Document A: Newspaper (Excerpt)
The Secretary of War today ordered that Carlisle Barracks, Pa., be turned over to
the Interior Department to be used as a school for the education of Indian youth,
to be modeled after the Hampton (Va.) Normal Institute, and has detailed Captain
R. H. Pratt, of the army, to have charge of it. Captain Pratt has had much
experience in the work of Indian education at St. Augustine and at Hampton, and
is confident of good results at Carlisle. Secretaries McCrary [Secretary of War]
and Schurz [Secretary of the Interior] are both much interested in the subject and
very hopeful that the successful effort at Hampton will be followed by success at
Carlisle, and lead eventually to such action by Congress as will enable the
government to establish many such schools. About one hundred Indian youth of
both sexes will be sent to Carlisle this fall. . . .
The Secretary of War thinks this is the only way to saving a remnant of the
Indian tribes, for so long as the tribal relation is continued they must gradually
become extinct. He says the efforts of the government are in the direction of
bringing up a class of young men who will be leaders of their people in taking
them away from the chase and war as the sole worthy occupation for the hands
of men. The rapid extinction of the buffalo and small game and the filling up of
the waste places by settlements render this step absolutely necessary to the
future interests of the aboriginal population of the country, and it is confidently
expected that in time the Indians will be brought from the precarious living of the
chase into better ways. . . . Secretary McCrary said he thought it was an
interesting fact that Carlisle Barracks, which had been the great school of
instruction for so many years for our cavalry employed in fighting the Indians,
should have been in this centennial transformed into an asylum for Indian youth,
where in future years they may learn the arts of progress.
Source: New York Herald, August 22, 1879.
remnant: a small surviving group
waste places: undeveloped land, often occupied by Native Americans
asylum: a place of safety and security
Document B: Richard H. Pratt (Excerpt)
The following excerpt is from a paper written by Captain Richard H. Pratt,
founder of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Pratt delivered this paper as a
speech at the Conference of Charities and Correction.
A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one. . . . In a sense,
I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race
should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man. . . .
The Indians under our care remained savage, because [they were] forced back
upon themselves and away from association with English-speaking and civilized
people, and because of our savage treatment of them. We have never made any
attempt to civilize them with the idea of taking them into the nation, and all of our
policies have been against citizenizing . . . them.
It is a great mistake to think that the Indian is born an inevitable savage. He is
born a blank, like all the rest of us. Left in the surroundings of savagery, he grows
to possess a savage language, superstition, and life. We, left in the surroundings
of civilization, grow to possess a civilized language, life, and purpose. Transfer
the savage-born infant to the surroundings of civilization, and he will grow to
possess a civilized language and habit. . . .
The school at Carlisle is an attempt on the part of the government to do this.
Carlisle has always planted treason to the tribe and loyalty to the nation at large.
It has preached against colonizing Indians [on reservations], and in favor of
individualizing them. . . . Carlisle fills young Indians with the spirit of loyalty to the
stars and stripes, and then moves them out into our communities to show by their
conduct and ability that the Indian is no different from the white or the colored,
that he has the inalienable right to liberty and opportunity that the white and the
negro have.
Source: Richard Pratt, “Official Report of the Nineteenth Annual Conference of
Charities and Correction,” 1892.
inevitable: certain to happen
treason: the crime of betraying one’s country or people
Document C: Ellis B. Childers (Excerpt)
Ellis B. Childers was a Muscogee (Creek) teenager at the Carlisle Indian
Industrial School. This is an excerpt from an article Childers wrote for the
Carlisle School News about the visit of a large delegation of Native
Americans to the school.
Inspector Haworth [the government inspector of the Native American
schools], with a large delegation of Indians, visited us on Easter week on
their way back home from Washington. . . . Inspector Haworth asked some
of the delegates to say something to the school. Kihega, the father of
Charles Kihega [the Editor of the School News], made the first speech. He
made a very nice speech.
Among other things he said to the children: “Here are people trying to teach
you. You must try to learn, and when you come back home, your people
will be glad to see you, and what you learn will be a benefit to them.” When
he said, “Here are people,” he meant our kind teachers who are trying their
best to teach us to live a civilized life. . . .
There were four others [who] made little speeches to us. They all spoke so
good that Capt. Pratt said at the close, “I could sit and listen all night to
such good speeches as these.”
Henry Jones the interpreter said something before it was closed. He is an
Indian but he has learned enough English so as to interpret for his people.
