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SPATIAL THEORY IN THE NATIVE AMERICAN BOARDING SCHOOL PROGRAM:
CULTURAL INFLUENCE THROUGH LANDSCAPE
AMY BYRD MUSIC
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Amy Byrd Music
To my family, in all their many forms, and my mentors, be they young or old
I would like to thank my natal family, Linda, Lyman and Johnna for supporting my
decision to pursue a life of anthropological research, despite concerns about ultimate
sustainability. I would like to thank my husband, James for following me across the borders of
several states to allow me to chase this dream. His friendship has been my foundation. I would
like to thank my son, Jonathan, for his enthusiastic and careful examination of my research on
numerous occasions, ultimately encouraging me to finish this thesis or risk the loss of it all. I
must also thank those members of this department that struggle along with me in order to achieve
the elusive dream of graduation. I have truly learned how much of a group effort graduate
school is, and while my name alone appears on the degree, it is a victory for each person who has
helped me along the way. My thanks must also extend to the Cumberland County Historical
Society, where I spent hours and found that the passion of the archivist can be the most useful
tool in an anthropological toolkit. In addition, Barbara Landis, a woman with a vision of Carlisle
like no other, led me to examine my own prejudices and find a fair balance to my research. For
that I give her thanks. I would also like to thank my committee member Mike Heckenberger for
his careful, sensitive, and ever timely advice. His own passion for his work is an inspiration to all
wide-eyed graduate students in the making. Finally, I wish to thank my chair, John Moore, for
giving me the time I needed to explore every avenue I felt necessary as well as his understanding
and patience as life contrived to slow me down. True to his spirit, he pushed me to achieve,
taunted me into accepting challenges, and refused to allow me to keep my thinking "inside the
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............. ...............4.....
LIST OF TABLES ........._.._.. ...._... ...............7....
LIST OF FIGURES .............. ...............8.....
AB S TRAC T ......_ ................. ............_........9
1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............10.......... ......
2 MATERIALS AND METHODS .............. ...............15....
Materials and Demographic Methods ................. ...............15................
Theoretical Background............... ...............1
3 OJIBWE HABITUS .............. ...............23....
Food ................. ...............32.......... .....
D ress .............. ...............33....
Appearance .............. ...............3 4....
Buildings ................. ...............35.................
Kinship ................. ...............37.................
4 CARLISLE HABITUS ................ ...............39........... ....
Food ................. ...............59.......... .....
D ress .............. ...............60....
Appearance .............. ...............60....
Kinship ................. ...............61.................
Buildings ................. ...............65.................
5 HEXUS .............. ...............69....
Ojibwa at White Earth Reservation ................. ...............69..............
Carli sl e ................ ...............73......... ......
6 DI SCUS SSION ................. ...............79...............
White Earth Reservation................ ..............7
Carlisle's Role in Population Decline............... ...............90
7 FUTURE WORK............... ...............97..
LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............101................
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ...............107......... ......
LIST OF TABLES
6-1 White Oak Point Ojibwa 1885 ........... ..... ._ __ ...............80.
6-2 White Oak Point Ojibwa 1922 ........._.__...... ..__. ...............80
6-3 Numbers of Men and Women Married in 1885 ....._.__._ ........___ ......._. .......8
6-4 Numbers of Men and Women Married in 1922 ....._.__._ ........___ ......._. .......8
LIST OF FIGURES
4-1 Blood quatum percentages ................. ...............62........._....
4-2 Number of Students .............. ...............63....
6-1 White Oak Point Ojibwa ................. ...............81...............
6-2 Age-Sex Distribution 1922 ................. ...............83.......... ....
6-3 Age-Sex Distribution, simplified 1922 ................ ...............84...............
6-4 Percentage of Married in 1885 vs. 1922 .............. ...............89....
6-5 Percentage of Single Parents............... ...............90
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
SPATIAL THEORY IN THE NATIVE AMERICAN BOARDING SCHOOL PROGRAM:
CULTURAL INFLUENCE THROUGH LANDSCAPE
Amy Byrd Music
Chair: John H. Moore
Major Department: Department of Anthropology
The following examines the use of various spatial tools to influence the culture of the
Ojibwa of Minnesota. The examination of the program established at Carlisle Indian Industrial
School by Richard Henry Pratt in the late 1800s allows individuals to see cultural changes with
the benefit of hindsight. Pratt' s program used many of the tools that would be discussed by
Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault years later. By examining Pratt' s program, one can see the
results of such actions, without needing Pratt to have been aware of the theories at the time.
In the late 1800s, an off-reservation boarding school opened in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
This school, run by Richard Henry Pratt represented his dream for the future of Native
Americans in the United States. Pratt' s vision was on a par with his unique experiences as a
soldier working with Native American scouts as well as his role as a jailor for Native American
prisoners. Pratt believed that by removing Native Americans from their homes, from their
families, he could mold them as young people into Euroamerican citizens. Pratt's school did not
accomplish what he had hoped, as the remainder of society was not ready to accept Native
Americans as full members. For his part, Pratt molded a group of young people in such a way
that they were not welcome into American society, and yet were no longer welcome with the
families they had left behind.
Pratt' s program at Carlisle neatly elucidates the models set forth by Pierre Bourdieu and
Michel Foucault. Bourdieu's discussion of habitus and hexus, as well as Foucault' s discussion
of prison reform provide the theory behind which Pratt would find success. While Pratt would
have had no knowledge of either theorist, it does not prevent an examination of the theories
which seem to neatly coincide with Pratt' s program in Carlisle. Scholars can now examine
these theories in relation to Pratt' s work with Carlisle students and understand the underlying
processes which made the Carlisle program so effective at altering the students' perceptions of
According to theorists such as Pierre Bourdieu, the habits of daily life, including the
surroundings in which one orients oneself are of great importance for the continuation of culture.
This notion of habitus is vital to the study of landscape, particularly when one must adjust to new
conditions, schedules, and surroundings. In addition, Michel Foucault has researched the notion
of discipline in regards to bodily influence. This too is an important issue when examining
education, particularly at sites where the individual is sequestered for the learning process. I
assert that the off-reservation boarding school system, as shown by the model school, Carlisle
Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was extremely effective at disrupting many
Native American groups. I intend to show this disruption through the use of demographic data
from one site, White Oak Point band of White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.
These practices will be examined both from the standpoint of the Ojibwa and the young
Native American students at Carlisle. In general; food, dress, appearance, body movements
(hexus), kinship ties, and buildings play the largest role in the modifying landscape.
Specifically, the use of the above mentioned techniques allowed Pratt to mold the next
generation of the Ojibwa into the students he wished them to be. In the end, Pratt would
discover the ability to control students depended on many factors including acceptance of Pratt
as the ever present observer and judge of behavior and mindset. In addition, the effects of Pratt' s
program are obvious when examining the changes that took place on the reservations in
White Earth Reservation is nestled snugly in Minnesota surrounded by large lakes and at
one time, land rich in timber and resources. The reservation is made of several bands which
while acknowledging one another and often having ties based on affine connection; could and do
subsist separately. Despite the government's promises of prosperity, between the late 1880s and
the early 1920s, the dip in population was dramatic. The overall structure of the population
became altered, along with marriage and childbirth patterns. The changes that have taken place
can be attributed to deforestation, loss of land, alcoholism in the late 1800s, missionary
influence, and disease as well as the starvation that typically follows during such times. These
influences, though great and certainly adverse, do not explain all the demographic changes seen
in the White Oak Point band during the period around the turn of the twentieth century.
Boarding schools, however, provide further pieces of the story of the White Oak Ojibwa.
While one from another culture and time could never fully understand the depth of the
cultural influence of the boarding school program, the demographic changes provide clues as to
the overall impact on White Earth Reservation. By examining these changes in depth, along
with the program at schools such as Carlisle Indian Industrial School, the puzzle begins to come
together, revealing a time of hardship for the Native Americans that watched as the world around
them began to change for the worse. The influence of the boarding school program can be seen
and felt today, despite the fact that generations have passed since Carlisle Indian Industrial
School closed its doors to students. The demographic marks are but small pieces of the influence
which begs for clarification even now.
The chapters are arranged simply. Chapter 2, "Materials and Methods" traces the paths my
research followed in an effort to reveal how my thinking was influenced by the questions that
arose during the course of study. Beginning with a simple question of how much Native
American boarding schools influenced disease rates, I found myself staring at questions of
assimilation and cultural genocide. In this section I discuss how the opening research question
changed to one of much more social importance. In light of recent events relating to war and
cultural formation, I realized that the important question to ask was not one of the past,
necessarily, but rather one of the future. How was a simple education system able to so deeply
impact the culture of a strong, firmly founded group? Using the theory laid out by Bourdieu and
Foucault, I show how important aspects of habitus, body hexus and j ail house theories of
prisoner reformation are to an individual group when applied to their children.
Chapter 3 focuses mainly on the literature and history of the Ojibwa as a means of viewing
their habitus. This examination of habitus will prepare us for further examination of the program
at Carlisle which will allow for an understanding of the changes that took place.
In chapter 4, I delve in the personal beliefs and actions of Richard Henry Pratt. His
dream to create a school for Native Americans that could "Kill the Indian and Save the Man," led
to sweeping Native American educational reforms. The government, seizing upon Pratt's
program, instituted boarding schools across the nation in order to modify the beliefs, religion,
and behavior of Native American children, when they could be molded into what the government
chose them to become. This is, in effect, Pratt's habitus at Carlisle.
In chapter 5, I look at specifically the subset of habitus that is hexus, or body movement.
The hexus aspects of Bourdieu' s theories relate to Foucault' s theories of confinement. Control
of the body is an important aspect which is not often consciously taught. In this chapter I
examine some of the things that the children might have learned through movement in both
White Earth and Carlisle, and how those differences would have influenced the children's
In chapter 6, I examine the data that I collected along with a simple discussion of the
results of that data. Separated from its explanation, the data itself shows very little. It is only
when put in light of historical evidence that one can see the hidden meanings within. In this
section, I show the demographic changes taking place not only in Carlisle, but also in White
Earth Reservation. I reveal how Pratt' s methods changed slightly towards the end of his career
with Carlisle and how those changes continued to influence the Native American community at
large, in fact, creating a pan-Indian movement which would develop years later as a result of
Pratt' s training and the subsequent use of that training in the other schools across the country.
Chapter 7 focuses on future research possibilities. With so much data available one might
think that answers should be found quite easily. In truth, the state of Native American records
leaves much to be desired. Census rolls written in pencil, changed names, misreporting of
immense proportions makes compiling and understanding this data difficult. Questions of
disease, blood-quantum and immunology linger just out of reach for an average graduate student,
but with the right funding and a timeline allowing for numerous trips to far flung locations; much
more could be gleaned from the information available. In addition, future applications to
development programs in underdeveloped countries loom as the over-arching goal.
This work has been an effort to reveal certain perceptions found in demographic and
historical records. While it is not exhaustive in the sense that all information is presented for
perusal, I have attempted to present the information relevant to the questions I have attempted to
answer. This is truly a narrative, the story of how a single man in the right position of power can
influence an entire culture, be that influence good or ill. In a time when public policy influences
not only the borders of a single country, but those in far reaching regions, taking heed of the
problems created by such an educational system can provide warning to future generations.
Pratt' s legacy is determined, no amount of research will change what he accomplished, however,
noting his methods and understanding our own vision of right and wrong can help shed light on
the turmoil in which the world currently finds itself.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Materials and Demographic Methods
I began this proj ect as a mere intellectual exercise. I intended to examine for myself that
an age-sex pyramid would reveal hidden information in the context of historical records. For this
I choose to use a set of census rolls which were at hand and provided information not only about
individuals and their ages, but also some information about family structure. Knowing that the
notions of "marriage" and parent-child relationship varied from one enumerator to another, I
took some of this information with a careful sense of hesitance. In the end however, the
information of interest was not so much about whether a family consisted of a nuclear family or
several wives. The interesting aspect of my data revolved around the things which were not in
the census rolls, people that should have been there but were not for some reason as yet
This study was conducted in several sections. The first part of the study involved a careful
examination of census rolls from White Earth Point, an Ojibwa band on White Earth Reservation
in Minnesota. Two census rolls were obtained and used, the first from 1885, the second to the
corresponding area in 1922. These rolls surround the time in which boarding schools such as
Carlisle where beginning to come into full force. I determined a few families and individuals
which were enumerated in both 1885 and 1922. This lent some sense of validity to the rolls
themselves. My nominal cross-linkage is not discussed here, as it was merely a triangulation
technique for my own purposes.
These rolls were examined by use of an age-sex distribution, which provided a view of the
population in terms of how evenly the population was spread. Based on demographic theory a
standard age-sex distribution should be roughly pyramid shaped with a wide base of children.
Even slopes are expected from the large child base up to the top of the pyramid where the elderly
reside. The shape allows an individual to see if at any point a traumatic event took lives of
certain groups. In addition, it can also provide insight into later generations as they begin to
recover from said traumatic event (Smith 1948). In the distribution created for each census roll,
a pyramid shape was found, however, breaks and gaps existed throughout.
Each age and sex distribution records nearly a century of societal experience. Stratum by
stratum the age and sex pyramid reflects the experience of society over the entire period of
the human life span. Just as a considerable portion of the earth's history is recorded by the
configuration of its surface, the profile of the age and sex distribution reflects a society's
experiences over a period of a century. Wars, epidemics, migrations, and lengthy swings in
the trends of the vital processes all leave their impressions scars on the population
pyramid. (Smith 1948: 93)
These gaps represent missing individuals, people who died during a time of increased morbidity.
Normal death rates would not leave gaps; however by increasing the rate of morbidity, a scar can
be produced. In addition, echoes may also be found if those individuals died young enough to
decrease the number of children left behind. An echo is seen when an event, reducing fertility
for whatever reason, appears in a lower level of stratum. These are the missing children,
children that would have been born based on a normal birth rate and normal mortality. If for
instance one finds a large gap at the 50 years stratum, one could expect to see a smaller gap at
the 30 year stratum, where individuals were unable to have children, either due to disease or to
death prior to reproductive age. An epidemic killing only the extreme elderly will most likely
not show echoes, however, any epidemic that causes high mortality among children or young
adults will almost inevitably leave an echo in the age-sex distribution (Smith 1948).
Also, any maj or event that removes a portion of a population from a band level society, such as
the Ojibwa of the time, will influence the overall morbidity and mortality, as food base is lost
due to lack of subsistence providers.
Further examination of these gaps led to more questions than answers. While some could
be identified as related to disease or alcoholism, for the most part large gaps existed in the young
adult portion of the population, the group known to best withstand disease. Overall, the entire
population decreased by more than 30%, leaving serious questions to be answered. A further
inspection of marriage patterns revealed as well that individuals simply were no longer marrying
as they once had. This too required clarification. It was then that thoughts turned to boarding
schools as a possible explanation.
Boarding schools did seem to provide an answer to the missing individuals from White
Earth Point. However, the time span was such that merely having children away at school could
not fully provide elucidation. It was then that the second section of my proj ect began. While
demographers such as Smith do their best to eliminate the effects of immigration, in my case, I
felt that immigration was certainly an important aspect of this puzzle. An uneven
immigration/emigration rate will influence the age-sex pyramid. I expected to find that
individuals in their twenties and thirties were leaving and therefore not producing children,
however, when I discovered that the pyramid revealed much younger individuals missing from
the distribution, I began to look closer.
After much research I closed in on Carlisle Indian Industrial School as it served as the
model on which other schools designed for a similar purpose were based. Using census rolls
from 1900 and 1910, I was able to get a picture of how the Carlisle student body was composed
in the time during which the White Oak Point Ojibwa experienced such drastic reduction in
population. Carlisle had many Ojibwa students in attendance, quite a few from Minnesota,
though knowing the exact band was not possible with the data available. Creating age-sex
distributions for the Carlisle data would have proved to be of little significance; however, other
distributions were more helpful. It appeared that the missing individuals could very likely be at
Carlisle; however, it also appeared they may not have been returning to the reservation at the end
of their education. In addition, a trend towards students of mixed parentage also demanded some
clarification. My first thought was perhaps high rates of disease were preventing students from
returning home. I thought perhaps they had died while away at school. Knowing how Pratt felt
about his students, I thought perhaps his change to more and more mix-blood students was in an
effort to stem the flood of disease. A glance at the cemetery records, however, disproved this
notion. Left with little choice I realized that to answer this question, it would require delving
into historical records and accounts in order to best understand why the students of schools such
as Carlisle were not returning home when their education was deemed complete.
