At the beginning of the 20th century, the government funded schools for Native American children were used to assimilate them into white society. One such school, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, opened in 1879 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Because the Carlisle campus had been previously procured from the Department of War for use as an army barrack, the area was not on a reservation. Therefore, the school was the first federal government non-reservation Native American boarding school.
Status as a non-reservation school allowed the administration to strip traditional heritage from the students. For example, students often wore military uniforms and marched in drills. Also, the Native Americans were prohibited to speak their native language or wear their native clothing.
Administrators would send students to the homes of caucasians in the community, and were expected to learn trades. The Native American students were also expected to become more like the caucasians and less like their Native relatives.