Friday, January 6, 2017

Students at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 1879

Carlisle Indian Industrial School Students, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 1879
The above names appear on the reverse of this cabinet card.

1. Anna Laura, Daughter of Shooting Cat, Rosebud Agency
2. Alice Wynn, Daughter of Lone Bear, Pine Ridge Agency
3. Hattie, Daughter of Lone Wolf, Pine Ridge Agency
4. Mabel, Kiowa, from Fort Sill Indian Territory
5. Rebecca, Daughter of Big Star, Rosebud Agency
6. Stella Berht, Daughter of Chasing Hawk, Rosebud Agency
7. Grace, Daughter of Cook ?, Rosebud Agency
8. Ruth, Daughter of Big Head, Rosebud Agency

Miss Mary R. Hyde, Matron (center)

President Rutherford B. Hayes threw the support of his administration behind Captain Richard H. Pratt's efforts to establish the Carlisle Indian Industrial School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Pratt believed that through a curriculum of English, training in the trades and the white culture, Christianity, citizenship, and patriotism, Indian boys and girls would soon learn the "white man's way" and take their place in mainstream American society. During its existence (1879-1918), this first off-reservation school served as a model for other boarding, day, and off-reservation schools funded by the federal government.

Army Captain Richard H. Pratt, Superintendent of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School sent stereoview, cabinet card, boudoir images of the students to President Rutherford B. Hayes and First Lady Lucy Webb Hayes in 1879. These were produced by commercial photographer John N. Choate. This image, along with others, are believed to feature the first group of students who entered Carlisle in the fall of 1879.  

Choate photographed the students in their traditional dress upon their arrival at Carlisle. Later, Choate photographed the same students in white man's clothing. For Pratt, the "before" and "after" images served as visual evidence of the program's success in assimilating Indian students. Pratt sent photographs to Christian reformers, Hayes administration officials, congressmen, and others who believed that Indians could be "Americanized" through education. Pratt did not send President Hayes images of students in their traditional dress.

Students were not allowed to speak their native language or wear their traditional dress, however they did gain a skill and learned to read, write, and speak English. The experiment created patterns of dislocation and separation and emotional and cultural disruptions in the lives of the students, their families, and their communities. As adults, most Carlisle students were caught between their own society and the white man's world. However, many discovered their own resilience, resourcefulness and ways of resistance. 

You can learn more about the school and these and other students through school records, publications, documents, and more photographs at  The Carlisle Indian School Resource Center . which represents an effort to aid the research process by bringing together, in digital format, a variety of resources that are physically preserved in various locations around the country." The center seeks "to increase knowledge and understanding of the school and its complex legacy, while also facilitating efforts to tell the stories of the many thousands of students who were sent there."

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