“Before-and-After Portraiture: Photography and Time at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School” by María Beatriz H. Carrión

Established in 1879, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (1879-1918) was the first military-run and non-reservation boarding institution for young Indigenous peoples in the United States.1 Employing a philosophy of “kill the Indian and save the man”, a phrase popularized by the school’s founder and first superintendent Captain Richard Pratt (1840-1924), this institution developed a highly controlled environment that initiated students in Anglo-Saxon values, skills, and lifestyles.2 In undergoing this systemic acculturation, the children who attended the school could legally become U.S. citizens as the government started granting birthright citizenship to Native Americans in 1924.3 Carlisle was conceived as a project of “Americanization” at a time when U.S. citizenship was equated with whiteness, fluency in English, adherence to Protestantism, and capitalism.4 As articulated by scholars K. Tsianina Lomawaima and Teresa L. McCarty, standardized education “segregated and marginalized Native peoples and others as it has circumscribed a narrow zone of tolerable cultural difference.”5


Off-reservation boarding schools like Carlisle forced the separation of Indigenous minors from their families, depleting Native homelands and facilitating settler colonialism in disputed territories.6 Over its almost forty-year history, the school commissioned photographic materials to promote its mission and raise funds. The most famous of these are the before-and-after portraits of the student body created by Pennsylvanian photographer John Choate (1848-1902). The “before” pictures, which exacerbate the cultural and racial identities of the sitters, show the students wearing traditional clothing and hairstyles. Conversely, the “after” photographs de-emphasize otherness by showing sitters in the school’s gendered uniforms and hairstyles (short hair for boys, tied-back hair for girls). Choate took the “before” photographs upon students’ arrival to Carlisle and the “after” photographs months or even years later. These portraits depict how exposure to the school’s curriculum “civilized” students.7 Scholars in the fields of Native American and Indigenous Studies and Art History have determined that the Carlisle photographs present indigeneity as a primitive state of being that can be and must be overcome through education and assimilation. These depictions, therefore, advanced the goals of boarding education while also shaping the imaginary of Native North Americans.8 



Fig. 1. John N. Choate, Tom Torlino Navajo, “before-and-after portrait”, 1882-1885, photographic reproduction on paper. This image appears in John N. Choate’s Souvenir of the Carlisle Indian School pamphlet (Carlisle, PA: J. N. Choate, 1902). Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.


Among the before-and-after portraits produced by Choate, that of the Diné student Tom Torlino (an incorrect transcription of his birthname in Navajo, Hastiin To’Haali, 1860-?), remains one of the best known (Fig. 1 and 2).9 Torlino arrived at the school at the age of twenty-two, and, after running away on multiple occasions, he permanently left Carlisle at the age of twenty-six. The school’s academic records indicate that he returned to Navajoland in 1886, specifically to his hometown of Tohatchi in New Mexico. His before-and-after photographs were respectively taken in 1882, immediately upon his arrival to Pennsylvania, and in 1885 after he had spent three years at the institution.10 The “before” image depicts Torlino as he faces Choate’s camera. Despite this compositional frontality, the sitter does not stare directly at the lens of the camera, evading the gaze of the viewer. He wears traditional Navajo fashion, with large hoops hanging from his earlobes and a voluminous necklace with crosses of different sizes decorating his neck. A headband that holds back his shoulder-length, dark, and unkempt hair further accessorizes him. Torlino also wears a low-cut shirt that exposes a small fraction of his chest and a serape, or wearing blanket, wrapped around his left shoulder. The unpolished appearance of his skin was purposeful as students could not shower or change prior to being photographed, even if they had traveled to Pennsylvania by foot. On the other hand, Torlino’s “after” portrait shows him as an assimilated man who has lost his Diné regalia and hairstyle. Now, he features a cadet haircut and wears the school uniform, which consisted of a dark blue jacket with five buttons and a pair of light blue trousers, as well as a white shirt, a tie, and the visible chain of a pocket watch. Even his skin tone appears lighter. The most striking element of the “after” images is that the sitters usually appear lighter-skinned, an effect of Choate’s technical manipulation of the images.11 As exemplified by this image, and by the other before-and-after portraits, the photographic record of Carlisle embodies nineteenth-century ideologies about education, race, human evolution, and time.


