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1971: The Lawsuit

Perhaps spurred by Brightman's visit, six students in the National Indian Youth Council IIS Chapter filed suit against school administrators and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Their complaint presented seven causes of action. The first six were directed to the proposition that Intermountain School should be eliminated as a Navajo school and replaced with adequate school facilities on the reservation. The seventh was an attack on a "variety of school policies and practices which are illegal," which included:

   • use of thorazine on intoxicated students
   • censorship - personal packages and letters were opened; money taken
   • undue religious influence
   • no disciplinary action for employees who shaved students heads, physically abused them, or used “racially abusive language”
   • sexual advances had been made toward Navajo dental assistants
   • the school had been established to supply an occupant for Bushnell and to provide jobs
   • the goal was to “facilitate the destruction and replacement of the Navajo cultural heritage.”
   • students received an inferior education
   • students aged between 13 and 23 housed together
   • racial segregation