Fri 30 Nov 2007
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Here you go Melissa, 1706 words of fun! – P.s. Disregard the citations for now, I didn’t think that footnotes would transfer to the blog, so I made up my own code ha.
By the late nineteenth century, America was transitioning to a new era. The frontier was coming to a close and most of the Indians had been placed onto reservations. Americans were no longer in constant battle with the Indians with the last great Battle of Little Big Horn ending in 1879 and they were now focused on the complete institutionalization of the Indian. A pioneer in the education of the Indian, Richard Henry Pratt who sought to “Kill the Indian and save the man.” In 1879 as the last major battle was being fought, Pratt founded the Carlisle Indian Industrial School opening the doors of education to all types of young Indians. The town of Carlisle was home to another educational institution known as Dickinson College and the two institutions would come to develop a long lasting, but little known relationship. From its opening in 1879 until its close, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School would have a strong relationship with the faculty of Dickinson College, most notably Dr. James McCauley, Professor Francis Himes, and Dr. George Reed who would influence, develop and foster the relationship between the institutions through religious services, advisory meetings, lectures, and commencement speeches.
When reflecting on his work at the Indian School, Richard Henry Pratt notes that, “We had the advantage of contacting and contending with our distinguished neighbor, Dickinson College, with its more than a century of success in developing strong and eminent men to fill the highest places in our national life,” (BC 316). In 1879, the serving President of Dickinson College was James Andrew McCauley and Pratt’s Carlisle Indian Industrial School had recently opened across town in the Carlisle Barracks, but it was Mrs. Pratt that initiated the contact between the Indian School and Dickinson by writing to McCauley and requesting his aid as a minister. Upon Pratt’s absence one Sunday, McCauley stepped in to perform the religious services upon Mrs. Pratt’s suggestion. The relationship did not stop there with Richard Pratt noting that, “from that time forward Dr. McCauley became an advisor and most valued friend to the school,” (BC 241). The Carlisle students were required to attend a daily service and two services on Sundays. McCauley continued to perform the first services and eventually Pratt asked other local pastors and faculty members of Dickinson College to help perform the Sunday religious services, (Pratt IIS 19). McCauley further developed his relationship with Pratt and the Indian School by advising Pratt on matters regarding the Board of Visitors, which would be composed of different heads of educational institutions. In a letter to the Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz, Pratt writes that McCauley “shares my views of its value, and appreciates the delicacy of the situation,” (BC 255-6). McCauley was active in the role of suggesting, recruiting and securing educators for the Board of Visitors and Pratt assures to Schurz that the president would “gladly undertake any correspondence you may desire,” (BC 255-6). Pratt saw the need to create a Board of Trustees for the Indian School to help foster the school’s progress and asked McCauley to serve as one of the first members, which he gladly accepted. In a letter to Dr. Agnew who was known as a generous donor, Pratt explains that, “I can handle my school and its affairs after a fashion but my Board of Trustees are quite beyond my capacity,” (June 1884). To help Pratt with these extra affairs the Board of Trustees elected three members to hold “immediate charge” and to audit charity events, Pratt being one of the elected (Pratt IIS 36). McCauley, along with Judge Henderson, was also elected and would help Pratt audit his account and aided Pratt with editorials about the Indian School for the Morning Star. Later when discussing the Indian School and its beginnings, Pratt mentions that “substantial help came from all these trustees,” (Pratt IIS 36).
