Acculturation Under Duress:
The Puerto Rican Experience at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School 1898-1918
In memory of Patria Rivera de Navarro (1920-2004)
Pablo Navarro-Rivera is Associate Professor
at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Indians are just like other men, only minus their environment. Take a new born baby from the arms of a cultivated white woman, and give it to the nurture of a Zulu woman in Africa; take the Zulu’s baby away from her and give it to the cultivated white woman. Twenty-five years later you would have a white savage in Africa, and a black scholar, gentleman, and Christian in America. This sharply illustrates what I mean.Richard H. Pratt
Juan José Osuna arrived at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (CIIS) in Carlisle, Pennsylvania at six o’clock on the morning of May 2, 1901. He was fifteen years old, stood four feet six inches in height, and weighed just 80 pounds. Osuna, who would become a noted Puerto Rican educator, wrote of his arrival at Carlisle:
We looked at the windows of the buildings, and very peculiar-looking faces peered out at us. We had never seen such people before. The buildings seemed full of them. Behold, we had arrived at the Carlisle Indian School! The United States of America, our new rulers, thought that the people of Puerto Rico were Indians; hence they should be sent to an Indian school, and Carlisle happened to be the nearest.[ii]
Carlisle was a massive molino de piedra, a set of millstones through which some 10,700 human beings would be sent from the time that it opened its doors in 1879 until the last student left in 1918. The mission of this institution operated by the United States (U.S.) federal government on a former military base in Carlisle, Pennsylvania was formulated by its founder Richard H. Pratt, who directed the school until 1904. Pratt stated:
A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one, and that high sanction of his destruction has been an enormous factor in promoting Indian massacres. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man (Pratt 1892).
By the time the school was closed in 1918, almost 11,000 human beings had been subjected to one of the most ambitious experiments in the the destruction of cultural identity and forced acculturation destruction of cultural identity and forced acculturation in United States history.[iii] Research is very limited on the human tragedy represented by the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Research is very limited on the human tragedy represented by the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. What is even less well known is that about sixty young Puerto Ricans were subjected to the experiment at Carlisle, almost all of them sent there by the United States colonial government on the island.[iv]
In her research on the CIIS, Bell (op. cit.) found that the school’s history had received very little attention. The studies that had been conducted, she said, had not sufficiently examined the school “within a broader socio-cultural system of federal/Indian relations, nor do they document the range of individual responses to institutionalization at Carlisle” (Ibid., p.6). Carlisle has barely been examined in Puerto Rican historiography, despite its importance for understanding the first efforts of the United States government to adapt Puerto Rican society to its colonial status. The presence of Puerto Rican youth at the CIIS is mentioned in passing in the works of Bell (op. cit.) and Landis (op. cit.). Osuna (1949), and Negrón de Montilla (1971) also mention the sending of Puerto Ricans to study in the United States, but specify neither the schools to which they were sent nor their missions or objectives. In his doctoral dissertation, José Manuel Navarro (1995) alludes to the sending of Puerto Ricans to Carlisle, and includes a summary of the school’s origin and goals.[v]
In 2003, the online journal Kacike: Journal of Amerindian Caribbean History and Anthropology[vi] published an article by Sonia M. Rosa about the Puerto Ricans who studied at Carlisle. In this article, which suffers from weaknesses of content and methodology, the author brings up the possible Taíno Indian origin of the Puerto Rican students at Carlisle: “An important question remains: Were those kids who were sent to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School Taíno Indians? I believe that there is no right answer to that question.”[vii]
To support her suggestion, Rosa refers to the work of Juan Martínez Cruzado, also published in the journal Kacike. Martínez Cruzado maintains that he has found a Taíno genetic heritage in the populations of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.[viii] However, Martínez Cruzado´s article makes no reference to tthe CIIS or to the Puerto Rican students sent there. With regard to Carlisle, the subject of this essay, there is no evidence that the United States specifically sent Taíno Indians who had presumably survived the Spanish conquest.
To the leadership of the United States, both Puerto Ricans and Cubans were “colored” and should be educated in the same way as the Blacks and Indians in the United States. They established public school systems in Cuba and Puerto Rico and established scholarships to send students to schools in the United States such as the Hampton Institute in Virginia, the Tuskegee Normal School in Tuskegee, Alabama, and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The selection of Puerto Rican students was based not on any possible Taíno origin, but on other factors such as other factors such as the connections between their families and the regime implanted in Puerto Rico.
In this essay I will examine the history, mission, goals, and program of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. I will also discuss the context of the school’s founding, and its relation to the sending of male and female Puerto Rican students there, as well as what was known in Puerto Rico about Carlisle and the impact that the Carlisle experience had on those who were sent.
The wave of U.S. expansionism in the nineteenth century very closely followed the pattern set previously by the British Empire. Economic interests that drove the expansion were interwoven with theories of natural superiority and divine mandates or manifest destiny. However, the United States government did not adopt the British practice of governing its colonies indirectly. In fact, the United States did not formally recognize that it had “colonies,” preferring to establish “territories.” U.S. soldiers arrived in Puerto Rico in 1898 in order to impose United States doctrine and economic interests. According to principal leadership elements in the United States, Puerto Rico was an economically and militarily important country, but was inhabited by inferior beings who would need to be “civilized” in order to maximize the potential benefits of the conquest. This was the same evaluation that they made of Indians and Blacks in the United States, as well as Cubans and Filipinos (Zimmerman 2002). In the words of Charles Eliot, president of Harvard University at the time of the 1898 colonial war, and one of the most influential educators in the United States, “I am inclined to the belief that we shall be able to do Cuba and Porto Rico some good; though to do so we shall have to better very much our previous and existing practices in dealing with inferior peoples.” [ix]
Notwithstanding the above, to some Puerto Rican sectors at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, the advent of United States rule represented possibilities for social justice and a democratic political system that had been unimaginable under Spain. These people regarded the 1898 invasion with optimism. However, their idealization of the United States was not borne out. After an initial period of military rule, the occupation forces established a civilian government under their own absolute control.
In the wake of its military victory in 1898, the United States government initiated in the Caribbean what the dominant discourse called the “civilizing,” “Americanizing,” or “assimilationist” mission to be applied to Cubans and Puerto Ricans, the same process that had previously been applied to North American Indians, Africans, African-Americans, and that would subsequently be extended to the Pacific in Hawaii and the Philippines. However, rather than any “civilizing,” “Americanizing,” or “assimilationist” mission, the process of domination in fact was to grind down or “pulverize” the constituent elements of conquered people’s cultural identities.
A process of reacculturation went hand in hand with the grinding down of the young among conquered peoples, a process constituted by the integration and forced adaptation of students within the educational environment. To this end the United States established a public school system in Puerto Rico in 1898 and a Normal School for teacher education in 1900, following the model already in use in the United States for the education of Indians and African-Americans (Torres, 2003). In 1899, the U.S. government established a series of scholarships for vocational and university study in the United States, and in 1903 it founded the University of Puerto Rico.
With the use of the new scholarship funds, the colonial legislature in Puerto Rico began to send Puerto Rican students to institutions such as Carlisle, Hampton and Tuskegee. Among the stated goals of these schools was the adaptation of students to the expectations of the dominant society and their instruction in vocational arts. In order to set up an initial teaching corps appropriate to the new colonial order, the United States government sent 1,600 Cuban teachers to Harvard University in the summer of 1900 and more than 400 Puerto Rican teachers to Harvard and Cornell Universities in 1904.
The leaders of the U.S. Government, sponsor of the scholarships, knew the director of Tuskegee very well and considered that the work he had been doing with African-Americans should be extended to Cubans and Puerto Ricans. Booker T. Washington [x] was by this time a leading educational and political figure in the country and a supporter of the 1898 war. On March 15, 1898, Washington wrote a letter to John Davis Long, United States Navy Secretary from March 1897 to May 1902, stating that:
The climate of Cuba is peculiar and dangerus (sic) to the unaclimated (sic) white man. The Negro race in the South is accustomed to this climate. In the event of war I would be responsible for placing at the service of the government at least ten thousand loyal, brave, strong black men in the South who crave an opportunity to show their loyalty to our land …[xi]
In reference to Cubans, Washington, the first director of Tuskegee wrote that:
I believe all will agree that it is our duty to follow the work of destruction in Cuba with that of construction. One-half of the population of Cuba is composed of mulattoes or Negroes. All who have visited Cuba agree that they need to put them on their feet the strength that they can get by thorough intellectual, religious and industrial training, such as given at Hampton and Tuskegee. In the present depleted condition of the island, industrial education for the young men and women is a matter of the first importance. It will do for them what it is doing for our people in the South.
If the funds can be secured, it is the plan of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute at Tuskegee, Ala., to bring a number of the most promising Negro young men and women to this institution to receive training, that they may return to Cuba, and start in the interest of the people industrial training on the island. Tuskegee is so near Cuba that it is conveniently located for this work.[xii]
Washington added that “What I have said about Cuba applies as well to Porto Rico, where over half the population are Negroes.”[xiii] The first Cubans arrived at Tuskegee in 1899.
The first to be put in charge of Puerto Rican education after 1898 was General John Eaton, who was a great friend and sympathizer of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. In January 1899, the same month in which General Eaton was appointed to his post on the island, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School’s periodical, The Indian Helper, published the following:
It is eminently fitting that the school teacher should follow the soldier into Porto Rico. If there is anyone who can successfully light the lamp of learning in the island it should be General Eaton, who started so successfully the same work among the freedmen of the south at the close of the civil war.
General Eaton is one of Carlisle’s staunchest friends, and we are glad that he has been selected for such an honored position as Commissioner of Education in Porto Rico, which he so eminently fortified by experience and influence to fill.[xiv]
Soon thereafter, Eaton initiated the process by which young Puerto Ricans would be sent to Carlisle. Serious health problems forced Eaton to resign his post about a year after arriving in Puerto Rico to organize the public school system.
Martin G. Brumbaugh, Commissioner of Education for the colonial government in Puerto Rico in 1900 and 1901, indicated in his 1900 annual report that the island had neither good schools nor institutions of higher education, and that it lacked the resources to establish them. On this basis he recommended that the colonial legislature establish scholarships to send 45 students to study in the United States each year. Twenty five males would be sent to preparatory schools and universities and a second group of twenty males and females would receive scholarships of $250 each per year to study in Institutes such as Carlisle, Tuskegee, and Hampton (Commissioner of Education 1904: 25). Brumbaugh, who characterized his educational policy for Puerto Rico as part of a program for “the Americanization of the island,” mandated that English be imposed as the language of instruction.[xv] By winning scholarships for Puerto Rican students to study in the United States, he extended the scope and range of the education policy that the colonial government had been developing on the island itself since 1898.
Samuel McCune Lindsay came from the University of Pennsylvania to serve as Commissioner of Education in Puerto Rico from 1902 to 1904. In his annual report for 1904, Lindsay specified that:
Under sections 68 to 77 of the “compiled school law” a number of students are maintained in various schools in the United States at the expense of the government of Porto Rico. These sections comprise two separate acts, which are known as “house bill 35” and “council bill 12.” Under house bill 35, 25 young men are sent to the United States for literary and professional training in such institutions as may be determined by a commission consisting of the president of the executive council, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the commissioner of education (Ibid. p. 25).
