Carlisle Cemetary_Philly Inquirer_2

Carlisle: The Icon of an Era

In 1879 the first American Indian children arrived at Carlisle Boarding School. The school would remain open for 39 years and some 12,000 children would be sent there for forced assimilation. This was the beginning of the US Boarding School Era—the federal government’s policy of dealing with the “Indian problem” by using education as a weapon. The intent was to remove all traces of tribal cultures—language, spiritual traditions, family ties, etc. and replace them with European Christian ideals of civilization, religion, and culture. “Kill the Indian, Save the Man” was the slogan and cultural genocide was the result.

“Our children were taken. Our language beaten out of them. Their hair cut off without ceremony. And our families torn apart.” Said Christine Diindiisi McCleave, Turtle Mountain Ojibwe, Executive Officer of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS).

“Generations later, our tribal communities bear the soul wound of this loss. Grieving and inter-generational trauma are the legacies of the US Boarding School Policy. And Carlisle Industrial Indian School was at the genesis of it all. So as the flagship school—the icon and model of all boarding schools—it makes sense that Carlisle would also be the model for healing and the genesis of the truth, reconciliation, and healing process.” Added McCleave who is also the descendant of a boarding school survivor.

Tribes Request Repatriation

In 2007, Yufna Soldier Wolf, Director of the Northern Arapaho Tribal Historic Preservation Office and a relative of a student who died at Carlisle Boarding School, requested to have the child’s remains returned home. The Carlisle School, now the Army War College, sent back a condescending letter stating that the cemetery had become part of their community and a historic site. They wrote that the Boarding School graveyard was “one of the most beautiful tributes to the Native American people” with daily visits from Native “people as well as other local inhabitants and even several foreign visitors.” Soldier Wolf was infuriated and devastated. It wasn’t until 2015 that she brought the request back to the Army War College and added more students’ names to the list.

This time, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe also joined the request for their ancestors remains with names of Rosebud students who died and were buried at Carlisle. The two tribes are now calling other tribes to join in the Carlisle repatriation request. They hope to engage in government to government conversations which will result in the return of their children—the repatriation of remains from Carlisle. But more importantly, the Army War College is under obligation by US law, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), to complete an inventory of the remains and to comply with these requests for repatriation.

The Call to Action

The NABS Healing Coalition is in support of the requests from the Rosebud Sioux, Northern Arapaho, and any other tribe who might request the repatriation of their relatives’ remains that are interred at the Army War College in Carlisle, PA.

“We join the ‘Call to Repatriate’ the children buried at the Carlisle cemetery who deserve to go home and to receive a proper, culturally-relevant burial. The relatives of these children are entitled to have the remains returned so that they may grieve and heal from their loss in whatever way they choose and not have to travel all the way to Carlisle, PA to visit them. Nor should they be subjected to any further grieving resulting from having their loved ones identified as a tourist attraction for the Army War College.” NABS wrote in their letters of support and in the petition they drafted on behalf of the tribes.

Repatriation is a small yet essential part of healing the trans-generational wounds inflicted upon families and individuals through the US Boarding School experience. The Army War College is required by law to comply with these requests for repatriation.

Read the petition, sign, and Join the Call to Repatriate the children buried at Carlisle.

Help get the word out on social media using #CarlisleRepatriation and #CarlisleRepatriationPetition

Petition for Carlisle Repatriation

Date: March 31, 2016
Petition Organizer: The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
In Cooperation With: The Northern Arapaho and the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Nations

We the undersigned, Petition the US Army War College, the Secretary of Defense, and the Commander in Chief of the United States of America to repatriate the remains of Native American students buried at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School Cemetery, now the US Army War College.

The following legislation requires all Federal entities to comply with the request for repatriation:

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), Pub. L. 101-601, 25 U.S.C. 3001 et seq., 104 Stat. 3048, is a United States federal law enacted on 16 November 1990.The Act requires federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding[1] which has possession or control over Native American human remains and associated funerary objects to compile an inventory of such items and, to the extent possible based on information possessed by such Federal agency, identify the geographical and cultural affiliation of such item and upon request of a known lineal descendant of the Native American or of the tribe, return such Native American remains to the lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribe.

We support the requests from the Northern Arapaho Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and any other tribes, to repatriate the remains of their relatives who are interred at the Army War College, also known as the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

Repatriation is a small yet essential part of healing the trans-generational wounds inflicted upon families and individuals through the US Boarding School experience. The Army War College is required by law to complete an inventory of the remains and to comply with these requests for repatriation.

By signing this petition, we join the “Call to Repatriate” Carlisle Indian Students buried at the cemetery who deserve to go home and to receive a proper, culturally-relevant burial. The relatives of these children are entitled to have the remains returned so that they may grieve and heal from their loss in whatever way they choose and not have to travel all the way to Carlisle, PA to visit them. Nor should they be subjected to any further grieving resulting from having their loved ones identified as a tourist attraction for the Army War College.

[signature]

1,988 signatures

Share this with your friends:

   

 

Yufna Soldier Wolf wipes away tears while kneeling at the grave of her great-grandfather, Chief Sharp Nose of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, March 1, 2016 at the family cemetery on the Wind River Reservation near Riverton, Wyoming. Soldier Wolf is seeking the remains of her great-uncle Little Chief, who died while attending Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Casper Star-Tribune, Dan Cepeda)

Yufna Soldier Wolf wipes away tears while kneeling at the grave of her great-grandfather, Chief Sharp Nose of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, March 1, 2016 at the family cemetery on the Wind River Reservation near Riverton, Wyoming. Soldier Wolf is seeking the remains of her great-uncle Little Chief, who died while attending Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Casper Star-Tribune, Dan Cepeda)