Teach PA History
Football at Carlisle Indian School: A Tool for Assimilation?
Further Reading

. "The Indians Showed That They Could Play" in The Red Man. Carlisle, PA: Indian Industrial School, 1896.

Originally published in the New York Tribune, this article along with a variety of others from different newspapers across the county were included in the Carlisle Indian School newspaper on November 1896. They describe the Yale-CIS football game.

. The Carlisle Indian School Catalogue. Carlisle, PA: The Carlisle Indian Press, 1910.

This source prominently display's the school's assimilation policies (page 10).

. The Carlisle Arrow: A Weekly Letter to Our People Vol. IX, No. 1 (November 15, 1912).

This article originally published in the New York Times has been republished in the Carlisle Indian School Newspaper. It contains an account of the Carlisle Indian School - West Point game.

Adams, David Wallace. "‘More Than A Game’ The Carlisle Indians Take To The Grid Iron 1893 – 1917." Western Historical Quarterly (Spring 2001).

This article contains period editorial cartoons displaying typical Indian stereotypes of the day. Mr. Adams also recounts the role of football in strengthening the ethnic identity of students at the Carlisle Indian School.

Anderson, Lars. Carlisle vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle. New York, NY: Random House, 2007.

This biography takes an in-depth look at Thorpe's life and includes discussion regarding Thorpe's relationship with his coach at the Carlisle Indian School, Glenn Warner. It also examines in-depth the stripping of Thorpe's Olympic medals and a possible conspiracy with professional baseball executives.

Bloom, John. To Show What an Indian Can Do: Sports at Native American Boarding Schools. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.

The Carlisle Indian School produced a number of incredible athletes: Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Charles Albert "Chief" Bender, distance runner Louis Tewanima, and perhaps the century's greatest athlete-Jim Thorpe come to mind. Bloom takes a look at the role that athletics had in the life of an Indian boarding school student. Drawing on memories from former students, he describes the importance of athletics not only for the star athlete, but also for those who participated without receiving athletic glory.

Jenkins, Sally. The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed A Game, A People, A Nation. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2007.

Jenkins, also author of Its All About the Bike regarding Lance Armstrong, details the story of the Carlisle Indians football team. She begins with the social history of the mid-19th century conflicts between the US Army and Native Americans and writes excellent sports history descriptions of how the game was developed and played by the Native American players under the coaching of Glenn "Pop" Warner. Highly recommended.

Newcombe, Jack. The Best of the Athletic Boys: The White Man's Impact on Jim Thorpe. Garden City: Doubleday, 1975.

A look at the impressive athletic successes of the students–Jim Thorpe and others–at Carlisle Indian School.

Oxendine, Joseph B. American Indian Sports Heritage. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1988.

This book covers Native American sports–from pre-colonial tribal games to twentieth-century Olympic games.

Steckbeck, John S. Fabulous Redmen. Harrisburg, PA: J Horace McFarland Company, 1951.

This source provides lists of players from each Indian team from 1891 - 1917. It also gives brief descriptions of key individual games (notably the CIS - West Point game on November 9th, 1912).

Web Sites

American Indian Sports Team Mascots

As a related topic to this lesson, this website looks at the racism and stereotyping of American Indians in the use of sports team mascots. Included are a number of sports mascot cartoons and articles.

Carlisle Indian Industrial School Research Pages

Provides a wealth of information about the school, particularly historical background and photographs

Carlisle Indian School Welcome

The Cumberland County Historical Society holds a large amount of material on the Carlisle Indian School. This website provides information on its collection

NPR: Gridiron Guts: The Story of Football's Carlisle Indians

This webpage offers an interesting NPR audio interview of Sally Jenkins speaking about her book, "The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed A Game, A People, A Nation" and provides an excerpt of its text. Sports–Sally Jenkins: The Team That Invented Football

This Sports Illustrated website features a 13-page article republished with permission from Sally Jenkins" book, "The Real All Americans."

Teacher Lesson Plan-Indian Boarding Schools-Civilizing the Native Spirit

This Library of Congress resource page provides additional information on Indian Boarding Schools.

Back to Top