It was then through the use of historical records, census rolls and missives from both
students and Pratt himself that some understanding of the relationship between Carlisle and
White Earth Point began to come into focus. A clear understanding of Pratt' s goal as well as his
arsenal of culture reforming weapons helped explain the changes taking place not only with the
students at Carlisle but with those at White Earth Reservation as well. In light of the work
conducted by both Foucault and Bourdieu the reasons for Pratt' s effectiveness became even
more lucid. It was through this lens of spatial theory that I could finally identify what had
happened to the children and young adults that were "missing" from White Oak Point.
According to Pierre Bourdieu, the inequalities present in the structure that governs culture,
play themselves out in the everyday lives of the people present within the culture. The everyday
work, the activities, the rules related to etiquette and speech, even in the very structure of homes,
these inequities can be seen. The practices of daily life amount to habitus. Habitus is dependent
upon the environment, the landscape in which one lives. By dwelling in an environment one
learns the structures of the world and learns to live within them, as well as reproduce them.
Much of this process is not entirely conscious, yet a powerful force in the lives of all people. In
essence, it is one' s habitus that informs an individual of who they are and exactly how the world,
at least their world, should function. This, by definition is part of the landscape, the place in
which one dwells and the place which one creates (Bourdieu 1977; Knauft 1996).
Individuals will accept almost any amount of harshness due to habitus. They perceive the
structure as the way things are meant to be, until some other force can show them otherwise. It
is only after this outside force proves the current structure to be unbearable, that individuals will
believe it unbearable (Bourdieu 1977). One's habitus allows them to make sense of their world,
as well as to cope with changes that are made to their world.
When examining class structure, habitus serves to keep one within their designated class
boundary. It is the unconscious laws which habitus helps enforce (Bourdieu 1977). As a result
we can acknowledge that individuals living under the same conditions, will have very similar
habitus, very similar structures and rules which they will follow (Bourdieu 1977).
Habitus is not all-powerful, however. In fact habitus will encourage individuals to be
agents by its very nature. Power to create change or to resist is an important aspect of habitus
and should not be disregarded (Erickson and Murphy 1999). It is this agency that allows for
change in the reproduction of culture. Structure is not faithfully copied from generation to
generation, and interference with the habitus and the body hexus, such as found in Native
American boarding schools will influence the reproduction of habitus and body hexus for entire
cultures. While no other influence need be present for subtle changes, typically the influence of
an outside source allows for more rapid change. (Erickson and Murphy 1999).
The practices produced by habitus are the strategies in which people engage in order to
cope with change and unfamiliar situations. They draw upon the lessons learned from their own
landscape, their own daily practices in order to process and effectively handle new contexts
(Bourdieu 1977). Some anthropologists, such as Sewell, have argued that Bourdieu's habitus is
too rigid a system, not allowing for the agency of individuals involved. I claim, however, that
the notion of habitus is quite useful in examining the general patterning of individuals giving
great authority to the structure, but still capable of modifying the structure as they see fit. In fact,
Bourdieu does allow for change, particularly, generational change which he says occurs often
and naturally (Bourdieu 1977).
The landscape and daily habits become particularly important when examining children
and their educational system. Children do not merely model the behavior of adults, according to
Bourdieu, rather they immolate that behavior, take it into themselves and make it part of
themselves. Things such as body hexus, including patterns of posture and movements become
part of a child's habitus. Most aspects of identity are formed in this manner, including sexual
identity. "The child constructs its sexual identity, the major element in its social identity, at the
same time as it constructs its image of the division of work between the sexes." (Bourdieu
Body hexus itself speaks to the motor function required for the patterns of posture and
movements common to an individual. Body hexus is taught, often through observation by
children, and helps to reproduce the signals of status within a group. Hexus is the reason a leader
would hold their head high or a politician provide a firm handshake in our own society. The
posture and movements of people, not just their actions, but how they go about their actions
inform individuals in a highly sensitive cultural way. For Bourdieu, body hexus was culturally
significant and therefore, as important as the other aspects of habitus for reproducing culture
In addition, Bourdieu stresses the importance of lived time. He states that time is needed
to acquire habitus and hexus (Knauft 1996). Bourdieu also argues that the significance of
interaction must be viewed with regards to the events that have occurred in the past. All that has
occurred before will influence the events currently taking place as well as all those to come
(Layton 1997). This matches with Bourdieu's notions of praxis or practice. As individuals
perform actions, those actions become part of that individual.
Michel Foucault' s work on the prison system and discipline is eerily well matched to
discussions of Native American boarding schools. Foucault discusses the use of prison to serve
as punishment through confinement and loss of liberty, to serve as a means of conversion, and to
serve as a means of educating (Foucault 1995 (1978).
The aspects of confinement that are of most importance to this work are those related to
corporeal punishment. According to Foucault, noncorporal punishment cannot exist in
confinement. Controlling the body alone is a means of punishment by use of food rationing,
sexual gratification deprivation, and solitary confinement (Foucault 1995 (1978)). Scheduling
every moment prevents idleness, which is the bane of the j ailor. Working in common as well as
silence, compulsory movements, and repeated good habits form the basis of this type of
reformation. In confinement, the control of these aspects is far easier than in a nonconfined
situation. It creates, according to Foucault, "the obedient subject, the individual subjected to
habits, rules, orders, and authority that is exercised continually around him, and upon him, and
which he must allow to function automatically in him" (Foucault 1995 (1978): 128-129). The
use of observation is key to confinement as well. The individual being confined must always
feel that their actions are observed. It is with this observation that behavior can be controlled, be
it seen or not. The fear of retribution for small infractions comes from the sense of observation
of all actions. In essence, the prisoners eventually control themselves (Foucault 1995 (1978)).
It is with this notion of habitus, body hexus, and discipline that we must examine the
boarding school system implemented to "civilize" Native American children. This is especially
true in light of Gaston Bachelard, who discusses the notion of topophilia, or the places that
people love. According to Bachelard, these are the places where people are comfortable, the
places where people leamn how the world is structured. Often this occurs in childhood in one's
natal home. Bachelard asserts that these experiences will be highly influential in the patterning
of one' s social structure. These are the places where habitus has the most strength (Bachelard
When young Native Americans were taken from their homes and brought to Carlisle
Indian Industrial School to leamn from Richard Henry Pratt, they were faced with great
disruptions to their habitus and their body hexus under the aspects that Foucault discusses as
discipline in confinement. This was a great time of change for Native Americans across the
country, but in particular, it was a time of change for the Ojibwa. Among the students attending
Carlisle, many were Ojibwa. In fact, in the thirty-nine years in which Carlisle was in operation,
nearly one thousand students were identified as such. The question that remains is what those
students became when it was time for them to leave Carlisle. With the loss of the time required
to appropriate the proper habitus, could they ever truly be considered Ojibwa by those at home?
The Ojibwa, which are also known as the Chippewa belong to the woodland area of North
America. They are members of the Algonquian language family and are closely related to the
Ottawa, Shawnee, Kickapoo, and the Potawatomi, at least in language classification. According
to Copway, an Ojibwa man writing in the 1850s, the name Ojibwa was first spoken by French
traders who noted the footwear of the Oj ibwa gathered at both the toe and the ankle. The word
Ojibwa means "gathering" in the French language (Hilger 1951). The Ojibwa refer to
themselves as Ojibwa, Chippewa, or Anishinaabe, depending on the context. The French word
Ojibwa is more popular in the northern regions of the Ojibwa land found in Canada as well as
northern America. Chippewa tends to be more popular in the United States, where the English
which arrived at contact pronounced the French name, Ojibwa, as Chippewa. Chippewa is also
used for official documents and council names (Vizenor 1984).
The first European records of the Ojibwa location are dated 1615, when Champlain met
various groups during his travels. Better information about the Ojibwa is not recorded until the
1640s, when missionaries began to write about the group (Bishop and Smith 1975). There are
other brief mentions through the end of the 1600s, mostly noting warfare and locations.
Mention of the Chippewa is found in most of the j ournals and narratives of the early
missionaries, travelers, and fur traders. The tribe is recorded in historic literature under
more than 70 different names, among them Achipoes, Chepeways, Odjibwag, Uchipgouin,
Dewakanha, Dshipewehaga, Ninniwas, Saulteur, and Saulteaux. (Hilger 1951: 3)
At the time of contact, the Ojibwa were found in a region of mixed coniferous-deciduous
forest, known for increased food supplies. The ecology allowed for a slightly more sedentary
lifestyle than the other hunter-gatherer groups from previous periods. Main food sources
included fish, deer, moose, and caribous (Bishop and Smith 1975), and while vegetable sources
were important, the Ojibwa held a primary reliance on meat as a food resource. Just as their
ancestors were hunter-gatherers, they continued to do so after contact with Europeans
(Brightman 1993). Understanding the history of the pre-Ojibwa groups shows the long history
of hunting and foraging in which the people have participated. At the time of contact, only
gradual subsistence changes had taken place. Due to the stable climate, the area was ripe for
sustained culture. Therefore, at the time of first contact with French traders in 1610, the Ojibwa
were firmly established in the area around the Great Lakes, particularly near Lake Superior.
Their territory extended into dense forests and abundant plains, as well as through many of the
waterways around the Lakes. In addition, they also claimed territory in some mountainous
regions nearby (Copway 1978).
The Ojibwa found around the border between the United States and Canada were no
further west than Michipicoten Bay on the Northeast shore of Lake Superior at the time of
contact. No permanent Ojibwa groups were found West of Lake Superior prior to 1800s (Bishop
and Smith 1975).
The ancestors of the contemporary Ojibwa reside primarily in the mixed deciduous-
coniferous forest region from roughly Michipicoten Bay south and east along the north
shores of Lakes Superior and Huron, and in the upper portion of the Michigan peninsula.
There is absolutely no historic evidence prior to the 1700s that the Ojibwa resided in the
area west of Lake Superior. (Bishop and Smith 1975)
The religion of the Ojibwa at the time of contact was based on the notion of many spirits,
or manitous living within the world (Johnston 1995). As a point of clarification, the word
manitou can be used both as a noun or a verb, meaning spirit or power, as well as the
manifestation of that power through action (White 1994, Grim 1987).
"And because they could not or dared not define God or the deities, or explain or reduce to
human terms certain phenomena, they invented the word manitou, which at times,
depending upon context, might mean spirit, but which in its more fundamental senses
meant talent, attributes, potential, substance, essence, and mystery." (Johnston 1990: 6)
The first spirit of interest is Kitchi-Manitou, also known as the Great Mystery or
sometimes, the Great Spirit. This is the creator spirit who made animals, plants, and the earth.
The earth, however, was flooded and many of the animals were killed in the raging water. Some
animals clung to life at the surface of the waters. Above, the Geezhigo-Quae, or Sky-Woman
became pregnant by another manitou. The animals begged the giant turtle to offer his back for
the woman to rest on, which he did. The Sky-woman came to rest on the turtle's back, and soon
asked for earth, which only the muskrat was able to retrieve. She used the dirt to create a new
earth, breathing life into it (Johnston 1995).
The woman gave birth to twins, whose descendents were the Anishinauback, and would
later become known as Ojibwa, Algonquin, Mississauga, Ottawa, and Pottawatomi (Johnston
1995). The name Anishinauback (variation Anish-inaubag, Anishanaube) signifies a group of
people who came prior to the Ojibwa, during the woodland period. The name itself means
"spontaneous man" (Grim 1987). Due to their privileged position as the first in North America,
according to their origin mythology, the Ojibwa see themselves as the stewards of the land
(Johnston 1995). This belief is reinforced by their environment, other manitous and the stories
The Northern Ojibwa inhabit a harsh environment, depending upon hunting as well as
foraging. This leads to concern over food availability. While the region does seem to have
ample food, it is only when certain strategies are employed that enable survival that the Ojibwa
are able to have abundant supplies. Hunters are encouraged not to be too greedy or overly-
skilled, lest they take too many of the resources. This belief was also part of the mentality of the
more southern Ojibwa (Brehm 1996).
Another Manitou of some importance is M~icipijiu, or the Great Lynx. His swimming, lion-
like form may have been inspired by the abundance of panthers and cougars which live in the
area around the Great Lakes, and often swim in the cool lakes. He is considered a dangerous
spirit. Archaeologists believe that M~icipifiu is a spirit of importance from well prior to contact,
as his image appears in rock art around the Great Lakes (Brehm 1996). Micipijiu was
considered an important manitou perhaps even before the differentiation of the Algonkian bands.
His image is found on incised disks, maybe carried to ensure hunting success or even as
talismans of safety while crossing water. These disks are found dating to as early as A.D. 1250
The Great Lynx' s power serves important cultural functions, including in the Midewiwin,
or the medicinal society responsible for healing.
In all he functions as a response to cultural conflicts. As an arbiter, or master of the game,
who controls the supply of food or determines access to the healing rights of the
Midewiwin, he enforces cultural conceptions of power and value. (Brehm 1980: 680)
He controlled the supply of furred animals and fish as well as giving medicines and the
knowledge of how to use them (Brehm 1980: 680).
Therefore, the Great Lynx has been adapting to Ojibwa culture for at least 700 years. His role in
myth is to enforce wise use of renewable resources. In addition, he plays a role in disruption of
gender relations. Only women can resist his attempts to do so. As a result, this society gives
women very high status. Micipijiu often attempts to mate with women, who usually outwit him.
The women are most often on the water or near the water at the time of the Lynx' s overture,
again reinforcing Micipijiu's relationship with water (Brehm 1980).
He raised storms or calmed waves in a region where most travel was by water. He also
gave the powers of sorcery that could kill an enemy many miles away, and with the bear,
he was the guardian of the highest degrees of the Midewiwin, levels few could attain.
Those who did were considered extremely powerful individuals because of the knowledge
at their command. (Brehm 1980: 681)
The Ojibwa world consisted of three levels; the middle level was the level of earth where
land animals and humans resided. The upper levels belonged to the creatures of air and the
Animikeeg, or the Thunderers. The creatures stood in direct opposition to Micipijiu. In fact,
those who dreamed of the Thunderers would have power over the Great Lynx, at least enough to
survive an attack by him, though rarely receiving more power than that. Micipijiu tended to have
a punitive role in the society. He was responsible for ensuring that the resources were protected.
The lower world of waters, the domain of monsters, was ruled by Micipijiu (Brehm 1980).
Part of this role involved reciprocity, which was vital to the Ojibwa. The importance of
giving tobacco or some other offering after taking an animal or when healing was central to
Ojibwa beliefs (Johnston 1990; Dixon 1908). If a hunter killed a bear, and did not make an
offering after, he was likely to be killed by a bear on a future hunt. Failed hunting as well as
illness can very often be considered the result of witchcraft (Parker 1960). This continued into
the relationships between the Ojibwa' s as well.
These exchanges of food, clothing, tools, and services had enormous significance: they not
only formed the base of the Ojibwa economy, but also carried an even more important
ideological implication. On the level of metaphor, reciprocity defined human society. The
Ojibwa esteemed the generous individual and accorded great respect to the man or woman
who had plenty and gave from their possessions to the poor and less fortunate. (Kugel
The Ojibwa are well adapted to the land on which they live. Having such a long history of
occupation, perhaps 9000 years, has given them a unique perspective of the land and how to live
in such a way as to maintain the land. Though the land has gradually changed, the group has
adapted to those changes and created a strong society (Feit 2000).
The Ojibwa social structure was based upon the notion of dodem, or totem. The dodem
was an animal which came to a person through fasting and would help guide that person through
life. The dodem then allowed a clan structure, which passed patrilineally through families. At
the time of contact, dodems were strong as was the practice of fasting for guiding spirits, not
one's dodem necessarily, but rather one's own personal manitou (Grim 1987).
