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Undefeated since 1941: A History of Gonzaga Football: Case 7: The Haskell Indian Institute and Congress

Case 7: The Haskell Indian Institute and Congress

Gonzaga played the Haskell Indian Institute on October 31st, 1925, an event in which Spokane became known as the progressive city of the West. With the help of railroad officials who provided transportation for them, Indian tribes from all over the country including the Yakima, Nez Perce, Puyallup, Blackfoot, and Sioux, traveled to Spokane to cheer on their native people. The event was so monumental, that president Calvin Coolidge was made aware of it, though he could not make it out to Spokane due to previous commitments. When the 5,000 natives arrived in Spokane, they set up camp by the Spokane River. On game day, they showed up in full tribal regalia and watched proudly as their team took the victory. The Haskell Indian Institute defeated Gonzaga 10-9. The Indian Congress held two days of meetings on topics such as Indian schools, Indian equality before the law, and problems of law and order on Indian reservations.

Northwest Indian Congress Program, October 30, 31, 1925

After planning for several months, the city of Spokane successfully set up the Indian Congress to welcome the tribes to Spokane. To kick off the Congress, there was a Halloween parade with floats, bands, and marchers that went down Main Avenue downtown. There was a well-baby clinic that provided free healthcare for native babies, as well as money for the winner of prettiest native baby contest. Young Indian women competed in a beauty contest at which the winner was crowned at half time of the football game. Men participated in athletic contests on the field and took part in football rallies on the streets of Spokane. On Sunday, November 1st,  mass was held in three different native dialects at St. Aloysius Church. 

Northwest Indian Congress Committee Member Ribbons, 1925

Haskell Indian Institute Game, 1925

The football stadium filled with classmates, parents, and fans as Gonzaga took on the Haskell Fighting Indians football team. The photograph depicts two players from the Haskell Indians football team in possession of the football while Gonzaga resets for a new play.

Haskell Indian Game Paddle Souvenir, 1925

Halloween Parade Entries, 1925

Most of Spokane’s businesses had floats in the parade, as did Lewis and Clark High School, North Central High School, and Whitworth College. The floats were divided into two categories, historical and Halloween themed. The historical floats were made up of Indians, Settlers, and Soldiers to portray the early history of Spokane County. The Halloween floats celebrated the holiday. The parade began at Main and Bernard Streets and ended at Madison and Sprague Streets.

“Haskell Scores! Smiles Cover Indians Faces”, 1925

This newspaper clipping shows the native people dressed in full regalia during the game. They are smiling with pride for their team had just scored.

“These Gonzaga Palefaces Will Try to Scalp Haskell Redskins” Spokesman-Review, October 27, 1925

 In numbered order, 1- Lenus Luce: fullback, 2- Hugh Fraser: end, 3- John Hunton: fullback, 4- Paul Lynch: quarterback, 5- Raymond Flaherty: captain and end, 6- Arthur Dussault: center, 7- Hector Cyre: tackle, 8- Frances Walterskirchen: guard, 9- John McKenzie: halfback, 10- Melvin Ingram: halfback, 11- Ellis: tackle, 12- Horton Gray: center, 13- Francis McCormick: guard, 14- Matthew Bross: halfback.

Headline in the Spokesman Review shows the faces of the team that took on the Haskell Indian Institute.

“Haskell Football Invaders Are Welcomed to Spokane by North Central Band and Committee of Citizens” Spokane Daily Chronicle, October 26, 1925

The natives received a warm welcome to Spokane and were accompanied into the city by the North Central marching band and excited community members. Their arrival received front-page news in the local newspaper.

“Indian Beauties Win Awards”, Spokane Daily Chronicle, 1925

Miss Alice Garry of the Spokane tribe and winner of the beauty contest, was crowned “Princess America” during the halftime show of the Gonzaga-Haskell Indian Institute game. Miss Jeanette Little-Dog (member of the Blackfoot tribe) came in second place, and Miss Liza Cawapoo (member of the Umatilla tribe) won third place.

“Indian Village Rises Below the Falls”, Spokesman-Review, October 30, 1925

The natives set up camp on Glover field right below the Spokane Civic Center. This photograph shows the tepees set up, with native people gathered in groups and the Monroe Street Bridge in the background. The natives were provided water, fuel, sanitation, a commissary, and telephone connection. 

“When Gonzaga’s Chance for Tie Went Glimmering” Spokane Daily Chronicle, November 2, 1925

This photograph captures the moment Captain Flaherty went for the extra point after touchdown. The ball hit the corner of the goal, and bounced back on to the field. Because the kick did not go through, the Haskell Indian Institute won 10-9.

“How the Gonzaga-Haskell Game in the New Stadium Looked from the Air”, Spokesman-Review, November 8, 1925

Photograph taken by Arthur Stimson from a plane piloted by Frank Kammer just before kickoff. Desmet Residence Hall can be seen at the top of the field as well as lines of cars parked where the Crosby building stands today.