Cloud Elementary School

1212 W 25th St N, Wichita, KS 67204

Cloud Elementary was built in 1954. The school is named for Henry Roe Cloud, a full-blooded Winnebago Indian who’s original name was Wo-Na-Xi-Lay-Hunka. He was born in a wigwam on December 28, 1884 in what is now Winnebago, Nebraska.  His parents died in 1896 and 1897 leaving him an orphan.

Henry Roe Cloud
Courtesy: Yale University

In 1901 Cloud moved to a private prep school known then as Mount Hermon Preparatory School.  He paid his way through a work study program at the school.  He graduated in 1906 as a salutatorian.

He went on to Yale, becoming the first full-blood Native American to attend the prestigious school. He graduated with honors completing three degrees including a bachelor of arts in psychology and philosophy.

While at Yale, Cloud attended a lecture by Mary Wickham Roe, a prominent family involved in evangelical Christian mission work. He became friends with her and her husband, Rev. Dr. Walter Roe. The couple eventually adopted him, and he took their name as his middle name.

Cloud and his adopted parents, Rev. Walter Clark and Mary Wickham Roe

He earned a bachelor of Divinity and became a Presbyterian minister in 1913.  

In 1915, he founded the American Indian Institute at 4000 East 21st Street in Wichita. 

Henry Roe Cloud
Courtesy: U.S. Library of Congress

In the 1920’s he advocated for under-educated Indians to go to college. He would later Co-author the Merriam Report on “The Problem of Indian Administration” which led to major reforms in the way Native American reservations were run. 

In 1947, he moved to Oregon, where he served as superintendent of the Umatilla Indian Agency then, a year later, became regional representative for the Grande Ronde and Siletz Indian Agencies in Oregon. 

In 1931, he was assigned to the position of Field Representative of Indian Affairs for the entire nation. 

In 1932 Cloud went back to school and graduated from Emporia College with a Doctorate of Divinity.

In 1933 he became superintendent of what is now known as Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS.

Cloud died of a heart attack in Siletz, Oregon on February 9, 1950. He was buried in Beaverton, Oregon. 


Dr. Cloud’s wife, Elizabeth spoke at the dedication of Cloud Elementary.  The building served the neighborhood for years until Waco, Finn, and Cloud were merged into one school. 

Elizabeth Bender Roe Cloud
Ownership Unknown

A new school building, still bearing his name, was completed in 1974 and an addition was built in 1997.

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