In another section of the same report, Lindsay further stated:
Under council bill 12, for the technical education of Porto Rican young men and women, 20 young men and women are awarded scholarships with the understanding that they are to be sent to a technical or industrial school.
In the same 1904 report (Ibid., pp. 26-27), Lindsay listed the following recipients of scholarships for vocational studies, and specified the place where each one would be sent to study:
Jasper, N. Y.:
Tongaloo University, Tongaloo, Ala. [The correct name was Tougaloo University, Tougaloo, Mississippi]:
Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, Tuskegee, Ala.:
María Rodríguez Avilés
Luisa González Nieves
In this report, however, the Commissioner of Education made no mention of the students at Carlisle, and did not explain the omission. He also failed to mention the Cuban students who had been sent to Tuskegee.
In 1901, as part of his effort to see that Puerto Rican students would study in the United States, Brumbaugh communicated with educators such as Booker T. Washington, who was president of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. In his letter to Washington, Brumbaugh said that:
The Legislature of Porto Rico has recently made provision to send from this Island to your school and to Hampton, Va., and to other similar institutions, twenty boys and girls, who will be able to leave this Island as soon after July 1st as you advise in view of the conditions at your school. How many of these twenty can you receive, and at what cost per capita, and under what conditions would you be willing to accept them? It is my desire to send as many to you as you can conveniently accommodate, as I believe you are doing the best work for the colored race that is now being done anywhere in the United States.[xvi]
In the same letter, Brumbaugh added:
It has occurred to me that in order to break up their Spanish language we might scatter some of them into similar institutions; upon this subject, however, I am not clear and I write to you in perfect frankness for your advise (sic). Would you recommend any other schools besides your own and Hampton for these colored children? If so, will you be kind enough to give me the name and address of such institutions in order that I can take up the question with them? I write this frankly to you because I know that you have the interests of the race at heart and my whole purpose is to do the largest good for these twenty children (Ibid.).
In his book A History of Education in Puerto Rico, Osuna (1949, p. 158) states that a total of 219 Puerto Ricans were studying in the United States in 1901, though he identifies neither the students nor the institutions involved. Osuna says the following:
Besides the teachers, picked youths from the public schools were sent to preparatory schools in the United States. By the summer of 1901, 219 pupils had been sent North and were under the personal oversight of the Commissioner of Education. Some of these pupils were sent to very good schools, while others were not so fortunate, mistakes having been made in selecting some of the schools. Nevertheless the majority of them succeeded, and many of them returned later and made and are making their contribution to the educational as well as to the general progress of the Island.
Osuna was himself one of those students who traveled to THE CIIS in May 1901. In his book, he does not specify the errors that were made in selecting United States schools, nor does he explain his view on the implications of such errors.
For her part, Negrón de Montilla (1971, p. 38) limits herself to stating, in reference to Education Commissioner Martin. G. Brumbaugh, that:
…through his personal effort young men and women were sent to the States for advanced study. The legislative assembly under Dr. Brumbaugh’s pressure enacted two laws, “H. B. 35” and “S. B. 12” providing for the education in the United States of 25 young men, each of whom was given $400 for each year of maintenance and education.
Negrón de Montilla does not mention the schools or the aims of their programs. She limits herself to stating that 25 males were given scholarships to study at preparatory schools and universities.
In her study of Carlisle, Genevieve Bell (op. cit.) offers a perspective on the school that was absent from previous studies, particularly that of Ryan (1962). In the preface to her doctoral dissertation, Bell states that “This dissertation revisits the Carlisle Indian Industrial School- the flagship of the American Assimilation era’s education program.” (op. cit., p. vi) Bell adds:
So I went to the federal records in Washington, D.C., looking for the State, but what I found instead were people- lives and faces that I could not forget. My first encounters with “the boxes” of records were frustrating. All I caught were little glimpses into lives lived, no more than a couple of years: small windows through which I could view someone’s world. Every night I came home with a new anecdote, some new injustice or travesty or silly fact that I could not wrap my mind around. Someone was fudging the school’s death statistics by failing to report those who died during the summer when school was technically out of session. The school was pocketing a quarter of student wages and using them for the physical plant and grounds. There were Puerto Ricans at Carlisle: fifty-nine of them. Carlisle students were working in the factories of Ford, General Electric and Bethlehem Iron and Steel. Girls were getting pregnant. There were prostitutes and bootleggers in town supplying the school’s needs. Some students were at Carlisle for twenty years, some stayed only a month. Of all the students who attended Carlisle only 600 graduated (Ibid., pp. vi-vii).
Further along, Bell continues:
To understand the Carlisle Indian School is to interrogate its popularized representations, and arguably the most powerful images of the Carlisle Indian School consist of a series of photographs taken before and after students’ admission. At the time, these photographs were seen and sold as irrefutable proof that it was possible to raise Indians out of savagery and transform them into model pupils and citizens. A century later, those same photographs seem shocking, serving as an enduring reminder of the power and brutality of the American State (Ibid., p. 5).
Bell’s thesis is that:
“In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the American nation-state, operating through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and various other federal agencies, engaged in a policy of assimilation: indigenous peoples were to be detribalized and incorporated as individual citizens into the American nation” (Ibid., p. 6). She adds that “In a very real sense, the students who attended Carlisle were not only learning how to read, write and have a trade, but they were also learning how to be Indian.” (Ibid., p. 6). Bell also points out that “It is important to remember that within this context ‘Indian’ and thus ‘Indianness’ are the products of ongoing colonial encounters between indigenous peoples and the American Nation-State” (Ibid., p. 9).
My findings in researching the Puerto Rican experience at Carlisle are consistent with those of Bell for North American Indian students there; thus the extensive use of material from Bell’s work in the introductory portions of this monograph. The philosophical principles at work at Carlisle and the corresponding practices instituted at the school did not fundamentally differ with regard to Indians and Puerto Ricans. The information available in the existing studies of THE CIIS, particularly those of Bell and Ryan, provides a context for understanding the experiences of students from other nations such as Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
Carlisle operated along the lines of a military institute. Upon arriving there, students would pose for a “before” photograph which would later be used to contrast their savage appearance with the civilized persons that they were to become. The student would then get a bath, a haircut, “civilized” clothing, and a Christian name. The use of vernacular languages was forbidden; English was the only language permitted both day and night (Ryan 1962; Lesiak 1991; Navarro 1995; Bell 1998). By the time that the first Puerto Rican student arrived at Carlisle in 1898, the practice of taking “before” and “after” photographs had been discontinued.
Students at Carlisle were constantly observed and measures were taken to ensure that they did not socialize with others from the same nation or language community. According to Bell:
Students were subject to constant surveillance, both explicit and implicit. Most activities occurred under the watchful eye of teachers, wardens and peers who were prefects. They socialized in restricted areas, and associations between students from the same tribal/National group were actively discouraged. Dormitories, overseen by wardens, were arranged in such a way that students never roomed with someone from their home community or language group (Bell, op. cit., p. 249).
Just as the “Negro Problem” in the United States had led to the founding of the Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes, the “Indian problem” led to the founding of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1879. The conquest of additional new peoples in 1898 added yet another such “problem,” and the Hampton, Tuskegee, and Carlisle models were useful in devising methods for their adaptation. In the case of the Indians, the perceived “problem” was their resistance to the United States appropriation of their national territories and the Federal campaign to destroy them as peoples. In addition to military force, the government used the educational system to suppress indigenous resistance. Between 1873 and 1880, the number of government and religious schools for Indians[xvii] increased from 286 to 393, with an increase in student population from 6,061 to 13,338 (Ryan, op. cit., p. 64). According to Ryan, the proportion of school age Indians who were attending school was still only one in twelve, despite these increases.
Pratt, who proposed the creation of Carlisle, had dedicated his military career to fighting Indians, and then to their “civilization,” when he was administrator of 72 Indian prisoners of war at Fort Marion, in St. Augustine, Florida. The “success” of Pratt, at that point a lieutenant, in Indian education, first at Fort Marion and then at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, led to the establishment of THE CIIS and the naming of Pratt as its first director. Carlisle was established on the grounds of an inactive military base in the town of Carlisle in central Pennsylvania, 19 miles from Harrisburg. Modeled after Hampton Institute, the vocational school for African-Americans, Carlisle was the first Indian school to be founded by the Federal government off of a reservation. When the school was formally inaugurated on November 1, 1879, it had 147 students from various Indian reservations and agencies, including 11 of the former prisoners from Fort Marion.[xviii]
The guiding policy of Pratt’s “civilizing mission” was called “acculturation under duress” (Ryan, op. cit., p. 23). The rationale for this policy was the supposition that once “thoroughly subjugated” (Ibid.), Indians would have no means by which to resist their forced acculturation in institutions such as Carlisle. Three important components of the acculturation program were vocational education, the exposure of students to the dominant model of social and economic organization, and the strenuous imposition of Protestant principles.
On March 3, 1819, the Federal government had established a “Civilization Fund” for the purpose of “civilizing” Indians, and made an initial appropriation of $10,000 for this purpose.[xix] The operation of THE CIIS was financed through this fund from 1879 to 1882, when it began to receive a dedicated appropriation from Congress.
This was Pratt’s description of the Carlisle academic mission:
… to teach English and give a primary education and a knowledge of some common and practical industry and means of self-support among civilized people. To this end regular shops and farms were provided, where the principal mechanical arts and farming are taught the boys, and the girls taught cooking, sewing, laundry, and housework (Ibid.).
In 1901, the Federal government approved a curriculum for Indian schools stipulating that “This course is designed to give teachers a definite idea of the work that should be done in the schools to advance the pupils as speedily as possible to usefulness and citizenship.” (Reel, op. cit., p. 5). In Reel’s view, the stated curriculum would make it possible for students to develop a higher level of morality, as well as become more patriotic and Christian citizens.
The day at Carlisle started early and ended late. Pratt made sure that every minute was accounted for. As he indicated, “We keep them moving and they have no time for homesickness – none for mischief – none for regret.” (Bell, op. cit., p. 121). A typical day at Carlisle followed this schedule: [xx]
Rising Bell and Reveille 6:00
Assembly Call 6:15
Mess Call and Breakfast Bell First 6:25; Second 6:30
Work Whistle First 7:25; Second 7:30
School Bell First 8:30; Second 8:35
Recall Bell from School First 11:30, Second 11:35
Recall Whistle from Work 11:30
Assembly Call 11:45
Mess Call and Dinner Bell First 11:55; Second 12:00
Work Whistle First 12:55; Second 1:00
School Bell First 1:10; Second 1:15
Recall Bell from School First 4:00; Second 4:05
Flag Salute Spring & Summer 5:45
Flag Salute Fall & Winter 5:25
Supper Spring & Summer 6:00
Supper Fall & Winter 5:30
Evening Hour Spring & Summer 7:30 to 8:30
Evening Hour Fall & Winter 7:00 to 8:00
Roll Call and Prayer First Call 8:45; Assembly 9:00
Taps and Inspection of Rooms 9:30
Bell comments on Carlisle and the program there:
Carlisle and schools like it existed to promulgate a federal policy of assimilation. Carlisle parents did not have the same range of choices that most parents have: their children were taken away from them, and resistance could result in a cessation of rations or other government benefits.