The manitous would not be considered supernatural per se, but rather, other-than human
persons. They carried great power however, and could appear in many forms. One could not be
certain of the Manitou which had appeared until later, when consequence validation would help
the fasting person identify the spirit. Validation could occur in such a manner as a storm. These
encounters were considered to be blessings (Black 1977). The fasting was often done during
childhood. The child became a liability as he grew older and an effort was made to fill the child
with spiritual power so he would not only have some protection for himself, but may offer
something to his family. Fasting was used in order to encourage the blessing of the spirits
(Parker 1960, Mason 1997). Women typically did not fast because of their reproductive role in
the society. They had a special power already and therefore did not need a blessing as such
Beginning in 1867, the White Oak Point Band of the Ojibwa were informed they must
leave their homes in the Great Lakes region and move to a new place in Minnesota, where the
land would be most profitable. At the time, Euro-American settlers had located copper deposits
in the lands occupied by the Ojibwa, and as with all government land dealings regarding the
Ojibwa, a treaty was signed. This treaty granted the Ojibwa, including those of White Oak Point,
vast parcels of land in Minnesota (LaDuke 1999). This land was known as the White Earth
Reservation (Kugel 1998). Like most of Minnesota, White Earth Reservation had many lakes
and rivers; most created by glacial activity of previous times. "In 1867, the White Earth
reservation was created, reserving some 36 townships of land for the Anishinaabeg, a land of
natural wealth and beauty, over two-thirds of which was covered with huge white pines and
beautiful maples" (Laduke 1999: 117-118). In addition, the land was filled with rich,
agriculturally viable soil. The land also supported numerous trees suited for timber activities.
Despite the great lengths to which U.S. Officials went in order that the Ojibwa would see the
value of the land, those of White Oak Point, along with many others insisted that they were
happier where they were (Meyer 1994).
The U. S. Officials tried many tactics, and finally, after the failure of the voluntary move
period, forced removal was commenced in order to move the remaining Ojibwa. White Earth's
population began to grow. The people there settled into market activities of trading and farming
for sale, and timber work (Meyer 1994). "In 1889-90, 11 million board-feet of timber were
taken from the White Earth reservation. In the next year, 15 million board-feet were cut,
followed by another 18 million in the 1891-92 season" (LaDuke 1999:118). This would
eventually lead to deforestation at a massive scale for the Ojibwa living on White Earth
Reservation (LaDuke 1999).
White Earth Reservation served as an experiment to the United States Government. The
Government believed that if the Oj ibwa learned the value of privately owned land, they would
turn from their own culture and strive to become the embodiment of the Jefferson Agrarian ideal.
The Ojibwa had a unique ability to adapt to changing political situations. They took to farming
easily, as well as the wearing of European style clothing. In fact, over time, terms like mix-
bloods, or full-bloods came to denote behavior and clothing rather than genetics or parentage.
The Government continued to closely watch the experiment as it unfolded, pleased by what they
began to see, Native Americans with European clothing, farming earnestly, accepting capitalism
by trading within the market, and asking for education (Meyer 1994). One man claimed that, "he
wanted his son to have all the knowledge of both whites and Native Americans when he
succeeded him" (Meyer 1994).
While the move to White Earth was exceptionally successful for the government' s
purposes; it was not as profitable as expected by the Ojibwa. The population soon experienced a
drastic decline which would reduce the population by roughly half across the entire reservation.
The state of the population in 1885 was one based on market economy. While farming had
not always been a part of Ojibwa culture, they were familiar with it, and defined it as a
subsistence activity suited primarily to woman as the members of the society who held special
control over matters of reproduction, including the growing of food. Ojibwa women planted
squash, corn, beans, turnips, and potatoes, in small plots, which the Missionaries saw as mere
gardens. They believed that the Ojibwa should be focusing on large scale farming. As they were
already familiar with farming, the Ojibwa made a change in their agriculture early in the 1880s.
Women, however, became annoyed as missionaries expected men to farm. As they perceived
gender roles, growing was their unique reproductive domain, not to be undertaken by men who
were unable to produce life from their own bodies (Kugel 1998).
By 1885, however, most individuals engaged in either farming for sale, petty commodity
production, or trading. At this time the most popular crop was wheat. While some corn was
grown, the harsh Minnesota growing season made full mono-crop production of corn difficult.
Women specifically, made brooms and baskets to be sold to the traders and families living
around White Earth. Animals such as beaver and musk rat were trapped, and the pelts sold to the
traders. Subsistence was achieved by some agriculture, but mostly through gathering and
hunting, as it had been prior to the move to White Earth. Collected foods included wild rice,
raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, cranberries, marsh cranberries, strawberries,
huckleberries, wild grapes, and a tuber much like the West India sweet potato. Hunted foods
included deer, elk, otter, hare, bear, moose, and some buffalo, though the buffalo was quickly
becoming scarce in Minnesota (Jones 1970).
As is often the case, the idyllic view presented was teeming with deceitful practices
beneath. The government officials, which were assured of their successful endeavor with the
White Earth Reservation, began to seek a bit of that accomplishment for themselves. They began
taking land as payment for taxes, or began encouraging minors to sell their land illegally. In
addition, some individuals were swindled from their land with small payments. The use of
anthropological theory even played a role as individuals were identified as either mix-blood or
full blood based on their anthropomorphic measurements. If Dr. Ales Hrdlicka' s measurements
indicated someone had mixed ancestry, they were deemed fit to sell their land. Many did so in
order to avoid the effects of starvation (LaDuke 1999). "In 1889 and 1890 Minnesota led the
country in lumber production, and the state's northwest region was the leading source of timber.
Two decades later, 90 percent of White Earth land was controlled by non-Native Americans, and
our people were riddled with diseases" (LaDuke 1999: 5).
As land dwindled and disease and starvation reduced numbers, an assault on other aspects
of life began. By the 1860s, many missionaries had arrived, bent on changing the cosmological
view of the Ojibwa. The path had already been cleared for them by the traders and the history of
intermarriage. A high number of catholic converts resided on White Earth by the time the
Roman Catholic Church onfcially arrived (Meyer 1994). Prior to 1900, the Church of England,
Methodist Episcopals, and Roman Catholics all believed they held some claim to the Ojibwa.
Many Native Americans became Christian, seeing the benefits a church could give them (Jones
1970), though these benefits were not as the churches saw them. For instance one of the
Episcopalian Bishops, Henry Whipple was not only influential in the church, but also among
political circles. He became quite involved with the Ojibwa at White Earth. When he visited in
1873, the Episcopalian Native Americans staged a pageant, in which the virtues of being a
Christianized Native American were explicit (Meyer 1994). "He was an ally worth cultivating"
(Meyer 1994: 73).
Polygyny was also common, though only those men who could support the additional
wives and children engaged in it. Usually, due to the matrilocal nature of the household, a man
would take one of his wife's sisters as his additional wife. With the arrival of the Missionaries,
however, an additional wife cost more than income. Ministers refused to baptize men with more
than one wife. Wishing the church's support, in finances and politics, men set their extra wives
aside as sisters, taking care of them until their first wife died. At which time, the men were free
to marry their former wife again. While the manner in which polygyny was maintained changed,
it still existed until much later (Jones 1970).
Children, the product of these unions remained important to the Ojibwa. The Ojibwa spent
much time in teaching them the way of life of an Ojibwa both through direct education of skills
and through child observation when too young to learn those important skills.
At the time of contact, the Ojibwa were found in a region of mixed coniferous-deciduous
forest, known for increased food supplies. The ecology allowed for a slightly more sedentary
lifestyle than the other hunter-gatherer groups from previous periods. Main food sources
included fish, deer, moose, and caribous (Bishop and Smith 1975), and while vegetable sources
were important, the Ojibwa held a primary reliance on meat as a food resource. Just as their
ancestors were hunter-gatherers, they continued to be after contact with Europeans (Brightman
1993). Understanding the history of the pre-Ojibwa groups shows the long history of hunting
and foraging in which the people have participated. At the time of contact, only gradual
subsistence changes had taken place (Copway 1978).
Farming's role in Ojibwa culture was a task for women. Ojibwa women planted squash,
corn, beans, turnips, and potatoes on a small scale only. The missionaries observed this and
believed that the Ojibwa should be focusing on large scale farming. Since they were already
familiar with farming, the Ojibwa made a change to agriculture after a few decades only.
Women, however, became annoyed as missionaries expected men to farm. They believe that
growing in the dirt was their unique productive domain as men could not even produce children
(Kugel 1998). Subsistence was achieved by some agriculture, but mostly through gathering and
hunting, as it had been prior to the move to White Earth. Eaten foods included: wild rice,
raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, cranberries, marsh cranberries, strawberries,
huckleberries, wild grapes, a tuber much like the West India sweet potato, deer, elk, otter, hare,
bear, noose, some buffalo, though the buffalo was quickly becoming scarce (Jones 1970).
When food was available and one wished to eat one could. While meal times were loosely
observed, if a member of the family was absent during the meal, food would be saved for that
individual by the matriarch (Densmore 1929).
The Ojibwa dress typically consisted of leggings and shirt for men. The clothing was
made from skin or from cloth when it was available. Beadwork was very popular, as was quill
work for the Ojibwa. All clothing had some form of decoration which served to individualize
and form symbols (Wissler 1914). Men often had elaborate beadwork on their leggings as well
as their shirts, giving them a well decorated appearance (Densmore 1929). Feather cloaks were
also common (Wissler 1914).
Women typically made clothing, using cloth, and deer or rabbit skin, fashioned into a
simple dress. They used thread gained from fibrous plants until cotton and silk thread was
available. Even then, many preferred to continue using their own implements. Moccasins were
made with elaborate beadwork and soft, flexible soles. In winter, rabbit fur was used inside the
shoes to keep the feet warmer (Densmore 1929).
As time passed and the use of traded cloth became more popular, bright colors and copious
bead work and braid served as decoration. The appearance, described by Densmore as garish,
was a bright, grand mix of colors which women enjoyed tremendously. The dresses were made
to have added front pieces for fullness of skirts and arm covers which could be worn or laid aside
depending on the preference of the wearer (Densmore 1929).
Women often covered their heads with silk handkerchiefs, once they became available. It
afforded protection from the sun during summer. Pointed hats made from old blankets were
worn by all and kept the wearer warm in winter (Densmore 1929).
Jewelry was commonly worn both for decoration and for charm qualities. Several strings
of beads of different and often bright colors were hung at various lengths on women for
decoration. Braided sweet grass or braids of other materials were often worn by both men and
women as charms.
A plaited cord in two colors of yarn was worn around the neck as an ornament as well as a
charm. Three sorts of plaited cord were noted, one being a charm to secure good health and
the other two being said to resemble a striped and a spotted snake. The two latter might
indicate that the wearer had dreamed of a snake, but more frequently they were worn as a
protection against the bite of these reptiles. The manner of plaiting was similar to that of
the bead chains worn for similar reasons. The ends of these cords were finished in a
manner suggesting a 'tassel, the cord being tied and the ends of yarn left free for about 2
inches. (Densmore 1929: 36)
Both men and women wore earrings and nose rings, although the former was more
common in men than women. The ear was often pierced multiple times from lobe to tip. In
winter, bits of rabbit fur could be easily substituted for the metal rings which grew quite cold in
the bitter air. In addition, bracelets, armlets, and knee bands were also very common. Strips of
bead work or bands of fur were often tied about the ankles and hung with beads for decoration as
well (Densmore 1929).
Hair was perhaps the most important point of pride for most Ojibwa. This was especially
important for young men. Men typically had a sister care for their long hair which was well
greased with bear fat or deer tallow. It was most often worn with two small braids at the temples
and two long braids down the back. A single braid could be used and tied up on the back of the
head. Beads and ornaments were often hung from the ends of braids and bands of beadwork
were used to hold hair in place (Densmore 1929).
For the Ojibwa, housing was typically bark or skin covered lodges, usually constructed of
poles. This conical structure prevailed for the most part across much of the area from where the
Ojibwa came (Wissler 1914). The wigwam itself, as it was called, was usually around twelve
feet long and just over ten feet wide. An entrance at one end was usually sufficient. The
structure began as a frame of small poles which could be bent and lashed into shape. Then the
frame could be covered with either birch bark rolls or with cloth or skins if available. The roof
could be either peaked, which was most common at White Earth Reservation, or could be arched.
The inside would be covered in woven mats and often bows of cedar were used for flooring.
Low beds or pallets typically covered in furs and cloth served for sleeping. These could be
easily rolled up and out of the way during the day (Densmore 1929).
Tipis, which were more temporary structures, were also used, but tended to be more oval
than those used by plains groups. They two could be covered in birch bark or skins or cloth.
They were made in a manner quite different from the structures of plains groups, and were
therefore less stable in high winds, this again, was not normally a concern for those at White
Earth. If stability was threatened a springy pole could be wrapped around the structure about
half the distance between the ground and the top. This would provide extra support (Densmore
An important aspect of life in the wigwam was the location of individuals. The mother
could be either on the right or left of the structure, but, without failing, the children would be
placed in the center. It was in this way, they could be kept safe. Children would be forced to
pass their elders when they left or entered so that their whereabouts were always in mind. In
addition, these structures could easily house three generations of family members, so there was
always someone nearby when needed. While this arrangement was ideal for keeping children
safe, it also displayed the sense of closeness and the sense of reliance that existed within a
family. The older generation, sleeping in the warmer interior of the structure, farthest from the
door was a sign of consideration and practicality as well. All members played an integral role
and all members were important to the wellbeing of the others. This is the aspect that must not
be overlooked. In a typically Ojibwa home, one is surrounded, quite literally, by family.
Especially in the winter camps where survival depends upon all members of the family doing as
must be done, to be without the support of one' s family would be nearly unthinkable (Densmore
1929). The sleeping arrangements were most commons during colder months. In the summer,
sleeping outside was predictably more comfortable and enjoyed by the entire family (Densmore
The Ojibwa were known for close family cohesion. Families tended to be nuclear for
much for the year, however during ceremonies and seasonal economic activities requiring more
people, the groups would cluster together into larger families designated by blood ties (Allen and
Unwin 2001). The dodem system provides the clan designations for individuals and in the
1920s, the surnames for many families. This system is heavily tied to kinship. If one is a
member of a certain dodem, to which they would gain entrance through their father' s line, they
will be entirely exogamous when choosing a spouse. This is also true when the individuals are
of different bands. The closet bonds of kinship remain through the dodem. There were five
original dodems, that rose from five beings that came from "the great deep," from these five
dodems, one finds twenty-one clans in the 1920s (Densmore 1929).
Names of children and adults were of the utmost importance. One's name was private
affair, even between spouses. Husbands and wives would often go twenty years without
revealing their true names to one another. A name is of great importance to the Ojibwa,
containing meaning. Often names came directly from supernatural sources, either as dreams of
the parents prior to reaching puberty, when they were still considered innocent, or given directly
to the individual through their own actions or the interference of manitous. It is for this reason
that many Ojibwa had three names, their public name, English name, and then their private name
from which they could draw power. To reveal your private name without consideration was
considered to be a maj or act of disrespect to the one who had given you the name, either
supernatural or natural. In addition, it was also seen as disgraceful to reveal one's private name
The life of the Ojibwa was one of adaptation to changing environments. By the time
boarding schools began taking children away from home, the Ojibwa at White Earth Reservation
had experienced considerable upheaval. The loss of their children was simply another challenge
to be overcome, however, this challenge would prove exceedingly difficult as time passed and
the children failed to return home. The reasons behind these great changes lie not on the
reservation itself, but rather with the boarding schools that instigated such great transformations.
While the problems of disease, alcoholism, and poverty proved hazardous to population statistic,
the influence of boarding schools actually had a much greater effect on the families at White
Earth. The program at the schools, such as Carlisle, were designed, after all, to prevent children
from desiring to return to their families, despite claims that education for the young generations
would strengthen the groups upon the children's return. Individuals such as Pratt certainly hoped
his students would never return to the reservation from which they had come.
The events leading up to the opening of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School were a
product of current thought, both academic and public, and while Carlisle was a creation of its
time, it is also distinct in the manner in which its goals were achieved. The mastermind of
Carlisle was Richard Henry Pratt, and his own thinking was a product of careful observation of
his surroundings, rather than popular opinion. Carlisle was revolutionary in its manner and
endeavors and played a significant role in the development of Native American education. Its
effects are still felt today.