Tom Torlino’s before-and-after portrait expresses the Western understanding of time as a linear and evolutionary phenomenon while also speaking to the development of clock-consciousness in the Americas. Driven by the mass production of clocks, the 1800s saw the transformation of people’s relationship with time in the United States. The quantitative standardization of time and the illusion of control enabled by mechanical clocks, a phenomenon that the present article describes as clock-consciousness, replaced people’s reliance on natural phenomena and religious practices to guide their routines. As established by scholar Thomas M. Allen, the formation of clock-consciousness in the United States not only affected people at an individual level but also contributed to the emergence of modern U.S. nationhood.12 In this context, although Torlino’s pictures highlight external changes, one small element in the“after” portrait alludes to his inner acculturation: the metallic chain of a pocket watch that appears beneath his dark blazer. The pocket watch, a seemingly benign fashion accessory, reflects a far more radical change in the consciousness of the sitter: his adoption of a new regime of time. 


The temporal issues of this imagery are a lens through which these photographs are rarely addressed. Unlike postcolonial accounts that stress how Torlino and the other sitters of the Carlisle pictures were passive subjects of photographic colonialism, this paper focuses on Torlino’s agency within the broader framework of acculturation that he endured. This approach is grounded in decolonial and Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS), two frameworks that seek to highlight Indigenous stories and worldviews over those of settlers. While the Western understanding of agency invokes the ability to shape one’s present and future, the concept of survivance, which stems from NAIS, allows the recognition of small or big instances in which colonial subjects exert their will, express individuality, and call attention to their presence. Torlino’s history at Carlisle is not one of agency as understood in the West, but certainly is one of survivance. Decolonial theory, at the same rate, makes space for a critical engagement with the cultural specificity of time and of how the Carlisle imagery attests to students’ strategic engagement with its mechanical regimes in the boarding school system of the 1800s. Using these interpretative approaches, this paper focuses on two aspects of the Carlisle photographs: first, how these images portray Torlino’s temporal dislocation from a Navajo regime of time to a Euro-American one and second, how photography facilitates cultural comparison and the creation of universal timelines.13 Overall, this study demonstrates that the Carlisle before-and-after photographs embody Western time and assimilationist policies as much as they snapshot Indigenous agency and resistance.   


Photography and Temporal Dislocations


To approach the temporal dimension of the Carlisle portraits, it is useful to consider photo-historian Shamoon Zamir’s compelling analysis of Western and Indigenous times in portraits of Native North Americans by Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952). Zamir argues that the presence of a clock in a traditional setting “signal[s] the [Indigenous sitter’s] ability to inhabit simultaneously culturally different temporalities.”14 This claim refers to the photograph In a Piegan Lodge (1910), a domestic scene of which two versions exist. The original image shows two Piegan Blackfeet men, Little Plume and his son Yellow Kidney, displaying valuable possessions on the ground including a pipe and an alarm clock kept in a case (Fig. 3). Conversely, the second image shows the two men in the exact same setting except for the clock, which has disappeared (Fig. 4). This second image is a doctored version of the original. Curtis deliberately erased any symbols of cultural hybridity in his extensive documentation of Native North American peoples to portray these communities as untouched by industry and colonization. Zamir claims that though the watch goes unused, its presence in the scene evinces the sitters’ negotiation of the symbols and artifacts of Western modernity. Similar to In a Piegan Lodge, Choate’s before-and-after portrait of Tom Torlino captures the sitter’s temporal dislocation and ability to navigate different conceptualizations of time. 



Fig. 3. Edward S. Curtis, In a Piegan Lodge, ca. 1910, photographic print, dimensions unknown. Library of Congress, Washington DC.



Fig. 4. Edward S. Curtis, In a Piegan Lodge, ca. 1910, photographic print (altered), dimensions 14.1 x 17.3 in. (36 x 44 cm). Courtesy of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University Libraries, Evanston, Illinois. 