Bell also observes that “Letters from family members concerned about their children were frequently ignored or used as an opportunity to castigate individuals for their lack of resolve.” (Bell, op. cit., p. 115).
Bell also found that:
Carlisle students were monitored at school, but they were also tracked after they left the institution. Their behavior at school had lasting consequences for their ability to obtain work or citizenship. What students did at Carlisle followed them for life (Ibid.).
The power that Carlisle had over its students, and the manner in which that power was wielded as an instrument of control, had a great impact on the students, including the Puerto Ricans. Bell mentions that Carlisle, as an agency of the Federal government, utilized its enormous power to facilitate or hinder the employment of its Native American students. Federal power over Indian individuals was enhanced by the fact that Indians were not granted United States citizenship until 1924, six years after Carlisle closed.[xxi] The reality of this legal inferiority and political disenfranchisement also affected the Puerto Rican students, as Puerto Rico was a colony at the time that they attended THE CIIS. The United States would not grant citizenship to Puerto Ricans until 1917, just one year before the school closed.
A document describing the history of Carlisle states that “In pursuance of this policy every inducement was offered to retain pupils, to prevent their return to reservation life, and to aid them to make for themselves a place among the people of the east.” (Ibid.). Concerning the task of Carlisle, Pratt said that “We are doing what we can to make the Indians like other people, capable of meeting the obligations of life in this country,” and in the same letter, Pratt added that “Until that is accomplished, there is an Indian problem.”[xxii]
In an 1888 statement by Pratt to Frances E. Willard, he said that:
There are about two hundred sixty thousand Indians in the United States, and there are twenty-seven hundred counties. I would divide them up, in the proportion of about nine Indians to a county, and find them homes and work among our people; that would solve the knotty problem in three years’ time, and there would be no more an “Indian Question.” [xxiii]
In his conversation with Willard, Pratt added the following:
The Indians are just like other men, only minus their environment. Take a new born baby from the arms of a cultivated white woman, and give it to the nurture of a Zulu woman in Africa; take the Zulu’s baby away from her and give it to the cultivated white woman. Twenty-five years later you would have a white savage in Africa, and a black scholar, gentleman, and Christian in America. This sharply illustrates what I mean.
In the view of Pratt and that of the United States government, the fundamental objectives of Indian education were the obliteration of native identities and the definitive displacement of indigenous people from their traditional lands.
As stated in a 1905 document issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs:
In his first annual report on the conduct of the school, Lieut. Pratt announced that two boys and one girl had been placed in the families of prosperous citizens of Massachusetts, and subsequently that five girls and sixteen boys had found homes with white families in the vicinity of Carlisle during the summer months, thus enabling them by direct example and association to learn the ways of civilization. This was the commencement of the “outing system” that has come to be a distinctive civilizing feature not only of the Carlisle school but of the Indian school service generally (Ibid.).
This report, issued 25 years after the founding of Carlisle, states that:
“Notwithstanding the efforts of the school to induce its graduates to remain in the east instead of returning to their reservation homes, the plan has not been successful and has therefore necessitated a change in harmony with the conditions.”
The document does not indicate what adjustments were made in response to the policy’s failure.
As I have pointed out, many Carlisle graduates returned to their indigenous communities. However, only 600 of Carlisle’s 10,700 students actually graduated. In the documents consulted for this study, no information has been found with regard to the proportion of Carlisle students, including Puerto Ricans, who later returned to their communities of origin. This lack of information makes it difficult to analyze the phenomenon of return. We do know, however, that a significant number of Puerto Ricans who left the island to go to Carlisle either stayed in the United States or migrated frequently between the two countries.
The fact that many students fled Carlisle, including five Puerto Ricans, is not given much attention in official reports. However, between 1879 and 1918, at least 1,850 students escaped from the school (Bell, op. cit., p. 210). [xxiv] Considering that a student’s return to his or her community would typically require a rail journey of several days duration, we can understand Bell’s assertion that a student’s decision to flee must have been in response to quite serious problems. This would have been even truer for Puerto Rican students, who would have had to return home by sea.
Carlisle as an Educational Model
Carlisle generated a great deal of interest both in the United States and in other countries. People from many parts of the world visited the school. The following names and their respective places of origin are entered in the Carlisle Register of Visitors for the years 1910 to 1912: [xxv]
Dorothy Marlit: Bayamo, Cuba; February 25, 1910
Woodrow Wilson:[xxvi] Princeton, New Jersey; June 27, 1910
Andrés Martínez: Havana, Cuba; August 12, 1910
Mrs. L.E. Brownawell Tabernilla: Panama; September 8, 1910
Ignacio Cabrera: Cuba; March 17, 1911
Ricardo Torres: Argentina; March 17, 1911
Illegible Signature: Representative of the Republic of Cuba; May 27, 1911
Julio Contel: Orizaba, Mexico; May 27, 1911
Woodrow Wilson: Princeton, New Jersey; August 1, 1911
Charles H. Williams: Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia; September 12, 1911
L. Miller, Africa; December 27, 1911
Illegible Signature: Burma, India; December 27, 1911
John Martínez: Andover, Massachusetts; April 1, 1912
Y. Ono, Tokyo: Japan; May 28, 1912
Carlisle was also visited by representatives of educational institutions interested in Pratt’s “civilizing” and “assimilationist” experiment. Among the institutions that sent representatives were Bucknell, Millersville State Normal School, Wyoming Seminary, Keystone Academy, Gettysburg, Ursinus, Dickinson, and Lafayette Colleges.
The nature of visits by Cubans to Carlisle is a matter of some interest. We know that Cubans, like Puerto Ricans, were viewed as inferior people by U.S. government officials, and that institutions such as Carlisle, Hampton, and Tuskegee could serve as models for the work that the United States would undertake in the newly acquired colonies such as Cuba. The Register, unfortunately, does not include the reasons for the visits and school records do not list any of its students as Cuban.
Visits to Carlisle by distinguished persons were promoted by Pratt in his campaign to portray the school as a successful experiment in “civilization” that could play a role in solving the “Inndian problem.” To this end, Pratt invited visits from prominent state and federal legislators and other important government officials. Pratt stated that these visits were important factors in winning public and private funding for the school. He stressed that it was of great importance that visitors leave with a good impression of the institution.
With an eye to the impression produced by the school upon visitors, Pratt was unhappy that federal agencies for indigenous affairs were sending him students who did not appear sufficiently Indian. In a letter to Captain O.C. Applegate of the United States Army, Pratt complained about a group of young people who had been selected to study at Carlisle:
“… you have notice (sic) that Mr. Allen, a white man, has agreed to the sending of three of his girls in the party. Between you and I, I do feel that the government is constantly gouged in being called upon to educate the children of white men who have married Indian women or women who are part Indian. It is a most pernicious system and ought to be broken up.”
In the same letter, Pratt added that “We are under the observation of thousands of visitors and people of distinction are constantly visiting us and it is imperative that I maintain the appearance of an Indian school.”[xxvii]
Thus, it was very important to Pratt that the CIIS be seen as a school specifically for Indians. Carlisle was founded “to resolve the Indian problem” in the United States, and it received both federal funds and large donations from elite sectors of United States society to accomplish that goal. It was imperative to the school’s first superintendent that there be clear criteria for the admission of students. To this end, the school’s application forms and student records included the student’s Indian name and his or her proportion of Indian blood, indigenous nation of origin, and the federal agency for indigenous affairs that had referred him or her to the school. The same application forms and transcripts were used for all students, including the Puerto Ricans. Although some school documents do describe the races of Puerto Rican students Vicente Figueroa and Dolores Nieves, their applications and student records do not; thus they were not officially categorized as to race. This was very probably due to the fact that Pratt founded Carlisle as a school for Indians, and he did not in fact favor educating Native and African-Americans in the same institution (Ryan). This very problem was among the reasons that Pratt, in 1879, had left the Hampton Institute, which was a vocational school for African-Americans in Virginia where he had directed a special program for Indians. Pratt believed that the white population was more tolerant of Indians than of African-Americans, and that mixing the two populations would hinder the acceptance of the former (Ryan).
One important factor that merits further examination is the racial and ethnic discourse common in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the manner in which the residents of new United States colonies were characterized within that discourse, and how this was reflected at institutions like Tuskegee, Hampton, and Carlisle (Duany, 2002; Guridy, 2002).
On the list of tribes represented at Carlisle, for example, there is one by the name of “Porto Rico.” Osuna had no doubt that Puerto Ricans were considered Indians at Carlisle: thus the name of his 1932 article on his experiences at the school: “An Indian In Spite of Myself.” The staff at Carlisle wrote “Porto Rico” on the records of Puerto Rican students in the space indicated for tribe of origin. Duany (op. cit.) likewise found that the Smithsonian Institution referred to Puerto Ricans as Indians during this period.
However, others, such as Martin G. Brumbaugh put Puerto Ricans and Cubans in the category “colored.” In a letter to Brumbaugh, Booker T. Washington referred to the populations of Puerto Rico and Cuba as predominantly Black. As Duany has suggested, this suggests an ambivalence in the use of ethnic and racial categories. It is interesting to note that Puerto Rican students invariably crossed off the terms “Indian” and “Tribe,” replacing them with “Puerto Rico” or “Puerto Rican.”
Notwithstanding any possible ambivalence in U.S. racial and ethnic discourse, however, the perceived inferiority of Blacks, Indians, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans in the United States and its new colonies was a constant. It was therefore critical, as Pratt proposed in The Indian Helper in 1899, to “light the lamp of learning” for these peoples.
