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They flock alone. True stories of men who fought for our freedom do not. July 15 1875 from Army Headquarters Washington D.C. to Captain Richard Brett United States cavalry Fort Sill Indian Territory. You will take all the Indian prisoners captured in the recent uprising in Fort Leavenworth Kansas. There you will and train for Fort Marion St. Augustine Florida. You will hold said prisoners under close arrest and board Marion until further order by order of the Commanding General William Tecumseh Sherman. The National Association of educational broadcasters and the University of Michigan presented
they plan a low stories of men who fought for our freedom to know during the closing years of the Indian wars in this country a certain Army captain began to blaze a new and highly unusual for a military man. His goal to gain an education for the American Indian. I'm Richard Price Captain U.S. Army and the army learned what to do if you're told you don't always like it even though you've been in for 15 years. That's how it was with me on this mission. Seventy two Indian prisoners I was Comanche and Arapahoes. And I was taking them a thousand miles from the planes they love to ride in an old maid over a Mexican Fort called Marion in Florida. And I said taking them. They were shackled hand and foot. Their leg irons were strung to heavy chains and bolted at both ends to our wagons.
It was a hundred and eight in the shade when there wasn't any shape. I felt like I was sitting on top of a powder keg with a burning cue. Here Sergeant Brock there's been a suicide watch. How did it happen. Kill yourself with a penknife. I don't knowhow those red devils till we searched every one of them before we put the chains on them. Change won't have to bury him here. Might as well make camp and let the people little courses half of these marching soar and more trouble for sure. Sergeant Wheeler Those are orders. Regular drums out of the wagons and hand them over to them and I want to build a lot of low traffic jams for us savage savage or not it was a man Sergeant or human being and it was under our care taps. I got to Fort Marion All right. But not before another brave try to escape.
When we knew we were watching. We had to shoot it. And stop. It was going to be free one way or another. Seventy last. One was named a title. He was the son of a Kiowa chief. And if. I didn't want any more trouble and I already had. Seven. They gave me their word of honor not to try to escape from the fort if I would take the chains off. I knew I could trust their word once it was given some of the Sioux warriors led by a white cloud hadn't given their word and that was where the trouble came from. This is. Something I must tell you. Trouble big trouble. I called in three so brave. Pretty soon escape one tonight in one hour maybe less. They have wait for full moon like to kill white men. Are they armed. I told have knife he make from
chains. That's what change is really to trust your chains again. Well it's bad enough for a quarter of the matter. I'll take care of them out. Of the news except I was determined not to kill. I took off my gun belt and went out into the darkness of the compound. I didn't have long to wait. In the shadows they came sneaking across that one. I waited till they were close and then stuff a lot of white cloud coming down. We call them drop that knife no drop we be free up that way white cloud you haven't got a chance and you know have chance anyway. We fight stop or watch your blood go if you're patient wait and soon I hope but if you try to escape now you'll ruin everything for your people. They'll never get a chance and make many promises you never keep. Well I'll make one that
will be kept. You give me your word not to try to escape. I'll see what I can do about getting you out of here and about making things better for all of your people get a gun ready capped and we fight. I have no gun white cloud. Right man all of these have gone. Not this time. Look for yourself. I don't want him until troops grab him and thank God I'm OK. If you take its toll gates captain if not this knife cut your throat stop it white cloud stop it. Why do you think I took off my gun and came out here by myself. I'm trying to save your life that's why I could have given orders for my soldiers to shoot you. You try to get through the gate with me as a hostage and I'll tell them to shoot even if it means my life you know come with a gun if you so brave. Because there's been enough blood spilled already red man's and white knights. It's time we tried something else. Back to train no no our chains are wrong but so is this knife you have in my throat. You must learn to live as brothers in peace.
