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An Act of Remembering Native American Children Who Died so Long Ago

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tags: Native American history, Carlisle Indian Industrial School



The site on Saturday was the cemetery of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School on the campus of the Army War College, where a group of Native Americans have come every Memorial Day weekend since 1973 for a vigil of sorts. They come to honor the students who died while attending school there and to decorate their graves.

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The cemetery has become a lasting symbol of the assimilation effort initiated by the United States government at Carlisle and later at other boarding schools.

Opened in 1879, it was the nation’s first federal off-reservation boarding school, created to solve “the Indian problem" by cleansing children of their “savage nature.” Thousands of Indian children were shorn of their names, languages, religions, and family ties.

About 8,000 students attended the Carlisle school during its 39-year history. Since 2017, 11 students have been disinterred and returned to their native lands. There will be no homecomings this year. Like many things, the pandemic has caused a postponement until next year.

“Even with those repatriated, it doesn’t mean we forget,” said McIntyre-Brewer. “There is still a memory of what happened and a memory that still needs to be reconciled with. We are still understanding a significant amount of loss.”

Read entire article at Philadelphia Inquirer

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