The Great White Father’s Little Red Indian School


In a speech given to a group of Baptist ministers in New York he let fly with the flat statement, “Nothing better could happen to the Indian than the abolition of the [Indian] Bureau.” Bureaucratic reaction was swift, and Pratt’s active association with the Indian school was ended. As a retired brigadier general, the old soldier continued to press his ideas for solution of the Indian’s problems. In 1924 his grave at Arlington was marked with a plain but imposing monument, inscribed, “Erected in Loving Memory by His Students and Other Indians.”

The school lasted until 1918. The climax of its athletic fame occurred after Pratt’s time. Professional educators polished the curriculum. With Pratt’s departure, though, the élan and dynamism of the school slackened. When the school finally closed, the War Department reclaimed the old barracks. The military remains in residence today and Carlisle Barracks presently houses the United States Army War College.

Beside the back entrance to the modern military reservation lies a tiny graveyard. The headstones are similar to those in a national military cemetery, and the rows of graves are militarily exact. Only the names on the headstones are unusual. Among others there are Mativito Horse … Cheyenne; Jane Lumpfoot… Arapaho; Nora Izancho … Apache.