New arrivals at Carlisle Indian Industrial School: 13 Northern Arapaho students and two Eastern Shoshone students. Photo: Robert R. Rowe Private Collection / Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center
Education | National

Northern Arapaho Tribe reclaims remains of students who died at Carlisle boarding school

The Northern Arapaho Tribe will be returning home with the remains of two students who died at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania.

A tribal delegation came to the former boarding school last week to claim 10-year-old Little Plume (aka Hayes Vanderbilt Friday), 15-year-old Little Chief (aka Dickens Nor), and 14-year-old Horse (aka Horace Washington). They died at Carlisle shortly after being sent there from the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming in 1881.

But disinterment resulted in only two of the three students being identified, according to news reports. A grave that was thought to be the resting place of Little Plume contained two other sets of remains, PennLive said.

"Each one of these kids was the most loved person in the world for somebody else," anthropologist Elizabeth DiGangi said at a press conference on Monday to discuss the effort, PennLive reported. "The pain of their loss does not just go away."

PennLive on YouTube: 'The pain of their loss does not just go away'

The remains were 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.

Reports about Carlisle can be found at

Read More on the Story:
'The pain of their loss does not just go away:' Team at Carlisle Barracks discusses disinterment of three American Indian boys (PennLive August 14, 2017)
Two of 3 sets of remains a match for American Indian boys who died at Carlisle Indian Industrial School (PennLive August 14, 2017)
Officials find a surprise at grave of a Northern Arapaho boy (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August 12, 2017)
Army: Exhumed remains don’t match 19th century Indian child (AP August 11, 2017)
The Northern Arapaho Boys (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August 11, 2017)
Families of three American Indian children buried in Carlisle thankful for their return (PennLive August 10, 2017)
Three Arapaho Boys Who Died At Carlisle 'Indian' School Will Soon Return Home (WESA August 10, 2017)
‘Long time coming’: Army returns remains of Arapaho children who died at assimilation school (The Washington Post August 9, 2017)

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

Related Stories:
Department of the Army begins first removal of remains from Carlisle cemetery (August 7, 2017)
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)