Published May 22, 2016
An 1882 photograph taken by John N. Choate depicts Native American students posing in front of the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Penn. The students in this photograph represent different Native tribes from all over the United States. (Special to the Times – Ravonelle Yazzie)
FARMINGTON – More than 100 years after their deaths, children buried on the campus of the former Carlisle Indian Industrial School are on their way home.
Between 1879 and 1918, more than 10,000 Native children were housed at the nation’s flagship Indian boarding school, built atop the ruins of a Civil War barracks and designed to “kill the Indian and save the man.” Nearly 200 of the children died at the school, most from diseases like tuberculosis or consumption.
Their bodies were never returned to their families, and the U.S. Army War College built its campus on top of Carlisle. Now, after years of contentious meetings with tribes, the Army has agreed to send the children home.
The decision came after a meeting last week during which tribal representatives asked the college, the Secretary of Defense and President Barack Obama to honor the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which requires the college to complete an inventory of the remains and comply with requests to return the contents of the graves to the appropriate tribes.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.