Museum Memories

The history of formal schooling in Alaska is really two stories. One covers the origins and development of schools for those – mostly Euro-Americans – who have immigrated into the country during the last 250 years. The other story is about the education and institutions for the Native population of Alaska. These stories intertwine in Cordova.

In Cordova, during this early time period, a Native school was created in a converted apartment house across from the ballpark. It had living quarters at each end of a large room used for school purposes. Myra McDonald was the first Bureau of Indian Affairs teacher in Cordova. She and her fellow teacher Margaret Harper O’Farrel, had about 30 pupils. The younger children were taught at one end of the room and the older ones in the other end.

By 1927 a new Bureau of Indian Affairs school was built in Eyak or the Old Town area. In the new school there were two rooms. Myra McDonald taught there until 1932.

This photo came from the archives and collections of the Cordova Historical Society.