In May, the Department of the Army scheduled June 15 as the start date to disinter the remains of six Carlisle Indian School students who died in the 1880s and 1890s and are in the Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery.
A border fence has been put up around the cemetery and the six student’s graves have been marked. On Thursday, the Department of the Army allowed members of the press to photograph the site before any ground was broken. No interviews were given.
A press conference will be held after the disinterment process is complete, which is expected to take weeks.
The Army National Military Cemeteries is honoring the requests of the closest living relatives of Ophelia Powless, aka Ophelia Powlas; Sophia Caulon, aka Sophy Coulon; Jamima Metoxen, aka Jemima Meloxen; Henry Jones, Alice Springer and Adam McCarty, aka Adam McCarthy.
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The Army will disinter, transfer custody, transport and reinter the remains in private cemeteries chosen by the families of the six students.
This is the third consecutive year the Army has honored requests from families to repatriate students’ remains to tribal lands.
The Carlisle Indian School was an effort undertaken by the United States government in 1879 to assimilate Native American youths. The forced Americanization included “the abandonment of native languages, required conversion to Christianity, and harsh military discipline,” according to the Carlisle Indian School Project’s website.