Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Committee Chair

Sarah Potter

Committee Member

Aram G Goudsouzian

Committee Member

Bradley Dixon


In 1879, the Carlisle Barracks were placed under the care of Richard Henry Pratt in order to establish a federally funded institution for the assimilation of American Indian youth. This institution, Carlisle Indian Industrial School, would become the flagship for the experiment of American Indian education. Led by Pratt, the institution was to transform students’ understanding of their race and cultural identity. American Indian students from across the United States would attend Carlisle and be forced to assimilate by speaking English, cutting their hair, changing their names, and removing themselves from the culture of their past. Yet students did not always use the lessons learned at Carlisle in the ways that Pratt intended. Rather, many would take the practices taught at Carlisle and use them to advance their own and their people’s well-being in a rapidly changing American society. Students were taught they could no longer remain Indian at Carlisle, but they found they could never truly be American either, as American citizenship was unattainable for many who attended Indian Boarding Schools. However, students from Carlisle created a new sense of identity for themselves, which bridged their past cultures and white American society.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access