Carlisle Indian Industrial School

My good friend, Carmen, asked me to join her for an exhibit at the Trout Museum on the campus of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. After hearing someone speak about the exhibit, Carmen thought I would enjoy seeing it. I’m not sure she knows just how right she was. It was very moving. My interest in Native Americans started when I was in high school. I actually wrote two papers on the subject. I am by no means an expert, just an interested party.

I’ll try not to bore you but a little history is needed. The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was the flagship Indian boarding school in the Untied States from 1879 though 1918. It was the first federally funded off-reservation Indian boarding school. General Richard Pratt believed if Native Americans were to assimilate they needed to be educated with American culture.

When the students arrived their hair was cut, they were given “American” clothing and their names were changed. Pratt followed a military regimen and believed in corporal punishment for students who exhibited Native behaviors.

What moved me about the exhibit was the detailed workmanship and the subject. I have a strong opinion on this but I will keep it to myself. I would like you to form your own opinion.

Heather Flaherty, Curator of Education, walked us through the exhibit. It was obvious she too, was moved by this exhibit and that she loves her job. Her enthusiasm was infectious. It’s great to be around people who love what they do.

This exhibit is the work of artist Shan Goshom. Read below please.

After each group of photos, I have included the plaque which includes details about the art and the artist’s statement.

From a distance you cannot appreciate the details.
I am very impressed that this artist is able to print her designs onto the paper, weave the paper and line-up her design. That cannot be easy.
Sorry I cut off some of this text.

The artist, Shan Goshom, passed away this fall. The last basket, “Two Views” was purchased by the college and is now part of their permanent collection.

I hope sharing some of this exhibit has moved you as well. If you live in the Carlisle area, the exhibit will run through February 2nd. It is located on the campus of Dickinson College at the Emil R. Weiss Center for the Arts, 240 W. High Street, Carlisle, PA. Call for hours 717-245-1344.

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