OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. —  U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) and Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland (Bay Mills Indian Community) will visit the Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Okla. on Saturday, July 9, 2022 at 10 a.m.

Riverside Indian School, now operated by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), is home to some 800 Native students. What once was a place for cultural assimilation and colonization, is now a place for Native students, who represent over 75 different U.S. tribes, to engage in culture and spirituality while receiving an education. 

The Riverside Indian School is Deb Haaland’s first stop on the Department of Interior’s “Road to Healing Tour” that was announced on May 11, with the release of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report. Haaland and Newland will be conducting listening sessions to hear from the survivors of boarding schools.  

Other Road to Healing Tour visits will include sites in Hawai’i, Michigan, Arizona, and South Dakota during 2022. More states will be announced for the tour for 2023. 

“We appreciate Secretary Deb Haaland and the U.S. Department of the Interior for taking on this very important project. We also thank the many partners, tribal nations, individuals and families that have participated and shared their story so far. May we continue to build on this initiative so that we can learn and offer healing to those affected,” said Governor of the Chickasaw Nation based in Ada, Oklahoma, Bill Anoatubby in a Facebook Post


Riverside Indian School first opened in 1871 and is one of the oldest federally operated boarding schools in the United States. Initially, it was organized by Quaker missionaries and opened under the name Wichita-Caddo School. In 1878-1879 the school was renamed the Riverside Indian School. 

The school resides on the same land the school was founded on–more than 135 acres, located on Wichita, Caddo and Delaware (WCD) land. The only thing that still remains from the original school is a graveyard that sits atop a hill. Due to lack of proper record keeping, the number of children buried there is still unclear.

There was no mention of Riverside Indian School included in Volume 1 of the Federal Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report. 

Present Day

Today, the school is the oldest and largest off-reservation boarding school. They offer education for grades 4th through 12th. Five different dormitories are located on the campus, two of which opened in 2014 and 2015. Riverside Indian School houses students for nine months out of the year.  

There is a large emphasis on athletics, the school’s mascot is the Braves. The school offers a chance for high school students to participate in Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Track and Cross Country.

Native News is free to read.

We hope you enjoyed the story you've just read. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps.  Most readers donate between $10 and $25 to help us cover the costs of salaries, travel and maintaining our digital platforms. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to join the Founder's Circle. All donations help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.