President McCauley was not the only member of the Dickinson faculty to foster a relationship with the Carlisle Indian School. At the opening of the Indian School, the faculty of Dickinson College consisted of six members, including Charles Francis Himes. Himes offered his services to the Indian School through lectures and conducted several in 1880. Himes used his lectures to educate the Indians, believing that “there are still bigger things to be found further on, and the White Man is still going on, and he wants the Indian to go with him, and help him if he wishes” and wanted to “explain to them the secret of the White Man’s superiority,” (Himes 14, 9). Himes first conducted a lecture to the parents of the Indian students on “The White Man’s Way” and then brought the Indian students to the Dickinson laboratory to give further lectures. One lecture on “Why Does It Burn” went well with the reaction that the Indian “boys were highly delighted with their treat, and the school authorities feel greatly indebted to Professor Himes for his kindly interest in the pupils, and generous gifts of time and ability to aid in the work of enlightening their darkened minds,” (P to H 1916). Another lecture on “Lightning” given by their “good friend” Himes “was so real that all were startled, and the girls gave the usual little civilized screech,” (P to H 1916). Although only three lectures were mentioned either by Himes or the Indian School paper, Pratt had written to Himes that he had a “very distinct recollection of your talks and I feel that there were others and much more said than is noticed in the school paper,” (P to H 1916). Himes not only worked locally in hopes to educate the Indians, but also promoted Carlisle’s success in Boston. When at a lecture on ethnology, an argument arose that the Indians had “displaced the wild beasts and we had just as good a right to displace them” and that “the best thing was to keep schools, etc. away from them,” (H to M 1880). Himes spoke up and “told them in a few words that at Carlisle they did not consider them in the same category as wild beasts and were not afraid of doing them harm by the usual appliances for doing good and that they were succeeding in civilizing, educating, and Christianizing Indian boys,” (H to M 1880). Other professors such as Stephen Baird and Joshua Lippincott also aided in the progress of the Indian School, but it is Himes’ influence that is most remembered today.
After McCauley retired from his position in 1889 as the President of Dickinson College, Dr. George Edward Reed assumed the position. Reed continued the relationship between the Indian School and Dickinson College that his predecessor McCauley had originally fostered. Of Pratt’s time at the school, he remembered that the “interest of the college authorities from the beginning and throughout my twenty-five years of service as superintendent of the Indian school was valuable and unswerving,” (Pratt IIS 19). This relationship continued after Pratt’s departure in 1904 and in May 1909, George Reed spoke before an audience and gave an address at the Carlisle Indian School’s commencement, stating that, “I am no stranger to this platform, as have been most of those who have spoken here today. I have been making speeches here every commencement for about fifteen years,” (RM 19). Reed spoke highly the Indian School that day, telling the audience that “we who live in Carlisle, who come in constant contact with the Indian School, and who know of its work, have occasion to be agreeably surprised with the advance we are able to see,” (RM 19). The following year, Reed spoke again at the Indian School commencement, this time leading the commencement in scripture and continued to assist in the school’s different exercises throughout the following months. Reed did not only participate in the Indian School’s commencement exercises though, during an athletic celebration in February of 1911, the Indian School was “honored by the presence of Dr. George Edward Reed, the distinguished President of Dickinson College, who delivered a most inspiring address,” (RM 266). The school paper known as the Red Man spoke highly of Reed calling him a “loyal friend of the school for many years” and “one of the most eloquent men in the country,” (RM 363). The admiration seemed mutual between the president and the school with Reed promoting the Indian School and its success at every exercise he attended. Reed gave another address in June of 1911, but this time it was at the one hundred and twenty-eighth commencement of Dickinson College, where he presented an Honorary degree of Master of Arts to Pratt’s successor Superintendent Friedman for his work at the Carlisle Indian School, (RM 465). The relationship between the institutions continued even after Reed had retired with his commencement address in May 1913. Reed professed to the audience that he had “for many years a great and profound interest in the splendid institution which holds its Commencement exercises to-day. I have been here for twenty Commencements, I believe, in the last twenty-four years,” (RM 400). Reed was a staunch supporter of the Indians throughout his time at Dickinson and continued to promote their true roots even after his retirement from his position as the president of Dickinson College.
The end of the nineteenth century into the early twentieth century became a new era of institutionalization of the Indian through placement onto reservations and the education of their young to civilize the race. Captain Richard Henry Pratt is noted as founding one of the first educational schools for the Indians in 1879 with the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Arguably, without the aid from their neighboring educational institution Dickinson College, Pratt would have had difficulty acquiring prominent donors and trustees to help the school progress. The faculty of Dickinson College also aided in the Christianization of the young Indians and the education through lectures. Upon their commencement, the Indian graduates could count on the words of a member of Dickinson College to encourage them on their journey after the Indian School. Although the relationship is not widely publicized, Dickinson College and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School maintained a strong relationship throughout the early twentieth century until the close of the Indian School.