In the nineteenth century, Indigenous regimes of time were culturally-specific and combined cyclical and linear systems influenced by natural phenomena, ancestral beliefs, European and Euro-American colonizers, and Spanish missionaries alike.15 Studies of narratology in Native American literature also suggest that “indigenous nationhood […] invests in the simultaneous unity and diversity of time, in convergence, and in the concurrent meaningfulness and therefore historical legitimacy of all things past, present, and future.”16 This concept of time as a convergence of different temporalities was specifically significant for Diné students like Torlino.


Torlino’s view of time reflected Navajo values and cosmology. Cultural anthropologist Rik Pixten contends that, although scholars assumed that all non-Western peoples envision time as a cycle guided by natural phenomena, Native American conceptualizations of time are much more complex than that. For example, he argues that Navajo time can be visualized as a curved line that moves like a boomerang.17 Here, time starts as a straight line that, at some point, turns around and heads in the opposite direction. The universe’s expansion and contraction cause this change. Unlike Western time, which is metaphorized by an arrow that moves unidirectionally, or cyclical time, which suggests repetition, Navajo time is about return. As Pixten explains, “while growing older one continuously changes, gradually to become an ancestor (which, in the West, we would situate ‘in the past’).”18 In Navajo time, which also observes natural cycles, the future, and the past, youth and old age, birth and death, converge.19


This non-linear temporal conceptualization impacts time management among Diné individuals. For instance, Pixten discusses how his relationship with time as a Western man differed from that of his fieldwork consultants, who worked extra hours without additional pay to complete their tasks. Pixten concludes that “where the ethnographer-westerner is used to equating moments with clock-time, the Navajo will fulfill a task or take the transition in a moment to its natural ending and base his temporal boundaries on that rather than the clock.”20 This anecdote demonstrates that the Diné have a more fluid and non-constrictive relationship with time that often disregards punctuality and clock-discipline.21 Instead, it is a person’s environment, context, and body that more frequently determine the duration of actions, experiences, and memories.22 The non-conventionality of Indigenous regimes of time drove Euro-Americans to construe Native peoples as timeless. Settlers perceived the disengagement with clock-discipline as a distinctive trait of indigeneity. Authentic Native peoples in the settler imagination were timeless both because time did not change them and because they did not manage it. From this perspective, the “after” portrait of Torlino wearing a pocket watch suggests the loss of his Navajo identity. From a decolonial perspective, it also expresses his agency in navigating a temporal dislocation.23 


Torlino’s before-and-after portrait visualizes such dislocation by showing him as an Indigenous man with a watch. His “before” picture exemplifies what Wells calls the “timeless Indian”, in as much the sitter appears unaware and disconnected to modernity and exclusively linked to his cultural traditions.24 Instead, in the “after” image, Torlino has gained a clock-consciousness as his pocket watch implies that he knows, follows, and understands mechanical, Anglo-Saxon time. The pocket watch chain of Torlino implies his punctuality and work discipline. It conveys that he can regulate his body and behavior beyond the photograph. Even if Torlino, the real character, may not have been able to read time, his “after” photograph convinced people that he could.


By the time Torlino arrived at Carlisle, clock-consciousness was growing popular in the U.S.25 Workers were introduced to clocks in places of employment, including factories and plantations, through which time became synonymous with money as wages were proportional to work hours. Capitalism’s instrumentalization of time directly impacted the popularity of watches which became quintessential symbols of modernity, productivity, industriousness, and socioeconomic status. Native American communities in the Southwest, including the Navajo, learned about clock-time through missionaries and educators. The Spanish colonialization of the American Southwest brought bell towers to the region while the Westward Expansion extended the reach and commercialization of clocks and watches. Curtis’s original version of In a Piegan Lodge demonstrates that Indigenous peoples owned clocks and often used them according to their sociocultural needs or personal tastes. Because Curtis never would have included such a modern, mechanical artifact in his photographs, it is only reasonable that sitters staged the clock in the image.26 Likewise, personal narratives written by Carlisle alumni suggest that students who possessed watches projected value on these objects even if they were initially unfamiliar with their mechanics.27 


