The Carlisle Indian School Project

This website shares the history of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1918.

The Carlisle Indian School Project website intends to share the history of  the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1918. Included are the impacts of the school on Indigenous children and families past, present, and future. Critical to the story of Carlisle is the acknowledgment and understanding of the trauma and loss associated with the school's history, but also the memory of many acts of resilience by those who survived their boarding school experience. 

Cultural Narrative: 

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1918, developed by Lt. Col. Henry Pratt, quickly became embodied by white settler educators, including missionaries and the federal govenment as the "model" school for Indigenous children. With Pratt's adage of "Kill the Indian, Save the Man," the U.S. boarding school era would see many federal and mission schools follow suit, all to "civilize," or "assimilate" Indigenous children to fit the lifestyles and ideologies of settler society. Throughout the boarding school era and in such schools, thousands of children fell victim to settler education as a weapon of genocide against Indigenous identity, lifeways, and life itself, as many Indigenous children died under the "care" of white administrators and faculty. At Carlisle is a cemetary filled with students who died while attending the school. These graves, many with unnamed headstones, are a harsh reminder of another difficult and painful time in the history of relations between Indigenous people and the settler population of the United States. Today Indigenous people work tirelessly through such projects as The Carlisle Indian School Project to remember and tell the true story of  Carlisle and its destructive impact on Indigenous life. The Carlisle project is also essential to help tell the story of how students endured, persevered, and survived their time at the school.