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Carlisle Descendants

Posted 01-14-2016 at 04:10 PM by eagleclanriverband
Updated 01-14-2016 at 04:17 PM by eagleclanriverband (typo)
My grandpa was taken to Carlisle in 1897 when he was only 12.

After a few years, he ran away before they succeeded in "killing the Indian" in him. He was fortunate to make his way back to our rez (over a 1000 miles) walking & sometimes hitching a ride from kind strangers.

"Imagine what it must have been like for him!" Aunt Rita challenged me to put myself in Grandpa's shoes. She had a commanding & captivating presence. When she spoke, we listened & did as we were told. LOL! I think it took a lot of strength & courage either way: to stay or run away from Carlisle.

Imagine…running away…there weren't highways back in the early 1900s, my auntie said. (Heck, No Google directions; No Waze GPS like today; LOL!!) My grandpa didn't even have a paper map to guide him home.

All by himself, he walked for days. Hungry with no money. Imagine figuring out each night where it was safe to sleep: in unfamiliar surroundings, cold, in the dark & all alone. He never gave up as he made his way across this country back to Northern Wisconsin.

My mom took us to see Carlisle when I was in high school so that we would know. It was like visiting the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. My heart could feel it...the sadness and the suffering emanating out of the walls, stifling the air. It was like little pieces of heartache were stuck there.

I remember studying my mother’s eyes for insight to what she was feeling. She had far away thoughts…I wondered…perhaps if she was also remembering when she was beaten by the Jesuit Priests at boarding school for speaking our language. Like her father & her siblings, my mother had endured and overcome. No matter what was done to them, nothing would kill the Indian in them.
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eagleclanriverband's Avatar
If anyone is interested in reading more about Carlisle, there's a good website with collections of student record files, photos, and other school info at:

Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center
Posted 03-06-2016 at 01:05 PM by eagleclanriverband eagleclanriverband is offline
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