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5. Famous landmarks include Dickinson College, US Army Heritage Center, and some of the largest car shows

4. Home to the second oldest Army post in the US

3. James Wilson and Molly Pitcher lived here

2. The town was founded in 1751

1. Named after an English Town

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As Westward Expansion continued, many people started to think of ideas to the "Indian Problem." One solution took place right here in Pennsylvania

The Man

  • Civil War veteran Lt. Col. Richard Henry Pratt created and led an off-reservation boarding school with the goal of forced assimilation.
  • Pratt believed that the only hope for Native American survival was to shed all native culture and assimilate fully into white American culture.
  • “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.”



The Motivations

  • Initial student recruitment for the school was also about control of the tribes.
  • The Department of War directed Pratt to travel to the Dakota Territory and recruit the first students, essentially holding the children hostage to try to ensure the good behavior of the tribes.

The Sales Pitch

  • The school was presented as an opportunity for children to learn English and be better able to protect the tribe’s interests in the future.
  • Many parents and tribal leaders initially embraced the opportunity

The School

  • Carlisle Indian Industrial School was the first government-run boarding school for Native Americans.
  • The Army transferred Carlisle Barracks, a military post not in regular use, to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for use as a boarding school.
  • Students were forced to cut their hair, change their names, stop speaking their Native languages, convert to Christianity, and endure harsh discipline including corporal punishment and solitary confinement.
  • This approach was ultimately used by hundreds of other Native American boarding schools.

This is the same man Tom Torlino



  • as more Native schools opened, fewer students needed to go Pennsylvania
  • A Congressional investigation surrounding the management of the school in 1914 resulted in declining attendance and morale.
  • When World War I began in 1917, enrollment further declined
  • On September 1, 1918, the school was officially closed, and the buildings were transferred back to the U.S. Army to serve as a rehabilitation hospital for soldiers wounded in the war.
  • Today, the site is home to the U.S. Army War College.

The Closing

complex Legacy

  • The boarding school stripped the students of their customs, culture, and heritage
  • Making it difficult to go back to reservations, or fit in with white society
  • Disease and harsh conditions took their toll, and 186 died
  • The school did give students an opportunity to explore life off the reservation
  • Had highly regarded athletic teams, including sports icon Jim Thorpe.
  • The band performed at every inauguration held during its 39 years of operation.
  • Several alumni became activists and advocates for cultural preservation.

Historical Markers Tour

The Future

Locals and the historical society want to build a museum and heritage center near the original school site. They are currently raising funds.

They do have a website to collect donations and to post learner's experiences.

Researchers are gathering a list of students who attended the school and all the tribes affected.



Camera Check

Closing question

Google Maps Street View

Dennison Wheelock (June 14, 1871 – March 10, 1927) was an Oneida band conductor and composer. At the age of 40 he became an American Indian rights activist and attorney, and within several years was arguing cases for Indian nations at the United States Court of Claims and US Supreme Court.

"In Indian civilization, I am a Baptist, because I believe in immersing the Indians in our civilization and when we get them under, holding them there until they are thoroughly soaked"-Richard Henry Pratt

Remember how long the school was open

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