Center for the Futures of Native Peoples

Center for the Future of Native Peoples logo

About the Center

The Center for the Futures of Native Peoples at Dickinson College is a pioneering initiative dedicated to advancing the understanding and appreciation of the Indigenous boarding school experience, promoting the study of North American indigeneity, and fostering a robust national conversation on the past, present, and future of Native American issues. Our Center is uniquely positioned to lead in this endeavor, given Dickinson College's intimate and complicated history with the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (CIIS), a major site of memory for Native Americans located near our campus.

The CIIS, operating from 1879 to 1918, enrolled 7,800 students from across the United States, including Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, with the aim of assimilating and "civilizing" Indian children. As the flagship and model for all other off-reservation boarding schools across the US and Canada, the CIIS represented a tool of cultural violence intended to erase Indigenous futures and secure a singular, racially assimilated American nation.

Our Center acknowledges the profound moral failing of Dickinson College's historical relationship with the CIIS, a relationship that included support for the school's activities and collaboration with its mission. We recognize the pernicious damage done by the CIIS to Indigenous peoples and their nations, and we are committed to reconciling with this history and facilitating opportunities to discuss the future of Native peoples—the very thing the CIIS and other federal boarding schools were designed to erase.

The CFNP is made possible by the generous support of the Mellon Foundation. 

Central Pennsylvania Native American & Indigenous Studies Symposium: REGISTER HERE

Instagram Follow

More from the Center

Mellon logo

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at