The Puerto Rican Experience at Carlisle
The first Puerto Ricans to study at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School were brought to the mainland by U. S. soldiers returning to their country after serving in its colonialist war of 1898. These young Puerto Ricans were sent to Carlisle upon arriving in the United States. On October 8, 1900, Richard H. Pratt, the founder of Carlisle, wrote to Martin G. Brumbaugh, United States Commissioner of Education:
The little party of four girls and one boy reached here safely and are apparently happily located. Two years ago we took a Porto Rican boy who had been brought to America by some of the soldiers returning from service in that island, and subsequently three others, brought to America in the same way, were admitted.[xxviii]
On November 25, 1898, the following information appeared in The Indian Helper, a Carlisle School periodical (Vol. XIV, Number 6): “The Major [Pratt] told the school last Saturday night that we were to have a Portorican [sic] student before long. Hurrah! The Indians will give him a warm welcome and treat him well.” [xxix] On December 2, 1898, the same periodical (Vol. XIV, Number 7) reported that :
The young man from Porto Rico has arrived. He is about 16, speaks very little English, but is fast making friends among the California and New Mexico boys who speak Spanish. He will soon learn English. In his first interview with Major Pratt he volunteered this information: “Me Boston; Me Concord; Me come Carlisle.” When he saw it snowing this week he thought it was ice cream, such as he had been treated to in Boston, coming down from the clouds, “but this no sweet.” His name is Juan Sultano [Juan Santana], now an Americano.[xxx]
José Ayarro was another Puerto Rican brought to the United States by its returning soldiers. In March 1899, The Indian Helper (Vol. XIV, Number 21) contained this item:
We have another addition of a Porto Rican who was brought from New Castle, this State, by Mr. James M. Hamilton. The boy’s name is Jose Ayarro. That he will do his best to obey orders was evidenced the other day when the bell rang, without waiting to fall in. He had not learned that he was to go in line with the others. His one idea was to get to school as soon after the bell rang as possible, and not until he arrived in his class room did he find his mistake.[xxxi]
None of the sources consulted up to this point have revealed very much of what was known in Puerto Rico about Carlisle or why the parents and guardians of young people 11 to 19 years old would have decided to send them there. Nevertheless, it is clear from the documents encountered so far that at least until the middle of 1901 neither the young people nor their parents or guardians had much information at all about the institution to which the government was sending them. In their view, Carlisle was simply one of the schools in the United States for which the colonial government had approved scholarships. One may suppose, however, that both students and adults thought that they would be attending an institution where they would learn English and other subjects prerequisite to professional studies. In addition, based on the content of Osuna’s “An Indian In Spite of Myself” and of letters written by other Puerto Rican students, one can conclude that their reactions upon arriving at Carlisle were of complete surprise and profound fear.
Neither John Eaton nor Martin Grove Brumbaugh can be accused of the same ignorance. They each played a key role in the sending of Puerto Ricans to Hampton, Tuskegee, and Carlisle, and were very familiar with the missions and goals of these schools. Brumbaugh was a Pennsylvania native and a distinguished citizen of that state, serving as its governor from 1915 to 1919. He was familiar with the kind of school to which he was sending Puerto Ricans in 1900 and 1901, when most of them were sent. Nevertheless, it seems that he did not share that knowledge with the students or their parents on the island.
When Osuna (1932) was selected to study at Carlisle, for example, he was working as a bookkeeper at a tobacco company in Caguas run by Quintiliano Cádiz. Cádiz asked Osuna if he would be interested in studying in the United States. When Osuna answered that he would be very interested in doing so, Cádiz arranged for Osuna to be interviewed by his friend Martin G. Brumbaugh, the Commissioner of Education. Since Osuna spoke no English, Cádiz accompanied him to the interview with Brumbaugh. According to Osuna, he was informed at the interview that the United States was providing Puerto Rican youth with scholarships for professional studies there. Osuna traveled to Carlisle with the impression that he would receive a professional education and preparation for the field of law.
In other applications to Carlisle, however, potential students mention their interest in learning English and receiving a vocational or business education. Eduardo Pasarell, of Yauco, attended THE CIIS intending to learn English and later transfer to a university. He arrived in April 1901 at the age of 17 and transferred out in October of the same year.[xxxii] Some students, such as Providencia Martínez, of Ponce, are said to have been unaware that Carlisle was a school for Indians.
Researchers have not found much of the correspondence produced by Puerto Rican students at Carlisle. The limited correspondence that is available was mostly found among the school’s student records and is almost exclusively between students or their families and school officials. This correspondence does not present a representative sample of the Puerto Rican experience at Carlisle, since most of the Puerto Rican students chose not to maintain contact with the school.
Although we do not have letters or applications from the Puerto Ricans who attended Carlisle between 1898 and 1900, the documents that have been found, particularly those pertaining to the group of 43 students who arrived at Carlisle in 1901, do not paint a very positive picture of the Puerto Rican experience there. In the correspondence included in this work we find veiled criticisms of the Puerto Rican experience at Carlisle. We also find very critical testimonies such as that of Osuna (1932) mentioned above and that published by Ángela Rivera in La Correspondencia de Puerto Rico in January 1931[xxxiii].
Complaints of students and parents that Carlisle was not what they had been promised led to the 1901 visit there by Puerto Rican journalist and politician Luis Muñoz Rivera. A number of Puerto Ricans escaped from Carlisle and others made use of their stay at the institution as a means to enter business schools or universities. Eleven students returned to Puerto Rico on orders of their parents and only 7 out of the 60 students finally graduated from Carlisle.
Nevertheless, the correspondence that is available clearly has historical value. Many of the letters included here contain numerous orthographic and grammatical errors. They are included here as they were written so that the reader will have the opportunity to examine them in their original form.
In a letter to the then superintendent of Carlisle, M. Friedman, Providencia Martínez stated the following:
Some time I begin to talk about the Indian school and I think it is a dream. Really, we did not know that the school was a regular school for Indians when we went there, because Miss. Weekly never told us the real truth. We thought that there were Americans as well as Puerto Ricans, after all I was glad because I took lots of experience while there. I lernt to like the Indians very much. That is some of the refine one. They were very nice to the porto rican although at first they hated us.[xxxiv]
Martínez also commented on her father’s view of Carlisle:
After I came to P. R. lots and lots of time I talk to my dear papa about the Indian school and the poor father he used to cry thinking that that place was not a place where we could be happy. You can imagine why he thought so. Down here we do not know anything about good Indians but of those that you read in books that are regular animals (Ibid.).
Matilde Garnier, of Ponce, arrived at the CIIS in 1900. She felt that the school represented an opportunity that she would not have had in Puerto Rico. In response to a questionnaire sent out by Carlisle in June of 1911, Garnier indicated that:
I have nothing of interest to tell you but I will tell you that the education in Porto Rico has improved a great deal since the Americans came up here. We have at the present time great many public schools all over the Island even in the far away countries where the teachers have to go on Mondays at horse back and returned home on Friday afternoon. Besides we have two Normal schools one in San Juan (the capital) and another in Ponce from this my small sister is going to graduated next week and is going to San Juan to get her diploma.
I always remember Carlisle for what I learned there and wish to see Porto Ricans getting an education there.[xxxv]
Since research focusing specifically on the history of Puerto Ricans at Carlisle is so limited, we do not know very much about their specific experiences there. At this time it is not clear just how much can be learned about the experience of these adolescents there or the impact that it may have had on their lives. Records were kept for some of the students, but for others there is only a registration card containing very little information. Very few letters from students and family members have been found and few of the photographs in the archives identify students as Puerto Rican.[xxxvi] Nevertheless, the documentation that is available through the school archives and through its students, including the Puerto Ricans, does provide some insight into the nature of this school run by the U.S. government and attended by Puerto Rican students from 1898 to 1918.[xxxvii]
Documentary sources indicate that all the students at Carlisle were treated equally, whether they were Indians, Alaskans, African-Americans, Filipinos, or Puerto Ricans. No study makes any reference to a distinctive Puerto Rican experience there. For example, Osuna (1932) describes his first day at the school:
Our lives as Indians began May 2nd, 1901, at six o’clock in the morning. I was assigned to the small boys quarters. Mother Given[xxxviii] had me take a bath, and she gave me the school uniform. It felt good to be dressed in warm woolen clothes. The first and second days we were allowed to roam around the grounds, but soon we came under the rigorous discipline of the school. By the second day we had received our working outfit: overalls, checkered shirts and heavy shoes.
José Prado, for example, complained in 1917 because he was assigned kitchen work at Carlisle. Prado, who studied there from November 1913 to August 1918, asserted that since his family was paying his tuition, he should be allowed to choose the kind of work he would do. However, a Carlisle official replied that “As long as he was a member of our school, we would plan for him just as we would for the Indian boys who do not pay tuition.”[xxxix] It was clear to THE CIIS officials that while the goals of THE CIIS had been initially formulated for Indian students, they would be applied to the Puerto Ricans as well.
Between 1898 and 1900, ten Puerto Ricans went to study at Carlisle. Of these ten students, only Zoraida Valdezate graduated, in 1904. In 1901, 43 Puerto Ricans arrived at Carlisle from cities and towns around the island. Shortly after arriving, several of these 43 students wrote to Luis Muñoz Rivera, then editor of The Puerto Rico Herald,[xl] to complain about Carlisle. Some of their parents wrote to him as well. These letters are not available, and in none of the documents studied are their authors identified. According to Muñoz Rivera (1901), the students and their parents alleged that Carlisle was not what they had been promised. This led Muñoz Rivera to visit Carlisle in August 1901, and he reported on his findings in The Puerto Rican Herald:
Letters from a number of students and their parents from various points on the island gave me the clear idea that instruction at the Indian School was abysmal and that the food was atrocious. And since I was there with the sole intention of verifying or rectifying these impressions, I inquired individually of each student, seeking his personal view. All agreed with the two negative evaluations: “We eat poorly here and learn little.” (Muñoz 1901)
Muñoz Rivera asked the students if they would prefer to leave Carlisle and, according to his report, they initially hesitated but then answered that they would not like to return to their country without having learned English. In the same article, Muñoz Rivera mentions that both students and parents alleged that in Puerto Rico they had been told that they could study medicine, law, and architecture at Carlisle. Addressing this matter, Muñoz Rivera wrote:
The instruction of boys is centered around the mechanical arts of blacksmithing, masonry, tailoring, agricultural work, etc. For the girls there are cooking, seamstressing, laundry skills, and domestic work. Those who thought that their children would become medical doctors, jurists, or architects in that school were deceived. Some say that those courses of study had been offered to them in Puerto Rico. I would hesitate to accept the idea that Mr. Brumbaugh, who I take to be an intelligent educator and an upright person, would promise things that in fact were not quite so. If it were to be proven that such offers were indeed made, a most grave accusation would be warranted against the department of education. (Ibid.)
It has not been determined if the allegations of deception were ever investigated. However, it has been documented that Indian leaders and parents were deceived in order to convince them to send their sons and daughters to Carlisle (Lesiak, op. cit.). Muñoz Rivera spent several hours with the Puerto Rican students at Carlisle. In his article, he concluded that the CIIS was an excellent vocational school and a suitable place to learn English. However, he advised families with economic resources that Carlisle was not an appropriate option if they aspired to professional education for their children. Finally, he stated that “This is my opinion, which I have reached as a result of meticulous and direct observation. I offer it to the families of my country in order to alleviate their fears with regard to the exaggerated reports that are circulating around the island” (op. cit.).
Although in his article in The Puerto Rico Herald Muñoz Rivera minimizes the complaints of the students and their relatives on the island, the article describes a situation that is not made explicit in the documentary sources that have been examined. References to the environment at Carlisle described by Muñoz are found in the articles “The ‘Indians’ of Puerto Rico” (1931) by Ángela Rivera and “An Indian in Spite of Myself,” written by Osuna in 1932.
The only year in which a significant number of Puerto Ricans arrived at Carlisle was 1901.[xli] According to the student records that have been found, a total of 43 Puerto Ricans arrived at Carlisle at different times that year. While at Carlisle, Muñoz Rivera met with 37 students, of whom 26 had arrived at Carlisle in May of that year.
