A ground radar survey of the Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery was used to gather more information about the tribal youth who died while attending the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. Photo: Army National Military Cemeteries
Education | National

Department of the Army begins first removal of remains from Carlisle cemetery

The Department of the Army is removing the remains of three children who died at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania.

The children were from the Northern Arapaho Tribe. A June 21 notice in the Federal Register identified them as Little Plume (aka Hayes Vanderbilt Friday), Little Chief (aka Dickens Nor), and Horse (aka Horace Washington).

"Army National Military Cemeteries (ANMC) is honoring the requests of three families from the Northern Arapaho Tribe to disinter the human remains of three Native American children from the Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery, Carlisle, Pennsylvania," the notice reads.

"ANMC will disinter, transfer custody, transport, and reinter the remains in private cemeteries in Fremont County, Wyoming," it continues.

A delegation from the tribe -- including relatives of those who died -- is on site to oversee the disinterment, according to news reports. The process is expected to take about a week, with the $500,000 cost being paid by the Army National Military Cemeteries, which oversees the Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery.

The remains are the first to be removed from the cemetery, where 180 graves of tribal children are located. An extensive report that was completed in July lists names, tribal affiliations and other information, where available, about the graves.

"Of the Native American burials, 157 have a known tribal affiliation while the tribal identity of 23 burials is unknown. There are members of approximately 50 tribes in the cemetery," the report states.

According to The Carlisle Sentinel, 49 graves represent students from various Apache tribes, many of whom were sent to Carlisle following the end of the Apache wars. Another 20 came from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the paper said.

Tribal delegations -- including youth -- have been visiting Carlisle, which the federal government operated as a boarding school for more than 10,000 students between 1879 and 1918, to learn more about their relatives who are buried there. No further disinterments are planned at this time but the Army continues to reach out to Indian Country, PennLive.Com reported.

"The Army is working with the families and tribes of the decedents to honor the families' wishes. Some families are seeking to return their ancestors' remains to tribal lands, while other families are choosing to keep the remains at CBPC or to modify headstones," the Army's website reads.

The reports about Carlisle can be found at belvoir.army.mil.

Read More on the Story:
'That's a human being who was loved by somebody:' The solemn task of returning Carlisle Indian School children to their homes (PennLive.Com 8/7)
Remains of Northern Arapaho children buried in Carlisle to be returned to their tribes (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 8/7)
The remains of three Northern Arapaho children will be returned home to Wyoming (The Casper Star-Tribune 8/4)
Stories From a Sacred Place: Inventory sheds insight into demographics of cemetery dead (The Carlisle Sentinel 8/4)

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Intended Disinterment (June 21, 2017)

Related Stories:
Seneca Nation sends delegation to Carlisle boarding school site (July 14, 2016)
Vi Waln: Rosebud Sioux youth lead efforts to bring relatives home (May 26, 2016)
Nearly 200 Indian children laid to rest at former boarding school (May 17, 2016)
Army pledges to pay costs of returning young relatives to tribes (May 13, 2016)
Tribes press for return of relatives buried at old boarding school (May 11, 2016)
Tribes open talks to repatriate relatives buried at boarding school (May 10, 2016)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud youth research Carlisle relatives (February 25, 2016)
Lakota Country Times: Native youth work to bring relatives home (February 12, 2016)
Northern Arapaho Tribe seeking to repatriate remains of students (February 10, 2016)
Rosebud Sioux Tribe faces obstacles with repatriation of students (February 8, 2016)
Northern Arapaho Tribe aims to repatriate remains of students (December 17, 2015)