The time preceding the opening of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle,
Pennsylvania was filled with public turmoil over the condition of the Native American. After
two centuries of contact, policy makers began looking for different approaches to address the
problem they perceived. During the early 1800s, a major policy shift occurred, causing the focus
of Native American interaction to resettle upon notions of the proper way to "civilize" the
groups, instead of how to get them out of the way of hard working citizens who would
productively use the land the Native Americans currently occupied. In addition, as the late
1800s approached, the mental image of starving Native Americans bravely fighting for the things
they had been promised began to unsettle the moral stomachs of the American public. Suddenly,
the concern was no longer how to destroy the Native American, but rather how to help them be
more like the rest of the society. Policies of the past came into question as the public viewed
pictures of Native Americans starving on reservations, while the agents who were to tend to them
became more and more wealthy. Assimilationists believed that helping the Native Americans
become part of our society was the answer. Civilizing a Native American could happen in many
forms, including the use of agriculture, enforcing religious beliefs, and, most certainly,
education. After all, many policy makers, as well as the general public knew that Native
Americans had been promised civilization in exchange for their land. While handing tribes the
promised funds was not considered an option, civilizing them could certainly be accomplished
(Adams 1995). In effect, the people of America wanted to remove the "Native" from "Native
Americans," leaving just "Americans" behind.
The early settlers' interaction with Native Americans was characterized by the ideals of
changing the individuals through various means. Colonizers often brought the Christian message
along with their weapons, disease, and destruction.
Others put forth great efforts to teach the language of the invaders to the Indians and
sought through this medium to bring them to an acceptance of the religion, manners, and
government of the white man. As early as 1606 the charter of the colony of Virginia listed
as one of its obj ectives the desire 'to bring the infidels and savages to human civility and a
settled and quiet government.' (Beatty 1938: 267)
Education itself was begun and continued under missionaries and religious organizations. Early
colleges, like Harvard, Dartmouth, and William and Mary were founded in part to provide
education to Native Americans. Many of these colleges still included free to tuition to Native
American students until the 1930s (Beatty 1938). Despite the separation of church and state,
many religious schools have been given funds by the government to educate American Indians
throughout history. These schools had a primary goal of converting children to Christianity.
Instruction was laden with religion. The other aspect of these schools was mainly child labor to
run the school. Small portions of the day were devoted to academics; however, even then the
academic learning was merely basic arithmetic and English, sometimes with reading and writing
as a component. The students were treated more like child workers and would work 16 hour
days in most cases. The purpose was, of course, to civilize the youths through hard work and
rigorous religious training (Whiteman 1985).
Colonial governments took an interest in educating Native Americans as well. The
Continental Congress established a board of Indian Commissioners and gave them $500 for the
purpose of educating Native Americans, at Dartmouth on July 12th, 1775. The next year, they
employed a schoolmaster and blacksmith for the Delawares, however, the revolutionary war
interrupted these plans. Many treaties made promises to supply schools and teachers, but most
often these promises were broken (Beatty 193 8).
Up until the time of reform, the primary means by which the government dealt with Native
Americans was by treaty making. For the most part, these treaties included promises of a school
and a teacher for every 30 students. In return, Native Americans ceded lands, further losing their
ability to sustain themselves (Whiteman 1985).
Reservation boarding schools soon followed as the popularity of missionary style schools
waned. Like the missionary schools' curriculum that was intended to civilize Native American
youths, the curriculum of the reservation boarding schools was nearly identical, only language
acquisition was stressed much more. Pressure was placed upon students to speak English only,
pressure which included harsh or severe punishments for speaking any other language
As the situation of the Native Americans was recognized to be far below that of the
nation's standards for their wards, public pressure forced the government to take action. Some
concern was due to the idea that American Indians were facing a crossroads. They would either
find life in assimilation or demise in extinction. This was a leading concern of policy makers,
including both Lucuis Lamar, the secretary of the Interior, and Henry Price, the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs. A sense of urgency surfaced as spatial constraints were brought to bear. While
the Native North Americans had always been able to retreat before the tide of European settlers,
now land and time were literally becoming scarce. Soon, the Native Americans would truthfully
have no where to go to escape the onslaught of Euroamerican settlers. This led policy makers to
deduce that the fate of the Native American would be decided soon, be it for good or ill (Adams
After the Indian Department was placed under the jurisdiction of the department of the
Interior, the lack of education was called into view, to which most department members
explained that the Native Americans did not insist upon the terms being upheld, therefore, the
government should not be called upon to uphold its end of the bargain (Beatty 1938). March 3rd,
1819, $10,000 was given to the president for Native American education. The money was to be
allotted as the head of Indian Education saw fit. For many years to follow, this money was given
to the religious groups already in charge of schools. It is not surprising that during this time the
number of mission schools suddenly increased. By 1826, reports indicated that the schools were
no longer adequate for all those seeking education and more education opportunities were
needed (Beatty 1938).
In 1846, sixteen manual labor style schools were authorized. In 1869, a boarding school
was established on Tulalip Reservation. This school was paid for by the government based on
enrollment. This was the beginning of "contract schools" most of which were run by missionary
groups. By 1892, a quarter of all Native American education was conducted by such schools
The federal government abandoned the contract system in favor of the sectarian system,
which was subsequently abandoned in 1901 by the government cutting all funding. The tribes
themselves took the government to court in order to get the funds promised for education, so that
they might begin contract education with missionaries (Beatty 193 8). Day schools, supported by
tribal funds began soon after the contract schools began their decline. These were supported by
tribal funds and by 1837, the Choctaws and Civilized Nations had many of these schools as well
as boarding schools (Beatty 1938).
Reservation Boarding schools were first created by federal government on the Yakima
reservation in Washington State. The buildings from the Fort Simco were co-opted for this
purpose in 1860. The purpose of these schools was to, "get the youngsters away from their
parents so that they might be civilized without interference" (Beatty 1938: 269). The utmost use
of reservation boarding schools was around 1912, with 87 schools in operation. The cycle of
education since then has been periods of day school support, where boarding schools were
discouraged, followed by a reversal in which boarding schools were built up and day schools
were discouraged, and back again (Beatty 1938). As the dismal failures of such systems became
apparent, the American public demanded something new.
The program those in positions to effect Native American lives developed, centered on
three main aspects. The first aspect was land holding. By granting land to Native Americans in
severalty, reformers insisted, the strong bond of tribes would be effectively broken as a capitalist
spirit of individual ownership would certainly follow. The second goal was to protect Native
Americans under the nation's legal system. This would work well for Native Americans living
in accessible areas, however those mired on reservations would not be properly served by the
country's legal institutions. Therefore, reformers set about creating tribal police systems which
could be run by a tribe, rather than the American government. Finally, the third aspect of the
reformer' s plan was education. According to Commissioner Leupp, adults could not be reached,
they were too set in their ways. Children, however, who were "still measurably plastic," could be
easily molded into upstanding citizens (Adams 1995).
According to Lewis Henry Morgan's stages of human evolution, the Native Americans
were held fast in a lower stage of development than the European settlers that had come to
America. While it had taken Europeans centuries to go from the level of the Native Americans
to their current, lofty heights, the Native Americans could speed the process of evolution through
proper education. Instead of leaving Native Americans to evolve alone, learning at a
painstakingly slow rate, they could be handed the same tools that American children were
handed. They could civilize themselves quickly. Economically, education was ideal as well.
With increased productivity gained by learning agriculture and trade from Euroamericans, the
Native Americans could require less land for survival. In addition, with the passage of the
Dawes Act and other aspects of reform, such as land grants in severalty, Native Americans
would suddenly find themselves in direct competition with Euroamericans, an unfair fight,
reformers believed. It would be unjust to force the Native Americans to compete in such a way,
ultimately leading to their annihilation without guidance in the white society (Adams 1995). The
overall goals of education included literacy, individualization, and Christianization. Helping
Native Americans in these three areas would offer the guidance reformers thought necessary
The use of schools was but one way in many to ease the burden of reservation
management. Native American Judges and police were another manner in which Native
Americans were used to help assimilate their fellows (Ahen 1997). In fact, "Education is always
a process of teaching a culture, and the education provided by the Euroamericans for the Native
Americans has always been aimed at teaching the white culture, or at least some elements of it,
to people who have been reared in another culture" (Havighurst 1957: 107).
By using education, which the Native Americans sought in order to help their children
succeed in white society, the Americans could actually create the people they wished Native
American's to be. "Following Indian-white contact, the new Americans established their
institutions, the three most powerful of which have been used to assimilate and change American
Indians. They are the church, the United States government, and the nation's educational
systems (Whiteman 1985: 28)." Education changed with each new regime of American Indian
policy. "The records show that an attempt has been made to use education as a tool to
implement the policies of each period of Native American administration. As policies changed,
the obj ectives of Native American education were accordingly modified." (Thompson 1957:
It was to these ends, that Captain Richard Henry Pratt first began to promote his own ideas
of how education was the answer to the "Indian problem." As a boy, Pratt had been forced to
leave school at the age of thirteen in order to work to support his family. He labored at a series
of trades and eventually joined the Union Army. At the end of the civil war, Pratt found himself
married and running a hardware store, a life to which he was ill suited. Pratt rej oined the
military where he was made an officer over a Negro unit that was to be sent west to deal with the
"Indian problem" from a military perspective (Adams 1995). Pratt worked intimately with
several Native American scouts to whom he was assigned. Pratt discovered that many had
English education and during the course of his time with him, Pratt found himself questioning
the things he'd been taught pertaining to savages. Pratt wondered why, if all men were created
equal, then African Americans and Native Americans should be segregated into their own
societies. Why, Pratt questioned, were these groups not permitted to become part of the society,
as was their right as creatures living in America (Witmer 2002)? Pratt finally realized that,
"The Indians were simply pests in our way, to be ej ected whenever our covetous frontier people
wanted the land which was the Indian's home" (Witmer 2002: 4). After attaining the rank of
Lieutenant, Pratt requested the duty of carrying seventy-two prisoners from Indian Territory to
the old Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida by way of railway boxcar (Adams 1995). This was
the beginning of his role as a Native American educator.
Pratt had determined during his time in the west that assimilation was the answer to the
Native Americans' problems. When Pratt arrived in St. Augustine, his vague orders gave him a
tremendous opportunity to experiment with his theories of how to accomplish assimilation. He
turned his prison into a school (Adams 1995). He issued military uniforms, removed shackles,
and dismissed the Euroamerican guards setting other Native Americans as officers. After the
traumatic trip to Florida and the death of several prisoners upon arrival due to heat, humidity,
suicide, and poor health, the spirits of the prisoners were so low that Pratt felt it necessary to
increase moral. He felt certain that his program could do just that (Adams 1995; Witmer 2002).
Many of the prisoners-turned-soldiers began to listen intently to Pratt' s lessons of survival in the
Euroamerican society, mainly because they felt so traumatized from all they had faced. As the
prisoners began to obey, more freedom followed, giving them continued incentive to listen to
Pratt' s instructions, as well as to perform the duties assigned them by the officers in command of
them (Adams 1995).
Pratt continued to experiment with a system to instill a work ethic. He first had the Native
Americans under his charge polish sea beads which he in turn sold to local shops to be strung
into necklaces. After the incredible success of this venture, Pratt hired the workers out to the
railway station to carry baggage, to local citizens for farm work or animal care, and to other
industry owners, who would use the Native Americans' labor, paying wages in turn to Pratt.
Unlike most of the Indian Agents of the time, Pratt did not keep the wages for his own use, or
even for the use of his "school." Pratt set up a savings account for each prisoner, depositing the
money from their wages into their accounts. Then, the money could be used by the Native
Americans in order to purchase the things they wanted from St. Augustine (Adams 1995).
Now Pratt was free to begin teaching academics to his pupils. He asked a retired teacher,
Sarah Mather, to educate the Native Americans in basic literacy, a task which she took to with a
philanthropic optimism. She found her pupils willing to learn and as a result she achieved
formidable success as their teacher. With this education, Pratt noticed a sudden willingness to
learn the tenets of Christianity, which he attributed to their ability to read and think like civilized
people. By way of subtle request, Pratt reported that the older men, those who were not as
successful at learning, should be taught a trade at a penitentiary, while his younger prisoners
would benefit from more advanced education than he could provide. Both requests were denied,
so the following year 1876, Pratt recommended that the older prisoners be released, as further
incarceration served no purpose, and again, he requested that the younger groups be permitted to
continue their education (Adams 1995).
In 1878, the army relented, releasing the prisoners to either return home or to continue
their education. Pratt found twenty-two young men who wished to remain in the east and
continue to learn from the whites (Adam 1995). After applying to many schools, Pratt began to
feel as rejected as his requests for space for his students. After much negotiation, Samuel
Chapman Armstrong agreed to take seventeen students. The others had been placed by this time
and Pratt was thrilled to find a school for the remainder. Armstrong was the founder of the
Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute located in southeast Virginia (Witmer 2002).
Armstrong, an abolitionist who fought in the Civil War as well, had become the principle of
Hampton at its beginning, when the American Missionary Association (AMA) proposed its
creation. Armstrong was a brilliant fundraiser, just as his colleague Pratt, and within a few years,
he was nearly independent of the AMA' s support, leaving him to run his school as he preferred.
While Pratt had employed a combination of manual labor and moral lessons in his Fort Marion
educational program, Armstrong had been using a similar method for some time. The match of
Pratt and Armstrong was uncanny and presented a good situation in which to educate the unique
students (Adams 1995).
Despite Armstrong' s assurances, the students and employees of Hampton were not as
certain of having Native American students in their midst as Armstrong was. Armstrong spoke
to the students at a gathering one evening ending his appeal with the words, "freely ye have
received, freely give" (Adams 1995). Then, Armstrong asked for a volunteer to take charge of
each Native American student. The Hampton students admitted that they were afraid to do so. It
was not until after Armstrong' s assurances of the students' that safety, seventeen grudging
volunteers came forward (Adams 1995: 45-46).
Hampton would prove to be the best funded, model school for non-reservation Native
American education. It would operate for 34 years, using the tenets of Pratt and Armstrong to
create "missionaries of civilization." As a model, the school maintained careful alumni records
in order to better influence policy (Ahen 1997). It was after only six months that both men were
encouraged by the result of their experiment (Trennert 1982). Pratt and Armstrong also
included before and after photographs to show the change education of their fashion could bring
Though, the Hampton students raised serious concerns about the potential for love affairs
or possible conflicts, both men, also wished to include women in their program (Trennert 1982).
Armstrong insisted that he would only take more Native American students if half were women,
and his argument that civilized nations needed civilized women finally won out. Pratt went in to
the West in 1878 to recruit more students. Pratt found boys easily, however, women were harder
to enroll. Many Native American parents obj ected to having their women and girls taken for
educating. Pratt, wrongly believed, it was because Native American men relied upon Native
American women to perform all the daily tasks. In truth, some cases such as at Cheyenne River,
the agents, feeling it was inappropriate for girls to attend an African-American college, blocked
enrollment (Trennert 1982).
Despite the problems of attaining female students, by 1880, there were 20 girls at
Hampton, and programs for training young women began to develop. Academic subj ects were
subordinate to domestic tasks in every school, Hampton included. Housekeeping and meal
preparation were typically the most prominent aspects of a girl's education. That was
particularly handy, as then the girls could be pressed into service for the school itself, cleaning
cooking, and doing laundry (Trennert 1982).
Armstrong, as well as Pratt had a military background and desired that both boys and girls
be taught strict obedience. Armstrong felt that obedience was needed in order to create a
civilized mind. He felt girls had a spirit of independence which was unique to their gender.
Students were punished for rule breaking occasionally by corporal punishment, however, ridicule
was a more common disciplinary tool. While Armstrong and Pratt' s techniques were not
uncommon for mainstream schools of the day, it differed greatly from the manner in which
Native American youths were taught by their own families (Trenner 1982). The adjustment
was difficult (Trennert 1982). The standard means of learning in most Native American
communities seemed more like play than work. Children followed older members of the tribe,
learning the skills they would need in life while helping those people perform the tasks they did
on a daily basis. This included digging clay for pots, planting, weeding, learning about plants for
medicinal value, gather fuel for fire, and other activities (Ellis 1957). "As long as they preserved
their cultures, the Native American Tribes educated their children successfully in this informal
way" (Havighurst 1957 :105).
Both Pratt and Armstrong maintained that students naturally segregated themselves, and
many school records indicated as much (King 1988). African American students and Native
American students often felt superior to one another and many refused to be educated with the
other (King 1988). Pratt pressured the government for a Native American-only school. For Pratt,
civilization would only come if the Native American students could be immersed in it (Adams
1995). "A great general had said that the only good Indian is a dead one... I agree with the
sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian
in him and save the man" (Hoerig 2002: 642) (Quoting Pratt from 1892). The government
finally relented and one year later, 1879, Pratt was given the Carlisle Barracks in order to open
his Native American school (Trennert 1982).
