13 August 2015

Those Places Thursday: Carlisle Indian School

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was a model school – a boarding school – with the goal of assimilating American Indians. During the school’s operation, which ran from 1879 to 1918, over 10,000 children attended. More than 70 tribes were represented.

The school was run in the old Carlisle Barracks in Cumberland County. Colonel Richard Henry Pratt took over the Barracks in 1879 and opened the school, which he intended to be a model for a nationwide program. His goal was to assimilate the Native Americans, forcing the white man’s culture and ways upon them.

Male students were taught various trades, like tinsmithing and printing. The female students were schooled in the domestics, like cooking and sewing.

Pratt may have given these children trades useful in the cities and towns throughout the nation but non-existent on the reservations when they returned upon graduation. He also robbed them of their Native American culture and heritage and these poor children, many of them anyway, felt lost. They did not fully belong to either culture.

They did however, gain a knowledge of various useful trades, of the English language and the ways of the white man.

Among the more famous graduates of this school were activist Carlos Montezuma, and sports legend Jim Thorpe.

Today, the school is among our National Historical Landmarks.


Public domain images from Wikipedia.


Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Viola White Water Foundation, Harrisburg, PA.

Carlisle Indian Industrial School Historical Marker.” ExplorePAHistory.com.


Those Places Thursday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers. 

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.