Kern County Historical Society, Quarterly, June 1976, vol. 25, no. 2

The Indian School in Tejon Canyon

Early in 1921 the Kern County Superintendent of Schools opened the Indian School near a rancheria in Tejon Canyon. When trucks loaded with school supplies became stuck five miles short of the destination, the Indians, anxious lest there might be a delay in the opening of the school, used carts and ponies to deliver the supplies. Chief Juan R. Lozada, using an axe donated by Bakersfield merchants, cut a supply of wood for use at the teacherage. Four teachers taught successively at the Indian School during the twenty-seven years of existence of this one-room institution. The first was Margaret Coon who taught for one year, beginning in 1921, and then Anna B. Knowles taught until 1945. Virginia Minogue taught for one year, and her successor was Rowena Simpson, who came in 1946. In the late 1940s arrangements were made for the Indian children to attend a school at Arvin, in the hope that they might better learn "the language and habits" of the white children. With the approval of the Indian School board, this first step toward unionization with the Arvin schools was taken in the fall of 1948, and subsequently came the abandonment of the Indian School.