Past Conferences

Carlisle Journeys: Celebrating the American Indian Sports Legacy
James Crane with lacrosse stick.

October 7-9, 2016

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School  (CIIS), the first U.S. Government off-reservation school for American Indian Children, was located at the Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, PA and operated from  1879 – 1918.  The Carlisle Indian School left an indelible mark upon the sports that Indigenous Americans have played over the past century and a half. Like the school itself, Carlisle’s legendary athletic teams and rigorous training programs influenced the complex legacies that used sports as a kind of propaganda tool and at the same time modeled the success of the track and football teams for other off-reservation boarding schools.  The 2016 Carlisle Journeys conference will provide a forum for exploring these tensions and achievements of Native Americans in athletics.

We look forward to broad participation by the local community, Dickinson College students and faculty, local high school sports programs, educators and Carlisle Barracks personnel.  Events will be held at the Historical Society, Dickinson College, and the 1st United Church of Christ.  We issued a call for papers and have drawn from a wide range of experts, academics and descendants of Carlisle Indian School students.


Carlisle Journeys: American Indians in Show Business

Carlisle Indian School Student

October 10-11, 2014

Integral to the Carlisle Indian School’s acculturation process was the inclusion of extracurricular programs stressing the arts.  Drama had its place in the mix of activities at Carlisle.  Student performances, including impromptu skits and formal programs, were prominently featured school events as well as for the general public.  After those experiences as students, some Carlisle alumni went on to perform in the growing world of “show business”: in music halls, Wild West shows, on theater stages from Broadway to LA, and into the emerging film industry.  We heard from the biographers of Carlisle Indian School students who made their way into films, shows, and theaters.  We also heard from contemporary entertainers who shared their experiences, including the influence of Carlisle and other boarding schools, on their craft.

Presentations from Carlisle Journeys: American Indians in Show Business are available at the Cumberland Historical Society YouTube channel.

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