A grandmother sent me the below article in quotation marks and I would predicate my response in saying a healing that cannot take place in full measure without radical changes in governmental policies directed at the nations.
These are difficult things for all concerned to discuss and as is my way I will not personalize with the names of those close to me as a matter of respect and the understanding this is the internet and it is their choice whether to or not.
So I speak in generic terms of a grandmother, a grandfather, the “gatherers”, or little ones.
It requires an effort for me not to become angry in seeing how such things impact others, the memories always just below the surface that can be triggered in ways not understood by those who are not of the nations or share the experience.
What needs to be understood is that after five plus centuries of war and oppression we as a people cannot nor should we ever forget, nor should our children when they have reached an age of understanding.
There’s is no half hearted conservative contested apology hidden away in unrelated legislation, no rhetoric nor monetary “compensation” that suffices – wherever you see land that is red it is the red of the blood of our ancestors who fought and died that covers this land.
It is the red seen in sunsets, and the paint we put on for pow wow, a living reminder of the blood shed and the blood that courses through our veins, reminders that we are truly nations of “red” men and women and damn proud of it.
Entire nations of our people have been eradicated yet we remain and we’re not going anywhere.
Genocidal policies can neither be revised or swept under the rug as long as so much as one of us of any nation yet lives.
‘Army begins unearthing remains of children who died at Carlisle Indian school.
August 8, 2017: Nelson White Eagle, gray and stiff at 78, needed time to make his way across the wet grass to the graves of the children, but when he got there, he didn’t hesitate: The Northern Arapaho elder sang — a song of gratitude and honor, of thanks and remembrance and healing.
No answer came from the rows of white headstones in the cemetery on the grounds of the former Carlisle Indian Industrial School, now the campus of the Army War College. And none was expected.
“I felt better after I sang the song,” White Eagle said. “We need to hang on to one another, love one another.”
He arrived on the grounds Monday, joined by about 15 other tribe members, come from Wyoming on a mission both sacred and sorrowful: to reclaim the remains of three Northern Arapaho children who died at the school, and who lie among nearly 200 native students lost in a brutal, turn-of-the-century experiment in forced assimilation.
Shortly after 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, after private native prayers and ceremonies, an Army team put the first shovel to the earth, beginning what’s expected to be a five-day process of exhuming the three boys. They’re to be reburied next week in their rugged mountain home, the Wind River Reservation.
The aim of the nation’s first federal off-reservation boarding school, founded in 1879 by former cavalry officer Richard Henry Pratt, was to rid natives of their “savage nature” by erasing their names, languages, customs, religions, and family ties. Braids were cut off, and boys were put into military-style uniforms.
Beatings were common punishments, and epidemics proved deadly. Even as children succumbed to tuberculosis and flu, Carlisle became the model for dozens of Indian schools that spread across the United States and Canada.
Little Chief, the eldest son of Chief Sharp Nose, arrived at Carlisle on March 11, 1881, a boy of 14 accompanied by two young friends, Horse, 11, and Little Plume, 9.
Within two years, all three were dead.
“It’s going to be very emotional for us,” said Yufna Soldier Wolf, a great-niece of Little Chief’s and leader in the push to return him and his compatriots to their tribe. Family members of Horse and Little Plume were there, too, some stunned to silence by the enormity of a cemetery full of native children.
To them, and to many native peoples, Carlisle is not simply a small town in central Pennsylvania — it’s the place where the federal government set out to destroy their way of life, and where their children died in the process.
By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, the day had turned hot and steamy as sweating Army staff pressed on with their digging – under the watchful gaze of the Northern Arapaho, who rarely strayed far from the cemetery.
The first child had yet to be exhumed, but Army officials said plans remained on schedule. Several tribal elders, some on canes, returned to their hotel for rest, while young people embarked on a tour of the grounds, learning about a place they knew from tribal lore but had never seen in person.
“This is paving the way for everyone else,” Loveeda White Eagle, 20, said of the repatriation. “The other tribes can learn from it.”
The Rosebud Sioux in South Dakota say they want children returned from Carlisle, and so have native families in Alaska.
