Carlisle Indian Industrial School
Carlisle Indian School
Native American pupils at Carlisle Indian School, c. 1900.
|Area:||24.5 acres (9.9 ha)|
|Architectural style:||Colonial Revival|
|Governing body:||United States Army|
|Added to NRHP:||October 15, 1966|
|Designated NHL:||July 4, 1961|
Carlisle Indian Industrial School (1879–1918) was an Indian boarding school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1879 by Captain Richard Henry Pratt, the school was the first off-reservation boarding school, and it became a model for Indian boarding schools in other locations. It was one of a series of 19th-century efforts by the United States government to assimilate over 1000 Native American children from 39 tribes into the majority culture. The goal of total assimilation can be summed up in the school's slogan: "To civilize the Indian, get him into civilization. To keep him civilized, let him stay."
The late 19th century was also a period of continued expansion of public education across the country, with the Reconstruction era legislatures having created public school systems in the South for the first time, and new northern towns' founding schools to keep up with the settlement of the Midwest and West, as well as expanding immigrant populations in industrial cities.
In the early years of the 20th century, Coach Pop Warner led a highly successful football team and athletic program at the Carlisle School, and went on to create other successful collegiate programs. He coached the exceptional athlete Jim Thorpe and his teammates, bringing national recognition to the small school. In 1912 Carlisle won the national collegiate championship.
After the school closed in 1918, the United States Army took back Carlisle Barracks and used the facility as a hospital to treat soldiers wounded in World War I. Later it established the War College there.
In 1961 the complex was designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL). In later decades the school was re-evaluated by historians and analysts in terms of the psychological damage done to Native American children by assimilation efforts, as well as documented cases of abuse. The school was also recognized for its ideals. In 2000 the former school was the site of a historical commemoration for its Native American students and the full history of the experience.
From the earliest years of the republic, United States leaders struggled with the issues of integrating Native Americans into the European-based society, which they believed was superior and bound to dominate, especially with increasing immigration. Some leaders also hoped to protect the indigenous peoples and their distinct cultures. In the late 18th century, reformers, starting with George Washington and Henry Knox, supported educating native children, in efforts to "civilize" or otherwise assimilate Native Americans into the European-American society. The Civilization Fund Act of 1819 promoted such policy by providing funding to societies (mostly religious) who worked on Native American improvement. Washington and Knox believed that Native Americans were equals but that their societies were inferior. Washington had a six-point plan for civilization which included,
- impartial justice toward Native Americans;
- regulated buying of Native American lands;
- promotion of commerce;
- promotion of experiments to civilize or improve Native American society;
- presidential authority to give presents; and
- punishing those who violated Native American rights.
How different would be the sensation of a philosophic mind to reflect that instead of exterminating a part of the human race by our modes of population that we had persevered through all difficulties and at last had imparted our Knowledge of cultivating and the arts, to the Aboriginals of the Country by which the source of future life and happiness had been preserved and extended. But it has been conceived to be impracticable to civilize the Indians of North America — This opinion is probably more convenient than just.—Henry Knox to George Washington, 1790s.
The historian Robert Remini wrote that Native Americans were encouraged to think that "once the Indians adopted the practice of private property, built homes, farmed, educated their children, and embraced Christianity, these Native Americans would win acceptance from white Americans." The United States appointed agents, such as Benjamin Hawkins, to live among the Native Americans and to teach them how to live like European Americans.
After the American Civil War and Indian Wars ended in the late 19th century, the government encouraged schools on the reservations, as well as expanded missionary activity. The schools on and near reservations were often run primarily by or affiliated with Christian missionaries. They often believed that children had to accept the Christian religion and struggled to suppress traditional ways. At this time United States society thought that Native American children needed to be acculturated to the general society to help them get ahead and have opportunities in the larger world.
