- By Sarah Goldberg
- With so many primary and secondary sources on the Carlisle Indian Industrial School scattered online, we wanted to bring you the best of the web in this online research guide. Check out the web-based resources below to bring the fascinating story of CIIS to life for learners of all ages.
Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center
- The Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center offers digitized images, institutional documents, and other valuable primary sources resources in their searchable database. Through collaborations with the National Archives, Dickinson College, the Cumberland County Historical Society,and other archival repositories, the Digital Resource Center aims to become the most comprehensive collection of CIIS materials online. The website is new and still in progress: however, teachers and students can benefit from the wide ranging materials already available online. Student files offer rich insights into the life of pupils before, during and after their boarding school experiences; images of students from CIIS publications bring the unique historical narrative to life in accessible ways; and digitized rosters suggest exciting opportunities for quantitative historical analysis. Check out our other Storify post on utilizing the Digital Resource Center in classroom contexts.
Teachable Primary Sources
- "Kill the Indian ... Save the Man"
- This 1895 speech from Richard Henry Pratt, the US Army officer who founded the Carlisle Indian School, provides the origins for the phrase often attributed to him and sometimes described as the motto of the program: "kill the Indian, save the man." Pratt didn't quite say that here ("Kill the Indian in him, and save the man"), but careful students will appreciate reading Pratt's original remarks in their full context in order to gain deeper insight into his worldview.
- CIIS Student Data
- Dr. Amelia Trevelyan, Professor of Native North American History at Gettysburg College, led this research project in collaboration with student researchers. The downloadable spreadsheet indexes references to individual student names mentioned in CIIS publications, including The School News, The Red Man, The Indian Craftsman, and The Morning Star. Each record includes a brief description of its context, the periodical title, page number, and date of publication. With more than 12,000 entries, the database is useful both for relatives of CIIS students searching for information about their ancestors as well as for historians.
- "Before and After" Student Portraits
- Drawing from the collections of the Cumberland County Historical Society, Radiolab explores the Indian School's now-infamous before-and-after photographs, describing the stories of individual students in the most striking photographs. Students can think critically about the details of these powerful transformations and look for clues to understanding Pratt's assimilationist mission for his school.
Photographs of the CIIS
- Dickinson College's Archives and Special Collections offers more than 200 digitized images from their impressive collection of CIIS materials. The album on Flickr includes the well-known before-and-after photographs, images of the school grounds, class photos, and various promotional materials. The high quality images are an important resource for researchers of the Carlisle Indian School.
- While Yale's collection Richard Henry Pratt's Papers is not yet fully digitized, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Digital Collection does include 170 photographs and drawings from the Carlisle Indian School. These photos include several before-and-after photo sets (including Navajo student Tom Torlino, a well known alum) and drawings from Pratt's earlier educational experiment at Fort Marion, Florida.
- The Library of Congress's Flickr account offers a unique collection of photographs related to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Their post includes several photographs of the football team and other athletic contests.
Government Records of CIIS
- Google Books offers several official documents that highlight the institutional goals of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. This "Annual Report of the Superintendent of Indian Schools to the Secretary of the Interior," is one of many useful primary sources available as part of Google's free database. This report includes a description of Carlisle's commencement exercises, including a 1908 speech by Elizabeth Penny, a Nez Perce student who presented the history of her people. Although most of these reports are written from an administrative perspective, the inclusion of Indian voices through such a speech offers a useful glimpse into the student experience.