The Carlisle Indian Boarding School discussion
It was so wonderful to see such a good turnout for our speakers Jim Gerencser and Kate Theimer last Sunday!
September 19, 2021
It was so wonderful to see such a good turnout for our speakers Jim Gerencser and Kate Theimer last Sunday! I learned so much about the Carlisle Indian Industrial boarding school and am anxious to look into the other resources they recommended! Jim in particular, read several books to make the presentation as connected to This Tender Land as possible.
It is always challenging to hold the many aspects of complex situations in tension with each other. I was relieved that the students were mostly older, had the same opportunities as other middle-class students of their time, were paid for their labor and received care under the leadership of General Pratt. But we now know how very harmful to identity the anti-Indian components were and the generational harm that the Native Americans have suffered due to these boarding schools. Jim and Kate were able to shine a light on how many of the schools created on this model, did not fulfill the minimum standards that Pratt had established. They lacked his fundraising skills and his commitment to the quality of education and experiences. It is hard to accept that many of these harms were done by churches that ran the schools.
“Do the best you can until you know better. The when you know better, do better.”
Please email me, Janice Mack, at if you would like a recording of this class.
Resources recommended by Jim and Kate
Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center link
Carlisle Indian School Research Podcast, by Kate Theimer link
A Very Correct Idea of Our School, by Kate Theimer link
Pipestone, by Adam Fortunate Eagle, a book mentioned by Kent Krueger in his acknowledgements link
Unspoken, a documentary narrated by Peter Coyote on Youtube link
Education for Extinction, by David Wallace Adams - A scholarly treatment of the boarding school system as a whole, link
They Called it Prairie Light, by Tsianiana Lomawaima. A work based on oral histories conducted with former students of the Chilocco school of Oklahoma. The students attended during the 1920s and 1930s, with the interviews conducted in the 1980s. The comments offered by the interviewees on a host of topics show how varied people’s individual experiences and perspectives can be, even when they attended at the same time, link