Army Conducts Third Disinterment of Native Americans at Carlisle Barracks

By Public Affairs Staff    13 June 2019

Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery, file photo

(Carlisle, Pa -- June 13, 2019) The U.S. Army will continue its commitment to reunite Native American families with their loved ones through its third disinterment project at Carlisle Barracks beginning June 15.

The Army anticipates bringing closure to six Native American families whose children died after being sent to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School and who were buried there more than 100 years ago. On behalf of the Army, Army National Military Cemeteries is scheduled to begin the multi-phase disinterment project mid-June with archeological and anthropological expertise from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The decedent names are Ophelia Powless (aka Ophelia Powias), Sophia Caulon (aka Sophy Coulon), Jamima Metoxen (aka Jemima Meloxen), Henry Jones, Alice Springer, and Adam McCarty (aka Adam McCarthy). These students died while attending the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

"The Army's commitment remains steadfast to these six Native American families whose sacrifice is known to only a few. Our objective is to reunite the families with their children in a manner of utmost dignity and respect," said Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director of Army National Military Cemeteries.

In 1879, Carlisle Barracks became the site of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, operated by the Department of the Interior until 1918. The school educated more than 10,000 Native American children, with representation from approximately 50 Native American Tribes across the Nation.

ANMC will disinter and transfer custody to families able to establish the closest family link between the decedent and requestor, following Army Regulation 210-190. The transfer will enable families to return the children to cemeteries of their choice. The Army will reimburse the families for transport and re-interment of the deceased.

The Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery will be closed to visitors starting June 10 when set-up begins until completion of actions, tentatively July 7. In respect for the families and tribes, and consistent with Army cemetery protocol, the entire cemetery area will be enclosed with privacy fencing. Access to the cemetery will be restricted to the ANMC staff, tribal members, and their families.