Native Canadians burying the children who died at Carlisle Indian Boarding School


Video: Remains of Indigenous children who died at assimilation school returned to tribe, laid to rest

'It's a shame that something this horrific has to occur for people to realize the truth.'


Phil West


Posted on Jul 19, 2021   Updated on Jul 21, 2021, 9:20 am CDT

A heart-wrenching video shows a group of Indigenous people laying the bodies of children to rest, said to be those found buried at Carlisle Indian Reform School in Pennsylvania.

The video, posted to the r/PublicFreakout subreddit, shows a somber ceremony with tribe members gathered in a field. Some of them are waiting to receive and bury the children, while others are in a line saluting the procession.

The Reddit post identifies the people as Lakota; the video shows the flag of the Rosebud Sioux, one of seven Lakota nations, flying alongside the American flag during the ceremony.

According to an ABC News report that ran Saturday, “The remains of nine Native American children who died more than a century ago while attending a government-run school in Pennsylvania meant to assimilate them into white culture have been returned to their South Dakota tribe for burial on its reservation.” Tribe officials told the outlet that some children would be laid to rest in a veterans’ cemetery, while others would be buried in family graveyards.

The retrieval of the children’s bodies, interred on the school grounds for more than a century, was the culmination of a six-year effort. A caravan of young Lakota adults took the bodies from the site of the former school for Native Americans, about 20 miles west of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to South Dakota.

In the article, Christopher Eagle Bear, a 23-year-old member of the youth council responsible for returning the remains, said, “On this day, it is an honor to be Lakota. Hopefully, what we do here can inspire another youth group to move the road further than what we have started.”

Carlisle was one of a number of boarding schools where, in the words of U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Native American children were subject to “forced assimilation practices.” Haaland, the first Indigenous cabinet member in U.S. history, announced last month there would be a nationwide investigation into the boarding schools and the practices there.

Many of the Redditors who saw the ceremony on the website were moved by it, including one who said, “Even without killing children, Indian boarding schools facilitated native assimilation. The death of their culture, their language, and their way of life superseded their literal death. It’s a shame that something this horrific has to occur for people to realize the truth.”

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*First Published: Jul 19, 2021, 4:22 pm CDT