Literacy and Liberty


Investigative Article Intro-Logan Cort
Posted by: , November 18, 2018, 7:15 pm
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Guiding Questions:

How were the values of the Carlisle Indian School depicted in the first volume of Eadle Keatah Toh?

What do these newspapers suggest about the reality of what was happening at the CIS?

The founding of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School is consistently described in the same way in most every source as a new attempt to solve “the Indian Problem.” The Carlisle solution to this so-called problem was Richard Henry Pratt’s idea “to take the red man out of his environment and to teach him the rudiments of modern life in a civilized com¬munity” (Burnhouse 1939). The key to the school’s mission was education, specifically an education that would help to elevate Native American children to the same level of ‘usefulness’ as the white man, a misguided mission with even more misguided methods. Students at the Carlisle Indian School were effectively white-washed and taught skills meant to help in their roles in the white man’s world. One of the jobs taught to a select few of the school’s best students (add citation) was that of type-setting. The selected type-setters would lay the text for the school’s publications and basic correspondence. A year after the school’s founding, Pratt established a newspaper titled the Eadle Keatah Toh. The paper, clearly written for a white readership was printed in English, at first, by a single Native student. The paper was published almost individually for a white readership, and it is ironic that a native student would be the one to be setting the type for a newspaper he most likely could not read well and was not welcome to read. The first year of the Eadle Keatah Toh is a metaphor for the school’s interest in helping its students who were taught passively and brutally in a way that was not in their interest but the interest of the success and ego of the school’s white faculty and administration.