Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetary
Dickens Nor, Horace Washington, and Hayes Vanderbilt’s are being disinterred today in Carlisle Pennsylvania and will be reburied on the Wind River Reservation near Riverton, Wyoming. Their gravestones will list names they had before being taken to the Carlisle Indian School. Little Chief, Horse and Little Plume.
The Indian Industrial School in Carlisle was a part of the American genocide of native peoples. It was founded by Richard Pratt whose motto for the school was “kill the Indian… and save the man”. Per Wikipedia “He is associated with the first recorded use of the word “racism”. He was an officer in the 10th Calvary, an African American Regiment during the wars on the Great Plains from 1868 to 1875. In his 1888 Annual Report for the school he stated blacks had been elevated to a civilized state and the same could be done for Indians:
If millions of black savages can become so transformed and assimilated, and if annually, hundreds of thousands of foreign emigrants from all lands can also become Anglicised, Americanized, assimilated and absorbed through association, there is but one plain duty resting upon us with regard to the Indians, and that is to and that is to relieve them of their savagery and other alien qualities by the same methods used to relieve the others. Assist them too, to die as helpless tribes, and to rise up among us as strong and capable individual men and American citizens.
Unsurprisingly the early years at the school were brutal. The death rates were high.
According to McBride’s findings the death rate of Native students at Carlisle were far higher than previously estimated and were deliberately “white washed” by the school’s founder. “Carlisle had higher death rates in the census years than almost every state that had an Indian nation. Carlisle had a higher death rate than war zones. During the Spanish American War a Carlisle student was more likely to die than a soldier going in to war,” said McBride.
In the early years the children of prominent tribal leaders were take as virtual hostages. The school was opened in 1879, three years after the Battle of Little Bighorn. Geronimo was finally captured in 1886 and in 1888 Apaches made up 115 of the 950 students.
Students were forbidden from speaking native languages and given uniforms.
Over 10,000 Native American children passed though the Carlisle School. The school closed in 1918 when the Army took back the facility for military purposes. Today it is the home of the Army War College.
Overtime the evil racist fanaticism of Richard Pratt faded from practice if not overall concept of school.
The 1909 annual report has a much different tone. Younger children were sent home and enrollment limited to “…students who, because of age, previous elementary training and a more mature purpose to obtain further education, are in a position to receive a finishing training…”.
In what would have shocked the founder they added a Department of Native Indian Arts and discovered Indians “really possess a distinctive art”. Also the study of Indian history, folklore, and the manners and customs of the various tribes.
It was proudly noted that only one student of 1,132 died during the year and only 17 where found tubercular.
Some things are too astonishing to imagine. Consider this paragraph about the Commencement Exercises and cast photo.
The Comic Opera, entitled “The Captain of Plymouth”, which was given by the students, was a remarkable evidence of the artistic temperament and love of music which is possessed by the American Indian. This opera was beautifully rendered, with excellent stage effect, good singing, fine orchestral accompaniment, and unusual acting. It attracted much notice, was given for the public three times, on account of the lack of seating capacity; and favorably mentioned by the press of the country.
Words fail me
In 1912 the football team coached by the legendary Pop Warner with the star running back Jim Thorpe beat the U. S. Army Military Academy football team 27-6. It is not true that Dwight Eisenhower’s football career was end when he was injured tackling Jim Thorpe. Actually Thorpe fake him out and he was injured in a collision with his own teammate. Army players were flagged for many unnecessary roughness penalties.
Corrected first link