Not All Carlisle Indians Were Indians

Not all Carlisle Indian School Students were Indians, but you knew that from the previous posts about Iva Miller. Iva may have had a few drops of Indian blood but not enough to qualify her as an Indian for purposes of the school or a tribe. However, she wasn’t the first non-Indian to attend the school.

Much has been written about Sylvester Long who enrolled at the school as a half-blood Cherokee. His later claim of being the son of a Blackfoot chief led to the discovery that, although he had considerable Indian blood on both sides of his family, he was considered to be black at the time because of his African-American blood in the segregated south. The controversy over whether Lone Star Dietz had Indian blood or not is well known and will continue unless definitive evidence is found. Recently, I discovered another Carlisle student was not an Indian and Superintendent Pratt knew it.

In one of Richard Henry Pratt’s pieces about the early days of the school, he wrote about a white woman and her son who had been captured by the Sioux. While a captive, she married a Sioux man and had children with him. She later had the choice to return to her original community but chose to stay with the Sioux and considered herself Sioux. However, when Pratt came around recruiting students for his new school, she decided to send her white son to be educated by his own people. At Carlisle, he was given or chose the name Stephen. This was a case of a white boy with no Sioux blood who the tribe considered to be one of its own. Pratt didn’t say what he did after leaving Carlisle. It would be interesting to know which path he took.

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