The Founding of the Carlisle Industrial School

Statement of Purpose

The Carlisle Industrial School was opened in 1879 and served as the first off-reservation boarding school. It was founded by Richard Henry Pratt as an attempt to assimilate the Indian. The students were stripped of their culture and forced to accept the ways of the white man. The students attended elementary classes for half the day and worked in vocational Jobs during the rest. Many children died of disease or loneliness. The sources listed below provide detailed accounts of the history and ideas behind the Carlisle Industrial School.





Primary Sources

Eastman, Charles A. From the Deeo Woods to Civilization: Chapters in the Autobiography of an Indian Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1977.

    Eastam, a Carlisle graduate, writes about his life after his boarding school experience. He discusses his days at college, his life as an "civilized" Indian, and the difficulties he encounters trying to make a living in a world that he doesn't belong to. It is very well written and is an insightful look on the successes and failures of the assimilation process.


Lomawaima, K. Tsianina. They Called it Prairie Light: The story of Chilocco Indian School.Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press,1984.

    This book is compiled of about seventy interviews from Indian Boarding school survivors. It focuses mainly on the Chilocco Indian School and its students. Many of these stories portray the Indian Boarding school life as that of any other white child’s memories, lots of laughter, games, and school pranks. The book also compares the Structure of the Chilocco school to that of the Carlisle Industrial School. The interviews within the book will spark interest and make it a page turner.


Standing Bear, Luther. Land of the Spotted Eagle. Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, 1978.

    As an accomplished author, Luther Standing Bear provides a colorful description of his youth as and Indian and as a Carlisle student.


Smith, Edward P., Commissioner’s Annual Report, 1873, p. 8

    This document was found in Fischbacher manuscript which contains multiple Reports from Annual Commissioner’s. these reports were designed to inform the Secretary of war on the Progress and Situation of Indian affairs.




Secondary Sources

    Adams, David Wallace. Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience 1875-1928. Lawrence, Kansas University Press, 1995.

      Education for Extinction is an award winning book that is frequently cited from. It gives great detail of the experiences and events that to place through out the Indian Boarding School era. The information is well put together and categorized in such a way that paints a picture of history. Adams makes an excellent usage of helpful statistic charts, photos and valid commentary.


    Adams, Evelyn C. American Indian Education: Its Men, Ideas, and Illusions. New York, Arno Press, 1971.

      This book, all be it short, is an informative one hundred page critique of the government associated schools and their economic aspect. It contains rare exerts from out of print materials. It provides an objective look on the reasonings behind governing officials decision making. There is a very insightful chapter on the Meriam Report.


    Fritz, Henry E. The Movement for Indian Assimilation, 1860-1890. Philadelphia, University of Pennsyvania Press, 1963.

      This text addresses the many different views on the issues of Indian Education. These views include those of the public, the Catholic Church, those involved in the early reformation of the Indian policy.


    Fischbacher, Theodore. “A Study of the Role of the Federal Government in the Education of the American Indian.” Diss.U of Arizona,1967. DA 1974

      Though a dissertation, this manuscript has an excellent array of Government documents and resides in the Library of Congress. It offers information and Administrative reports on Laws, and Reports on the BIA and other Government appointed departments. This is an excellent source on factual data of Government documents. The texts is not always easy to comprehend, because it covers such a vast amount of material.


    Holt, Marilyn Irving. Indian Orphanages. Lawrence, Kansas University Press, 2001.

      Though this source was not cited in my research paper I found it to be very insightful and a rare find. It gave a great briefing of the history behind the Assimilation of the children.


    “In the White Man’s Image” American Experience.PBS. Alexandria, 1991

      As most films broadcasted on PBS are, this film is very informative, it has interviews of credible authors and historians. It provides a rich in detail history of the forming of Carlisle and the Richard Henry Pratt. It also has an excellent soundtrack.


    Landis, Barbara. “Carlisle Indian Industrial School History.” N.d., n.p. May 1, 2006 http://home.epix.net/~landis/index.html

      This site is extremely well organized and put together, there are informative articles, Interviews and pictures. It gives a detailed history of students, life in the school and history of the schools legacy. This is an excellent reliable source as it contains bibliographies, both primary and secondary.


    Reyhner, Jon., and Jeanne Eder. American Indian Education: A History. Norman, Oklahoma University Press, 2004.

      The authors of this book have many other works within the field Indian culture and education. This particular book gives extensive information on many different Indian schools and their backgrounds. It follows the history and gives attention to the laws and regulations regarding Indian culture. This book is well written and organized, and readable.


    Trennert, Robert A. Jr,. The Phoenix Indian School: Forced Assimilation in Arizona, 1891-1935. Norman, Oklahoma University Press, 1988.

      Though the focus of this book is on the Phoenix Boarding school it incorporated a great deal of the Carlisle’s Industrial Schools history and its roots. There is a grand section on “ the founder of Indian Education” Richard Henry Pratt and his methods, history and beliefs. It covers the Carlisle’s system of outing quite thoroughly along with the other aspects of the curriculum.

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