In her analysis of the history of clock consciousness among Native American peoples, Cheryl A. Wells mentions that Carlisle graduates like the Lakota Luther Standing Bear (1888-1939), a notable author and educator, received a golden watch as a gift from his father while at the school. “When any of the boys or girls looked at me,” recalled Standing Bear, “I always took out that watch and looked at it, imagining that I could tell time!!”28 Despite this initial unfamiliarity with watches, Wells argues that Carlisle students developed and promoted clock-consciousness among their peers.29 Demonstrating that one could read and use a clock often proved the students’ ability to participate and contribute to modernity.30 Clock literacy also facilitated the rigid structure of boarding schools where educators regulated all daily routines. The times to wake up and study were standardized and announced by whistles, bells, and clocks.31 Such a system forced students to adopt clock discipline to navigate the school. 


Another curricular strategy that immersed students in a clock-conscious context was the Indian Outing Program, a system created by Pratt to integrate students into the country’s industrial workforce. The program sent students to live with Euro-American families in rural Pennsylvania with students paying for their room and board through household and farm labor. The school’s curriculum prepared students for such placements. Boys learned blacksmithing, carpentry, and telegraphy; girls learned to cook, do household work, and make crafts.32 Though Pratt conceived this system as an advantageous opportunity for students, this arrangement subjected them to exploitative working conditions while providing participating Euro-American families with cheap, skilled labor.33 Even if some students enjoyed earning money through the outing system, the program taxed participating children both emotionally and physically.34 Recounting the history of labor at Carlisle establishes that students had an empirical understanding of work-hour relations, which their education further extrapolated and normalized. In Torlino’s portrait, settler viewers’ familiarity with the Outing Program would have granted credibility to the student’s claim of clock-consciousness and industrial savviness. 


In this context, it is significant that Torlino’s blazer in the “after” picture is open so that viewers can notice the chain of his pocket watch. If Torlino actively resisted Carlisle’s assimilationist curriculum, the gesture of prominently embracing a symbol of Anglo-Saxon culture such as a watch would seem counterintuitive. However, this choice reveals that students understood the financial benefits of clock literacy. Carlisle made a concerted effort to indoctrinate students in matters of time. The best example of this practice is In a Minute, a narrative poem reproduced in the Carlisle student publication The Indian Helper in 1894. This text enumerates the diverse transactions that occur every sixty seconds across the country. “In this minute you have kept me waiting,” says the narrator, “12 bales of cotton have been taken from the fields, and 36 bushels of grain have gone into 149 gallons of spirits, while $66 of gold have been dug from the earth.”35 Here, the minute ceases to be an abstract measurement and instead becomes a space for economic gain. The poem dismisses waiting as inaction that overlooks the value of time as a limited commodity. It also reinforces the proverb that “time is money” and encourages productivity. Considering Carlisle students’ participation in the Outing Program, this capitalist immersion specifically trained students to work as hard as possible in their placements.  


This story demonstrates that the school taught students about labor and time, a precept that late-nineteenth-century textbooks standardized for the entire U.S. educational community, including for boarding schools like Carlisle. Most textbooks from the late 1800s present time as a quantitative and universal concept linked to mathematics and industrial productivity, completely independent from the sociocultural context of North America.36 Thanks to this mathematical education and to the Outing system, Carlisle Students had an awareness of work hours. The school also operated under a “half and a half” system where students spent the same amount of time in the classroom as they worked in the fields or in the institution’s facilities. It was the students’ free labor that allowed Carlisle to survive when the school first opened as the federal government’s funding arrived late.37 Later in the school’s history, in the first decades of the twentieth century, pupils produced “Indian-themed” crafts and memorabilia that tourists would avidly purchase to commemorate their visit to campus. The teaching of crafts was specifically envisioned to provide Indigenous women with a profitable job for after graduation.38 


In addition to demonstrating clock literacy, Torlino’s pocket watch also conveyed an unexpected form of resistance to the school’s status quo. Indeed, regardless of whether most settlers ideologically supported Carlisle’s project of acculturation, school officials felt uneasy about Indigenous students’ relation to clock-consciousness. As explored by Wells, Euro-Americans expressed uneasiness about Native individuals who demonstrated knowledge of mechanical time. For example, Carlisle officials discouraged students from investing money in pocket watches. Several stories published in The Indian Helper show that students wished to buy a pocket watch and that the faculty dissuaded them from making this purchase. One of the publication’s issues recounts three anecdotes that the school director had shared with the student body, the first of which states the following:


Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! The idea of a boy with no more than $30 to his name wanting to buy a watch and chain. Ha! Ha! Ha! What a fool! An industrious saving white man with two or three hundred dollars does not think he can afford a watch and chain unless he absolutely needs it.39


This anecdote discourages and ridicules students’ desire to own a watch; it virtue signals and reifies racial hierarchies about Euro-American men’s supposed superiority over their Indigenous counterparts. It also speaks to the prominence that austerity has historically held among Anglo-Saxon Americans. Frugality is a core tenet of the “Protestant ethic” that the school imparted. Indeed, not only did school officials encourage students to save money, but they also prevented them from spending it.40 The Outing Program, for instance, included a mandatory savings program. This means that even if buying a watch indicated that students had embraced clock-consciousness, it also implied that they defied the authorities’ condemnation of profligates. Though Choate composed the photograph from a settler perspective, the picture conveys Torlino’s self-fashioning as a stylish and wealthy man who afforded an accessory that most Euro-Americans could not buy. 


Torlino, His Pocket Watch, and Survivance


The specific form of agency and resistance that the Indigenous ownership of a pocket watch represented can be described as survivance. In other words, if Torlino made the decision to wear a pocket watch, he did it to assert his individuality, purchasing power, and knowledge of Western, mechanical time.41 Chippewa author and scholar Gerald Vizenor developed the concept of survivance to redefine Indigenous peoples’ agency in contexts of colonial dominance. Survivance offers a nuanced view of empowerment that recognizes resistance in survival. While surviving has traditionally been defined as a passive endeavor, survivance acknowledges that enduring and thriving in an oppressive environment entails proactivity, creativity, strategic thinking, and strength. Unlike canonical definitions of agency which see it as controlling one’s experience in the world, survivance focuses on the reassertion of one’s presence. Vizenor also claims that “survivance is an active resistance and repudiation of dominance, obtrusive themes of tragedy, nihilism, and victimry.”42 Because survivance has been defined in opposition to both agency and victimization, it facilitates discussions of settler colonialism that do not relegate Indigenous subjects to vulnerability and dispossession. Instead, the term leads us to think of the Native American peoples who survived violent, traumatic, and adverse circumstances as active and creative individuals. In the context of Torlino’s “after” portrait, it is difficult to locate the sitter’s agency for Choate and Pratt conceptualized and executed the portraits. Because students had very limited control over their experience at Carlisle, it is difficult to imagine that Torlino determined the composition of his portrait. Indeed, the majority of “after” portraits follow a standardized formula to the extent that they blur the individuality of each sitter by homogenizing their representation. Every transformed student resembles the next. 



Fig. 5. John N. Choate, Tom Torlino and George S. Watchman [version 2], 1885, photographic print with handwritten inscription, dimensions unknown. Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. 


It is in this context that Torlino’s pocket watch gains significance. His “after” portrait is one of the few, if not the only, where the sitter wears an ostentatious accessory. As the pocket watch distinguishes Torlino from other students, its presence suggests that it was the sitter and not the photographer who selected this prop. Other images of Torlino made by Choate reveal that he wore his watch when posing for several images (Fig. 5). The chain of his watch appears in the lower center of the composition, hanging from the top button of his vest. The crispness of the image spotlights the rich textures and design of the watch’s chain, which contrasts with the coarse fabric of the school’s uniform.43  


Pocket watches were not part of the uniform, and other pictures produced at Carlisle reveal that only certain individuals possessed them. For instance, a group portrait of the graduating class of 1890 shows the Crow student Carl Leider (1868-1933) wearing a pocket watch (Fig. 6). Surrounded by his classmates who stand behind or sit next to him, Leider stares at the left side of the image. He has a stoic facial expression and his upper body, unlike that of his fellow sitters who appear more relaxed, seems rigid and perfectly composed. While most of the other male students wear their blazer fully buttoned, his is strategically open so that viewers can see a delicate pocket watch chain attached to the third button of his vest. Out of the eighteen students present in the image, only he carries this accessory. 



