Army to begin returning the 'unknowns' at Carlisle Indian Industrial School
October 4, 2021
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.