Pratt sought his students by going to Indian Agencies and asking important members of
various groups to send their children, both sons and daughters. Pratt viewed the education of the
boys as more important, educating girls was merely a supportive factor to the overall goal of
civilizing the "Indian". The females could be mates to men, providing encouragement and
preventing any return to old ways (Trennert 1982). Pratt charged Native American women with
clinging to 'heathen rites and superstitions' and passing them onto their children. They were, in
his opinion, unfit as mothers and wives due to their unconscious transmission of culture from
their generation to their children. Thus a woman education was supremely important, not so
much for her own benefit as for that of her husband" (Trennert 1982: 277). Pratt admitted that
while boys need only learn a single trade, a woman had to learn much more (Trennert 1982).
Regardless of how training was to be accomplished, Pratt needed students first. The
government wished Pratt to obtain most of his students from the Sioux, but Pratt was hesitant to
do so as he had very little relationship with those groups. He wished instead to gather his
students from the Cheyenne, the Arapaho, the Kiowa, and the Comanche. In the end, he
relented, going first to the Sioux (Witmer 2002).
Pratt again called on Sarah Mather, the woman who had become a teacher for him years
earlier in Florida. She was now sixty-three, but agreed to join Pratt and serve as a chaperone for
the female students. Despite his careful planning, the Sioux had decided, prior to Pratt' s arrival
that their children would not be sent, as the Americans had shown them nothing but deceit and ill
treatment. The leaders did not want their own children to behave so badly and therefore would
not send them to be educated. In the end, Pratt' s arguments that their children could learn how to
work within white society, influence others, and even offer protection for the tribe by being able
to better understand what was being offered and being able to read the treaties to avoid the
trickery which had been used by the government in the past (Pratt 1901).
Before the children could attend school, they had to pass a medical examination. Pratt did
not wish to take ill students to his school. As careful as he was when selecting students, on the
day they planned to leave for Pennsylvania, several more students arrived and desired to go.
Pratt visually determined they were healthy enough and took them as well (Pratt 1901). Despite
all his efforts, many children were ill when they arrived. Many of those ill children died shortly
after arrival (Witmer 2002). Six boys died very quickly, fifteen were sent home, where most
died soon after (Adams 1995). Within the first three years, forty-nine of Pratt's original students
would have died (Adams 1995).
Carlisle was first supported by private donations and contributions; receiving federal aid in
1881, however, the amount was quite low. The next year the federal government gave the
institution $67,500, and in each of the subsequent years. The institution received gratuity
payments until 1918, when the school was closed (Beatty 1938). Carlisle was commissioned to
become the first federally run, off reservation, Native American school in 1879 (Trennert 1982).
The school was run in military style with uniforms, drill, and the students organized into
company by rank. Within five years, the example of Carlisle was to be followed by schools in
Genoa, Nebraska; Lawrence, Kansas; and Chilocco, Oklahoma. Carlisle and other schools used
a curriculum of piety, obedience, and manual labor in order to turn the Native American youth
into civilized adults. Tribal identification was erased, and Christianity put in its place
In truth, the schools that followed Carlisle were very different. Most schoolmasters did not
have Pratt' s flair for fundraising, and therefore, due to economic limitations, a maj ority of
schools suffered, the students suffering in turn. Twenty-four schools opened after Carlisle
through 1902. Though Carlisle's program was certainly not gentle, in comparison, it was
possibly the kindest of all schools. Pratt followed the same general program as the other schools,
or rather, those schools followed their own version of Pratt and Armstrong' s method. By early
1900s, all native language use was banned, as was religious practice other than that proscribed
by the school. Families were separated (Lomawaima 1993). Every moment was detailed,
organized with military-like precision. Many even mandated appropriate posture, manner of
exercising, and dress. Gender specific and race specific ideals were employed to determine the
best training and body form. Body modification and control were used to train Native
Americans in subservience, leaving them detribalized in both social and economic status
(Lomawaima 1993). A vast amount of information was taken on each student, tracking what
they did and how much they owned. It also charted their abilities, any special skills, business
qualifications, and competency of the student. In some cases, the reservation superintendent was
called upon to list the student's property holdings as well (Lomawaima 1993).
Between 1890 and 1910, industrial, off reservation schools reached their peak (Trennert
1982). By 1900, the notion of teaching academics had begun to recede. Many administrators
felt that Native Americans were not capable of any but the simplest mathematical and literary
skill. Some Superintendents insisted that even their literate graduates were not capable of
accomplishing much in American society (Trennert 1982).
In 1901, the government' s Bureau of Indian Affiars (BIA) published its A course of Study
for the Indian Schools. It was clear that domestic arts were heavily emphasized, as it was clear
that expectations for women were dramatically lowered. Hygiene and disease prevention was
stressed. Girls at Hampton were taught how to arrange flowers attractively, while girls at
Sherman Institute in California were taught to prepare formal dinners, including the making of
raw oysters and shrimp cocktail. Most of these skills would prove useless to the daily lives of
the women that returned to the reservation. Women were encouraged to serve, rather than be
served (Trennert 1982).
Strict sex segregation was a main characteristic of boarding schools. This was continued
in classrooms as well as sleeping arrangements. Girls were trained in domesticity (Lomawaima
1993). Through this domestic training, dress, and appearance as well as posture, girls' bodies
were modified to conform to Victorian standards (Lomawaima 1993). Ironically it was through
the domestic training and clothing that girls often rebelled. In one case, the use of bloomers was
rebelled against, by girls wearing bloomers for inspection, removing them after they had left the
school. After that particular trick was discovered, some girls merely cut off the legs of the
bloomers, wearing only those legs, so that during inspection they still passed. Eventually they
were found out as well. This particular rebellion was at Chilocco in 1931 though rebellion was
certainly not unique to that school alone (Lomawaima 1993). Native American girls were forced
to labor long hours, were strictly controlled, and monitored very closely in order to train them
into subservient women, as was expected by Victorian society (Lomawaima 1993). Girls formed
bonds based on dorm room, hometown, language, company, work detail, or friendships. They
were very loyal to one another, and that loyalty was greater than any sense of responsibility to
the school or the officials there (Lomawaima 1993). 18th century missionaries in New England
thought the Native American girls would benefit from housekeeping lessons (Trennert 1982).
The idea was that a properly trained woman would help her mate change and become more
proper as well. This was part of the effort to eliminate Native American culture, which many
believed forced the woman to toil as a slave, despite the fact that women in Native American
communities has a similar division of labor to current American society (Trennert 1982). Girls
sent to Hampton were segregated not only from their male counterparts but all African American
students as well. The one place they could see Native American males was during classroom
instruction, only a very small portion of the day. The girls were also kept under the strictest
supervision (Trennert 1982).
The girl's curriculum at Hampton was focused on English and household skills. The lack
of general education plan is mostly attributed to the small number of women in attendance
(Trennert 1982). Hampton's girls faced similar situations as women in other off reservation
boarding schools. These women were required not only to make their own clothing, clean their
own rooms, do their own laundry, ironing, and sewing, they also cared for many of the teachers'
rooms as well as sweeping, dusting, and scrubbing the buildings. Many girls worked in the
school's general laundry, doing much of the work there (Trennert 1982).
Girls at the western school at Genoa, Nebraska were busy with domestic duties. The
dinning rooms, dormitories and kitchen was all maintained by the female students, who also
made clothing for most of the other students as well as providing repairs. Laundry was done by
boys. In Albuquerque, Superintendent P.F. Burke was disgruntled that he had to employ the
boys for domestic tasks until enough girls enrolled to take over completely. In 1891, the Phoenix
school opened, but had no permanent buildings. As soon as they were constructed the
Superintendent, Wellington Rich, requested that 20 girls take over from boys in several of the
departments dealing with domestic issues (Trennert 1982).
One matron at Genoa insisted that making beds and cooking single items would not teach
girls to be good housewives. She felt they needed to be instructed in how to care for younger
students and to perform all housewife duties. Her admonishment was ignored (Trennert 1982).
Larger institutions did, however, have some decent training for female students. Included were
Haskell in Kansas which taught skills such as stenography typing, book keeping and others.
Some schools taught nursing including Carlisle in its later years (Trennert 1982). At Hampton
some teachers, though still insistent of the Native American woman' s role, invited young women
to their rooms for informal discussions. Some girls were encouraged, at other schools, to take
pride in their appearance (Trennert 1982).
During the industrial school peak, up to 3000 women were enrolled each year. 40%-50%
of the total enrollment was composed of young women. The popularity of young women as
students rested on a few factors, including that after 1892, educators no longer needed parental
consent to enroll them. One could merely go to a reservation and collect whichever students one
desired. Women also provided less disciplinary problems and were therefore easier to enroll
than others (Trennert 1982)
In the 1890's, Thomas J. Morgan, the Indian commissioner, called for standardization of
female training. He believed it was the acculturation of women that would make the most
difference in the acculturation process overall. While his notions did provide some
improvements, it also made some problems worse. The regimented military style became
increasingly worse, especially for women (Trennert 1982).
Many institutions had girls organize chapters of charitable organizations to which they
paid dues, and also which created handcrafted goods for charity. These would often provide
much needed funds for the school (Trennert 1982). As a result of their treatment, girls were
often eager to return home. Boys as well were often eager to leave. Punishments for running
away were often humiliating and meaningless drudgery. The hard work and harsh punishments
made school experiences at industrial schools no better than the same experiences they'd had at
other school situations (Trennert 1982).
The Meriam report noted that "some Indian girls spent so much time in the school
laundries that the institutions were in violation of state child labor laws" (Trennert 1982). Most
girls returned to the reservation with no relevant skills and were just as ill prepared for both
Euroamerican and Native American society as the boys. At home, many girls were shunned for
applying their school education (Trennert 1982).
The problem of the training most students received was related to the fact that they were
poorly trained to participate successfully in American society at large. Finding employment was
difficult and their skills were next to useless on the reservation. While they'd been trained to be
"whites" they were not, and their opportunities for "progress" on the reservation was severely
limited (Ahen 1997).
The program at Carlisle increased dramatically in the 1880s. The government,
substantially impressed, started similar schools in other parts, mainly the west. In an effort to
reproduce the success seen at Carlisle, the girl's program became institutionalized, going against
Pratt's original ideals. The reason was economic. Schools needed to be nearly self-sufficient in
order to remain open, as funding was not nearly enough for survival. Therefore, by using girls in
order to provide much of the labor for the school, the need for funds could be reduced. The
girls' education was therefore limited by their economic usefulness (Trennert 1982). Ironically
the very reason Pratt believed Native American men refused to have their girls leave the
reservation, became the reason girls were so desired at off reservation boarding schools.
Off reservation boarding schools, including Pratt' s Carlisle also employed the same
curriculum as the earlier school systems. However, the results of these schools typically
produced students that were unable to function as either Native American or Euroamerican,
leaving them in a state of limbo as regards to their actual place in either society. Pratt
complained about his students "retuming to the blanket". These schools existed in Nebraska,
Oregon, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, and Califomnia, as well as
Pennsylvania. According to Whiteman, these schools were the product of Manifest Destiny,
which required, as a by-product, the change of Native Americans (Whiteman 1985).
The experience of boarding school, especially during the late 19th and early 20th centuries,
was often brutal and occasionally fatal. Children were torn, sometimes literally, from their
homes and families and transported hundreds or thousands of miles from everyone and
everything they knew, often for years at a time. Food was often poor and housing
cramped, which facilitated the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis and trachoma.
(Hoerig 2002: 642)
While the conditions were brutal, the sentiments behind them were well intentioned. For
the most part, students were sent by well meaning parents to ensure a future for their children, or
simply, so that the children would have enough to eat. In addition, the employees of the schools
worked in order to better the lives of their students, though with the flawed philosophy of the
time (Hoerig 2002).
As Carlisle continued to succeed in its goals, even as other schools failed, Pratt should
have been content, but he was not. He continued to protest and criticize the problems he
perceived with the agencies running Native Americans' lives. It was his outspoken nature and
constant irritation which ultimately led to Pratt' s removal from his beloved vision, Carlisle. In
addition, attitudes about gradual change were becoming popular and those supporting Pratt
diminished (Adams 1995). Therefore on July 1, 1904, just after attaining the rank of General for
his dedicated service, Pratt was removed. The following school masters relaxed Pratt' s hard
fought discipline and lowered academic standards, focusing on athletics instead (Witmer 2002).
Maj or W. A. Mercer took over Carlisle for three years, being replaced by Moses Friedman
in 1908. Friedman continued the changes Mercer had begun, focusing even more on athletics,
while the academic program wilted. All academic education was to be related to one day gaining
employment, not to attending college in the future. The average age of the students increased, as
their maturity was believed to be better suited to the program at Carlisle (Witmer 2002).
The conditions at Carlisle declined rapidly after Pratt left, and by 1914, 276 students
petitioned for a formal investigation of the conditions at the school. Friedman had none of the
concern for the students that Pratt had. The dietary standards declined to the point that the
students' health was threatened. The moral standards imposed upon the students also seemed to
dissipate with the regime change. The school was given to Oscar Lipps, who desperately tried to
resuscitate the dying school. He was unsuccessful and by 1918, the school was closed in order to
again accommodate soldiers, this time, those returning from World War I. It seemed as if Pratt' s
vision was merely one of temporary usefulness (Adams 1995).
Carlisle's place in the history of American Indian education is an important one. It served
to change the educational system entirely, as well as to promote notions of equality which other
schools had been unable to do in the two centuries prior to its opening. Pratt's vision, though
racist and degrading, was well intentioned, and paved the way for changes that were to come.
It is important to note that without this underlying foundation, any understanding of how
culture, demography, and Pratt' s program relate would be impossible.
"The experience of boarding school, especially during the late 19th and early 20th centuries,
was often brutal and occasionally fatal. Children were torn, sometimes literally, from their
homes and families and transported hundreds or thousands of miles from everyone and
everything they knew, often for years at a time. Food was often poor and housing
cramped, which facilitated the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis and trachoma."
(Hoerig 2002: 642)
Many schools did not have enough food to go around. In most cases, students were housed
inadequately, and went to bed hungry. The regimentation and militaristic nature of their daily
life caused them to be exhausted by day's end. They would resort to stealing in order to survive,
others received packages of food from their families on the reservations. Even then, many of the
children were malnourished or undernourished due to lack of variety as well as lack of food
specifically. Pratt did request and eventually receive military rations (Adams 1995). Pratt
insisted that students could not learn on an empty stomach (Witmer 2001). In fact, Pratt knew
the food allowances to be such a problem, that he requested his students receive military rations,
which the government agreed to for Carlisle, though for no other school (Adams 1995).
One of the first orders of business for Pratt was to remove the clothing that the children
had brought with them and replace it with military uniforms. These uniforms were an important
aspect of his immersion program. It changed the appearance of children by placing them into
unfamiliar clothing and further more, giving them all the same appearance. Pratt was so proud of
the change in appearance of his students that these uniforms and further changes created, that he
even sent photographs to Washington D.C. so that they too could see the transformation wrought
in just a few months time (Witmer 2001).
The children complained about the scratchy clothing, but took to it well enough. Many of
the young men had trouble with buttons at first. In fact many slept in their uniforms to avoid
problems the following morning. They quickly adjusted to fastening their trousers, learning to
perform the unfamiliar motions required to button clothing (Coleman 1993).
Hair cutting was perhaps the most traumatic event for many of the students. Pratt' s wife
oversaw the event and reported that things seemed to go well, but some students had refused to
have their hair cut. Eventually, the issue was forced and all male children received the
proscribed hair style. Of course, this event did not pass without much wailing and crying, as hair
cutting was a sign of mourning in many communities (Witmer 2001).
One reason given for the cutting of hair was to reduce the lice that bred in such. Of course,
many boys wondered if this was the reason, then why were girls permitted to keep their long
hair. No satisfactory answers were ever given for these questions, and the hair cutting continued.
For Pratt to admit, however, that the long hair of the boys was one sign of difference between
them and Euroamericans would have undermined the relationship he was attempting to build
with his students, that of a protective father (Coleman 1993).
Along with apparel, all obj ects that signified Native American were taken from the
children. This included jewelry and charms. Of course, any hair ornamentation was also taken
from the boys as their hair was cut. This helped further commit the students to a unified
appearance (Witmer 2001).