Muñoz Rivera’s article is also evidence of concern in Puerto Rico about the experiences of the young people that the government had sent to Carlisle. The article also speaks to parent and student discontent and to the allegations of false promises that Muñoz Rivera mentions. In his article in The Puerto Rico Herald, Muñoz Rivera concludes that he left Carlisle on the afternoon of August 29 with the impression that there was nothing to worry about. All was well at Carlisle and the students would soon become accustomed to their new environment.
On the other hand, one month before Muñoz Rivera’s visit, Santiago Montano, of Mayagüez, one of the students who had arrived at Carlisle on May 2, 1901, ran away from the school, as did Luis Sánchez on August 1, and Antonio Pagán five days before Muñoz Rivera’s arrival. In 1902, Cástulo Rodríguez, of Barranquitas, and Rafael Gaudier, of Mayagüez, fled. Four of the five students who fled Carlisle appeared in the photograph of 37 students that Muñoz Rivera published in The Puerto Rico Herald on September 14, 1901. It is notable that Muñoz Rivera did not mention the flight of Puerto Rican students from the school in his article. However, it is not known whether at the time of his visit the Puerto Rican journalist and politician or even the students knew what had happened.
At least 11 of the students who arrived at Carlisle in 1901 left the school at the request of their parents. Four students left Carlisle for health reasons: Pedro Enrique Musignac (1903), Ramón López (1903), Luis de Jesús (1905), and Felícita Medina (1902). Only five Puerto Rican students were admitted to Carlisle after 1901: Luis de Jesús (1902), Manuel Hidalgo Ballesters (1909), Emilio de Arce Pagán (1911), José Gonzalo (1912), and José Prado (1913). One student, Paul Vargas, was at Carlisle as a short-term student between June and August 1910. José Gonzalo, of San Juan, studied at Carlisle from September 1912 until January 1917.[xlii] He arrived at Carlisle at the age of 12 years, and was one of the young Puerto Ricans who attended the school without the benefit of a scholarship from the island’s colonial government. As far as is known, José and Esperanza Gonzalo represent the only case of siblings who both studied at Carlisle.
The only Puerto Ricans to graduate from Carlisle were Zoraida Valdezate in 1904 and José Osuna, Emiliano Padín, Manuel Ruiz Rexach, Ángela Rivera, Antonio Rodríguez, and María Santaella in 1905.
In his article “An Indian in Spite of Myself,” Osuna offers a negative perspective of the Puerto Rican experience at Carlisle:
Among the many experiences at Carlisle, those connected with the industrial work were most interesting. All the large boys had to choose a trade, while we smaller ones were assigned all sorts of duties from house cleaning to serving as orderly to General Pratts, the founder and at that time the Superintendent of the School. One day, two or three hundred of us were set to work weeding a large onion field. We were strung out in a long line with task master Bennett, the farmer, keeping the line of progress as straight as he could by the aid of a whip, which he used freely when any one lagged behind. I always managed to keep a bit ahead of the main line. However, this type of education was not exactly in keeping with my preconceived ideas of the “land of promise.”
I worked there for the summer and went to school during the academic year of 1901-1902. Of the rest of my companions, some stayed like myself to work and study; some ran away and returned to Puerto Rico; and the parents of the well-to-do either sent for their children or transferred them to other schools. We were a very disappointed lot. I had decided to become a lawyer, but I did not see that in this school I would ever get nearer my goal.
At this time Osuna found out about Carlisle’s “outing” program. Under this program, the students lived, usually during the summer, in private homes in places such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. As part of the program, the students worked for their host families in return for room and board and a small salary. In March 1902, Osuna was placed with the Welsh family in Orangeville, Pennsylvania, and did not return to Carlisle until 1905. This was Osuna’s way to escape from Carlisle. Osuna described these events in his article:
As I was different from the Indians and also somewhat different from the Americans, I became a curiosity. On Sunday afternoons, the place was visited by people from all over that section of the country who came purposely to see Miss. Mira’s new boy. They had heard that he was not an Indian, that he had come from Puerto Rico; and they wanted to see what Puerto Ricans looked like.
Although I knew very little English when I arrived at Orangeville, within five months- being compelled to speak English exclusively- I had picked up a good working knowledge of the language. In fact, by June it was hard to distinguish any great difference between the Puerto Rican “Indian” and the rest of the farm boys. Here I was introduced into a strict, puritanic life. The bible was put in my hands. We had daily prayers and grace at the table; on Sundays, we had Sunday School at 9 a.m., Church at 10:30, Christian Endeavor at 6 p.m., and Church again at 7:30 p.m. And in order to fill in the day correctly, every Sunday afternoon I was taught the Sunday School lessons for the following Sunday. No work was left for Sunday except that which was absolutely necessary. Once in a while my Spanish blood would long for some sort of expression and I would whistle a tune. I was immediately reminded that it was Sunday.
Instead of returning in the fall of 1902 to Carlisle, I remained with my employer and went to a rural school. I did not want to return to Carlisle. Frankly, I did not like the place. I never thought it was the school for me. I was not an Indian; I was a Puerto Rican of Spanish descent. However, I was a student of the Federal Government, supposed to be located at Carlisle, but with permission to stay at Orangeville, Pennsylvania.
After going as far as I could at Orangeville, I secured permission from Carlisle to attend the Bloomsburg State Normal School which I entered in the fall of 1903.
In the spring of 1905, I received a letter reminding me that I was still a Carlisle student, but that the authorities felt that I was advanced enough to graduate from the institution and sever my relationship with the Federal Government. I was furthermore informed that the Government would pay my railroad fare to Carlisle and back, that I would be supplied with two suits of clothes, shoes, and all sorts of wearing apparel, if I desired to go to Carlisle to graduate. At the time I was working my way through Bloomsburg Normal and had very little of anything that I could call my own. I naturally accepted the proposition. I went to Carlisle, attended commencement, and received all that had been promised me in the way of this world’s goods. Moreover, I received a diploma of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. I graduated with the class of 1905; I am an alumnus of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. I am an Indian in spite of myself.
According to Pratt, the “outing” program was the most effective “civilizing” tool at the school’s disposal. In this sense, Osuna never left Carlisle. Orangeville was an extension of Carlisle, or rather Carlisle was an extension of Orangeville, a Protestant town representing the ideal that Pratt and the federal government of those years sought for the acculturation of the students at Carlisle.
While there are records of thousands of personal letters, reports, and other documents received by the Carlisle Indian Industrial School,[xliii] unfortunately very few letters from Puerto Rican students or their relatives have been found. In this section I will refer, however, to letters written by 16 of the 60 Puerto Rican students.
Generally speaking, the letters and other documents that have been found present a positive image of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. This image conflicts with the situation described by the students and their relatives in 1901 that motivated Muñoz Rivera to visit the school in August of that year. Student dissatisfaction was also evidenced by the five students who escaped from Carlisle, the 11 who returned to Puerto Rico on their parents’ orders, and the number of students who transferred to other educational institutions shortly after arriving at Carlisle. As has been pointed out, only seven Puerto Ricans graduated from the CIIS, including Osuna, who only attended for one year. All of these factors seem to indicate that most Puerto Ricans shared the opinions expressed by Osuna and Ángela Rivera in the journalistic articles of the 1930s that have been cited. Evidence also suggests that the negative experiences of the Puerto Ricans at Carlisle led the United States government to suspend the granting of scholarships in Puerto Rico for studies at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School and finally, to order Puerto Ricans holding scholarships to leave Carlisle in 1905.
According to student records, the great majority of the Puerto Ricans, 44 out of 60, did not keep in touch with the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. However, the available correspondence of 16 former students with officials at Carlisle does offer some perspective on what its authors apparently thought about Carlisle and the United States and how that school and that country had influenced their lives. As in the case of the correspondence included above, these excerpts appear here as they were written.
Enrique Urrutia, of San Juan (1901-1905), wrote as follows:
I am satisfy with my present situation. I think to be an officer in the U. S. Army is one of the greatest honors a man can have. I am and will always be ready to defend the constitution of the United States, all its officers and the American flag.
Carlisle was my steping stone. I am able to perform my duties, no doubt through the education that I received at Carlisle while at the great Indian school.[xliv]
Rafael Ortega, of San Juan, attended Carlisle from May 1901 until May 1904. Although he did not graduate from the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, he did graduate from a business school in the town of Carlisle. In 1911, THE CIIS sent him and the other former students a questionnaire to fill out in order to keep his records up to date. When he received the questionnaire in 1912, Ortega was 26 years old and was working in New York City. He answered as follows:
As I was not quite a regular student at Carlisle, and did not graduate, I am not filling the blank you sent me. Furthermore I doubt if the information that I could give you would be of any use to you at this late date.
The writer was one of the party of Puerto Ricans who attended Carlisle for a few years, and like the majority of us was obliged to leave the school before finishing, as the government decided we were taking up room that rightfully belong to the Indians. When I left Carlisle, I was a junior under Miss. Wood. It was very unfortunate for me as well as for two or three other of us who were in that class that we were not allowed to stay until we could graduate. However the training and knowledge which I acquired at Carlisle has been of great help to me in the past, and I always feel greatly indebted to Carlisle, as an institution, and to my teachers and superiors individually, for I shall never forget the interest and kindness which they showed me during the period of some three years which I remained at Carlisle.
I often think of Carlisle, and whenever its foot-ball team has come to this City or West Point to play I have always been on hand to cheer for the Red and Old Gold.
While I was at Carlisle I also attended, in the evening, what was then known as the Carlisle Commercial School from which I graduated. I have not attended any other school, but I am glad to say, that the training which I received at Carlisle has anable me to battle, with a certain degree of success against the many trials and difficulties which are encountered in this great City in the struggle to get to the top.
I have held two or three different positions since I left Carlisle, and at present I am holding the position of Chief Export Clerk with the above concern, and earning a good salary.
I am still single, but have a good home in Brooklyn, New York, with an American Family. All my relatives live in Porto Rico.
As it is now some eight years since I attended Carlisle, no doubt most if not all of the teachers and superiors of my time, have left, but if there should be any left, kindly remember me to them and express to them my tokens of respect and gratitude.
I shall always be interested in the welfare of Carlisle, and may it long live to continue doing the good work which it was doing while I was there, and which no doubt has been continued and pushed along under your able directorship.[xlv]
Another former student who filled out the Record of Graduates and Returned Students was Paul Seguí, of Ponce, in 1912. Seguí had arrived at Carlisle in October 1900 and moved to Philadelphia when he left Carlisle on December 31, 1904, at the age of 22. In Philadelphia he married María Gibbons and by 1913 they had two children. He studied printing and worked at that trade for several years before becoming a funeral director in San Juan in 1913. In a note to the Alumni Association, he informed them that things had gone very well for him after leaving Carlisle.[xlvi]
Fernando Vásquez, of Guayama, was 13 when he arrived at Carlisle with the group of May 1901. He stayed at Carlisle until June 30, 1905, when he returned to Guayama and began work in the office of the Porto Rico Irrigation Service (Ibid.).
