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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Mr. McGregor, principal, (left) and Mr. Wolf (right) with male students at the Rainy Mountain Boarding School, postcard ca. 1910–18
(7827, Oklahoma Historical Society Photograph Collection, OHS).

Fourth- through sixth-grade classroom, commissary, barn, and boys' dormitory at the Rainy Mountain Boarding School
(7824, Mrs. W. E. Van Cleve Collection , OHS).


When the Rainy Mountain Boarding School opened on September 5, 1893, south of Gotebo at the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation, officials hailed it as an example of the power of education to assimilate Indians. A typical reservation boarding school, it offered Kiowa children a common-school education through the sixth grade based on a curriculum divided between academic instruction and practical skills. For girls, this meant training in domestic arts; for boys, it meant working in the school's various farming and industrial departments. The Kiowa generally supported the school, and by the turn of the twentieth century annual enrollment averaged 130, a number that exceeded the school's capacity.

A very small number of Rainy Mountain students continued to receive education at off-reservation boarding schools such as Carlisle and Phoenix, but for most students, Rainy Mountain was their only formal education. A well-organized petition drive by the Kiowa could not prevent the school's closing in June 1920 after the campus had fallen into disrepair and the government scaled back federal Indian education programs.

Clyde Ellis


Clyde Ellis, "'A Remedy For Barbarism': Indian Schools, The Civilizing Program, and the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation, 1871–1915," American Indian Culture and Research Journal 18 (No. 3, 1994).

Clyde Ellis, "Boarding School Life at the Kiowa-Comanche Agency, 1893–1920," Historian 58 (Summer 1996).

Clyde Ellis, "'There Are So Many Things Needed': Establishing The Rainy Mountain Boarding School, 1891–1900," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 72 (Winter 1995).

Clyde Ellis, To Change Them Forever: Indian Education at the Rainy Mountain Boarding School, 1893–1920 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996).

Sally McBeth, "Indian Boarding Schools and Ethnic Identity: An Example From the Southern Plains Tribes of Oklahoma," Plains Anthropologist 28 (May 1983).

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The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Clyde Ellis, “Rainy Mountain Boarding School,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=RA005.

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