Honoring the Children,

Giving Voice
to the Legacy

Trauma. Triumph. Pain. Resilience. Loss. Survival.


Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, opened in 1879 as the first government-run boarding school for Native American children. The goal? Forced assimilation of Native children into white American society under the belief of “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.”


Carlisle closed in 1918, but its legacy and that of the many boarding schools modeled after it continues to impact Native American families today. From the generational impact of trauma to the loss of cultural identity, many Natives today still feel the pain of Carlisle. Yet many also have powerful stories of triumph, resilience, and survival.


We seek to tell the full story—the tragedy and the triumph—of the boarding school era and its impact on generations of Native peoples. We want to create ongoing opportunities to educate people about Carlisle and other boarding schools while also creating a physical place and location to tell the entire story. We need your help to make this vision a reality.


Thousands of students attended Carlisle during its 39 years of operation as a boarding school for Native students. Their stories live on through their descendants and those who are passionate about educating the public about the boarding school era’s impact.


We want to honor the legacy of the children who attended Carlisle by building a heritage center and museum near the original school site. You can support this vision by donating, by contacting us to arrange a visit, or by sharing our website or social media. Every donation and every piece of information you share helps educate the public and keep these stories alive.

About CISP

We aim to create a collaborative, sustainable legacy honoring the achievements, struggles, and contributions of the students who attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

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Carlisle by the Numbers

39 years of operation

186 graves of children who died while attending

140+ tribes

Hundreds of boarding schools, both private and government-run, were modeled after Carlisle.

Thousands of Students

…While the white people had much to teach us, we had much to teach them.
-Luther Standing Bear (Ota Kte)

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