Antonio Pagán arrived at Carlisle in July 1901 at the age of 16, and fled the school on August 24 of the same year. He indicated on Carlisle’s 1911 questionnaire that he had studied at Bloomsburg State Normal School in Pennsylvania, but did not complete his studies. He also indicated that in 1911 he was working as a train dispatcher at the Guánica sugar refinery for a salary of $100 per month. Pagán also reported that he had married Catalina Vivaldi, from the town of Yauco. Things, he said, were going very well for him, and he was living in a good house within the refinery complex (Ibid.).
Antonio Piñero Rodríguez, of Río Piedras, was 15 when he arrived at Carlisle on May 21, 1901. He was there until September 1902, when his father requested that he return to Puerto Rico. In his response on the 1911 Record of Graduates and Returned Students, Piñero Rodríguez stated that he had studied in 1902-1903 at the Normal School in Río Piedras and that in 1911 he had finished his first year as a law student. He was married to María Abrams Álvarez and they lived in Quebradillas, where he was working as the principal of the local school (Ibid.).
José Rodríguez, of San Juan, also arrived at Carlisle in May 1901. He was 17 when he left in June 1905. From Carlisle Rodríguez moved to Philadelphia, where he worked for several years for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company. Rodríguez communicated regularly with Carlisle until 1913, frequently attending its football games. Later he returned to Puerto Rico and according to his communications with the school, worked for the United States government there in the Auditor’s office, where he earned an annual salary of $2,000 (Ibid.).
Miguel de Jesús Martínez, of Ciales, was 18 when he arrived at Carlisle on April 25, 1901. He was there until January 8, 1904, and then studied that year at the Carlisle Business School. De Jesús Martínez kept in touch with Carlisle until December 1918, the school’s last year. His records do not indicate when he returned to Puerto Rico, but in the 1911 Record of Graduate and Returned Students, he reported that he was living in San Sebastián, where he was working as a tax collector and was in charge of the post office. By that time he was married to Elisa Roure and they owned their own home. This is the way that de Jesús described San Sebastián: “This is a small town of three thousand people but the surrounding country is very thickly settled and produces fine coffee, bananas, sugar cane, citrus fruits. The climate is equable and we have abundance of rain.” With regard to Carlisle, de Jesús commented that:
I shall be very glad to receive the ‘Arrow’ [the CIIS periodical], the winged messenger from Carlisle Indian School which will not doubt brings me many interesting items of news of my old school and schoolmates. My thoughts often go back to the happy days I spent under its care and protection that hope to be worthy of the school (Ibid.).
Vicente Figueroa, of Guayama, arrived at Carlisle in September 1899 and was there until August 8, 1904. Figueroa married Louise Taylor, a resident of Carlisle, and according to his records, stayed in Pennsylvania to work as a mason. On Carlisle’s 1911 questionnaire, Figueroa spoke of his last visit to Puerto Rico, saying: “The last time I was home the United States had did a great deal improve to Porto Rico” (Ibid.). On the same form, Figueroa added that:
Well all I got to say about my home and that is every things go very pleasent since the America took position of Porto Rico. When I first came to the Indian School I found out it go very hard with me, at first but I was there 5 years I learn a whole lot, and I thank the Carlisle Indian School for what it did for me” (Ibid.).
In 1911, Figueroa applied for work at the federal agency on Indian affairs in Denver, Colorado. M. Friedman, the superintendent of Carlisle at that time, wrote the agency a letter of recommendation in support of Figueroa’s employment application and that of another former student. In the letter, Friedman stated:
The other young man is Vincente Figueroa, a Porto Rican, mostly negro, who attended school here until the Porto Ricans were asked lo leave when, instead of going back to the Island, he remained at Carlisle. He is a machinist and also a concrete finisher. He is good at the latter occupation and finds steady work in a good season (Ibid.).
According to his records, Figueroa wasn’t offered the work that he wanted in Colorado. Figueroa stayed in frequent contact with Carlisle, and in February 1915 he wrote to Friedman that “I can never for-get Dear Old Carlisle Indian School. She is one of the great school for Education of the Indian and Porto Rico.” Figueroa seems to have had problems when he drank; in the same letter he wrote that “I am always sober industry clean man and having respect for every body any where that I been stoping at” (Ibid.).
Ramón López Fagundo, of Humacao, was 16 when he arrived at Carlisle in May 1901. On February 28, 1903, he returned to the island for health reasons. He specialized in printing, and became supervisor of the Carlisle print shop during his last year there. In his response to the 1911 census he reported having married Dolores García Rivera, of Río Piedras. In Puerto Rico López Fagundo first worked for five years in the Police Department and then went to work in a legal office. In 1911, he stated that “In the month of April, this year, I was admitted to examination before the Board of Medical Examiners of Porto Rico and had the good luck of winning by hard work and much study my certificate of Minor Surgeon” (Ibid.).
After leaving Carlisle, Providencia Martínez went to work in New Jersey. Shortly thereafter, she moved in with a sister and brother in New York City, where she lived for three years. In a June 16, 1911 letter to Superintendent Friedman, Martínez stated that she was living in Ponce, where she was a homemaker.[xlvii]
Belén María Nin, of San Juan, was 17 when she arrived at Carlisle in May 1901. She was there until March 1905. In a letter dated July 24, Nin told Friedman the following:
Since I left Carlisle in the year 1905 I went to school at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Scranton, Pa., and stayed there till the year 1909 when I returned to my own home in Porto Rico. A year after I came home I begun to work as a stenographer in the private office of Mr. R. A. Macfie, an Englishman. I am working yet at the same place.
I am always delighted to hear about Carlisle, and it will be a great pleasure for me if I ever make another trip to the United States, to visit this beautiful school of which I have such pleasant remembrances.[xlviii]
Adela Borelli, of Ponce, was 17 when she arrived at Carlisle on September 30, 1900. She stayed until April 4, 1905. From Carlisle she returned to Ponce, where she lived until 1914, when she and her husband moved to Cuba. In a March 27, 1913 letter, Borelli wrote Superintendent Friedman that:
After seven years away from the States I expect to return soon, and I will be very glad to go some day and see dear old Carlisle.
Excuse me for my delay to write but I have work so hard these last years, that some times make me forget my old friends, although I never forget dear old Carlisle where I past so many happy days. Here in Porto Rico I have work as stenographer for different corporations and also as girl’s Inspector in a milk pasteurizing plant and always very satisfactorily. I married soon after I got home to a very nice man and as we are poor, I help him a great deal (Ibid.).
On January 20, 1914, Borelli wrote the following to Friedman:
I just received a letter from Porto Rico that you sent me there. I will say that I am not living in Porto Rico now, we are in our way to Cuba, we have been here in New York for about a month but we are going to Cuba as my husband is in the tabacco business there.
I will send you my address from there as I always like to hear from that school although I am not an Indian (Ibid.).
Matilda Garnier, of Ponce, was 17 when she arrived at Carlisle on September 30, 1900. On the 1911 census form, she reported that she had three children and was raising them full time. She had retuned to Ponce after her stay at Carlisle. At that time, she said, “I was teaching in an industrial school here for a while and after I was doing some fancy works of embroidery and drawing work” (Ibid.). She had married Manuel Casanovas, who worked in Ponce’s largest hat factory, and they lived in Ponce at Number 42 Calle Victoria.
According to school records, Concebida Duchesne, of Fajardo, was 13 when she arrived at Carlisle on May 21, 1901. A few months later, on January 18, 1902, she went to live with a woman named I. F. Merrill, of Pennsylvania, as part of Carlisle’s “outing program.” The record indicates that Merrill adopted Duchesne, who then lived with her adoptive mother for the next 10 years. In 1911, Duchesne was studying at the Normal School in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and was planning to return to Puerto Rico and teach upon completing her studies.
Esperanza Gonzalo, of San Juan, began her studies at Carlisle in May 1901, at the age of 14.[xlix] She was there until April 1905. Her brother José also studied at Carlisle from 1912 until 1917. When she completed the census in 1911, Esperanza Gonzalo was living with her husband José Castro Feliú at the Vannina refinery complex in Río Piedras. In addition to her studies at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Gonzalo also studied at the Carlisle Commercial College in 1905, together with some of the other Puerto Ricans. She graduated that year from the business school. When she responded to the questionnaire in 1911, she was a full time mother of two daughters. She wrote that “I am very happy with my two little girls. I have a pleasant home out in the country and enjoy teaching my little daughters to be good” (Ibid.). With regard to her work, Gonzalo wrote that “I have been employed as Spanish Stenographer at the office of the District Attorney of the District Court of San Juan and as English Stenographer of the lawyers firm Sweet, Rossy & Campillo” (Ibid.). She added:
Since leaving Carlisle I have been employed and have enjoyed my work very much, until three years later when I got married to Mr. Castro who has been very kind to me, and we are both very happy with our two little girls. Soon after my marriage I left my position and engaged in housekeeping until the present time (Ibid.).
Along with the completed questionnaire, Gonzalo sent a letter to the superintendent of Carlisle that ended with the following thought: “I have always felt glad to hear something about Carlisle School from which I obtained such a good training and will highly appreciate to receive the Arrow and catalogue referred to in your letter.” (Ibid.)
Dolores Nieves, of Caguas, was 14 years old when she arrived in May 1901. After leaving Carlisle in the spring of 1905, she worked in Pennsylvania for a few months and returned to the island toward the end of that year. A few months later she moved to the Pennsylvania home where she had worked during her last Carlisle “outing.”[l] Nieves attended high school for one year in Wallingford, Pennsylvania, and then married Herbert Norton, with whom she had one son. In 1911, her husband had been dead for several years and she was living in Kirkwood, New Jersey. She seems to have lived in Caguas in 1912 and 1913 with her mother and a 16-year-old boy that her mother had raised.
From Caguas, Nieves contacted Carlisle hoping to gain admission to the school for the adolescent boy being raised by her mother, or to get help in placing him with a family. Nieves wrote to Friedman:
… both his parents are dead, he is such a smart boy in everything, he is in the eighth grade in school, he is also in the band here, yet he is not more than sixteen years old, and my mother would like him to get a good education and learn the English well, but as he can not do that here, she would like him to go to the States and make a man of him … (Ibid.).
In the same letter, Nieves also wrote:
I have told him (the boy) everything that he will have to do, and how he shall have to behave and everything, in fact, I have anticipated him of the rough times that he shall to put up with. I know that we had it hard sometimes in the home that we used to go to, we used to think that such places were hard, at the time, but we didn’t know then that in order to taste the sweet, we first must taste the bitter, as the saying is in this country.
Today I thank God for the hardest time that I had at any country homes[li] and at Carlisle (Ibid.).
Carlisle responded that the boy would have to pay school tuition of $167 per year, and could only be admitted if the federal office of Indian affairs so authorized. Friedman turned Nieves down in August 1913 and suggested that if she wanted the boy to live in Pennsylvania, she should contact families that had previously “helped” Puerto Rican youth. Some of the families that might be interested in a placement were listed in a letter signed with the initials NRD. According to other documents consulted, those are the initials of Nellie R. Denney, the person then in charge of “outing” at Carlisle. In the note that included the list of suggested families, it was stated that Nieves “was a Negro Porto Rican. The boy, being no blood relation, may not be negro.”[lii] There is no further reference to this case in Nieves’ records.