Richard Henry Pratt 
Richard Pratt had served in the Civil War. After the war, Lt. Pratt led the 10th Cavalry Regiment, who became known as Buffalo Soldiers, in the southern plains of the United States. One of Pratt's jobs was to command Native Americans who were enlisted scouts for the 10th Cavalry. In 1875, Pratt transported a small group of 72 Indian prisoners, to Fort Marion, an old Spanish fort in St. Augustine, Florida. The prisoners had been captured in the Indian Territory at the close of the Red River War.
At Fort Marion, Pratt immediately set about improving physical conditions for the Indians. He soon set up an Indian self-guarding system and worked in other ways to help them preserve their dignity. The prisoners became the center of interest by northerners wintering at St. Augustine. They encouraged Pratt in his plans for education, and several participated as volunteer teachers. Some were teachers or had missionary backgrounds. Pratt believed language was critical and that it was easier for Indians to learn English, than for Americans to learn the great variety of Indian languages. He organized volunteers to teach the Indian prisoners language, religion, and customs as a form of cultural assimilation to prepare them for life after release.
When the prisoners were freed in 1878, Pratt encouraged them to seek more education. Seventeen went to Hampton University, a historically black college established soon after the Civil War for freedmen. Others were educated at private colleges in New York state. All funds for their education were raised by private benefactors. Based on their apparent success, Pratt and others thought such education could be useful for other American Indians, especially children.
Pratt believed a model similar to Hampton Institute would be useful for educating Indians, and worked to gain support for that purpose. The "industrial school", which included trade and farm skills, was seen as more practical for mass education than the classical academic college, which only a small percentage of students attended. US Senator George H. Pendleton, whose wife had befriended one of the prisoners and supported his education in Syracuse, New York, pushed a bill through Congress to establish a school for American Indians.
Carlisle Indian Industrial School 
The federal government authorized Pratt to use the Carlisle Barracks in central Pennsylvania as the site for the school. The first students came from the Lakota tribe. "Pratt saw his education program with the Native Americans as analogous to his domestication of wild turkeys.". He was said to have taken a nest of wild turkey eggs to be mothered by his barnyard hen, and the fledglings became as assimilated as his best domesticated turkeys. They only needed, in Pratt's words, “the environment and kind treatment of domestic civilized life to become a very part of it." Pratt believed that the Native Americans should be uprooted from their tribal past to “achieve full participation.” In practice, this meant erasing, as much as possible, any trace of Native American customs, culture, language and religion from the children at the school. “In considering the Carlisle Indian Industrial School as an institution of education, normalization, and improvement, it is important to view it not by itself but in relation to larger boarding-school discourse in the United States in the nineteenth century."
Pratt’s mission at Carlisle was based on the “annihilation of the Indian and his salvation as an American citizen,” the former being a prerequisite of the latter. His often-quoted solution, “Kill the Indian in him, and save the man,” provided the philosophical foundation of his program.
Student recruitment 
Pratt persuaded tribal elders and chiefs that the reason the washichu (Lakota word for white man) had been able to take their land was because the Indians were uneducated. He believed that the Natives were disadvantaged by being unable to speak and write English and that if they had the knowledge, they may have been able to protect themselves. Many of the first children to be sent to Carlisle were sent voluntarily by tribal families. Descendants of Spotted Tail and Red Cloud were among the first sent to the Carlisle School.
As the decades passed, enrollment at the Carlisle School increased, with up to 1,000 students a year. The older students used their skills to help build new classrooms and dorm buildings.
As more schools were developed across the country, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) put pressure on Indian families to send their children to the boarding schools. To save their children from capture, some parents taught their children a hiding “game” to be used when BIA officers arrived. The Hopi nation surrendered groups of their men to prison sentences in Alcatraz rather than send their children to the schools.
The curriculum included subjects such as English, math, history, drawing and composition. Carlisle students produced a variety of weekly and monthly newspapers and other publications that were considered part of their "industrial training," or preparing for work in the larger economy. These featured their artwork and writing. Angel DeCora (Ho-Chunk) was a Native American art teacher, who fostered cultural pride in her students. After many years of a program emphasizing assimilation into mainstream culture, Carlisle allowed Angel DeCora to teach students about Native American art and the students' tribal cultures.
