“Kill the Indian, Save the Man”: Manhood at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1918

Bentley, Matthew Steven (2012) “Kill the Indian, Save the Man”: Manhood at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1918. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This dissertation examines the role of manhood in the programme to “civilise” the Indian at the
Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Using gender and race theory as a frame for archival research,
it argues that the model of manhood in operation at Carlisle was contested and changed
throughout the school’s history. The hegemonic model at Carlisle’s beginning reflected the
school’s focus on civilised manliness, which included the ideals of self-sufficiency,
individualism, and Christian morality. This model was progressively displaced by an athletic
version, which promoted masculinity in the form of physical power and victory. The dissertation
will show how the contest between these two models of manhood came to a head in the 1914
Congressional Investigation of Carlisle. During this investigation, the extent to which sex and
alcohol had become inseparable from the athletic model of manhood as well as their prevalence
among Carlisle students was revealed. As a result, school officials worked to return Carlisle to
the original ideal of civilised manliness, but by this time the school was out of step with the
wider demands of government Indian policy; in 1918 it was closed
This work extends previous academic examinations of gender at non-reservation boarding
schools through its focus on masculinity. Specifically, it identifies, defines and explores how
Carlisle’s models of manhood changed according to the demands of the school, government
officials and the wider public. It also examines how the school used these different models of
manhood to promote the success of the institution. After Carlisle’s commitment to rapid Indian
assimilation was called into question by government policy, the school increasingly utilised the
athletic model of manhood to demonstrate the school’s success.
Manhood was a central component of the school’s programme to eliminate Indian savagery. As
such, the analysis of manhood at Carlisle provides critical insight into government Indian policy
and white definitions of gender, as well as illuminating the centrality of manhood to the concept
of civilisation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of American Studies (former - to 2014)
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2012 16:21
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2012 16:21
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/40572


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