Toward the end of 1915, Nieves was again living in Kirkwood, New Jersey, from where she wrote to Friedman asking him to admit her seven-year-old son to Carlisle. In her letter to Friedman, Nieves said that it was impossible for her to both care for her son and work a sufficient number of hours to make even a bare living. On December 8, 1915, the superintendent informed Nieves that Carlisle was not then accepting students of her son’s age and recommended that she contact Father Deering in Philadelphia. That letter is the last document in Nieves’ file.
According to representatives of the United States government, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, North American Indians, African-Americans, and other colonized peoples such as Filipinos and the Hawaiians all needed to be “civilized”. To make this “civilization” possible, according to Pratt, it was critical to “light the lamp of learning”. “light the lamp of learning”.
The process of “civilization”, which was more of a grinding down of salient cultural features, made possible the transformation of “inferior peoples” into “colored scholars.” Through schooling, according to Eaton, Brumbaugh, and Pratt, this process would result in the adaptation of the conquered peoples to their colonial status. The underlying educational principle adopted for the “civilizing mission” was “acculturation under duress”.. The United States established a number of institutional structures for this purpose, of which Carlisle was but one. The same strategy was followed in Cuba and Puerto Rico, where the educational system itself acted as a broadly conceived colonizing mechanism.
English was imposed as the language of instruction in Puerto Rico, just as it was at Carlisle. As a corollary, educational leaders from the United States like Martin Brumbaugh and Henry Pratt imposed educational policies intended to obliterate the vernacular language of the student population. This re-education project was as brutal in Puerto Rican public schools as it was at Carlisle. Under the principle of “acculturation under duress”, students on the island were fed through the same kind of molino de piedra, grindstones intended to pulverize their cultural identity, as the one operative in Pennsylvania.
The Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes played the same rolee with regard to young Cubans and Puerto Ricans sent there by the United States government at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. Further north, at the request of the United States government, Harvard University offered a similar acculturation program for 1,600 Cuban teachers during the summer of 1900, and together with Cornell University, for more than 500 Puerto Rican teachers in July and August of 1904.
I first encountered the concept of the “molino de piedra” in a 1961 speech by Fidel Castro, Palabras a los intelectuales, or Words to Intellectuals. Referring to his own education in Cuba, Castro remarked that he was made to “pass between those grindstones where by some miracle one was not mentally pulverized for good” (Castro, 1975). In 1901, Booker T. Washington also referred metaphorically to a grindstone, or millstone, but in a very different sense. Washington referred to the millstone as a weight around the necks of the white people of the United States, a weight representing the burden resulting from the subjugation of the Black population, which represented one third of the total population in the United States South[liii] Castro, on the other hand, was alluding to a metaphorical set of millstones that grind and pulverize the human material that is passed between them, not just to their weight and the burden that they could represent.
Between 1879 and 1918, Carlisle functioned as a molino de piedra intended to mentally crush its students. Nearly 11,000 North American Indians, Blacks, Filipinos, Alaskans and 60 Puerto Ricans passed between these millstones. Almost all of those who came from Puerto Rico expected that they would receive a professional education and their families on the island had been given the same impression. Although the existing correspondence between the students and their families is not abundant, other studies of Carlisle and the available documents of the school itself indicate that its objective was to adapt students to the roles and identities prescribed by Pratt and his concept of “civilization.” This adaptation necessarily began with the destruction of incoming students’ cultural identities, most particularly the substitution of English for their vernacular languages.
According to Pratt, the substitution of “civilization” for the students’ native cultural identities would make it impossible for them to return to their societies of origin. In fact, this itself was one of Pratt’s principal goals: to ensure that the Indian students of Carlisle did not return to the communities from which they had come. Pratt failed in his attempt to keep the Indian students in the East. However, while many students opted to return home, the Indians who left Carlisle had lost much of the identity that defined them when they began the eastern journey years before. They returned as strangers in their their own communities, as foreign in those environments now as they had been to those in the East who perceived them as savages.[liv]
It is not clear to what extent the Puerto Rican experience in Pennsylvania coincided with that described above. The dearth of information available makes it difficult to reconstruct the Puerto Rican experience at Carlisle with a degree of historical accuracy. For example, we do not know how many of the Puerto Ricans returned to their country or how they experienced that return. Other than what can be gleaned from a small number of letters, we know little about these young people, participants in the initial stage of what would later be known as the Puerto Rican diaspora.
No evidence at all has been found that the United States had a policy of sending Taíno survivors of the Spanish conquest to Carlisle. When the new Puerto Rican government distributed circulars announcing scholarships for study in the United States, they made no mention of Taíno identity as a criterion for selection. The student records of Puerto Ricans at Carlisle, which include their initial applications, contain no references to Taíno heritage, and no such reference has been found in any documentary source that was consulted for this study.
Language is one of the evident preoccupations encountered in the relevant documentary sources. More than 100 years after the founding of Carlisle, words like “Americanization” and “assimilation” continue to have currency. We still hear the word “American” used to mean “from or having to do with the United States.” These words and definitions, which were used by Brumbaugh, Pratt, and many others, were repeated by Ryan in 1962 and Bell in 1998, among other scholars, without any reflection or criticism of their meaning, contextual effect, or descriptive imprecision. These words and concepts used in historical reflection and discussion remain those brought to prominence by the architects of colonial wars like that of 1898 and of identity-crushing grindstones like Carlisle.
The impact that the CIIS had on its Puerto Rican students is one of the areas that warrant further study. The adaptive, identity-molding influence of the institution and its ideology extended beyond the school’s grounds in Carlisle. According to Pratt, the “outing” program was Carlisle’s “supreme Americanizer.” Based on an examination of the letters and other communications between officials at Carlisle and its former students, this program must certainly be taken into account. Though the great majority of the Puerto Ricans did not stay in touch with the school, some did write letters and/or complete the questionnaire that was sent to former students.
In this correspondence we find positive evaluations of the experience that some students had at the school. For example, in 1911 Enrique Urrutia thanked Carlisle for the education that made possible his career in the United States Army. In Urruutia’s opinion, there is no greater honor for a human being than to serve in the United States Army. Urrutia must have been one of the first Puerto Ricans ever to serve in the United States armed forces, just 13 years after they had invaded his country. A very small minority, Urrutia among them, stayed in touch with the school, and even fewer commented favorably on their experiences there. Even after his retirement, Pratt continued to receive letters from about 300 former students, in which they addressed him as “Dear Father,” and described how thankful they were to him, as Carlisle’s first director, for the education they had received there (Ryan).
Other former students reproached the officials of Carlisle for the way they had been treated. Dolores Nieves rebuked Carlisle for its role in the difficult times she had to endure under its auspices, particularly in the “outing” program. Osuna, who apparently did not stay in touch with Carlisle, wrote in “An Indian in Spite of Myself” that his overall experience there was negative. To a great extent, Osuna’s evaluation of Carlisle coincided with that expressed by the Puerto Rican students to Muñoz Rivera in 1901 when they said that the authorities in Puerto Rico who were administering the legislatively established scholarships for study in the United States had not been truthful about the nature of Carlisle. As a result, five Puerto Ricans ran away from the school and at least 11 students returned to Puerto Rico on the orders of their parents.
Although Osuna left the CIIS campus in Carlisle, he spent years in Orangeville, Pennsylvania under the “outing” program. According to Pratt, the “outing” program was the most effective “civilizing” initiative that Carlisle had. Orangeville was a puritanical town, the ideal environment that Pratt and the federal government of those years sought for the reacculturation of Carlisle students. In this sense, as has been stated above, Osuna did not leave Carlisle as long as he was part of the “outing” program. Orangeville was an extension of Carlisle, or to an even greater extent, Carlisle was an extension of Orangeville.
[i] Nelly Robles-González and Joseguillermo Navarro-Robles contributed to the research and conceptualization of this study. Andy Klatt translated this monograph from Spanish to English.
[ii] Osuna, Juan José. An Indian in Spite of Myself. Summer School Review, Vol. X, Num. 5, 1932. Dr. Roamé Torres, Professor of Education at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras provided the author with a copy of this article.
[iii] According to Landis (2001) 10,702 students attended Carlisle between 1879 and 1918, including 2,090 who were not classified by tribe or nation.
[iv] A total of 60 files of Puerto Rican students have been found. In her research, Landis lists 63 students as members of the “Porto Rico” tribe and Bell (1998:vii) refers to 59 Puerto Ricans as having attended Carlisle.
[v] Navarro’s dissertation was published by Routledge in 2002 under the title Creating Tropical Yankees.
[viii] Martínez Cruzado, Juan. The use of Mitochondrial DNA to Discover Pre-Colombian Migrations to the Caribbean: Results for Puerto Rico and Expectations for the Dominican Republic. Kacike: Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology. <www.kacike.org <http://www.kacike.org/> >, 2002.
[ix] Letter to S. L. Parrish, from Charles W. Eliot, September 21, 1899. Harvard University Papers, C. W. Eliot, Box 92, Letter Book, C. W. Eliot, January 17, 1898 to March 23, 1903, p. 42 A. Charles W. Eliot (1834-1926) was president of Harvard University from 1869 to 1909.
[x] Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born a slave in Virginia. His birth name was Booker Taliaferro. Washington was a leading educational and political figure during the latter part of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries. He was also a supporter of vocational education and was the first director of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School, an educational institution for Blacks founded in 1881 by the State of Alabama.
[xi] Letter to John Davis Long from Booker T. Washington. March 15, 1898. The Booker T. Washington Papers (BTW Papers). Vol. 4, 1895-98, p. 389.
[xii] Letter to the Editor of the Christian Register. August 18, 1898. BTW Papers. Vol. 4, p. 455.
[xiii] In his book The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move, Jorge Duany (Duany 2002) argues that during this period there was much ambivalence in the colonial discourse in the United States as it related to the racial identity of Puerto Ricans. According to Duany, this helps explain why the Smithsonian Institution classified Puerto Ricans as Indians (Duany, Chapter 3). It further contributes to our understanding of why Booker T. Washington alleged in his letter that more than half of the population of Puerto Rico was Black, even though the United States Census of 1899 found that two thirds of the population was white. (Duany, op. cit.) For a significant study about race in Cuba see Guridy’s doctoral dissertation, Racial Knowledge in Cuba: The Production of a Social Fact, 1912-1944.
[xiv] The Indian Helper, Vol. XIV, January 27, 1899, Num. 14. See Landis in http://home.epix.net/~landis/portorican.html <http://home.epix.net/~landis/portorican.html> . Eaton (1829-1906), who was white, served as a Colonel of a Regiment of Black soldiers during the Civil War (1863-1865), the 63rd U. S. Colored Infantry Regiment, and was promoted to Brigadier General in March, 1865.
[xv] See Navarro Rivera (2000), Negrón de Montilla (1971) and Torres González (2002).
[xvi] Letter from M.G. Brumbaugh to B.T. Washington. May 7, 1901. BTW Papers, Vol. 6, 1901-2, pp. 106-107.
[xvii] Even though religious schools were not governmental institutions, their funds came primarily from the State and operated under State control. See Ryan and Bell.
