Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Army is returning more remains of Native American children to their families a century after they died at 'assimilation school'
The remains of six Native American children who were buried over 100 years ago are being returned to their families as the Army continues its disinterment project at the Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery, bringing the total number of children returned to their homes to 11.
Starting on Saturday, the Army will begin its "multi-phase disinterment project ...with archaeological and anthropological expertise from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers" to extract remains belonging to students of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which was operated at Carlisle Barracks — now home to the Army War College — from 1879-1918, the Army announced on Monday.
The remains belong to Sophia Caulon (Sophy Coulon), Ophelia Powless (Ophelia Powias), Alice Springer, Henry Jones, Jamima Metoxen (Jemima Meloxen) and Adam McCarty (Adam McCarthy), the Army said; the service will reimburse the families for the transport and re-interment of the remains.
Army Lt. Col. Donald Peters, spokesperson for Army National Military Cemeteries, told Task & Purpose there are approximately 180 Native American children buried at the Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery. More than 10,000 Native American children are believed to have attended the school, representing nearly 50 Native American tribes.
While the official purpose of the school was to educate Native American children, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School disregarded their traditional norms and values so far that the Washington Post deemed it an "assimilation school."
"They were stuffed into military uniforms. Pushed into marching regiments. Forbidden from speaking the language they had known all their lives. Even their names were taken away," the Washington Post reported in 2017. "The return of the remains is a fitting epilogue to one of the uglier chapters in the history of U.S. government's interaction with native tribes, a period where schools like Carlisle were used as tools to detach Native American youths from their traditions and cultures."
It's unclear how these six children died, though the Guardian reported in 2018 that "infectious disease and harsh conditions caused other deaths at the school."
"During its 29 years, the school's image shifted with changing American cultural norms," a 2018 press release says. "It began as a relatively progressive concept of providing Indian children with an education and vocational training, but this came at the expense of native cultures and languages. As the school went through administration changes ... the rules became more lax and open to native culture."
Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of Army National Military Cemeteries, said in 2018 that she hoped the reinterment brought the families "some measure of peace and healing."
"The Army's commitment remains steadfast to these six Native American families whose sacrifice is known to only a few," Durham-Aguilera said in the most recent press release. "Our objective is to reunite the families with their children in a manner of utmost dignity and respect."
SEE ALSO: We Salute The Native American Warriors Who Go Wherever They're Needed To Honor US Military Veterans
WATCH NEXT: Jack Mandaville's History of US Wars
The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan on Wednesday as members of U.S. Army Special Forces.
Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, both died in Faryab Province from wounds sustained from small arms fire, the Pentagon said in a press release. The incident is under investigation.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday of possible Israeli involvement in attacks against Iranian-linked targets in Iraq.
A series of blasts in the past few weeks have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to paramilitary groups in Iraq, many of them backed by Israel's regional foe Iran. The groups blamed the United States and Israel for the blasts on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make it easier for permanently disabled veterans to have their student loan debt forgiven.
Physical fitness tests were briefly suspended earlier this week and outdoor cardio testing will be curtailed for the remainder of the summer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, after an airman died Saturday. She had completed her PT test on Friday.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer has expanded a review of the Judge Advocate General Corps to include the Marine Corps, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.
"There is value in applying this review and its subsequent recommendations across the Department of the Navy," Cmdr. Jereal Dorsey told Task & Purpose. "The review's purpose is to confirm the uniformed legal community is structurally and organizationally sound and best supporting the good order and discipline our integrated naval force."