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Less Education, More Forced Labor

taken Jun 28, 2023

What is the Meriam Report, and what role did it play in ending a corrupt program? In 1880, Richard Pratt opened the Carlisle School’s Outing Program. While the program had a rocky start, Pratt chose to expand the following year and eventually the program was practiced all over the country. Pratt framed the programs as an opportunity to give boarding school students real-world experience and cultivate practical skills they learned at school, but in reality, the Outing Programs were nothing more than indentured servitude. By the 1930s, most programs were so corrupt that they were discontinued. Were the programs nixed due to a sudden change of heart? 

Note: We would like to issue a content warning for this episode. Some parts of this episode may not be suitable for younger audiences.

Hosted by: Sharon McMahon

Executive Producer: Heather Jackson

Audio Producer: Jenny Snyder

Written and researched by: Heather Jackson, Amy Watkin, Mandy Reid, and KariMarisa Anton


Thank you to our guest K. Tsiannina Lomawaima and some of the music in this episode was composed by indigenous composer R. Carlos Nakai.


Links to Full Episode: 


About our Expert

Tsianina Lomawaima (Mvskoke / Creek Nation descent), scholar of Indigenous studies, is retired from the professoriate where she served as faculty at the University of Washington (1988-1994), the University of Arizona (1994-2014), and Arizona State University (2014-2020). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the National Academy of Education. Her scholarship on the federal off-reservation boarding school system is rooted in the experiences of her father, Curtis Thorpe Carr, a survivor of Chilocco Indian Agricultural School in Oklahoma, where he was enrolled from 1927 to 1935. Relevant publications include the 2018 special issue of JAIE (Journal of American Indian Education) “Native American Boarding School Stories” Vol. 57 #1; “To Remain an Indian”: Lessons for democracy from a century of Native American education (2006; with Teresa McCarty); Away from home: American Indian boarding school experiences (2000; with Margaret Archuleta and Brenda Child); and They Called it Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School (1994).


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