$800K Mellon Foundation Grant Helps Dickinson College Launch Program and Center for the Futures of Native Peoples
CARLISLE, Pa., Feb. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — An $800,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation will support the development of Dickinson College’s new Center for the Futures of Native Peoples and a program devoted to Native American and Indigenous studies. The prestigious three-year grant also seeks to advance the important national conversation on the Indigenous boarding school experience, with a focus on the history of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
“Carlisle is a major site of memory for Indigenous people—Native Americans, especially,” said Darren Lone Fight, an Indigenous scholar and interim director of the new center.
The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was the first federally funded off-reservation boarding school in the U.S., serving as the model for a brutal system of assimilation that removed Native American children from their families, communities and culture. The school operated from 1879 to 1918, leading to multigenerational effects on its thousands of students, their families and descendants.
“Dickinson has such a close and complicated history with the Carlisle Indian School,” explained Lone Fight, who is also an assistant professor of American studies and enrolled member of The Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish Nation) and Citizen of Muscogee Nation. “This is an opportunity for Dickinson to turn boldly toward its history and continue the hard work of reconciling with that past, as well as an opportunity for our students and faculty to expand on their voiced interests in Native American and Indigenous studies and make more robust our connections with Indigenous peoples.”
The Center for the Futures of Native Peoples will be devoted to teaching and learning about Indigenous and Native American issues of the past, present and future. It will include an advisory council representing different nations to assist faculty on courses and lessons. It will also host symposia on Native American and Indigenous issues and campus events, including residencies and lectures by Native American and Indigenous scholars. Additionally, the college plans to establish a major in Native American and Indigenous studies.
“The creation of the center and enhancement of our curriculum in Native American studies will enrich our academic program, address the college’s legacy regarding the Carlisle Indian School and place Dickinson in the heart of national discussions on Native American futures,” said Neil Weissman, provost and dean of the college, who co-wrote the grant application with Lone Fight.
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SOURCE DICKINSON COLLEGE
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