Carlisle: The Icon of an Era In 1879 the first American Indian children arrived at Carlisle Boarding School.
Published October 16, 2017
Inviting Tribal Leaders from All the Tribes with Children Buried at Carlisle
MINNEAPOLIS — The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
will be facilitating a Tribal Roundtable Discussion for Carlisle Repatriations on November 30, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On August 9, 2017 a group of Northern Arapaho began exhumation of their children’s remains from the Army War College Cemetery in Carlisle, PA to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. The tribal members were there to repatriate three of their children: Little Chief, Horse, and Little Plume. Tragically, Little Plume’s grave contained two sets of remains, neither of which were his.
The number of unknown graves has now gone from 12 to 14 at the Carlisle cemetery—14 “unknown” children buried at a federal school that they were forced to attend. A statistic that shouldn’t exist and one that speaks to the ongoing impacts and historical trauma caused by the disastrous U.S. Indian Boarding School experiment.
“It’s extremely sad and disappointing for the family who is already grieving a loss that never should have taken place,” said Christine Diindiisi McCleave, executive officer of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. “It’s showing that there’s more that needs to be looked into about the boarding schools—the treatment and care and responsibility that they had to our children, in life and in death.”
The Northern Arapaho were the first tribe to repatriate their children from the Carlisle Cemetery. Othe tribes who had express interest in the Army War College repatriating their children’s remains have been watching these events unfold with many questions about how the Army will proceed now that they can’t find Little Plume.
Yufna Soldier Wolf was the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Northern Arapaho throughout the process of repatriation at Carlisle this past summer. She is also related to Little Chief. While she celebrates the return of Horse and Little Chief who laid buried far from home for 134 years and now rest with their War Chief Families, she is committed to helping find Little Plume and helping other tribes navigate the repatriation process.
In September, Soldier Wolf came on board as a consultant to the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition to share information with other tribes about the repatriation process. She plans to share a report at the November Tribal Roundtable. “The Boarding School Healing Coalition acknowledges the efforts of Mrs. Soldier Wolf in the repatriation of the Northern Arapaho children,” said McCleave. “We are eager for her to share her knowledge for others going through the repatriation process at Carlisle and we are excited about welcoming her onto our team.”
Matthew L. Campbell, Staff Attorney at the Native American Rights Fund, will also speak at the Tribal Roundtable. Campbell is an enrolled member of the Native Village of Gambell on the Saint Lawrence Island in Alaska and has worked on repatriation issues in the past.
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition is sponsoring the Tribal Roundtable discussion in support of the other tribes requesting their children’s remains as well as in support of the tribes who have requested that their children not be disturbed. All Tribal Leaders whose tribes have children buried at Carlisle Indian School Cemetery are invited or to designate a representative to attend. Tribes can apply for scholarship funds to assist with travel costs.
“Our goal is to reach all the 59 tribes who have children buried in the cemetery to present how the process went for the Arapaho and start a dialogue for other tribes who may want to repatriate or who would like for their children to stay in the Army’s cemetery,” said Soldier Wolf. “We need people to know what’s going on at Carlisle.”
If you would like more information about the Tribal Roundtable, please visit The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition at www.boardingschoolhealing.org/events.