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U.S. Government Indian School

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1905. 381 First Ave.

The U.S. government built this school for Indians as part of the segregated educational system in Alaska. The U.S. government provided education for Natives until the 1980s, whereas schools for non-Natives were funded by the locality or territory. The responsibility for Native education shifted from the U.S. Bureau of Education to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1931.

Measuring 71 feet by 30 feet, this two-story building, which is larger than any private residential building in town, has large double and triple windows that further distinguish it as a school. Colonial Revival in design, the school has gable dormers and cornice returns on the gable ends. A small gable-roofed enclosed projection on the front (similar to one still extant on the end) contained the main doorway; this has been removed and the door converted to a window. Asphalt siding has been applied over the original beveled siding and the foundation covered with metal. The use of the Colonial Revival style—an unmistakably American style, although one rooted in the eastern United States—was a deliberate statement about the American education that was offered inside. The school was closed in 1947, and the city now uses the building for social service agencies.

Writing Credits

Alison K. Hoagland


What's Nearby


Alison K. Hoagland, "U.S. Government Indian School", [Haines, Alaska], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Alaska, Alison K. Hoagland. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 167-167.

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