A good portion of the break in tribal cohesion was achieved by preventing the students
from sharing any common language but English. Students from many tribes and language
families were brought to Carlisle. Often, students roomed with individuals from different tribes
entirely in order to ensure the use of English as well as to avoid reinforcement of tribal cohesion
(U.S. Census reports 1900 and 1910).
In addition, the students names, many of which had been given by family members for
various reasons were changed as first protocol. English names were chosen from a list of names
that the children could not read or in many cases even pronounce. The meaning and importance
that names held for these children was lost as names were picked nearly at random from a
blackboard. The names had no meaning to the students, unlike the names they had earned or
been given. No sense of respect need to be applied to the names (Lomawaima 1993: 228-23 5).
Over time, the students found more encouragement to be like Euroamericans by attending
school with larger percentages of students with higher degrees of European ancestry. In 1900,
Pratt' s students had an average of 93.3% Native American blood with roughly 84% of his
students claiming full blood status. By 1910, students had only 73% Native American blood
with only half of the students listed as full blood Native American. This is certainly the case
with the Ojibway. In 1900, 72% of all Ojibway/Chippewa students were listed as full blood. In
1910, 23% were considered full blood Ojibway. The separation from kin was certainly
detrimental to students, especially the younger children (Hilger 1951: 56-60).
~00 000 000 00
ornm rnmrn ~~m~~
Figure 4-1. Blood quatum percentages
Table 4-1. Chippewa Students in 1900 and 1910 based on Blood Quantum
( 4 ;
83 3096 '
7 5% (
5 3 3 96
453 .7,5% '
L ess th~an
Students in 1900 and 1910, Percentages of Blood Quatum
- ~~v r a
- I ,
m~~00 ~ g
Q n.. n rm O
Students in 1900 and 1910
This trend continued with other tribes as well. Students in later years tended to have less
Native American parentage. This allowed for further reinforcement of the Euro-American
tradition which Pratt desired his students to incorporate.
Students in 1900 and 1910
a, L O O ~C ~ m 8 mr
n ~ i~i ~
L I om Ym n
W~O>OUI ~~Y~ m
m I o
O o Y
Figure 4-2. Number of Students A)Abnaki Coeur D' Alene, B) Colville Lipan, C) Little
Lake Osage, D) Ottawa San Juan, E) Sanpoil Wedotca, F) Wichita Yuma
Stuet in 190 n 11
Students in 1900 and 1910
Students in 1900 and 1910
a 5 a 9
171 171 i c
Figure 4-2. Continued
Students in 1900 and 1910
v, 70 -01900
Figure 4-2 Cotiue
Th CalseBrak ea n15 satann rudfrslir etndt ih
Native Amrcn.FrPatteod infcneo h ieoignlyddctdtiln
dietlyt tholsle incarge of thea contry.7 As wel Crarisle wasu far sodenogrom restiervation in
order to effectively severe ties with their tribes (Witmer 2002).
Pratt' s philosophies called for removal from the environment that encouraged the
behaviors Pratt wished to stop. According to Pratt, there was no racial inferiority in the Native
American, only a lack of proper training. Providing that training would effectively save the man
while killing the Indian, Pratt's ultimate goal. In order to do this, the strong sturdy, permanent
building of Carlisle would fit the bill. The buildings were so different from anything the students
were accustomed to, that Pratt felt certain it would encourage proper living. After all, students
could not learn to live properly if their housing was less than adequate (Adams 1995).
Pratt wished to break up tribal cohesion by taking children from their homes and families,
effectively from their tribes, rooming them with people from other tribes so that English had to
be spoken, dressing them in European style clothing, and putting them in Christian homes (Bess
2000). Pratt's new location was vital to success. If his students could escape to home, they
would not learn as quickly and could potentially return to the reservation unchanged (Trennert
1987). "The Carlisle schoolmaster believed that schools close to reservations failed to break
down tribal cohesion, and he resented Morgan' s [Commissioner of Indian Affairs] support for
such institutions" (Trennert 1987: 205-206).
As part of his school, Pratt converted dormitories, classrooms, workshops, and built a
hospital building. He also included a prison on campus for stubborn students (Miller 2004: 9)
Pratt referred to himself as "the man on the bandstand" a name which contributed to his position
as the constant observer of activity at his school. The Bandstand was a small structure in the
center of the campus from which Pratt could address his assembled students. He coined the term
which indicated his position and allowed for the bandstand itself to become a constant reminder
to the students of his authority and his ever-present observation (The hIdian Helper 1891-1893).
The beginning of each publication of "The Indian Helper" the student newspaper begins with the
header, "The Indian Helper / printed every friday, / -at the- / Indian Industrial School, Carlisle,
PA. / by Indian boys. / The Indian Helper is printed by Indian boys, but / edited by the-man-on-
the-band-stand, who is NOT an Indian" (7he hIdian Helper all)
The sense of being constantly observed sentiment of the students becomes painfully clear
with this remark penned in the 14th issue of The hIdian Helper, in 1891
The printing office is now in its new quarters over the large boilers. The high smokestack
is part of the office, and we don't know but the Man-on-the-band-stand would better
change hi s name to the Man-on-the- smoke-stack. He could see so much farther up there,
still the band-stand will do for a while or till the school property grows to the extent that it
takes in all the land between us and the pike on the northeast and the Hields to the southeast
between the school and the main track of C.V.R.R. That may come some day, then he will
have to mount the stack, sure. (The hIdian Helper 1981 Issue 14)
Pratt used the title of the-man-on-the-bandstand in all his comments to students through the
newspaper he edited. Within those pages one Eind both encouragement much like a father would
offer to his children, and one also Einds the gentle, yet humiliating reminders of infractions. Pratt
was reinforcing his position as the omnipresent observer of student behavior. An authority role
that the students understood and accepted (The hIdian Helper 1891-1893). A large part of his
role as observer upon the bandstand came from this statement in the March 9, 1888 Thze hIdian
The editor was called The-man-on-the-Band-stand because "The Band-stand commands
the whole situation" at Carlisle. "From it he can see all the quarters, the printing office, the
chapel, the grounds, everything and everybody, all the girls and boys on the walks, at the
windows, everywhere." Nothing escaped Carlisle's version of Big Brother, and he said that
someday he might even be able to see into the homes of subscribers. The-man-on-the-
Band-stand (referred to as TMOTBS) proj ected his presence into the publication,
especially in articles dealing with deportment and morals or whenever issues surrounding
the "Indian problem" arose. (Littlefield and Parins 1984)
Pratt' s employment of the outing system, to be discussed in more detail later, was also a
way in which to control the environment of his students. He would place students into
Euroamerican homes, in order that they could be fully immersed in the Euroamerican culture.
Around 800 students participated in this program, finding their educations outside of the walls of
Carlisle, while still being under Pratt's control.
Richard Henry Pratt was able to implement his theories on "saving the man," quite
effectively in the environment he controlled. The effects of his control would be felt all over the
country as Native Americans experienced changes wrought in their children by Pratt' s program.
In White Earth, these effects are seen demographically with great reliance. While Carlisle was
not the only boarding school which Ojibwa students attended, as most schools of this time were
based on the model developed and implemented by Pratt, one can assume that the effects of
boarding schools can be seen in general even if not in specific from certain schools alone.
Examination of the population both prior to opening of Carlisle Indian Industrial School and
after the closing of this school reveals the great changes taking place on the reservations as a
result of the boarding school system.
For individuals that experience a change in the hexus they are accustomed to, the change
can feel quite dramatic. For the students at Carlisle, the change they experience was even more
so. Not only were they uncomfortable in the barracks buildings and in the alien environment, but
many were uncomfortable with the hexus, the body movements of the other students. The
students that found themselves at Carlisle came from unique and widely varied background. In
many cases, even the groups which were distantly related would Eind themselves out of their
element when faced with the hexus of the other group. To have these individuals split in such a
way that Navaj o and Ojibwa children roomed together, sharing neither language nor manner of
hexus, left the students even more lost and uncomfortable than the scratchy woolen uniforms
Pratt had provided them.
This change in hexus should not be underestimated. While it is difficult in the scope of
this work to fully explore the role of hexus in the lives of the Students at White Earth
Reservation and at Carlisle, it is important at very least to scratch the surface of the role it may
Ojibwa at White Earth Reservation
The standard means of learning in most Native American communities seemed more like
play than work. Children followed older members of the tribe, learning the skills they would
need in life while helping those individuals perform the tasks they did on a daily basis. This
included digging clay for pots, planting, weeding, learning about plants for medicinal value,
gather fuel for fire, and other activities. While their activities were scheduled in the sense of
seasonality, and repetitive, the level and type of body hexus involved was learned rather gently
when compared to other methods. Children learned skills over a great period of time with gentle
correction and under the guise of play (Ellis 1957).
A Chippewa child was not subj ected to formal education, such as we conceive it, but it was
taught in an informal way to conform to the moral standards, as well as to the religious, the
economic, and the political pattern of his tribe. It learnt, too, the mental content of the
culture pattern of its people and participated in their diversions. Much of this knowledge
was learned by boys and girls before they reached puberty; all of it was expected to be
theirs before marriage. (Hilger 1951: 55)
Learning how to perform everyday tasks was important, not just as a means of continuing
the survival of the group, but also as a means of avoiding ridicule of the community in
adulthood. "A girl was taught to make little birch-bark rolls like those which covered the
wigwam, her mother saying "you must not grow up to live outdoors and be made fun of because
you do not know how to make a good wigwam" (Densmore 1929: 61).
Other lessons for young girls included learning how to sew and do beadwork, both highly
skilled and difficult tasks. Mothers would teach their daughters to do beadwork, as well as
sewing by allowing them to make dresses for dolls and apply beadwork to those dresses, or even
to her own. The work was not easy, but handled in a laidback, easy manner which encouraged
learning (Densmore 1929). If another woman in the immediate group was particularly skilled, it
was not unusual for a woman to send her daughters to leamn from that woman instead.
Grandparents were also important educators for children. Grandmothers particularly were
important in the lives of young girls. Mothers often left much of the education of their children
to the children's grandparents. In fact all aged men and women were employed in the education
of the tribe' s children. Whenever older individuals were talking, usually in groups by gender,
children of the appropriate gender would be sent to listen to their words in order to learn from
them. It was rare for men to oversee the education of girls, as well as for women to oversee the
education of boys (Hilger 195 1).
Using plants and berries for games as well as creating model wigwams was an excellent
way to help children leamn the skills they would need as adults in order to perform the tasks
required of them. As was custom, these sessions of practice were games and left up to the
children themselves as to decide when the time to leamn had come. In addition, children were
often left in the care of the elderly, who would tell stores, or would amuse the children by
drawing on the ground for them, as well as showing them games. This was the most common
and successful manner of education for the Ojibwa (Densmore 1929).
Young boys, usually around the age of five, where given toy bows and toy arrows with
which to play and leamn. Remarkably, even with little supervision, boys were trustworthy in the
use of their bows. Just as with young girls, it allowed them to decide when they wished to use
the toys and practice those valuable skills (Densmore 1929).
Children also practiced their skills by making camps in which they would perform all the
duties they would eventually perform as adults. This type of play is not unlike playing house
that small children of American society do today (Densmore 1929).
Young children at play in the summer were often reluctant to leave their activities for bed.
To remedy this, the children were not beaten or even lectured. Instead, an older man wearing the
mask of the frightener would go to send the children home. When he approached, the children
would immediately hold still and wait for him to pass before running home. This game was
obviously important to Native Americans and taught children to handle wild animal encounters,
as well as to avoid detection by an enemy (Densmore 1929).
These times of instruction could occur as the occasion arose, however legends and their
lesson were specifically seasonal. If legends were told during the summer, then it was feared
that frogs would gather in that place, therefore, legends were only told in winter and occasionally
into the early spring. This was specifically the time when reptiles were seen to hibernate in the
ground (Hilger 1951). These times of moral instructor had profound effects on children. As
discussed by Copway,
These legends have an important bearing on the character of the children of our Nation.
The fire-blaze is endeared to them in after years by a thousand happy recollections. By
mingling thus, social habits are formed and strengthened. When the hour for this recreation
arrives, they lay down the bow and the arrow and j oyously repair to the wigwam of the
aged man of the village, who is always ready to accommodate the young.
Legends are of three distinct classes, namely, the Amusing, the Historical, and the Moral.
In the Fall we have one class, in the Winter another, and in the Spring a third. ..
Some of these stories are most exciting, and so intensely interesting, that I have seen
children during their relation, whose tears would flow quite plentifully, and their breasts
heave with thoughts too big for utterance.
Night after night for weeks have I sat and eagerly listened to these stories. The days
following, the characters would haunt me at every step, and every moving leaf would seem
to be a voice of a spirit. To those days I look back with pleasurable emotions. [Copway,
1851, pp. 98-99] (Related by Hilger 1951: 58)
Punishment was also slight in comparison. There is some debate regarding how often
children were struck when they did not do as they had been asked, however, all agreed that when
children were punished corporeally, the methods were slight and highly specified. It was
considered at times to go against good parenting to use a switch on children, not until later years
on the reservation reaching into the 1950s did switching become increasingly popular. "Not all
parents, however, approved of whipping children. 'Real Indians don't believe in striking
children'; they say, 'You'll knock the spirit out of the child'. My father never, never, switched us!
He talked to us every evening, telling us how we should conduct ourselves the next day' "
(Related by Hilger 1951: 58-59). Most often, punishment was accomplished by pointing out
examples in other members of the tribe, quietly to the child in the evenings after the days work
was Einished (Hilger 1951).
For the most part, no education was expected of young children. Not until closer to
puberty did serious educational efforts begin. Very young children were then expected to learn
mostly through play with other children or by playing with elders in the group. In addition,
children were accustomed to having only small numbers from which to choose their playmates as
the only children would have been from their own family or one of the few other families with
the group. Groups were typically small and self sufficient in this manner. Children were only
accustomed to seeing large numbers of people gathered during times of ceremony or some
seasonal activity (Hilger 1951).
Posture and style of sitting was another gender specific habit. Men typically sat cross-
legged, while women sat on their right foot, with their left foot extended. This could vary based
on the activity at hand, but this position was said to relive any cramped feelings the woman may
feel. While this is a small point, it is important to note, that in every culture, the body position
while at work and rest inform to the individual status, task, and a host of other potential nuances.
In addition, one's level of comfort often depends upon the cues received from the hexus of others
around them. This is especially important when considering that the students at Carlisle would
have roomed with students from different cultures, and different hexus structure than their own
Carlisle was commissioned to become the first federally run, off reservation, Native
American school in 1879 (Trennert 1982). The school was run in military style with uniforms,
drill, and the students organized into company by rank. Carlisle relied on a curriculum of piety,
obedience, and manual labor in order to turn the Native American pupils into civilized adults.
Tribal identification was erased, and Christianity put in its place (Lomawaima 1993).
Following the lead established by the manual labor schools, half of each student's day at
Carlisle was consumed in classroom and chapel activities, the other half working a farm
which comprised a portion of the institutional property and was intended to defray the
expense of maintaining it (girls' needlework, etc., was also marketed for this purpose); in
fact, "students performed all institutional work" from the outset. Reveille and lights out
were strictly enforced, silence was required during meals, haircuts and formal dress codes
(ties for boys, petticoats for girls) were rigidly imposed. At Carlisle, which remained open
until the end of the 1917-18 school year, family visits were severely restricted and students
were not allowed to return home, even in the summers; instead, mandatory "vacation
work" was secured for them by school authorities, the wages used to "relieve the financial
burden" entailed in boarding them during the academic year. (Jaimes 1992: 381)
Boys were taught various trades, the girls, on the other hand learned to be housewives.
The trades included blacksmithing, wagon making, harness making, printing, tailoring, painting,
tinsmithing, shoemaking, and carpentry. Girls learned sewing, cooking, darning, mending,
drafting, fitting, and all manners of cleaning (Stewart 1905)
Pratt also used a system which was highly unique, the outing system. By 1905, some
students were placed with local families, who sent the students to school a certain number of
days. The girls did housework, the boys worked in shops and fields. This notion was created by
Gen R. H. Pratt. The families, not the school, were responsible for seeing that the students attend
classes and maintain the proper habits. The treatment the students received cannot be fully
understood, being placed into homes where they were viewed as servants. Many students did
complain of their assignments, however (Stewart 1905).