Among other things he said, “If we Indians are willing to learn, we can
learn. We can learn as well as our friends, the whites. We can do just as
well as the white people. If we try. We have muscles, brains and eyes just
the same as the whites. If we cultivate our brains and muscles and eyes we
can do just the same as they.”
And then closed his speech by saying, “Don’t look back at all that is passed
away. This country through here is all improved. You saw when you were
coming: cities, railroads, houses, manufactories . . .
Source: Article by Ellis B. Childers, Carlisle School News, April 1882.
Document D: Luther Standing Bear (Excerpt)
Luther Standing Bear was a member of the Lakota tribe and attended the Carlisle
Indian Industrial School beginning in 1879. After graduating, he became a Lakota
chief and advocated for Native American rights and sovereignty. The following
are excerpts from a book he wrote in 1933 about his experiences at the school.
At the age of eleven years, ancestral life for me and my people was most
abruptly ended without regard for our wishes, comforts, or rights in the matter. At
once I was thrust into an alien world, into an environment as different from the
one into which I had been born as it is possible to imagine, to remake myself, if I
could, into the likeness of the invader. . . .
At Carlisle . . . the “civilizing” process began. It began with clothes. Never, no
matter what our philosophy or spiritual quality, could we be civilized while
wearing the moccasin and blanket. The task before us was not only that of
accepting new ideas and adopting new manners, but actual physical changes
and discomfort had to be borne uncomplainingly until the body adjusted itself to
new tastes and habits. . . . Of course, our hair was cut, and then there was much
disapproval. But that was part of the transformation process, and in some
mysterious way long hair stood in the path of our development. . . .
Almost immediately our names were changed to those in common use in the
English language. . . . I was told to take a pointer and select a name for myself
from the list written on the blackboard. . . . By that time we had been forbidden to
speak our mother tongue, which is the rule in all boarding schools. . . .
Of all the changes we were forced to make, that of diet was doubtless the most
injurious, for it was immediate and drastic. . . . Had we been allowed our own
simple diet . . . we should have thrived. But the change in clothing, housing, food,
and confinement combined with lonesomeness was too much, and in three
years nearly one half of the children from the Plains were dead and through with
all earthly schools. In the graveyard at Carlisle most of the graves are those of
the little ones. . . .
Source: Luther Standing Bear, Land of the Spotted Eagle, 1933.
ancestral: inherited from one’s ancestors
borne: endured a difficult situation
confinement: being restrained and forbidden from leaving a place
Guiding Questions
Document A: Newspaper
1. (Sourcing) Who seems to be providing the information included in this article?
How might the sources for the article influence the content of the article?
2. Based on this document, what was the purpose of the Carlisle School?
Document B: Richard H. Pratt
1. (Sourcing) Who was Richard H. Pratt?
2. (Close Reading) What was Pratt’s attitude toward Native Americans? Provide evidence
from the document to support your claim.
3. (Close Reading) What do you think Pratt meant when he said, “Kill the Indian in him, and
save the man”? Find two examples from the document showing how the Carlisle Indian
Industrial School tried to accomplish this.
4. (Contextualization) How were Pratt’s goals for the Carlisle School similar to previous
federal policies of removing Native American tribes from their lands and waging war against
them? How were they different?
5. Based on this document, what was the purpose of the Carlisle School?
Document C: Ellis B. Childers
1. (Sourcing) Who was Ellis B. Childers? What kind of document is this?
2. (Close Reading) What was Childers’s tone regarding the teachers at Carlisle? Provide
evidence from the document to support your claim.
3. (Contextualization) This article was written in the official school newspaper. How might that
have influenced what Childers wrote?
4. (Corroboration) How does the description of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in this
document compare with the description in Document B? Provide two or three similarities or
5. Based on this document, what was the purpose of the Carlisle School?
Document D: Luther Standing Bear
1. (Sourcing) Who was Luther Standing Bear?
2. (Close Reading) What were some of the changes the Carlisle teachers forced Luther
Standing Bear and his fellow students to make?
According to Luther Standing Bear, what happened as a result of these changes?
3. (Corroboration) How does Luther Standing Bear’s description of the Carlisle School
compare to Ellis Childers’s description?
4. Based on this document, what was the purpose of the Carlisle School?
Final Writing Prompt
What was the purpose of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School? Begin your
paragraph with a topic sentence and cite specific evidence from at least three of
the documents in your response.