The day was historic for all those across Indian Country who want the tragedy of the boarding-school era to at last be aired fully and publicly. Some researchers say the collective damage inflicted on children at boarding schools has contributed to the addictions and dysfunctions that plague many tribes today.
This week, the neat, roadside cemetery has been cut off from public view, hidden behind tall chain-link fences draped with black cloth. Lighted signs on the military base warn, “Cemetery closed, please respect Native American privacy.”
Like other students at Carlisle, the three Northern Arapaho boys were forced to accept new English names. Little Chief became Dickens Nor. Horse was renamed Horace Washington, and Little Plume was called Hayes Vanderbilt Friday.
Little Plume, buried under a headstone marked “Hayes, Son of Friday,” was to be exhumed first, from his resting place near the center of the cemetery.
Army officials outlined the process for each grave: The 240-pound headstone would be removed. Then the grave would be opened, a job undertaken with shovels, trowels, and hands — no machinery. The dirt from the grave was to be sifted through a series of mesh screens, to capture cloth, shirt buttons, jewelry, coffin pieces, and small bits of bone.
Bones and teeth will be examined by Elizabeth DiGangi, a forensic anthropologist at Binghamton University and an Army consultant, to determine whether the remains are the correct gender and age. DNA testing will not be undertaken.
The remains will be kept in an on-site vault until the disinterment is complete. At that point, control of the children will be transferred to the tribe.
“It’s a special mission,” said Art Smith, chief of Army National Military Cemeteries. “We’re in the process of disinterring children.”
On Monday evening, members of a native group called Circle Legacy, who for decades have washed and cleaned the headstones here, put on a potluck dinner for the Northern Arapaho. Elders leaned on the arms of helpers, while children — young, native children — once again roamed the grounds of Carlisle, laughing and chasing one another.
“When you see the graves, it’s a heavy heart,” said Crawford White Sr., 76, brother of Nelson White Eagle, both of whom were sent to boarding school as children. “Healing, it’s a process. I need it to begin, not just for me, but for the families. … There’s a lot of healing to be done.”
The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was founded in October 1879 by U.S. Army Officer, Lt. Richard Henry Pratt. It was the first U.S. government off-reservation school to enroll students from virtually every Native American Indian nation from the various agencies and reservations. Beginning with an enrollment of 82 children from the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Sioux communities, numbers swelled to as many as 1,000 children annually during the period from 1879-1918, when the school closed. Designed to offer academic and industrial training the program enrolled over 10,000 American Indian children. The experiment was designed to assimilate students into the mainstream culture and was housed in Carlisle, PA at the Carlisle Barracks, now the home of the U.S. Army War College. “Carlisle” became the model for 24 off reservation schools with the purpose of acculturation.
Many of the school buildings are still standing. The site is designated as a National Historic Landmark. Guided tours are occasionally offered by the Cumberland County Historical Society where a self-guided walking tour brochure may also be purchased. Visit the Cumberland County Historical Society’s Carlisle Indian School exhibit.
Among the sites still standing: A replica band-stand located in the center of the parade area where the Man-on-the-band-stand, who edited the weekly and monthly school newspapers, oversaw activities; Superintendents’ quarters, home to the five military officers and civil servants in command; Administration Building where the superintendents, staff and Outing administrators’ officers were located; Model home where the domestic arts department entertained; teachers’ quarters, including apartments, staff cottages and several houses built by student labor; Thorpe Hall, the gymnasium named after the famous Olympic champion and Sac and Fox athlete, Jim Thorpe, who was ‘discovered’ at Carlisle by Coach Glen Scobie ‘Pop’ Warner, whose house is also located on campus; Washington Hall, the athletic dormitory; the historic Hessian Powder Magazine or guardhouse where the guards were trained; Ashburn Hall, the hospital; Pratt Hall, the doctor’s quarters; a replica grandstand; Letort View Community Center which was built as the print shop; the laundry; Leupp Indian Art Studio built for the Native Arts and Crafts program; a warehouse; and the Farmhouse where students lived and were trained in farming techniques. There is a cemetery that holds the remains of many students who passed away at the Carlisle Indian School or on Outings.”