In, 1871, Jonathan Richards, the first Reservation Agent, with A.J. Standing, organized the first school at the Old Wichita Indian Agency Commissary. After much bribing, only eight students wearing traditional clothing, moccasins and braids laid the foundation for Riverside Indian School.

The following year more space was needed to accommodate students. A new building was erected to accommodate a small force of employees and about forty students. The school was then known as the Wichita-Caddo School, located at the foot of a large hill one mile east of the present school site. A fire, resulting in the tragic loss of one life, occurred in 1878. The school was then re-established at the present location. In 1893, the capacity of the institution was sixty students with only Wichita, Caddo and Delaware tribes represented.

In the fall of 1922, Kiowa tribal students began attending with the abolishment of the Rainy Mountain Indian School. With the influx of other tribes the government allotted more money to fiance the school.

In 1929, new buildings were constructed accommodating one hundred-fifty-five boys, marking a new era for Riverside.

New buildings, modern and fully equipped took the place of the original buildings. In 1935, the gymnasium was completed. The southern section of the present day school building was built in 1937. Seven cottage dormtories were completed in 1941 and are still in use today.

In 1945, the Navajo Tribe located in the Southwest began attending Riverside.