged to the Office of Indian Affairs and was designed to sever Native American children’s’ connections to their culture.

Children lived in boarding rooms at the school, kept away from their families, and were spoken to exclusively in English. In addition to classes in reading, math, history, and other usual school subjects, children were given instructions on what to wear, how to do household chores, and given work skills that were more in line with Euroamerican industrial culture.

The Office of Indian Affairs hoped that preventing Native children from growing up in their culture and using their language would force them to live in a manner the United States government preferred. It would also prevent them from passing on their heritage to future generations.

The Truxton Canyon Training School primarily targeted children of the Hualapai tribe but also housed Apache, Havasupai, Hopi, Navajo, Tohono O’odham, Pima, and Yavapai children. The school operated from 1903 until it finally closed in 1937. The schoolhouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Today, the Hualapai tribe owns the building and has plans to renovate and reopen it as a community center.