You must learn to trust each other. Red Man cannot live in a white man's world and he should learn the white man's ways. If you put aside your knife and we become brothers a white man will teach you. You have my word. The white cloud wavered and then I finally felt that knife leave my throat. Silently you took my hand and shook it to see all about him. And then he turned. And he and his followers went back across the compound to their quarters. I had given white cloud my word. Now it was up to me to keep mine. I started writing letters to the Indian bureau in Washington asking for help. But got none. Meanwhile I sent for my wife and put it to work taking the captured drives the white man's town. All right. Cloud Let's try reading it again in
the. No no no bombs be Guinea beige. God be here name given the guy. That's all right. Good God. Cray cray cray did not quite like cloud. Can anyone help him out. It had no created Ruy. Go on like a tit. Heaven and Earth good. Like clouds. You're getting better all the time. All of you are you Todd. You read the next part and the earth was waste and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. I'm expecting the captain to drop in and I want you to be letter perfect when he hears
you. He'll be here any minute now so let's all go over the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Now all together to that which is just. Oh that was very good. I hope someday you can make that pledge of allegiance as real citizens. Excuse me for interrupting your lesson my dear but I have some news for your students from Washington. I have received orders from General Sherman the joy to be released to return home. You have one month to make ready for your journey and then you must be gone. Captain Brett as a toddler we must leave Can we not stay here. I have spent three years here as prisoners. But you want to go home but school at home. We want to learn white
man ways. Your squad very good teach. I'm sorry there's no money to feed and keep your students. My orders are to turn you loose but kept on your promise as a toddler and I kept part of that promise. They finally got your freedom. Very strange. Got money feed Indian prisoner no got money feed Indian student don't understand and I don't understand it either. There must be some funds in a school somewhere that will take you in and give you a chance to go on learning. There must be. Just before that last month that was up. I got a letter from General Armstrong one of the famous negro Institute at Hampton Virginia. He said he could take 17 of our braves the rest including white cloud went back to the Indian Territory. Our delegation of 17 to travel among them arrived at Hampton in April of 1878.
General Armstrong how do I go about getting my Indians a school of their own. Or what do you want to do that for. Well for one thing I promised them to try for get it well and for another thing what all right there on the minority. But why should that deny them an education. Sure their savage their haughty independence but they are sharp as nails and they are willing to learn. You know I had wondered if this was just another duty for you Captain and I am glad to see it isn't. I'm with you 100 percent maybe between us we can get some action. General Armstrong helped. I went to Washington and finally got a bill introduced in Congress authorizing and paying for an Indian school. Then I came back to Hampton to wait there was a committee investigating the bill and finally they sent us a telegram telling us to be ready for a visit of inspection by one of its members. Senator Ingalls of Kansas. Ingles why he's the worst Indian hater in the country Assam is due here
in half an hour. Oh I tell you a Pret we haven't got a chance. If the Committee is sending Ingles it means they want a bill squashed. They know what kind of report he'll give before he gets here. Yes but look at it this way. If we convince him if he gives us a good report Congress would be certain to pass the bill some hope for better than no hope at all general. They won't take us long to find out. Well Senator what do you think of our schools or their wasted time in the taxpayer's money Armstrong. You can't teach Indians anything they're just Aborigine. Well we treat them as though they were but I look here Captain. Do you realize how much money it would cost us for your scheme of trying to teach these murdering 7 Jews whatever it is it be a lot cheaper to feed them than to fight them Senator.
And we got a lot more from money and it's just to pluck the boys are out in the fields practicing their plowing this time of day. Why don't we go over and have a look at. Now they are simply News. The whole idea is ridiculous why why. Because farm into a separate occupation a civilized occupation and you can no more civilized an Indian than you can a rattlesnake. But Senator a supposed it's one of your Indians who were there on the few pages Nuki here never learned to power if he practices for a hundred use Indians or nomads Roman hundreds to get their food by killing whatever happens to be handy. It's just not in their nature to stay tied down to a piece of dirt. Well they could learn if we'd help you can't change human nature. Face reality man I am facing reality senator. That's reality out there in that field. Take another look at that Indian plowing. See how he's gradually getting the feel of the plow. It's a man a human being senator who is facing the hard facts and adapting himself to changing conditions. Don't think they
don't learn fast. If only we give them a chance. Nine cents. Well let's walk over to the classroom building and have a look in the 80s with. A pad here. What's wrong with teaching your Indians right here at Hampton. Classrooms shops practice Vimes. What an establishment because our Hampton is primarily a school for Negroes. The Indians don't have the same problems. Indians can speak English and they aren't used to living in a white world besides lab. Besides what. Well besides that the negro never fought a war against the white man. The union is regarded as well which is what you called him a few minutes ago. A murdering savage because he fought back you'll go on fighting or die unless we give him a chance to learn a chance to learn. We give those red scoundrels an education in their turn and right against us. If I got in what happened to Custer at the Little Bighorn only three years ago. No I haven't forgotten that. But it only proves we must teach the Indian how to get along in