Music was a part of the program, and many students studied instruments. After some time, the Carlisle School developed a band, which performed locally. The band was invited to perform in every national presidential inaugural celebration until the school closed.
Students also learned trade and work skills, such as artisan and domestic crafts, which were considered useful at the time. They were taught Christianity and expected to attend church, but had their choice among those in town. The school also had an outing program where the Indian children could go live with white families in the attempt to Americanize them. Pratt believed that the outing experience would help accelerate his students’ progress toward complete assimilation, one of his main goals. The outing system won praise from reformers and administrators alike, and it helped increase the public’s faith that Indians could be educated and assimilated.
The industrial school movement was later criticized for training graduates for lower-class jobs. This argument also took place regarding the institutes established for freedmen's children. At the time, many founders and benefactors believed that such skills training provided practical steps for jobs which the students might realistically get after they returned to their families in home environments, whether Indian reservations in the rural West, or farms and villages in the rural South.
During the years of operation, hundreds of children died at Carlisle. Most died from infectious diseases common in the early 20th century that killed many children. More than 175 were buried in the cemetery. The bodies of most who died were sent to their families. Children who died of tuberculosis were buried at the school, as people were worried about contagion. The new climate, separation anxiety and lack of immunity increased the death toll. Others died while attempting to escape from the school. As for dealing with misbehavior from the children, corporal punishment, a slap of a ruler on the hand, being forced to stand for a period of time, were all common forms of punishment for students' found to be grieving too much, speaking their native languages, not understanding English, attempting to escape and violating the military type rules at the school. Other forms of punishment may have included hard labor and confinement. According to Dr. Eulynda J. Toledo of the 21st-century "Boarding School Healing Project", children at Carlisle had their mouths washed with lye soap for speaking in their tribal languages.
The children who arrived at Carlisle able to speak some English were presented to the other children as "translators." The authorities at the School sometimes used the children’s traditional respect for elders to require them to inform on other children’s misbehavior. This was typical of the pattern in the large families of the time, in which older children were required to take care of and discipline younger children.
School officials required students to take new English names. This was confusing, as the names from which they were to choose had no meaning. In traditional Native American culture, people had a variety of formal and informal names that reflected relationships and life experiences. The "renaming" was difficult for many of the children, especially because they could not read and had to pick their names by the way that the writing looked.
Late 20th-century appraisal of the school led to criticism like this: The boys and girls at Carlisle Indian School were trained to be cannon fodder in American wars, to serve as domestics and farm hands, and to leave off all ideas or beliefs that came to them from their Native communities, including and particularly their belief that they were entitled to land, life, liberty, and dignity....separated from all that is familiar; stripped, shorn, robbed of their very self; renamed.
The Carlisle School was a model for 26 Indian boarding schools which the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) founded across the country by 1902. In addition, more than 450 schools were run by Christian missionaries, both Catholic and Protestant. Generally they operated from the premise that Native American children needed to assimilate to the majority culture and religion both to survive in the society and to advance. The children were forced to give up much of what they knew about traditional ways. Ideas about the best education have since changed drastically.
Pratt experienced conflict with government officials over his outspoken views on the need for Native Americans to assimilate. In 1904 he was forced to retire as superintendent of the School. After Pratt was forced out, some of the school was upgraded to be a counterpart of colleges and training institutes. Its football teams competed against those of colleges. It had a strong sports program and training for trade industries, as industry represented what directors saw as the area of greatest job expansion at the time. The number of industrial jobs in society had expanded greatly.
When the “noble experiment” at Carlisle ended in 1918, nearly 12,000 children had been through the school. Students came from 140 tribes from all over the United States. Less than 8% graduated from the full program, while well over twice that percentage ran away.