[xviii] See document titled Carlisle School, Office of Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior. RG 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Entry 1349 C, NN 369-71, Records of Nonreservation Schools, Records of Carlisle, Miscellaneous Publications and Records, CA 1908-18, Box 1.
[xix] Act of March 3, 1819 (3 Stat. 516). The Act was amended in 1873 (17 Stat. 461). A “Civilization Fund” was established with the same purpose in 1867 (14 Stat. 687). See document titled Carlisle School. Office of Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior. RG 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Entry 1349 C, NN 369-71, Records of Nonreservation Schools, Records of Carlisle, Miscellaneous Publications and Records, CA 1908-18, Box 1.
[xx] School Calendar for 1908-1909. See Bell, op. cit., p. 114.
[xxi] See the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 (8 U.S.C. §1401).
[xxii] RG 75, E 1323. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Records of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Letters Sent, August 28-Oct. 1900, Jan. 26-May 6, 1901. Box 1 PI-163, p. 345.
[xxiii] See The Carlisle Indian School by Frances E. Willard, RG 75, E 1349 C NN 369-71, Box 2.
[xxiv] Bell estimates that 66% of these were captured and returned to the school.
[xxv] Carlisle Indian Industrial School, RG 75, Register of Visitors, 1909-1917, Box 1. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[xxvi] Woodrow Wilson, President of Princeton University in New Jersey, 1902-1910; Governor of New Jersey, 1911-1913; President of the United States, 1913-1921 , visited Carlisle several times.
[xxvii] RG 75, E 1323. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Records of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Letters Sent, August 28-Oct. 1900, Jan. 26-May 6, 1901. Box 1 PI-163, pp. 257-258.
[xxviii] RG 75, E 1323. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Records of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Letters Sent, August 28-Oct. 1900, Jan. 26-May 6, 1901. Box 1 PI-163, p. 372.
[xxxii] Record of Graduates and Returned Students, CIIS, RG 75 E 1328 HM 1996, Student Records, 1344-1404, Box 29, PI 163.
[xxxiii] This article was published in the Puerto Rico newspaper La Correspondencia de Puerto Rico on January 3, 1931. Sonia Rosa provided the author with a copy of this article, which was translated to English by Professor Vilma Santiago-Irizarry of Cornell University.
[xxxiv] Letter to M. Friedman, Superintendent, Carlisle Indian Industrial School, from Providencia Martínez, June 16, 1911. Carlisle Student Records, 2835-2890, Box 57, PI 163, E 1327 HM 1996. National Archives, Washington, D. C.
[xxxv] Matilde Garnier, Record of Graduates and Returned Students, U. S. Indian School, Carlisle, PA. Carlisle Student Records, 2835-2890, Box 57, PI 163, E 1327 HM 1996. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[xxxvi] The Cumberland County Historical Society, in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, where Carlisle is located, houses one of the main collections of documents of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Among them there is a photograph of Julio Fernández, one of the Puerto Rican students who attended Carlisle. (CS-23) There is also a photograph of Puerto Rican students that was published in The Puerto Rico Herald on the occasion of Luis Muñoz Rivera’s visit to Carlisle in 1901 (Year 1, Num. 10, September 14, 1901).
[xxxvii] CIIS, RG 75, E 1327, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[xxxviii] No evidence has been found that could determine if any nuns worked at Carlisle. Catholic priests did collaborate with the school, but only as external resource people. In letters sent to Pratt, former students occasionally referred to him as “Dear Father” and this could explain why some might have referred to Given as “Mother Given.”
[xxxix] Letter to Father Feeser, St. Patricks Rectory, Carlisle, PA, from the Chief Clerk in Charge, no name included, Carlisle Indian Industrial School. January 8, 1917. Carlisle Student Records, 4955-4984, Box 124, PI 165, E 1327 HM 1996. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[xl] In 1901, Luis Muñoz Rivera resided in New York City, where he published The Puerto Rico Herald. His criticism of the colonial government in Puerto Rico had resulted in his exile to New York and the destruction by government supporters of the press that he had used in Puerto Rico to publish his newspaper, El Diario. See Negrón de Montilla, op. cit.
[xli] Information about the Puerto Ricans who attended Carlisle is found in RG 75 E 1327, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[xlii] RG 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, CIIS, School Student Records, 1879-1918, 4669 to 4695, Box no. 113, PI 163, E 1327, HM 1996.
[xliii] CIIS, Index To Letters Received, Box 1, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[xliv] Enrique Urrutia, Record of Graduates and Returned Students, CIIS, RG 75 E 1328 HM 1996, Student Records, 1344-1404, Box 29, PI 163.
[xlv] Letter to M. Friedman, Superintendent, Carlisle Indian Industrial School, from Rafael Ortega, February 19, 1912. Record of Graduates and Returned Students, CIIS, RG 75 E 1328 HM 1996, Student Records, 1344-1404, Box 29, PI 163.
[xlvi] Record of Graduates and Returned Students, CIIS, RG 75 E 1328 HM 1996, Student Records, 1344-1404, Box 29, PI 163.
[xlvii] Letter to M. Friedman, Superintendent, Carlisle Indian Industrial School, from Providencia Martínez. June 16, 1911. Carlisle Student Records, 2835-2890, Box 57, PI 163, E 1327 HM 1996. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[xlviii] RG 75, Records of the Department of Indian Affairs, Carlisle School Student Records 1879-1918, 2835-2890, Box 57, PI 163, E 1327, HM 1996.
[xlix] RG 75 Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, CIIS, Student Record Cards, 1879-1918, Abert, Lucile to McFarland, John M., Box no. 5, PI 163, E 1328, HM 1995.
[l] In addition to being the main tool for the “civilization” of students at the school, Carlisle’s outing program also offered training in home economics.
[li] “Country homes” were the residences in which students resided for months as part of the “outing” program.
[lii] RG 75, Records of the Department of Indian Affairs, Carlisle School Student Records 1879-1918, 2835-2890, Box 57, PI 163, E 1327, HM 1996.
53 Article published in The Tuskegee Student, 13, November 9, 1901. The BTW Papers, Vol. 6, 1901-2, pp. 299-302.
54 Describing Indians as savages was so prevalent during the Carlisle years that newspapers such as The New York Times used the term “savage” when referring to Indians.
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Puerto Ricans who attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, their town of origin in Puerto Rico, dates of attendance and reason for leaving Carlisle, as listed in Carlisle’s student files:
José Ayarro. Town of origin not available. March, 1899 – February, 1905. “Time out”.
Adela Borrelli. Ponce. September, 1900 – April, 1905. Administrative Order.
Antonio Blanco. San Juan. August, 1901 – July, 1904. Parental request.
Francisco Calderín. San Juan. May, 1901 – September, 1901. Mothers request.
María M. Castro. Mayagüez. May, 1901 – August, 1903. Family request.
Emilio de Arce Pagán. Town of origin not available. February, 1911 – October, 1911. Did
Luis de Jesús. Río Grande. July, 1902 – January, 1903. Health reasons.
Miguel de Jesús Martínez. Ciales. April, 1901 – January, 1904. Financial reasons.
Concebida Duchesne. Fajardo. May, 1901 – August, 1904. Adopted.
Isabel Espéndez. Guayama. May, 1901 – August, 1902. “Order of Consul”.
Julio Fernández. San Juan. May, 1901 – September, 1902. Irresponsibility/father’s
Vincente Figueroa. Guayama. September, 1899 – August, 1904. “Time out”.
José Flores. Barceloneta. May, 1901 – June, 1903. Father’s request.
Carlos Gallardo Lara. Town of origin not available. July, 1900 – May, 1902. Change of
Matilde Garnier. Ponce. September, 1900 – April, 1905. Reason not available.
Rafael Gaudier. Mayagüez. May, 1901 – November, 1902. Escaped.
Fernando González. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – March, 1905.
José Gonzalo. San Juan. September, 1912 – January, 1917. Parental request.
Esperanza Gonzalo. San Juan. May, 1901 – 1905. Administrative Order.
Manuel Hidalgo Ballester. Town of origin not available. September, 1909 – April, 1912.
Ramón López. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – February, 1903. Health
Levia Martínez. Ponce. July, 1901 – September, 1904. Family request.
Providencia Martínez. Ponce. November, 1901 – September, 1904.
Felícita Medina. Town of origin not available. September, 1900 – September, 1902.
Joaquina Menéndez. Town of origin not available. May, 1901. No additional information
Joaquín Menéndez. No additional information is available.
Santiago Montano. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – September, 1901. Escaped.
Olimpia Morales. Hatillo. May, 1901 – August, 1904. Family request.
Pedro Enrique Musignac. Ponce. July, 1901 – February, 1903. Health reasons.
Dolores Nieves. Caguas. May, 1901. No additional information is available.
Belén Nin. San Juan. May, 1901 – March, 1905. Family request.
Julio A. Hoheb. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – April, 1904. Administrative
Nemecia Orriolo. Arecibo. July, 1901. No additional information is available.
Rafael Ortega. Juana Díaz. May, 1901 – May, 1904. Graduated from Carlisle
Juan José Osuna. Caguas. May, 1901 – 1905. Graduated.
Emiliano Padín. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – 1904. Job offer in
Antonio Pagán. Town of origin not available. July, 1901 – September, 1901. Escaped.
Oscar Pagán Rosell. Town of origin not available. June, 1901 – July, 1904. No reason
Eduardo Pasarell. Yauco. April, 1901 – May, 1902. To attend university.
Antonio Piñero. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – September, 1902. Father’s
José Prado. Vega Baja. November, 1913 – August, 1918. School closing.
Fidel Pueto Elías. Town of origin not available. June, 1901. Was just visiting Carlisle.
Ramón Ramanal. Town of origin not available. November, 1901 – June, 1905.
Ángela Rivera. Town of origin not available. November, 1901. No additional information
Antonio Rodríguez. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – March, 1905. Graduated.
José C. Rodríguez. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – June, 1905. Administrative
Cástulo Rodríguez. Barranquitas. January, 1901 – May, 1902. Escaped.
Aurora Rosario. Juncos. May, 1901 – June, 1905. Administrative order.
Manuel Ruíz Rexach. No additional information is available.
Luis Sánchez. Town of origin not available. September, 1899 – September, 1901.
María A. Santaella. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – 1905. Administrative
Juan Santana. Town of origin not available. November, 1898 – April, 1904. No reason
Milagros Schultz. Aguadilla. July, 1901. Administrative order.
Paul Seguí. Ponce. October, 1900 – December, 1904. To work in Philadelphia.
Félix Seijo. Utuado. May, 1901 – September, 1903. Parental request.
Antonio Torres Reyas. Town of origin not available. August, 1901 – May, 1903. Father’s
Enrique Urrutia. San Juan. April, 1901 – April, 1905. Administrative order.
Zoraida Valdezate. Town of origin not available. September, 1900 -1905. Graduated.
Paul Vargas. Town of origin not available. June, 1910 – August, 1910. Temporary
Fernando Vásquez. Town of origin not available. May, 1901 – June, 1905. Administrative
Elvira Vélez. Lajas. July, 1901. No additional information is available