Steele Indian School Park

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Steele Indian School Park
Phoenix-Indian School-Steele Indian School Park.JPG
Steele Indian School Park entrance
Location Encanto Village, Phoenix, Arizona
Coordinates 33°29′52.0116″N112°4′11.0316″W / 33.497781000°N 112.069731000°W / 33.497781000; -112.069731000 Coordinates: 33°29′52.0116″N112°4′11.0316″W / 33.497781000°N 112.069731000°W / 33.497781000; -112.069731000
Created2001 (2001)
Public transit access Indian School Road and Central Avenue

Steele Indian School Park is located on the northeast corner of Indian School Road and Central Avenue in Encanto Village, Phoenix, Arizona. [1]

Central Avenue Corridor human settlement in Phoenix, Arizona, United States of America

The Central Avenue Corridor is a significant stretch of north-south Central Avenue, in Phoenix, Arizona. Roughly bounded by Camelback Road to its north, and McDowell Road to its south, this is one of Phoenix's most vital and heavily trafficked stretches of roadway. It is also one of the region's largest centers of employment, with nearly 60,000 people being employed within a three-mile (5 km) radius of this swath of Central Avenue. Major employers here include major banks and financial institutions, hi-tech companies, and several significant law firms and government agencies.

Encanto, Phoenix Place in Arizona, United States

Encanto Village is one of the 15 Urban villages that make up the City of Phoenix, in Arizona. The village includes the city's midtown and uptown districts, as well as the popular Encanto neighborhood, its namesake. In 2010, Encanto had a population of 54,614 residents.

Phoenix, Arizona State capital city of Arizona, United States

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city in Arizona, with 1,660,272 people. It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.



Indian School Road, on which the former Phoenix Indian School and the current Steele Indian School Park are located, is a major east/west arterial street connecting Central Phoenix and its western suburbs, such as Avondale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, and Buckeye. To the east the street connects with Scottsdale (especially its downtown business, entertainment/nightclub and "Old Town" cultural and tourist district) and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Avondale, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Avondale is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, adjacent to Phoenix. According to the 2017 U.S. Census estimates, the population of the city is 84,025.

Goodyear, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Goodyear is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is a suburb of Phoenix and at the 2010 census had a population of 65,275, the third fastest-growing city in Arizona between 1990 and 2000. The 2017 population estimate was 79,858.

Litchfield Park, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Litchfield Park is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is twenty miles northwest of Phoenix. According to the U.S. Census, the population of the city was to be 5,476 as of 2010.


Phoenix Indian School

The park is on the site of the Phoenix Indian School, one of several boarding schools owned and operated by the U.S. government, designed in the late 19th century to socialize and assimilate Native Americans into the dominant Euro-American socio-cultural system. These schools became controversial in later decades for the alleged mistreatment of their students, as well as the suppression and prohibition of the students' indigenous culture and languages.

Phoenix Indian School United States historic place

The Phoenix Indian School, or Phoenix Indian High School in its later years, was a Bureau of Indian Affairs-operated school in Encanto Village, in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona. It served lower grades also from 1891 to 1935, and then served as a high school thereafter. It opened in 1891 and closed in 1990 at the orders of the federal government. During its existence, it was the only non-reservation BIA school in Arizona.

American Indian boarding schools Residential schools established to assimilate Native American children into a white American society

Native American boarding schools, also known as Indian Residential Schools were established in the United States during the late 19th and mid 20th centuries with a primary objective of assimilating Native American children and youth into Euro-American culture, while at the same time providing a basic education in Euro-American subject matters. These boarding schools were first established by Christian missionaries of various denominations, who often started schools on reservations, especially in the lightly populated areas of the West. The government paid religious orders to provide basic education to Native American children on reservations. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the last residential schools closing as late as 1973. the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) founded additional boarding schools based on the assimilation model of the off-reservation Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

Native Americans in the United States Indigenous peoples of the United States (except Hawaii)

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii and territories of the United States. More than 570 federally recognized tribes live within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaskan Natives, while "Native Americans" are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. The US Census does not include Native Hawaiians or Chamorro, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".

The Phoenix school began operations on the site in 1892. In the late 1980s it was declared unnecessary as most Native students attended schools either in the general community, or on their own reservations, by this time; also, the land on which the school was built, now part of a busy commercial district in Central Phoenix, was much too financially valuable by this time to justify the school's continued operation. [2] After the school shut down for good in 1990, the buildings and grounds sat vacant for a few years.

Park history

The city of Phoenix obtained the land in 1996 through an intricate three-way land exchange involving the Florida-based Barron Collier Company and the federal government (the Bank of America Tower was built in the late 1990s in downtown Phoenix by a partnership between Barron Collier Company and Opus West Corporation on land acquired in the exchange). At the time, Barron Collier Company also established a $35 million trust fund for the education of Native children in Arizona. The park is named after Horace C. Steele, a local businessman and philanthropist; his charitable foundation donated $2.5 million to start development of the park. The park opened in late 2001. [3]

Bank of America Tower (Phoenix) highrise in downtown Phoenix, Arizona

The Bank of America Tower is a highrise in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The tower is the centerpiece of the Collier Center, a multi-use office and entertainment complex. The tower was completed in 2000 and serves as the state headquarters for Bank of America. It rises 360 feet, topping out at 23 floors. It was designed in the postmodern style by Opus Architects and Engineers.

The Phoenix Indian School Preservation Coalition, co-chaired by Jean Chaudhuri and Lenny Foster, gathered support from 18 of 21 tribes in Arizona for the specific purpose of encouraging certain design features in the development of the park. Jean, along with John Lewis (Inter-tribal President), Arlo Nau (President - Native American Heritage Society), Tom Amiotte (President - Native American Viet Nam Veterans) presented their concepts and ideas to Mayor Paul Johnson a members of his staff in early 1991. This group was active in every public meeting regarding the development of the property, supporting the inclusion of cultural and historical significance in the site plan. No mention of the group or its efforts appeared in the public media or final documentation of the story of how the park was developed. Jean passed in 1998. The park opened in November 2001.

In 2007, the park was the site of a nationally-covered accident involving two television news helicopters that killed the occupants of both aircraft. [4]

Park features

The park and its ponds are open 364 days a year. It is served by the Central at Indian School station on the METRO Light Rail system.

The Phoenix Indian School buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places and are being restored and renovated. Alumni of the school want to use several buildings as museum for documenting the school's history, and for a Native American cultural center. [5]


The park is the site of a Native American arts and crafts fair and exhibition, organized by the Pueblo Grande Museum and the Arizona Indian Festival. [1] [6]

Every April Phoenix Pride hosts a Gay pride festival in the park, near the V.A hospital. The city of Phoenix has held its annual Fourth of July fireworks display at the park for several years.

Historic buildings

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  1. 1 2 Insiders' Guide to Phoenix, pg. 209
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2008-02-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Ariz. reporters cover their own tragedy
  6. Arizona Indian Festival