Oct 27, 2023 | John W. Coleman

EPA CoNAM offers free online viewing of this compelling documentary.
Contact vmcolliver@gmail.com to get access.

November is National Native American Heritage Month, a great time to use and share resources for learning about Native American and Indigenous culture and history. The Eastern PA Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CoNAM) offers Home from School:  The Children of Carlisle, a powerfully moving documentary for viewing and showing churches on the EPA&GNJ Vimeo streaming platform. 

Home from School:  The Children of Carlisle is the revealing story of Native children who were taken from their homes to a faraway boarding school in Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. The location is less than one hundred miles from where many of us live. What do you know about the Carlisle Indian School, other than Jim Thorpe, the celebrated athlete?

“Pennsylvania basically hosted the Carlisle Indian School and has never taken any sort of responsibility to represent that story from a Native perspective, maybe not even their own side of the story,” said Sandi Cianciulli, who co-chairs Eastern PA’s CoNAM. “We have met entirely too many people who claim to be born and raised there and never heard there was an Indian boarding school there, let alone the first off-reservation, military model, U.S. government-run boarding school.”

A story of trauma and loss

The documentary tells the story of trauma and loss for the children who left their families and all that was familiar to them to board trains and enter a regimented world of forced assimilation. While many students thrived and learned skills to help them succeed, some did not survive. The cemetery at the school still bears witness to their lost lives.

In Home from School, a Northern Arapaho delegation travels in 2017 from the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to retrieve their children buried there a century ago. With the unearthing of the remains, the film journeys through the troubled legacy of Indian boarding schools and follows the brave efforts of these native peoples they seek to heal historic wounds.

The documentary is now available via streaming on Vimeo to show church and community groups and Sunday school classes. Access to the video is password-protected. Contact vmcolliver@gmail.com to get access. A pdf file of a 24-page Discussion & Viewer Guide is also available.

Questions or comments? Contact CoNAM at vmcolliver@gmail.com.

Learn more about the documentary at https://itvs.org/films/home-from-school-the-children-of-carlisle.
Also read Bishop, Leaders Remember Abuse of Native Children