Restoration of Stewart Indian Cemetery monument celebrated on Memorial Day
First Nation's Focus
Supporters of the efforts to revitalize the monument and flagpole at the Stewart Indian Cemetery in Carson City gathered Monday during an annual Memorial Day ceremony to celebrate the project’s completion.
Business owner Ed Byrne of Ed’s Doghouse Sports Lounge and friend Wally Ilzcyszyn had attended previous services at the cemetery.
They led the effort this to collect about $3,000 from business patrons, along with contributions from Rupert’s Auto Body and customers of the Lounge, to restore the stone pillar monument and provide new hardware and rope for the flagpole. Ed’s Dog House provided much of the base.
“It needed a facelift,” Byrne said, adding that the monument will receive some final touches. “…We’ll give it a nicer shine to protect it from the environment. We’ll try to make it stay like this for quite a long time.”
The pillar originally was established to honor local veterans but has deteriorated with age and weather.
James Chandler, a retired stone worker in Carson City, who labored through the area’s recent stormy weather to ensure the new monument would be completed on time for Monday, focused on replacing the central stone elements and remounting and reframing the original plaque. He placed a canopy above the structure to keep it dry in the rain as he worked late into the evenings to finish it on time.
Stewart Community vice chairman Darrel Kizer (Washoe Tribe) said not even Nevada’s unpredictable climate would deter them from finishing, noting they would stay until nearly midnight working.
“They were on the clock to get this thing done,” Kizer said Monday.
Don Tucker also refurbished the pole and laid the stone patio, and former Western Nevada Agency superintendent Bob Hunter and Kizer also contributed to the project.
A new flag was raised on the pole by local Native American veterans to honor those who have been interred in the cemetery, and participants performed the national anthem and spent a few moments in prayer and remembrance.
Other participating organizations in Monday’s ceremony included the Marine Corps League Silver State Detachment 630 and members of Carson High School’s Naval Junior ROTC presented the colors.
Commandant Gary Armstrong of the MCL Silver State Detachment gave a few words honoring military members killed in action at the presentation, which, Armstrong noted, has occurred annually for 36 years now.
“This day is set aside to remember the dedication and patriotism of those who have departed and to honor their military service,” Armstrong said. “It is a yearly occasion where we can come together to recognize their sacrifices and to never forget their valor.”
With the Nevada Indian Commission’s offices located on the Stewart Indian School campus, Stacey Montooth is reminded every day of the culture and lands she is working to preserve and the welfare of her people she is striving to improve.