Hello, My name is Katie. For my seventh grade history day project I am doing Richard Henry Pratt and the Carlisle School. I have been researching this topic a lot and your name comes up many times. I watched a movie called, "Our Spirits Don't Speak English" and I saw you were in it. Also your name is mentioned on many websites.
I was wondering if you could help me. I need four more primary sources for my project even though I am cutting down on facts. A primary source is someone that was there at the time or someone who ad a family member there. I also need more help understanding how the school ended. Pratt was over ruled by making so many enemies and then the inspector person also ruled him out, but is that all that happened?
I was hoping you could help me with this project with ideas. If you can please e-mail this e-mail back
February 5, 2009
Thank you for your interest in the Carlisle Indian School.
I no longer encourage contact with "first person" primary sources for the Carlisle school because of the very shoddy work done by the producers of the movie you watched. I was horrified to see the objectification of native people by their representation in that film and after much discussion with relatives of Carlisle students who agree with me, I am resolved not to make my contacts available to strangers. There is a very special connection that is cultivated among friends - any friends, and if that can happen between native and non-native people, that's a good thing. Those kinds of relationships take time, patience and open-mindedness. But it's not ok to "study" people who have been disenfranchised from their communities because of prejudice, patronization and greed. It's because of my strong feelings about this that I can't help you with putting you in touch with relatives of Carlisle students. I've learned a good lesson from the results of the movie "Our Spirits Don't Speak English," and I guess with this preachy email, I'm sharing that lesson with you. I hope you accept it as a gift from me, to broaden your understanding of the importance of the sensitivities involved in these kinds of projects.
You can use photographs and newspaper articles as your primary sources and read between the propagandistic lines for the truth. If you're interested in this, I'll be glad to help you. But /people/ as primary sources are no longer part of my research collection. I hope this helps you to understand this history and these issues a little better.
I think the best explanations for why the Carlisle school was discontinues are found in David Wallace Adams' book, EDUCATION FOR EXTINCTION.
All good wishes with your project.