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10 Native American Children's Bodies Exhumed In Cumberland County

Photo of some of the students at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, taken sometime between 1879 until 1918.
Photo of some of the students at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, taken sometime between 1879 until 1918. Photo Credit: Wikipedia/unknown photographer-- public domain

The bodies of ten Native American children have been exhumed in Cumberland County, according to the US Army.

The children attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School from 1880 to 1910.

The students died between 1880 and 1910.

The remains are being returned to their closest living family members, as per their request of the US Army.

The children began being disinterred on Thursday.

The disinterment is part of a project run by the Office of Army Cemeteries.

Family members were present during this process and will continue to be until it is completed at the end of the month.

The Army required all those onsite to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

One of the children being returned to her family, Sofia Tetoff, was originally from the Aleut, Alaska.

The following children, who were also exhumed, were all from Rosebud Sioux, South Dakota, according to a U.S. Army notice:

  • Lucy Take the Tail (Pretty Eagle)
  • Rose Long Face (Little Hawk)
  • Ernest Knocks Off (White Thunder)
  • Dennis Strikes First (Blue Tomahawk)
  • Maud Little Girl (Swift Bear)
  • Friend Hollow Horn Bear
  • Warren Painter (Bear Paints Dirt)
  • Alvan (Kills Seven Horses)
  • Dora Her Pipe (Brave Bull)

Approximately 10,000 Native American children from 140 tribes attended the school between 1879 until 1918-- 158 graduated and 186 died.

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was the first off-reservation American assimilation boarding school for Native American students.

The school was used as a model for similar institutes across the U.S. and Canada.

Children were separated from siblings and forbidden to speak their own language.

20 percent of the students who died at school were sent home rather than being buried in Carlisle, according to the local historical society.

The majority of deaths at the school were due to tuberculosis.

This is the largest number of disinterred students to be exhumed at once from school grounds. The large number this year is potentially due to the project being delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Previously, nine bodies were exhumed and returned to families starting in 2018 as part of the Office of Army Cemeteries program to repatriate Native Americans to tribal lands and/or their families.

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