“Carlisle Journeys: Places of Memory and the Unfolding Stories from the Carlisle Indian School

October 5-7, 2018, Centennial Events Oct 2-7

The year 2018 marks the centennial of the closing of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (CIIS) in Pennsylvania. Founded in 1879 on the grounds of the former U.S. Army Cavalry Training School, Carlisle was the first government funded off-reservation boarding school for the assimilation of American Indian children into U.S. society. CIIS became the model for dozens of off-reservation Indian boarding schools across the country and in Canada.

During its 39 years of operation over 9,000 students were enrolled in CIIS. By 1913 students petitioned the U.S. Department of Interior to investigate the disproportionate emphasis on the role of athletics, teaching and administrative incompetence, and excessive corporal punishment at the school.  Although the subsequent investigation, the proliferation of Indian boarding schools in the West, the change in public opinion on the education of Indians were considerations at the time, military preparation in anticipation of the U.S.’s role in World War I was the pretext for the closing of the Carlisle Indian School.  By the request of the War Department, the garrison was returned to their control in 1918.   On August 26th of that year, Carlisle area residents came out in droves for a farewell reception for CIIS and a welcome ceremony for Army General Hospital No. 31.

This year’s Carlisle Journeys: Places of Memory and the Unfolding Stories of the Carlisle Indian School is intended to open a dialogue with the many descendant narratives and projects resulting from boarding school and post-boarding school experiences that have emerged within the century since CIIS’s closing.   For this biennial conference the Cumberland County Historical Society will be partnering with Dickinson College and the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition to bring workshops, guest speakers, panel discussions and a major art exhibition to broad national and local audiences.

We are inviting descendants of CIIS students to engage with Carlisle community members, scholars and the general public.  The Saturday, October 6th and Sunday, October 7, 2018 events will be held at the Historical Society. This year’s call for presentations is an invitation to descendants of CIIS students to share the stories of Carlisle and all Indian boarding schools in the U.S. and Canada. Please check back for more information as plans move forward.


Dr. John Bloom, Shippensburg University
Ory Cuellar (Absentee Shawnee)
Cara Holtry Curtis, Librarian, CCHS
Dr. Nikki Dragone, Dickinson College
Dr. Jacqueline Fear-Segal, University of East Anglia, England
Dr. Gary Gordon (Mohawk), Professor (Retired)
Jason Illari, Executive Director, CCHS
Barbara Landis, CIIS Archives and Library Specialist, CCHS
Matthew March, Education Curator, CCHS
Suzanne Reynolds, Volunteer, CCHS
Dr. Susan Rose, Dickinson College
Malinda Triller Doran, Special Collections Librarian, Dickinson College
Dovie Thomason, International Storyteller

Dr. Lindsay Houpt-Varner, Community Outreach Director, CCHS
Dr. Louellyn White (Mohawk), Concordia University, Montreal


Learn More About Our Past Conferences                                 Contributions

©2017 Cumberland County Historical Society| Carlisle Journeys | A Biennial initiative of the Cumberland County Historical Society