I did not grow up in a sports family, but I knew the name Jim Thorpe because the famous athlete Jim Thorpe came from the Carlisle Indian School. I knew those words before I understood what they signified. When I got a little older, I also heard stories of the cemetery, supposedly haunted by the ghosts of children who died before their time of disease in a place far from home and family. The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was a boarding school for Native American children that operated on property now owned by the Army War College. The school was the first of its kind off of reservation land, and it served as a model for similar schools across the United States. The school was open from 1879 until 1918, and presumably Mr. Standing came to Carlisle for the express purpose of working at the school. At the time, obviously, Standing’s family was proud of his role in the “civilizing” of the Native American population, but that legacy has changed. The schools were explicitly assimilationist in their approach, and the negative impact on some students and the preservation of their traditional cultures has become much more prominent in the study of these institutions.
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A Grave Concern by Ashley D. Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.