our world. Give him a chance to use his abilities like other men and they won't have any more Little Bighorn I think you have too much concern for a small minority that doesn't really amount to a hill of beans. That right of a minority to learn is what I'm fighting for. And we'd be white scoundrels Oprah didn't respect Captain Brand you mad. You know I make sure Congress doesn't give any expensive school Indians to a madmen. You'll get no school for me. I mean you've never given. One thing doesn't work to try something else. That something else was what we in the Army call a flanking maneuver. Devious roundabout. The bill I had worked so hard for was frozen in Congress thanks to Senator
Secretary of the interior. Sure it was on my side he agreed to talk to Mr. McCrary the Secretary of War and finally I got a note from the secretary of war and it was the break I was looking. To kick pending final congressional election Captain Twaddles authorized to use the deserted army barracks at Carlisle Pennsylvania to start up a school outline of the proposed bill. You will be supplied with sufficient funds and material to provide for 120 students 72 from the discontented who tried to do you. To be considered hostages for the good behavior of the other tribesmen. So I had to get 72 so when the 10th of September
1879 I set out for the code of territory to have a chief spot in 10 government drug and another tree something to do with the Black Hills. It was a bad time to have to talk education and that Spotted Tail in my blood in the lesser chiefs in the cameras for Valiant set up in the middle of the prairie and the wild free wind was blowing as it always does. You're. To me place it was Doc it was supposed to or church call us to just talk to. Chief Spotted Tail tell me I speak for him Captain track klyde white cloud all the time we spent a fortnight and wasn't wasted after all. Why you come here I want Spotted Tail to give me some of his children. I want them to come to Carlisle and I can teach them our language teach them farming and business so they can come back and help your people and to to pick you
down like to come to Muskoka theocrat to silk a place you still lightly. What's that but had to understand you but him say government Polish trick Indians always Indians you have taken everything else from us now you want all children. If you've ever been cheated why cloud some of the fault is yours your chief sign treaties but they cannot read what they sign. They talk terms but do not know our language. Yes the government may sometimes be harsh but while it is honest that I keep the promise I made you at Fort Marion that you are not governed the last part of it. I promise you again give me your sons and daughters and the SO will benefit office. You want take squaw. Certainly what you told me you had a sister bring her here let's ask her. I bought it. News to DD does Doc say we ninths go see Nakasone docs and Dixon she took a hit you know where would you
like to me Spotted Tail say she can talk. I get. Over you to everything you know is this she has kept this morning star licensed by white dog would you act as my interpreter tell Morningstar that I want to talk to her about coming to the white mans school. I speak to. My brother talked me your language and splendid morning star with you and some of the other girls of your tribe like to come to Carlisle with me. What would we watch I hope. Think of how many Sioux mothers die giving birth to their babies and how many of your men die of the sickness of the lungs. Could we help them. Certainly we could use some of the white mans medicine. Then some of your people would live who well who otherwise would die. May I go with you Mike.
Your good my sister. The heart of a white cloud is glad the morning star can help other people. But I must ask Spotted Tail. He is the chief. I will find out what he says and what he says we will do. White Cloud had a long parley with by the tail and the rest. Went on for over an hour. But White Cloud tipped the scales my way. When I was all over Spotted Tail out of his weather beaten no features and. I had my students. Call I was a deserted army barracks that had been burned during the Civil War and partially rebuilt it under the guy on the other 16 students who had been with me since fortnightly and now came up to
Carlisle and were the hard core around which we gradually gathered our strength. We opened on November 1st 1879. Men and women of all tribes worked and studied together from dawn to sunset. Mornings done a time when my most diligent student. Always together. Studying not only their books and lessons but studying each other as well. To go on the son of the Kiowa chief when love and soon remarried right in our chapel at Carlisle. What happened we don't know. But news of the marriage was relayed back to the Sioux were angered that one of their women to the whiteman school. That was bad enough but worse was to come to find out for the first time that their children were technically hostages. Prisoners of War to the white man but
technical or not they felt that once again the white man attracted. What is a type of complete captain. They've already set fire to the tool shed in a coming toward the main building. Well come on let's go. I left the office on the run. The students were pouring out of their barracks forming a protective circle around the main building. I broke through the circle a table right behind me and there was a white cloud and six others who braved the last of the die hards. There were lighted torches in their hands and there was blood in their eyes. Why do you want with your life a lot of detail say oh Sue come back to try. Back to people who burn no white man. You'll do nothing of the sort. You're going to turn
around and go back you understand. Once in four I took my knife from your throat. Not this time. My people are prisoners. You robbed them of their strength by making earth diggers of them your people stay here only because they want to and are called hostages only so that we can have our school enough. Give me Morning Star do not stand in the way and not torch wait white cloud. You are Morning Stars brother but I am her husband. She will stay with me here till we learn white man ways. Morning Star is the sister of chief. She been along with the Sioux not with a white man and with are they giving Kyle a title is son of Kiowa chief. My blood is as good as yours white cloud. Then I shared your bloody toddler. The white man's ways have made you do not talk like war. I don't want your blood white cloud or I would surely take it. But there is a way. We will wrestle in the way of our fathers.