The Carlisle School has a mixed legacy of educational ideals and controversy. It was a model for other Indian boarding schools, of which the government founded 26 by 1902. More than 450 were set up by Christian missionaries. These were established in years in which Quakers and missionaries led efforts for education of formerly marginalized populations: they founded schools in the rural South for basic and college education of African Americans, and the nation was concerned with educating and assimilating the millions of new European immigrants arriving in northern and midwestern industrial cities.
Many Native Americans are bitter about the deracination that took place at the Indian boarding schools, and the experiences suffered by children taken from their families. Others appreciate the chances their ancestors got for education, having heard positive stories in their family traditions. In 2000 the Cumberland County 250th Anniversary Committee worked with Native Americans from numerous tribes and non-natives to organize a Powwow on Memorial Day: to commemorate the Carlisle Indian School, the students, and their history in all its aspects.
American football 
Today, the school is notable nationally for Jim Thorpe and the team the Carlisle Indians. Thorpe was its star athlete and became a double Olympic gold medalist, as well as a professional baseball and football player. The strongest coach was "Pop" Warner (Glenn Scobey Warner), who started at the school when he was 28 years old. He coached for two different periods, 1899–1903 and 1907-1914. Thorpe competed under him from 1907-1911. The Carlisle Indians' winning percentage (.647) is the best of any defunct college football team.
In a new book (2007) about the Carlisle Indians, Sally Jenkins characterized them as "The Team that Invented Football", due to Warner's innovations. At the beginning of his long and successful career as a coach, Warner turned the team into a national football power and significantly opened up the game's offensive strategy.
In media 
- Carlisle Indian Industrial School was depicted in the 1951 movie classic Jim Thorpe. Thorpe thrived under the football tutelage of equally legendary football coach Glenn S. "Pop" Warner.
- Part of the 2005 mini-series on Turner Network Television, Into the West, takes place at the school.
- The PBS documentary In the White Man's Image (1992) tells the story of Richard Pratt and the founding of the Carlisle School. It was directed by Christine Lesiak, and part of the series The American Experience.
- The Dear America Series young adult fictional diary, My Heart is on the Ground by Ann Rinaldi, tells the story of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux girl sent to the school in 1889.
- Numerous additional works works address the stories of former residents of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School and other Native American boarding schools in Western New York and Canada, such as Thomas Indian School, Mohawk Institute Residential School (also known as Mohawk Manual Labour School and Mush Hole Indian Residential School) in Brantford, Southern Ontario, and Haudenosaunee boarding school; the impact of those and similar schools on their communities; and community efforts to overcome those impacts. Examples include: the film Unseen Tears: A Documentary on Boarding School Survivors, Ronald James Douglas' graduate thesis titled Documenting ethnic cleansing in North America: Creating Unseen Tears, and the Legacy of Hope Foundation's online media collection: "Where are the Children? Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools".
See also 
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "Carlisle Indian School". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
- Pratt, Richard Henry. Battlefield and Classroom : Four Decades with the American Indian, 1867-1904. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004.
- Stephanie Anderson, "On Sacred Ground: Commemorating Survival and Loss at the Carlisle Indian School", Central PA Magazine, May 2000, accessed 4 December 2008
- Tom Holm, The Great Confusion in Indian Affairs: Native Americans and Whites in the Progressive Era, University of Texas Press
- Remini, Robert (1977, 1998). ""The Reform Begins"". Andrew Jackson. History Book Club. p. 201. ISBN 0-06-080132-8.
- Miller, Eric (1994). ""Washington and the Northwest War, Part One"". George Washington And Indians. Eric Miller. Retrieved 2008-05-02. More than one of
- Eric Miller (1994). "Washington and the Northwest War, Part One". Retrieved 2008-09-09.
- Remini, Robert (1977, 1998). ""Brothers, Listen ... You Must Submit"". Andrew Jackson. History Book Club. p. 258. ISBN 0-06-080132-8.
