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1970-1979: Turmoil

Amongst the general upheaval of the 1970s, Intermountain was no exception. Riots, civil rights activism, and a lawsuit lead to discussions of closure and a decline in attendance that lead to the decision to make the school intertribal.

Started in 1968, the American Indian Movement (AIM) was an organization dedicated to civil rights activisim for Native Americans. Lehman Brightman, a U.C. Berkeley professor, was a leader in AIM and made a short visit to the Intermountain School in 1971 . During the six hours he was there he made a list of problems at the school.

Problems included: 
• recreation activities cost money
• the library was closed weekends and nights 
• little or no homework was given
• meals were terrible
• dormitory conditions were run down, dirty, and overcrowded  
• there were few Indian teachers or staff 
• students were graded on attitude rather than work 
• students were required to select a Christian religion; Brightman felt Mormons had undue influence
• there was a drinking problem, which was addressed through students being handcuffed, having their heads shaved, or being given thorazine

 Thorazine:
A conventional antipsychotic used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia; other psychotic disorders; bipolar disorder; and severe behavior problems such as
explosive, aggressive behavior and hyperactivity in children. Use of alcohol can worsen side effects.

“During the six hour visit, we dined with the students . . . they do not serve coffee at any meal, while the food itself was miserably drab and tasteless, which matched and confirmed the description the students had given.”
- Lehman L. Brightman, 1971

1970-1979: Turmoil