OH MY GOD ARE YOU CAN'T DO IT. I had seen this Indian wrestling matches before and I didn't want to see a toddler mixed up in one. A title I tell you you can't do it I must. If I win the Super will be part in peace. Yes but if you would burn school anyway this way we have a chance. White man has fought so that Indian will be able to learn. Now it is time for the red man to fight for himself. My heart was hammering like a Tom-Tom as a circle was cleared for the battle. And in the flickering light of the talk has a toddler one white cloud stripped to the waist stood toe to toe grab each other's right hand and started. Indian wrestling as a test of quick thinking as well as strength. The first one to throw the other one off balance and make him shift his feet as the victor. Meanwhile anything goes for long agonizing moments neither could get an advantage. And I watched while I'd worked for hung in the balance of their struggle. They were both strong and smart. Only a toddler had always been a little smarter and they
still was and it was soon obvious that following the plow would not soften him with all the strength and suddenly there was a swell of motion crookedly I heard the brittle telltale cracked and someone had a broken off like cotton over an aside like a pony slipping on a mud bank and it was over. No that was the end of our problems. I always have trouble when you try something new in education or anything else. But now the red man would have a chance. With the school set up to train him to meet his needs. He would be free to learn as all men should be free to learn. Yes it was finally ours. This Professor Claude Egerton Robert C. Angell delegate to Eunice
CO and professor of sociology at the University of Michigan concludes this story of Captain Richard Pratt. Professor Angel Congress finally passed the bill approving Carlyle in 1883 and Captain Pratt successful struggle to set up the first non reservation school for Indians soon paid handsome dividends for instance Carlisle turned out many great athletes like him for the greatest all round athlete of our times. But more importantly it turned out thousands upon thousands of Indians trained to make their way in the world of the white men who had conquered the continent. Thus did we whites hardly recognize the Indian as deserving the equality of educational opportunity that we had accepted as right for our own children. This was indeed a milestone not only for the original Americans but for other minority groups who were yearning for the benefits of education. We have even yet not reached the end of this road. There are still
inequalities to be remedied. Captain Richard Pratt's example at Carlisle still serves to remind us of our duty and spur us on to achieve equal opportunity without learning there can be no liberty and liberty means freedom to learn for all. This has been the story of Captain Richard Graham Birch JanSport the red man on the University of Michigan series they've gone alone. Today's program featured Todd Jones as Captain Richard Grant others in the cast who are Gene Bohai and Nancy born buddy Ellis then hires the lady had laid down Marlon and Conrad Stilton music was arranged and played by Anita bus. Today's script was written by William Jelani and directed by Edward starship editorial supervision by Professor Claude egrets and and William Bender Jr. This is Bill Gross and speaking. The
program was produced and transcribed by the broadcasting service of the University of Michigan. This is the network.
They fought alone
Captain Richard Pratt
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Captain Richard Pratt champions the rights of Native Americans to an education.
Series Description
Drama series on pioneering individuals produced at University of Michigan
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Social Issues
Race and Ethnicity
United States Indian School (Carlisle, Pa.)
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Actor: Heisel, Ted
Actor: Jones, Todd
Composer: Bassett, Anita
Performer: Barton, Robert
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Speaker: Angell, Robert Cooley, 1899-1984
Speaker: Eggertsen, Claude A. (Claude Andrew), 1909-
Writer: Cherniak, William
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-3-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:25
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Chicago: “They fought alone; Captain Richard Pratt,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “They fought alone; Captain Richard Pratt.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: They fought alone; Captain Richard Pratt. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from