- Perdue, Theda (2003). "Chapter 2 "Both White and Red"". Mixed Blood Indians: Racial Construction in the Early South. The University of Georgia Press. p. 51. ISBN 0-8203-2731-X.
- "What Were Boarding Schools Like for Indian Youth?". authorsden.com. Retrieved February 8, 2006.
- K.B. Kueteman. "From Warrior to Saint: The life of David Pendelton Oakerhater". Oklahoma State.
- Fear-Segal, Jacqueline. "Nineteenth-Century Indian Education: Universalism Versus Evolutionism," in Journal of American Studies, 33(1999), p. 329.
- (Fear-Segal 329)
- Hayes Peter Mauro The Art of Americanization at the Carlisle Indian School page 93 University of New Mexico Press Albuquerque Published 2011
- Casting a Spell: Acts of Cultural Continuity in Carlisle Indian Industrial School's the Red Man and Helper. Page numbers of article Wicazo Sa Review; Fall2011, Vol. 26 Issue 2, p13-38, 26p
- Carlisle Indian School. (1998). In The New Encyclopedia of the American West. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/americanwest/carlisle_indian_school
- Pember, Mary Annette. "A Painful Remembrance", Diverse Education. 28 November 2007 (retrieved 5 March 2009)
- Summary, In the White Man's Image, American Experience, PBS, accessed 4 December 2008
- Sally Jenkins, "Excerpt on Carlisle Indians", Sports Illustrated, April 23, 2007
- ICTMN Staff (December 02, 2010). "Unseen Tears: A Documentary on Boarding School Survivors". Indian Country Today Media Network.
- Douglas, Ronald James, M.F.A., State University of New York at Buffalo (2010). "Documenting ethnic cleansing in North America: Creating unseen tears (AAT 1482210)".
- Legacy of Hope Foundation. "Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools". Where are the Children?.
Carlisle Indian School. (1998). In The New Encyclopedia of the American West. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/americanwest/carlisle_indian_school
- Fear-Segal, Jacqueline. "Nineteenth-Century Indian Education: Universalism Versus Evolutionism", Journal of American Studies, 33 (1999), 2, 323-341.
- Pratt, Richard Henry (1964, 2004). Battlefield and classroom : four decades with the American Indian, 1867-1904. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3603-0.
- Witmer, Linda F. (1993). The Indian Industrial School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 1879-1918. Carlisle, Pa.: Cumberland County Historical Society. ISBN 0-9638923-0-4.
- Pratt, Richard Henry (1983). How to deal with the Indians: the potency of environment. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Photoduplication Service.
- Daniel E. Witte and Paul T. Mero, "Removing Classrooms from the Battlefield: Liberty, Paternalism, and the Redemptive Promise of Educational Choice", 2008 Brigham Young University Law Review 377
- Eastman, Alaine Goodale (1935). Pratt, the Red Man's Moses. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. LCCN 35021899.
- Pratt, Richard Henry (1979). The Indian Industrial School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania : its origins, purposes, progress, and the difficulties surmounted. Carlisle, Pa.: Cumberland County Historical Society.
- Richard Henry Pratt Papers. Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
- Adams, David Wallace (1997). Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience 1875 - 1928,. University of Kansas Press. ISBN 978-0-7006-0838-6.
- Anderson, Lars (2007). Carlisle vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6600-1.
- Fear-Segal, Jacqueline (2007). White Man's Club: Schools and the Struggle of Indian Acculturation. Lincoln, NA: Nebraska UP. ISBN 978-0-8032-2024-9.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Carlisle Indian Industrial School|
- Carlisle Indian Industrial School from the Library of Congress at Flickr Commons
- "Carlisle Indian School", Cumberland County Historical Society
- "Carlisle Indian Industrial School Photograph Collection" US Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania
- Richard Henry Pratt Papers. Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
- Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs (2008) ISBN 978-0-9774486-7-8 Life stories of 50 Carlisle Indian School football players
- "Fort Marion Artists", Smithsonian Institution