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Graves in the Valley: Lucy Pretty Eagle and the Carlisle Indian School

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Lucy Pretty Eagle

Lucy Pretty Eagle is buried at the United States Army War College in Carlisle.

Lucy Prettyeagle

THE HISTORY: Take the Tail “Lucy Pretty Eagle” was among the first of almost 10,600 boys and girls sent to the Carlisle Indian School to take part in a social experiment to assimilate Native American children into the mainstream culture by removing them from tribal influences.

After only one winter at the school, she died. “Take the Tail’s time at the boarding school made her more vulnerable to disease for many reasons, including depression brought on by homesickness,” Carlisle Indian School biographer Barbara Landis said in her essay “Putting Lucy Pretty Eagle to Rest.” “Lucy’s health declined in part because of radical changes forced on her.”

Lucy Pretty Eagle was the daughter of Pretty Eagle and from the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. At the age of 10, she arrived at the Carlisle Indian School on Nov. 14, 1883. Lucy was one of 190 Native American children to be buried in the Carlisle Indian School cemetery.

Rumors circulated that the building that was her dormitory is haunted by her spirit. According to a Sentinel article by Joseph Cress in 2014, Landis is quick to point out that researchers proved the Coren Apartment building was never used as a girls’ dormitory but rather as a quarters for teachers. Many of the ghost stories related to Lucy hinge on her being a resident of that building during the Indian School years.

Pretty Eagle is one of the Rosebud Sioux, a South Dakota tribe that made a push to have the remains of 10 tribe members returned to their native land to be reburied after appropriate native prayers and services. In May, the U.S. Army promised to pay to move and re-bury the remains of at least 10 Native American children who died more than a century ago at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

HOW THEY DIED: Lucy Pretty Eagle died May 9, 1884, and her cause of death is unknown.

GRAVESITE: Carlisle Indian School Cemetery.


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The Sentinel produced Graves in the Valley in 2016. Sentinel Photographer Michael Bupp compiled a series of profiles on famous (and infamous) …

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