Pratt also used a unique system for indoctrinating Native Americans into Euroamerican
culture, the outing system. By 1905, some students were placed with local families, who sent the
students to school a certain number of days. The girls did housework, the boys worked in shops
and fields. This notion was created by Gen R. H. Pratt. The families were responsible for
seeing that the students attend classes and maintain the proper habits. Two outing agents were
employed, one for each gender. Up to eight-hundred students learned English and civilized ways
in this manner every summer. The students were paid for their services and the money was
divided by Pratt so that the students must save half for when they returned home. This system
was used by Pratt as early as his time at Fort Marion and nearly perfected at Carlisle (Stewart
Pratt felt the outing system was an opportunity to provide vocational training, which he felt
was most important, as well as giving students an opportunity to be part of society at large.
According to Beatty, in regards to the outing system, "Had all the large Indian schools whose
establishment followed the success of Carlisle made as effective a contribution to the life and
training of their young people, the story of Indian education might have been a brighter one"
(Beatty 1938: 269). Pratt would have jumped at the opportunity to spread some 70,000 students
across the entire nation, each one living with a different white family. In his fantasy, the ultimate
outing system would quickly allow Native American children to become productive members of
white society as adults. Pratt' s desire to spread his students out into Euroamerican homes,
notwithstanding, it was simply not feasible at this time. Finding individuals willing to take in
Native American students, particularly ones that wished to learn rather than be used as slave-
labor was difficult (Adams 1995).
As stated previously, the outing students were over twelve, with four separate classes used
to teach them in when not on outing. Boys under sixteen and younger girls are trained using the
tenets of sloyd, a Swedish method of woodworking. Coupling manual labor with academics in
order to train the mind and the body gave Pratt the ability to improve his control over his
students. In addition, by keeping his students working hard, they had little opportunity to think of
other things. Other manual training is given to younger children as well in order to increase their
mental abilities and to instill discipline (Stewart 1905). Pratt also used a unique system for
indoctrinating Native Americans into Euroamerican culture, the outing system. By 1905, some
students were placed with local families, who sent the students to school a certain number of
days. The girls did housework, the boys worked in shops and fields. This notion was created by
Gen R. H. Pratt. The families were responsible for seeing that the students attend classes and
maintain the proper habits. Two outing agents were employed, one for each gender Up to
eight-hundred students learned English and civilized ways in this manner every summer. The
students were paid for their services and the money was divided by Pratt so that the students
must save half for when they returned home. This system was used by Pratt as early as his time
at Fort Marion and nearly perfected at Carlisle (Stewart 1905).
Half of the day was spent in learning, the other half spent in shops and workrooms. Boys
were taught various trades, the girls, on the other hand leamn how to do laundry and sewing. The
trades included blacksmithing, wagon making, harness making, printing, tailoring, painting,
tinsmithing, shoemaking, and carpentry. Girls were taught to cook in the European style. The
sewing done by the girls in their sewing classes was used for the students in the school.
Beginners were taught to darn, moving up through mending and sewing. There was a
dressmaking room as well. In the final year of their time at school, girls were taught drafting and
fitting. It was noted that "Indian girls are especially skillful with the needle, as were their
mothers before them" (Stewart 1905: 571).
Training in domestic arts was protocol for women at Carlisle (Lomawaima 1993: 229).
Those first women to arrive, fifty-seven in 1880, were taught to mend and make clothing, do
laundry, cook, use a sewing machine, and routine household duties. This helped support the
school (Trennert 1982: 275). Pratt's style and discipline was similar to Armstrong at Hampton,
using military style organization and strict obedience as his teaching tools (Trennert 1982: 276-
Strict sex segregation was a main characteristic of boarding schools, no longer permitted to
stay with their families (Lomawaima 1993: 227-228). Native American girls were forced to
labor long hours, and monitored very closely in order to train them into subservient women, as
was expected by Victorian society (Lomawaima 1993: 229). The girls were also kept under the
strictest supervision (Trennert 1982: 273-274).
Pratt also used military style drills to fill time when instruction was paused for one reason
or another. His drilling was a convenient way for Pratt to exercise his students, as well as further
train their bodies to respond to his commands. In addition, just as with his use of the Swedish
method to teach obedience, Pratt also ordered that students learn proper posture and perform
exercises in order to mold their bodies as well as their minds (Witmer 2001: 22-31).
Punishments at Carlisle often consisted of isolation and less often by means of physical
punishment. Typically, Pratt attempted to diffuse situations by calmly speaking with the child in
question, but if the need arose, he kept a whip in his office (Coleman 1993: 150-15 1).
The differences apparent in the two manners of hexus are striking. From a place where
sitting is for floors or low chairs and where sleeping is within family groups, to suddenly be
sitting in hard chairs or benches, sleeping in a bed separate from family members would have
been most unnerving. In addition, the rigidity of the structure, the need for changes in posture,
and the constant feeling of being watched would have only served to increase discomfort for the
students. Far from seeing Pratt as a loving father, as he hoped, he would have taken on the role
of overprotective warden. For children accustomed to coming and going as they pleased, the
sudden sense of being confined might have very well been enough for them to feel as if they
were prisoners at Carlisle.
These changes were for the most part an important piece of Pratt' s program. For only if
the students could behave as Euroamericans could they hope to be accepted by Euroamericans.
Pratt, without stating as such, had to have been aware of the discomfort felt out of one's common
group. Surely their behavior of sitting and carrying themselves would have left him with a sense
of unease. For Pratt, the desire to break students of these habits led him to insist upon posture
and in his mind, "proper" attire and living arrangements. It is with this in mind, that one must
examine what was then happening back at White Earth Reservation. The change in body hexus
was felt not only in Pennsylvania, but in Minnesota as well. As the next section shall reveal, the
students were certainly less than comfortable with the people who had claimed them at birth.
Instead, feelings of discomfort reigned while on the Reservation they had once called home.
It is important to further explore the impact of Pratt' s program on those at White Earth
Reservation. While I do not pretend that Richard Pratt alone was able to influence every
individual in White Earth, his program, and those subsequently modeled after his own, were
capable of influencing the life of those in White Earth a great deal. In addition to boarding
school programs, other factors also contribute to the changes at White Oak Point and across the
reservation as a whole. One cannot ignore the contributions of schooling to these changes. The
following contains the direction in which my research led as I examined the demographic aspects
of White Earth Reservation and Carlisle.
White Earth Reservation
The total number of White Oak Point Ojibwa rested at 581 in 1885. Of this, 276 were
males, while 305 were females. This leaves 47.5% males to 52.5 females. While these numbers
are slightly above the expected male to female ratio, it alone is not but so unusual. The White
Oak Point band was still highly viable, even with these low numbers. By 1922, the story was
different, however, as the band continued to plummet in size.
The population in 1922 was only 317. This is a decrease of nearly half. The men and
women remained nearly even in number with 50.16% male and 49.84% female. The drop in
population, however, cannot be accounted for by a mere drop in females. Especially since this
decreased occurred over a short period of time, namely, 37 years. Examination of a standard
age-sex distribution is the next step to understanding what may have happened to the White Oak
Point band. It is through this analysis that one can begin to search for the root cause of the
population decline seen on White Earth Reservation.
Table 6-1. White Oak Point Ojibwa
80CI a nd
% diaes. Femaes.
2 .926% X
Table 6-2. White Oak Point Ojibwa
4 5- 49
1 0 -14
0 5- 09
Mda~les Fema bes
0;. o 000%
2.20 8% 6
-5.000% 0.000% 5.000% 10.000% 15.000%
Pe rce ntage
Figure 6-1 reveals some anomalies which must be addressed before continuing. To begin,
the gap found in the 40-44 range on the male and female sides is most likely an echo of those
which are "missing from the 60-64 year age range. One can also see a smaller echo in the 20-24
range. By the time the next generation would appear, however, no echo can be found, in fact,
there seems to be a surplus of men and women in the 0-4 range. The original gap may be due to
disease, as small pox was rampant at this time period. During 1854, an epidemic of small pox
swept across the Ojibwa. The increase in the disease was due to the surge of lumbermen which
marched into the area. The individuals which would have been most affected would have
80 and up
Figure 6-1. White Oak Point Ojibwa
been older adults. The and women "missing" from the graph would have been in their late 20s
and early 30s when the epidemic swept through (Kugel 1998). While it is likely that many of
these "missing people would have died due to disease, it is unlikely that only that segment of
the population would have been so severely affected. Therefore, other options must be explored.
Age-Sex Pyramid 1885 White Oak Point Band
Warfare was also indicative of the times. War was most often fought with the Dakota, or
with the U.S. Army. Ironically, the conflict was due to land loss for all sets of combatants. The
U. S. Army was acting on orders of the U. S. Government, as it attempted to gain control of rich
logging lands. The conflicts with the Army were often bloody, this could explain why so many
from this age set were "lost." As battles for the lands would have begun when these individuals
were in their twenties (Jones 1970). It is also possible that the conflicts which surrounded the
original contact with the English may have played a role in the deaths of these individuals, as
they would have been in their late teens when the English first began to wave treaties about
The conflict with the Dakota, while similar, had slight difference. The Dakota desired to
use the Ojibwa land to gather and to farm. Bloody wars were fought over rights to use land. The
death toll was never calculated for this inter tribal warfare; however, one might imagine it to be
similar to other battles fought (Kugel 1998).
The echoes that follow are due to the inability of those men and women to produce
children. After all, the dead do not procreate. Without these individuals to produce the next
generation, that generation should also be expected to have lower numbers. The following echo,
in the 20-24 range would be the effect of the lower births in the 40-44 range (Yaukey and
As to the surplus of males aged 0-4 years, this may be due to the slight increases in
stability achieved after a generation at the White Earth reservation. During this time, the
Government was keeping most of its treaties and the Native Americans themselves retained
much of the reservation land allotted to them. The more permanent nature of their housing, the
supplies of abundant food, and the presence of some medical care would have allowed for higher
birth rates (Meyer 1994).
Most obvious in this graph is the presence of an expanding population. One can see this
by looking at the overall shape of the graph. The classic pyramid structure indicates more births
than deaths. In stable populations, one would find a steeper pyramid (Yaukey and Anderson
2001). So with the graph indicating an expanding population, why does the population have a
Age-Sex Pyramid 1922 White Oake Point Band
80 and up
70 74 m Females
S50 -54 m
a 30 34
~ 0 04
-10.000 -8.000 -6.000 -4.000 -2.000 0.000% 2.000% 4.000% 6.000% 8.000% 10.000
% % % % % %
Pe rce ntage
Figure 6-2. Age-Sex Distribution 1922
In 1922, the surplus of males in the 3 5-19 age category may be the result of the surplus
found 37 years earlier in the 0-4 age category. Some of these men are the same men. Other than
slight surpluses of males or females found, no serious anomaly existed for those enumerated
within this graph. While less individuals can be found in the upper age grouping, this is most
likely due to the poor health which is often discussed by ethnographers (Jones 1970). One can
notice a certain decrease to the number of children born in the 0-4 age range, which may indicate
a beginning change in population type, such as expanding to stable or decreasing.
The females tend to have a cyclical increase and decline in reference to their age cohorts.
At first this may seem a serious abnormality, however, the regularity of the cycle is intriguing.
By increasing the age cohorts groups to every 10 years rather than every five, these cyclical
White Oak Point Chippewva 1922
-15.000%0 -10.0a00% -5.000% ~ 0.000% 5.000%0~ 10.000% 15.000%3
Figure 6-3. Age-Sex Distribution, simplified 1922
changes are ironed out and the pyramid is a perfect example of an expanding population. This
indicates that the fluctuation is merely a symptom of low sample size and most likely not a
specific abnormality which must be addressed before proceeding.
Why then would the population decrease so dramatically over such a short period of time,
if the population appears to be expanding when taken at a single point in time, namely 1885 and
1922? The Ojibwa of the time had theories as to what caused this decrease. They insisted it was
the loss of land, the alcoholism, and the disease rates (Jones 1970).
When Rev. Peter Jones, an Ojibwa preacher asked older Ojibwa what had happened to all
of their people, they responded with (Jones' paraphrase), "As the white man advanced in his
encroachments, the Indian retired farther back to make room for him. In this way the red men
have gradually been stripped of their hunting-grounds and corn-fields, and been driven far from
the land of comfort and plenty" (Jones 1970: 27). The land which was promised to the Ojibwa in
the treaty which established White Earth was valued for its lumber. As the years passed, the
government quickly determined that the lumber was far too valuable to let go. As such the
government began to whittle away at the White Earth Reservation, selling that land to lumber
companies. The Ojibwa fought against the loss of their land, however, the U.S. Army prevailed,
leaving the Ojibwa without recourse. According to the old men of the Ojibwa in the 1860s, war
was recounted as such; "Goaded to despair, the clutched the deadly tomahawk, and sought to
wield it against the encroaching whites; but, instead of conquering, the act only afforded to the
calculating, remorseless foe, a pretext for a more general slaughter of the defenceless natives"
(Jones 1970: 28).
By the 1990s, the Ojibwa only retained 7% of the original land they had been given.
While they are currently fighting the government to reinstate the land which was taken from
them, the battle is nearly as fierce as it was when the government stole the land in the early
1900s (Meyer 1994).
With this loss of land, the Ojibwa's subsistence was critically affected. The Ojibwa are
farmers, hunters, and collectors. The farming they engaged in was not for subsistence, but for
market activity, and without a wide range of land from which to hunt and gather their own food,
they were left with little option (Jones 1970). The decrease in food could easily have lead to
illness from nutritional deficiency, thus further reducing their numbers (Child 1998).
The second concern of the Ojibwa was alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease, and rarely
cured easily. Alcohol led to violent fights between Ojibwa people. The drunken brawls led not
only to injure, but also to death. Spousal abuse became more common, as did child abuse. Rev.
Peter Jones, an Ojibwa minister noted several instances of his people hurting one another while
under the influence of alcohol. He speaks of men killing their mothers, men killing their wives,
women killing their children, and so on. The chiefs David Hill and David Smith along with 61
other members of their tribe referred, in a letter to the House of Representatives in New York to
express their hopes that an anti-alcohol law passes. They refer to alcohol as a Rogue. "this
Rogue he gets folks' money, sometimes he burns houses, sometimes he kill people, sometimes he
make a family very poor, sometimes he take 'way senses, sometimes he make 'em very cross and
ragged and dirty, and sometimes he freeze 'em to death" (Jones 1970: 176).
Alcohol played a horrific role on the Ojibwa. Addiction to the drug led to decreased
productivity, which in turn led to decreased food procurement. In addition, the money the
Ojibwa alcoholic did have was spent on whiskey. In one instance, Jones mentions that a woman
tried to trade her child for alcohol. One must also keep in mind that alcohol affects the body in
severe ways. Various illnesses are known to be caused by consumption of alcohol. According to
Jones, the old men spoke of alcohol saying alcohol, "crept in and began to gnaw their very vitals,
debasing their morals, lowering their dignity, spreading contentions, confusion, and death"
(Jones 1970: 28). This reaction indicates the seriousness of the problem. All the fighting and
illness also lead to an increased mortality rate (Jones 1970).
Finally, Jones mentions disease as a serious factor in the loss of the Ojibwa population.
Again, on the subj ect of disease, when the old men were asked about the loss of their people,
they replied, "Their children began to cry for food, their souls fainted for want, their clothes
dropped from their shivering backs, the fatal small-pox and measles visited them for the first
time, and swept away the poor Indians by the thousands" (Jones 1970: 28). Smallpox and
measles were severe; however, they were not alone in threatening the stability of the Native
American population. The Influenza epidemic of 1918 swept through White Earth with a
vengeance. Tuberculosis also settled over the Reservation. Trachoma, an eye infection with
painful consequences was so numerous that it was estimated that by 1910, half the population of
White Earth suffered its debilitating affects.
Consumption was also mentioned as a serious threat to the Ojibwa (Child 1998). Authors
of the time mention the ease with which the Ojibwa seemed to develop illnesses. Their constant
cold-like illnesses were attributed to their constant exposure to the elements rather than their
poor, inadequate diet, which was most likely the cause for lowered immune system ability. The
constant sickness decreased the nation's ability to procure adequate food, and therefore
intensified the problem (Child 1998).
While doctors were consulted and some hired to help control the disease outbreaks, in
many cases the doctors were poorly trained and overworked. Most of the Bureau of Indian
Affairs (BIA) disease concern lay with the South Western Native Americans, leaving the
Northern Native Americans, like the Ojibwa, without the much needed medical support. The
BIA also blamed the Native Americans themselves for their condition, citing immorality as the
cause (Child 1998).
