Monday, May 28, 2018


As we struggle with the problem of two different cultures trying to dominate our single but multiple-lobed country, the ideas about white vs. “red” culture returns with renewed consciousness of the damage done in that struggle.  Someone claimed that the indigenous children were irreparably traumatized by the schools that tried to “kill the Indian but save the man,” a motto almost as destructive as the justification for killing children in cavalry attacks on camps:  “nits make lice.”  Off-hand comments can be deadly.

One target has been Carlisle Indian School, which is sometimes pictured as like the boarding schools for elementary students.  In fact, the government residential schools I know about like Carlisle are more like junior colleges.  James Welch Jr.’s parents met at one.  Eloise Cobell was educated at one.  I found this page which lists the Blackfeet (Piegan) who attended specifically Carlisle.  It closed in 1918.

This website adds whatever was in the files to the names of the 228 students.  The online file has some photos and most entries have notes.  Students came and went, going home for some reason (homesick, parents needed help, ranch work?) but then returned.  Sibs may have attended together.  The time period when these students were attending was Edwardian, just before WWI.  For comparison, Bob Scriver was born in 1914.

These family names are familiar on this rez, though the individuals listed were mostly gone.  Some were locally famous, like Brian or “Briney” Connelly, Richard Sanderville, or Francis X. Guardipee, who was a good example of what I call a “double-breed”, a person who lived two cultures since he was a major figure in the white Boy Scout movement.  When they got home, they tried to form an organization, a Young Man’s Literary Society, to use what they had learned, but the agent was afraid they would get too organized and powerful, so he banned it just as he had banned the indigenous ceremonies for the same reason.

The list on the site is more chronological.  I rearranged the names to be approximately alphabetical.  There may be some small mistakes.

Wilbur and Leo Anderson
Philip and Silas Arrowtop, 
Anthony Austin
Nellie and Maggie Abbott 
Alice Aubrey
Lafe and Wendell Allison
Rose Aubrey
Mary Bailey
James Bearchild
Joseph Bear Chief
Peter Bear Leggins
Fred Bigtop
Thomas Bogy
Oscar Boyd
Charles Buck (Brockey)
Nancy, Phoebe, Charles and Sampson Burd
Alice Cayton
Leona Cecil
Edward Clark
Alfonso Carnon
Mary and James Choate
Julia, George, Thomas and Joseph Cobell
Maggie Comes at Night
Brian Connelly
Charles Corson
James Crawford
Bryan Davis
Henry Burd Deguire
Fred and George Delaney
Spyna Devereaux
Eva, Alex and Gordon Dubray
Andrew, Frances, James and Esther Dunbar
Rose Edwards
George Ell
William Ellis
Joseph, Francis and Irene Evans
John Flatt
John Flattail
J. Webster Galbreath
Anthony and William Gilham
Richard, Carl, James C. and Dick Grant
Joseph Gogman
Irvin Leo Gobert
Carl Grant
J. Grover Ground
Thomas and Francis X Guardipee
Daisy, William and Thomas Hall
Joseph H. Hamilton
Clara Maria Henault
Eleanor Hawk
Willie, Stuart I. and George Hazlett
John and Vinnie Heavyrunner
George Horn
Annie and Henry Howard
Presley Houck
Thomas Hunsberger
Julia and Thomas Jackson
Leo M., Agnes, Bertrand, John, Esther and Perry Kennerly
Jerome Kennerly  (The Calf Takes a Seat)
Charles King
Henry Lahr
Josephine Langley
Mollie Little Plume
Peter Oscar
Eva Pablo
Francis Alexander Pambrun
Minnie, William and Florence Perrine
George J. Robinson
John Russell
Eddie Running Crane
Jesse J. Samples
Mary Sherman
Joseph and Carl Scheldt (sic) Schildt?
William Smith
Richard, Nellie, and Agnes Sanderville
Archie St. Godard 
Henry White Dog
Sallie Wright
Ella, Mary Jane, and Lizzie Wren

I had not known about Carlisle’s precursor, Hampton University which persists as a prestigious black university.  Originally founded (1868) by the American Missionary Association (Presbyterian, Congregational, Quaker) the mission was to educate freed slaves for participation in the democracy.  Native Americans were brought in to a special program until 1923.

This is from the Wikipedia entry, so the author is unknown.  It’s clear this is where Pratt, the organizer of Carlisle, got his ideas.  Note that these students were actual prisoners, but Carlisle students were voluntary.  Pratt’s group at Hampton devised “ledger art” which gets its name from the lined paper the prisoners used, sometimes right over the names and amounts recorded.  Today’s content is often humorous and ironic.

“In 1878, Hampton established a formal education program for Native Americans. In 1875 at the end of the American Indian Wars, the United States Army sent seventy-two warriors from the Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche and Caddo Nations, to imprisonment and exile in St. Augustine, Florida. Essentially they were considered hostages to persuade their peoples in the West to keep peace. Richard Henry Pratt supervised them at Fort Marion and began to arrange for their education in the English language and American culture. Numerous visitors to St. Augustine from the North became interested in their cases and volunteered as teachers. They also provided them with art supplies, and some of the resulting works (including by David Pendleton Oakerhater) are held by the Smithsonian Institution. At the end of the warriors' incarceration, Pratt convinced seventeen to enroll at Hampton Institute for a fuller education.  (Later Pratt founded the Carlisle Indian Industrial School based on the same philosophy of education and assimilation). 

"Altogether, seventy Native Americans, young men and women from various tribes, mostly from the Plains rather than the acculturated tribes that had occupied Virginia, joined that first class. Because Virginia's aristocrats sometimes boasted of their Native American heritage through Pocahontas, it was hoped that the Native American students would help locals to accept the university's black students. The black students were also supposed to "civilize" the Native American students to current American society, and the Native Americans to "uplift the Negro[es]."

“The program died in 1923, in the face of growing controversy over racial mingling.”  Today’s anxiety about pairing off is more about preserving blood quantum and mixing tribes.

But indigenous and African-origin cultures were an uneasy mix in the best of circumstances, as much because of ecology as anything else.  It’s pretty easy to change clothes and hair, but eating is a different matter.  High prairie peoples weren’t always happy in the school climate, which was so warm that the earliest “building” was simply under a big shady tree.  Even after the slaves were freed post Civil War, former owners would try to take their “property” so maybe the school liked having some warrior students.

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