Teach PA History
Kill the Indian, Save the Man!
Equipment & Supplies
  • 6 index cards magic marker tape

Day One:

1. Prior to class prepare the following primary resource "stations" around your class by placing the following primary resources at each station:

2. Greet your class and explain that today they are going to learn about a controversial social experiment regarding Native Americans and United States citizens which took place in Central Pennsylvania from 1879-1918, but whose consequences still reverberate today. Pass out Student Worksheet 1-Investigating the Facts Ask students to read over the questions.

3. Next direct students to read markerCarlisle Indian Industrial School Historical Marker Page for background information on the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, paying attention to the questions from their worksheet. When they have finished the reading, ask students to complete the worksheet based on the information they have just read. Be as specific as possible in their responses. For worksheet responses you can refer to Teacher Guide to Student Worksheet 1-Investigating the Facts.

4. After students have completed the worksheet, lead a brief discussion about the material and clear up any questions they may have. To place the creation of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in context, you may wish to point out some other Native American/U.S. Government relations that were going on at this time. For a detailed timeline, see PBS-The West-Events from 1870-1880. To bring home the point that Indians were fighting for their survival you may wish to point out that massacres were occurring during this time:

  • 1864 Sand Creek Massacre: murder of 200 Cheyenne men, women, and children by a volunteer force lead by John M. Chivington

  • 1871 100 Apache are murdered outside Camp Grant, Arizona by Tucson Committee of Public Safety and a force of rival Papago Indians.

  • 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre: U.S. soldiers killed 370 Lakota Indians who were surrendering their weapons to the army.

5. Also make sure students understand the meaning of assimilation since this is a key concept in the formation of the school.

Assimilation: (n.) the cultural absorption of a minority group into the main cultural body.

~Webster's New World College Dictionary (4th edition)

6. Next, explain to students that they are going to continuing working with Student Worksheet 1-Investigating the Facts. They will confirm and add to their knowledge from the historical marker reading by investigating stations of primary sources. Divide class into six groups (one group per station). Direct each group to study or read their primary sources. (Allow five minutes for this activity.) Ask groups to jot down quotes or supporting information on their worksheets under the questions which apply to their resource.

7. At Station Four, ask each student to select two tribes from the list and draw a line through their name once they have selected the tribe. They are to write the tribes" names down on Student Worksheet 2-Tribe Location and Clothing and find out the following information for tomorrow:

  • Where is your tribe from? (locate on map)

  • What does the clothing look like for your tribe? (Bring in picture if possible).

8. Remind students of homework assignment to research their two tribes.

Day Two

1. If students were unable to complete all the stations yesterday, provide some wrap-up time. (Allow 10 minutes.) Then go over these worksheets. Ask students what evidence they found in investigating these primary sources to fully support or give witness to the answers from their marker page reading yesterday. For reference during this discussion, you may wish to use the Teacher Guide to Student Worksheet 1-Investigating the Facts. When you get to the third question about recruitment, ask students to present their homework. Have them name two tribes they were researching, tell the class where they were located, and describe the clothing they wore. When they have finished, ask them to tape Student Worksheet 2-Tribe Location and Clothing on the board with clothing images underneath. Do this for as many students" tribes as can be accommodated for in this space. This should provide a good visual of the tribal diversity present at the school and give students an idea of the extent to which loss of cultural identity occurred.

2. After your discussion is complete, handout the final assignment, Student Worksheet 3-Essay Assignment. Students are to read a group of quotes pertaining to assimilation and choose one to react to in writing. They are to use the information they learned about the Carlisle Indian Industrial School-especially evidence from the primary source stations-as much as possible throughout their response.
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