When I prepared my midtown Phoenix history lecture last year, A Brief History of Midtown Phoenix, one of the things that I wanted to do was to learn more about the full history of the Phoenix Indian School, which most Phoenicians know only as a giant park in the middle of Phoenix with a dog park and where they launch fireworks on July 4. With a few exceptions, most contemporary history books of Phoenix and its urban history tend to gloss over the site.
I should mention that I don’t intend this to be the last word in scholarship on the site. There are many more people who have reported on the history of not only the Phoenix Indian School but the issues with Indian schools nationwide. The point of this essay is to contribute to a dialogue that should be had about the challenges that this site has, especially in the broader contexts of the urban Phoenix moment and the cultural conversations happening about how we memorialize our history and interact with public space. Continue reading “Steele Indian School Park”