In addition, other things began to occur within the population during this time. Marriage
rates changed between 1885 and 1922. More single parent households were recorded, as well as
a jump in single fathers. The decrease in marriage rate is startling. From 25.1% of all
individuals within the population being married in 1885, to only 4.6% being married in 1922, is
significant. Possible explanation include high divorce rates. The high rates of alcoholism may
have lead to these high divorce rates (Jones 1970). In addition, the late 1800s and early 1900s
were times of turmoil as many individuals died due to alcoholism or disease. With the
associated practice of mourning for a full year, rapid remarriage was less likely and therefore
Table 6-3. Numbers of Men and Women Married in 1885
N number o~f M carried I ndivid u as i n 188:5
CohrtMales P olyfgyma us (Females
;Grou ps Females ;only)
90 -94 1
7 5- 79 1 1
65-69 8 4
60 4 2
5 5- 59 1 1 .3
50 -54 6 :3 1
45-49 11 13 2
40 4 2 6
35-39 7 13 1
30-34 1:3 9 1
25-29 6 11
20-24 2 6
T~otalI 71 7s 7
Percent 12.20%6 12.90%# 1.2
Total 14 Pe rcen t
Married Mna rried 25.10%;
Table 6-4. Numbers of Men and Women Married in 1922
N number nf Ma rrieul I nd ivid uals ir 197
Caoho rt MlsPolyvgymous( Femnales
G roups Fem abs only)
75 -79 1
70 -74 1
55 -59 1
45 -49 1 1
40 44 1
20 -24 1
Toatal 6 6 2
Percent 1.90%X 1.90% 0.60%
M~arried 14 Married 4.40%6
may have deflated marriage rates. This may be especially true on the heels of the 1918 Influenza
epidemic. Marriageable individuals may have been scarce during this time, further lengthening
time between remarriage (Child 1998).
The government also issued checks to each family, recognizing children over the age of 18
as adults. By listing husbands and wives separately, families could receive more money from the
government, during times of extreme poverty (Kugel 1998). The listing of families separately or
actual divorce led to increase rates of single parent households (Figure 6-5).
Married ~ 0
0.000% 5.000%9 10.000% 15 000% 20.000%~ 25.000% 30.000%
Figure 6-4. Percentage of Married in 1885 vs. 1922
It is likely that parents would have listed their houses separate for checks. Also, the
strange increase in single fathers can be explained by examination of the 1885 census, where
men with children are listed in their natal household with their mothers. In 1922, these men
reside separately, probably to gain more government money.
Also, polygyny came under scrutiny during this time. Men and women were not permitted
to be baptized if they were living in a polygamous marriage. Tactics for avoiding this have
already been discussed (Jones 1970). In addition, the low population may in fact be related to
the low rates of marriage; however, this is less likely than other possibilities.
While all these reasons are excellent explanations for the population decrease, another
reason yet exists. This is the root of all these other causes. Boarding schools came to White
Earth during the late 1880s. Boarding schools had a unique opportunity to inflict damage upon
the Ojibwa, especially with the eagerness the Ojibwa parents sent their children to school to leamn
a trade so that they may better support themselves. As will be shown in the following
discussion, the tactics employed by boarding schools, discouraged children from returning home
to the reservation, fact it made them despise the people form which they came (Child 1998)
Single Mothers Say inFathrers
Type of Parent
Figure 6-5. Percentage of Single Parents
Carlisle's Role in Population Decline
In this section, all information is taken from above observations and therefore will not be
The tactics employed at Carlisle served to sever ties with the communities from which the
children came. It adjusted their mindset and altered their vision of who they were and of those
they'd left behind on the reservation. Pratt effectively used habitus, body hexus, and discipline
to mold his students into the young people he wished.
By the end of the nineteenth century the techniques to destroy tribal culture such as
individual landholding, white man's education, and continuing pressures to forget old
Indian customs had taken their toll. In some instances tribal identity became vague, but at
the same time the Indians refused to become mere imitations of the white maj ority.
Crowding tribal remnants together in even smaller areas increased intertribal exchanges of
customs and ideas. The mixing of children from many groups at boarding schools planted
the seeds for the later pan-Indian movement, which has grown steadily in the twentieth
century. (Dinnerstein et al. 1996: 203)
By forcing the Carlisle students to dress uniformly, cut their hair in the same manner, and
stripping them of all signs of individual culture, including their names, it effectively removed the
Ojibwa in the students. In its place was left a sense of "Indian-ness," the feeling of being
subordinate to Euro-Americans, yet superior to those Native Americans at home. Many of the
returning children refused to shake hands with the people who had been their family, most felt
superior to those on the reservation. In addition, many pretended to have completely forgotten
their language and showed off their new skills to other children and even adults. This only
served to further alienate those returning students from their tribes (Coleman 1993: 180-181).
The change in food served to destabilize the children and therefore cause them to rely
heavily upon their self appointed protector. Just as Foucault discusses the use of food rationing
to develop a deep and dependent relationship between j ailor and j ailed, Pratt' s appointed position
as savior and provider of food put him into a superior position for the students he'd brought to
Carlisle. In addition, the illness that many surely felt as lactose intolerance waged war against
the children's bodies took them further from stability. It forced them to rely upon the medicines
that Pratt and his staff could provide in his new hospital.
The drilling of the body, the forced change in posture and attitude, the continual correction
of "Indian-like" behaviors effectively retrained the children into Euro-American culture. The
hexus they would have learned on their reservation, to sit as the Ojibwa sit, to move as the
Ojibwa move, in effect to gesture as the Ojibwa gesture was altered, changed into the Euro-
American equivalents of such. After many years in that environment, with those forms of body
hexus, to return to their own people would have been an uncomfortable experience. Coupled
with the haughty superiority they'd have been trained to feel as educated Pan-Indians would have
led to ostracization by the Ojibwa on the reservation.
One aspect of body hexus is more popularly known as body language. These gestures are
culturally specific. Each culture has its own set of gestures and behaviors which are acceptable
and unacceptable (Beattie 2003). Gestures which are innocuous in one culture may be quite rude
in another. It is certainly believable that even slight changes in hexus could cause serious
communication problems, especially when the verbal part of communication is also consistently
broken down through trained shame of language (Pedersen and Greenwood 1995).
In addition, by employing an entirely different means of educating students, the boarding
schools produced the future parents which less knowledge of how to educate their own children
in the manner their parents had used. In all, this effectively broke the habitus of the community
rapidly, without the gradual changes which usually occur as a result of natural growth in a
community or population.
The buildings of Carlisle were designed entirely to allow for manipulation of person and
observation. The impressive structures were squared off and enclosed, a massive change in
vision from the Ojibwa that often slept outside in good weather and were accustomed to
spending their time in small, airy, rounded tipis and wigwams. The point of Ojibwa structures
was to allow for movement and adjustment when needed. The permanent structures of Carlisle,
surrounded by a fence to avoid escapes as well as external observation took quite a bit of getting
used to. In fact, the entire arrangement into rank and groups was unusual.
Dormitories were harsh in themselves. Children were separated from clan members, from
those of their family that knew them and understood them. The cubicle, isolating rooms
prevented the large gatherings the children had grown accustomed to. In addition, their
roommates were often of different tribes. By keeping the children separated from their culture,
Pratt hoped to more easily break the bonds which made the students Ojibwa. Communication in
rooms, where observation would be lessened, was nearly impossible, especially when students
first arrived. They were rooming with those who could not speak their language, and until
English could be effectively learned, that communication was next to impossible. In addition,
those accustomed to being surrounded by clan members either their immediate family in small
groups or during large gatherings found themselves entirely isolated from the traditions and
experiences gained from living among their clans. Winter was a time for story telling, a tradition
also lost to the students cloistered behind Carlisle's walls. Pratt effectively prevented students
from learning the stories they would have known had they remained at home.
The massive dinning hall was also a change. Communications were restricted during
meals, particularly in Carlisle's beginning years. While the individuals could see those they
knew, they were unable to speak with them, even in low tones. The punishment for speaking
Ojibwa could be quite severe and therefore no communication would be likely to take place. In
addition, the dining hall was also designed for observation. The space was open, in as much as
an enclosed building could be. Students were drilled too and from meals, meaning strict sex
segregation was maintained at all times. Meals were made for business in this facility, not for
socialization as was accustomed for the Ojibwa students.
The classrooms as well were off limits except during class times. Teachers monitored their
classes carefully, ever vigilant for infractions. Instead of resting comfortably on the floor or soft
pallets as the students would have been accustomed to while learning at home, they sat in hard
desks, spaced evenly, which allowed for little connection between students and ultimate
observation of the teacher, which taught form the head of the classroom.
Workshops as well were designed for observation and strict observance of policy. The
machinery to be used was spaced so that the instructor could easily see the students as they
worked. In addition, enough machines were present to limit the time the students would work
together on projects. The workshop buildings, despite being quite large, were sectioned into
individual rooms as well, again providing a closed in feeling.
The most pertinent example of observation, however, came from Pratt himself. He
designated the gazebo in the center of campus as the Bandstand, and then coined the term, The-
man-on-the-Bandstand for himself. The Bandstand, he explained was for observation. From that
location he could observe the behavior and actions of students. It' s very existence was a
reminder to all students of their constant surveillance. Students writing the student paper, The
Indian Helper made constant references to Pratt as TMOTB, which stood for his coined name.
Ironically, the newspaper itself, which was edited by Pratt also served as a reminder of the
vigilance of his surveillance. Pratt reminded students, as he referred to himself as the-man-on-
the-bandstand, that he was not and Native American, and was watching their movements closely.
Even the students participating in the outing system were not beyond his reach as Pratt often
mentioned infractions of those students. The beauty was that these students all received the
paper for free, even while on outing.
Pratt further reinforced his constant observer status by mentioning within the pages of his
paper the happenings of former students as they found jobs outside of Carlisle. As far as the
students were concerned, Pratt could see them, no matter where they went.
As a result of these conditions, students accepted Pratt' s authority and deferred to him as
their father when they needed help. This alone reveals the significance of the program at
Carlisle. The effect is obvious when examining the census reports associated with White Earth
Agency between the time where students were forced to attend boarding schools. The rapid
decrease in population which cannot be attributed to alcoholism, disease, or famine can certainly
be attributed to exodus from the community. Boarding schools like Carlisle were fully intent
upon producing this result. In addition, the reduction in marriage is of important note as well.
Students would be less likely to desire a marriage with someone from their former community
after the amount of Euroamerican propaganda they had learned under the tutelage of their
boarding school "parents." Pratt' s efforts to prevent students from "returning to the blanket"
were incredibly successful. Though never as successful as Pratt might have wished, his impact
can still be felt today.
The "missing" individuals from White Oak Point most likely were the children taken to
off-reservation boarding schools in order to learn the education of the Euroamerican settlers
around them. They hoped to be able to adapt, just as their ancestors had, to a changing
environment. Instead, these students found themselves cast out of not only Euroamerican
society, but also with no sense of belonging among the people who had given them life. The loss
of their critical period of habitus formation had taken a large toll on the students, preventing
them from feeling as if they had a place to call home. It was this scattering of young adults that
led, much later, to the pan-Indian movement that swept the nation. They were left with a distinct
sense of"being" Native American, and yet had no tribe in which they could find a home.
While this is certainly not true of all Native Americans who survived the boarding school
experience, the impact seen in one small band on White Earth Reservation is undeniable. The
demographic changes were certainly far reaching, considering Carlisle's influence over not only
the Ojibwa, but hundreds of tribes across the country through direct means of bringing those
students to Carlisle and indirect means of patterning the programs of other boarding schools in
the United States.
The implications for this research are immense. In a time where the political atmosphere is
one of heavy handed democracy, knowing the effects of education on cultures is of value to all
The possibilities of future work on boarding school effects through landscape are nearly
endless. One avenue through which the future research could unfold is examination of blood
quantum and disease rates. Time permitting, determining the fate of most of the Carlisle
students would be possible. With Pratt' s effective record keeping including blood quantum of
each student, making correlations between the blood quantum and the instance of disease would
not be so difficult.
This research could also move in the direction of examining other educational systems to
better understand how they influence the culture from which the children come. In most cases,
educational theory is focused on the influence the system has on the students themselves. In my
research I began the preliminary steps towards understanding how that influence over a group of
students can in turn affect the culture at large. This oft overlooked aspect is particularly
important when considering how education was used as means of cultural genocide during the
Boarding School Period.
Educational systems being implemented in developing and even developed countries
throughout the world are often held up as a shining example of the kindness and generosity of
others. In truth, however, there was no sense of altruism that prompted the opening of schools
such as Carlisle. Pratt had a goal in mind when he recruited his students, and that goal, while
perhaps to make his students' lives easier, it was not designed for their benefit alone.
Examination of these methods can provide further insight into programs used across the world.
NGOs, Non-Profit organizations, and even some Government sponsored groups are often set to
build schools, museums, and health care facilities in places ravaged by war, famine, disease, or
hardship of some type. What influence are these programs having on the culture at large? Is the
installation of a school run by an outside organization truly improving a group's situation or
merely influencing the group to become more like the culture behind the organization? These
are deep questions that must be considered by every person who works in another culture.
Studies should be expanded into museum landscape and habitus. Understanding how a
museum informs and influences a group by serving as a frozen segment of the past could help
indicate the importance of museums, and the importance of having a native voice when a
museum is built. Landscape theory often leaves room for doubt when considering agency.
Especially a theorist such as Bourdieu, who has been accused often of ignoring individual
agency when developing his theories. In this case, it is the agency of those being educated that
must be understood. Where governments fail to suppress the agency of adults, they often find
children easier to mold and shape so that suppression is not needed. Museums are more than
capable of educating, just as a school. When the voice of the culture is removed from the
museum presentation, the loss of a valuable tool, and perhaps the start of a powerful weapon is
This line of research could also be expanded to include larger stretches of time. Following
families that left the reservation post-Carlisle would provide a glimpse into changing migration
patterns. It is these types of movements that interest many anthropologists working in countries
where movement across or within boundaries is the norm. Understanding how settlement
patterns changed could also explain much of the relationships seen today between certain groups.
Studies designed to seek out the psychological affects of loss of habitus would also provide
insight into current world events. In a time when children are routinely born or raised in refugee
camps or away from their own natal lands, knowing how they will be effected, knowing how
they will be influenced can explain some of the things that typically occur in the next
generations. The Boarding School experiences are not so near as to be a part of daily experience,
however, their effects are certainly not gone by any means. To understand if this loss of habitus
can lead to violence or increased migration, or perhaps even to desire to create a suitable
homeland could help modern researchers understand what to expect from groups facing similar
circumstances. Knowing how to make those experiences easier to bear could be the one saving
grace in a time and place where thoughts of human need turn to the physical, not the cultural
aspects of life.
In addition, a better understanding of how habitus and specifically hexus changes in
response to confinement could lead to numerous application. Applying these theories to those in
refugee camps, or prisoner-of-war camps could help further elucidate changes that occur in
groups after disasters or conflicts. This area is fruitful for further study. Hexus alone informs
much more than mere body language providing insight into the use of body movement and
proxemics to better understand cultural knowledge.
As landscape theory and spatial theory begin to grow in popularity, the avenues for future
research will grow as well. Studies will be conducted on various scales and with various
intentions. This has merely been a small case study to inform of the possibilities in this growing
trend. Perhaps the perceptions of landscape can one day be used in much the same way as
linguistics has been used to tie groups together. Perhaps and understanding of how landscape is
shaped by people as well as how it shapes those same people can help explain subsistence
patterns that may make little sense on their own. As for my part, I will be moving on to
examination of subsistence and epidemics to better understand the role of location, and
proximity. I will seek to examine movement patterns in the Southeastern United States to
elucidate potentiality of resource use. I will also be asking questions of population supportability
and what influence views of the landscape may have played. While this theory may be relegated
to a more minor role in my future work, I believe that it is too valuable a tool to give up entirely.
While the above stated are lofty goals, they are not beyond the realm possibility. Careful
research conducted with scrupulous care could provide many answers to the above questions. It
could be a way of opening a door between anthropology, psychology, and geography, as well as
history. Understanding how these processes influence a culture could provide clues as to culture
reinvention and "culture building" which is taking place in many communities. Despite the
lofty, high-moral ring of these dreams, their importance is certainly clear. In the future, perhaps
the mistakes of the past can be understood well enough that they are not repeated.