Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Army to begin returning the 'unknowns' at Carlisle Indian Industrial School


October 4, 2021

Mary Kinninook (Tlingit) died in 1908, making her one of nearly 200 children buried at the former Carlisle Indian Industrial School. But none of the 173 headstones there bears her name. (Photo/Dan Gleiter, via AP)

CARLISLE, Pa.-Mary Kininnook (Tlingit) was one of nearly 200 children who died and were buried while students at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, the nation's first off-reservation Indian Boarding School. But you wouldn't know it by scouring the graveyard at the former school grounds.

Despite historic records noting Mary's death at age 14-caused by pulmonary tuberculosis -and details about her Dec. 28, 1908 funeral service, none of the 173 headstones at Carlisle bear Mary's name.

That's because of Carlisle school administrators' failure to mark and maintain all of the graves promptly and consistently, Carlisle Indian School Digital Research Center archivist Jim Gerencse said. Headstone markings were either washed away over time, or never there to begin with, he said. So when the Army, which took over Carlisle in 1918, moved the cemetery nine years later, they were left with 14 children without known identities.


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