School History

The St. Bonaventure Indian Mission preschool opened in 1980. By 1986, the school had expanded to include preschool through grade 12. The elementary school was accredited in 1985, and the high school in 1987. During this time, scholarship programs were also implemented which assured that Native American children could attend St. Bonaventure School free of charge.

Sr. Natalie Bussiere came on board as principal in 1992 and by 1999, a new campus building was dedicated to house an expanded library and the addition of a computer laboratory. Thanks to generous donors, a new dining hall and kitchen facilities were constructed and opened in 2000 and the former dining hall was converted into a gymnasium.

In 2001, the Board of Trustees made the difficult decision to scale the high school academic program back and continue instruction in preschool through grade 8. Because of historically high drop out rates among Diné children attending public school -- 40 percent before the 8th grade -- the Board of Trustees concurrently created a scholarship program for 8th grade graduates of St. Bonaventure to attend Gallup Catholic High School.

In 2002, construction began on a new preschool which was dedicated during the first preschool graduation in May 2003. Three new classroom buildings were added to house grades 2, 3 and 4, replacing older, unsafe structures.

Currently, St. Bonaventure School has an enrollment of more than 200 students in preschool through grade 8. In 2007, all of our 8th-grade graduates went on to enroll in local high schools.


St. Bonaventure Indian School is a private, Catholic school located at the southeastern edge of the Navajo Nation in Thoreau, NM. The school is one of the ministries of St. Bonaventure Indian Mission which serves the Diné of the area.

Contact Us

St. Bonaventure Indian Mission & School is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization registered in the U.S. under 85-0326009.

25 Navarre Blvd W , Thoreau, NM 87323