Fig. 6. John N. Choate, Graduate Class of 1890 [Pose 1], 1890, photographic print, dimensions unknown. Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.


Similarly, the studio portrait of Arapaho students Arnold Woolworth (Big Tall Man, 1862-ca.1940) and Caper Edson (1866-?) shows the two figures standing proudly with their pocket watches beneath their blazers (Fig. 7). The composition of this image particularly spotlights the pocket watches of both sitters. In fact, Woolworth’s hand gently rests on Edson’s shoulder, which results in their bodies standing in close proximity to one another, with Edson’s oddly positioned right hand revealing the awkwardness of the pose and his discomfort in front of the camera. The overlap of their figures results in both of their pocket watches showing beneath their mostly unbuttoned blazers. Each of the chains has a different pattern and they hang almost next to one another right in the center of the image. The fact that only a handful of students wear a pocket watch reveals that these objects were personal acquisitions or family gifts that not everyone could afford. Given their exclusivity, not only do watches convey clock-literacy, but they also communicate purchasing power and social status. Wearing a watch was an act of self-fashioning that enabled students to reassert their taste and social standing when the school deprived them of most individuality. 



Fig. 7. John N. Choate, “Arnold Woolworth and Casper Edson,” 1880-9, photograph after glass plate negative, dimensions unknown. Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.   


More specifically, Torlino’s pocket watch distinguished his portrayal and allowed him to reassert the social status that he retained back in his hometown. Torlino was the nephew of Chief Manuelito (1818-93), a prominent leader of the Diné resistance to the federal removal of Navajo people in Arizona in the 1860s. Manuelito was also a signing member of the treaty that established the Navajo reservation in 1868; the Navajo were one of the few tribes legally authorized to return to their ancestral lands.44 Torlino’s cultural and personal identity as a Navajo man was connected to this history of active resistance. 


Even if his before-and-after portrait made Torlino an icon of acculturation, he actively resisted boarding education as he escaped Carlisle on several occasions. Regarding the history of resistance in boarding schools, Ojibwe historian Brenda J. Child writes: 


I continue to be inspired by all forms of rebellion—the students in boarding schools who would not bend to the will of administrators and the scores of resilient parents who insisted on remaining parents, staying in touch with their children who lived hundreds of miles from home.45


Students and parents who challenged the school administrators exemplify survivance. In this sense, it is worth noticing that, in addition to running away, Torlino advocated for his release from Carlisle with representatives from his tribe. In December of 1885, John H. Bowman (1858-1908), the U.S. agent for the Navajo, informed the Office of Indian Affairs that Tom Torlino should return to New Mexico. Bowman writes, “Tom Torlino’ is in very poor health and very homesick and that it is his [the interpreter’s] belief that if the boy is allowed to remain there he will soon die.”46 This communication reveals that the student complained about his condition to the interpreter sent by the U.S. Navajo Agency to visit the school. Expressing his existential discomfort reveals that Torlino never adapted to Carlisle and that, even in his most vulnerable moments when he felt he could die of homesickness, he still expressed his needs and asked for support. In response to Bowman, Pratt dismissed the claim that Torlino suffered from any physical maladies; instead, the student’s struggles indicated deep emotional distress.47


Torlino’s many efforts to leave Carlisle show that he used his very limited influence at the school to shape his life. Moreover, the conclusion of Bowman’s letter reveals that the Diné community in Tohatchi remembered and cared for him. Bowman explains, “I would respectfully suggest that this boy be allowed to return to his People. If he should die at school, it would have a bad effect on the tribe and would deter any others from going there.”48 Even if he was one of many students at Carlisle, his community remembered him, and his death would not have gone unnoticed. A second letter about Torlino’s status mentions that “he is a man of twenty-five and has some influence over his tribe. His four years at Carlisle have made him a fair example to induce others.”49 This letter, which underscores the adulthood and status of Torlino in his home, convinced Pratt to bring his education at Carlisle to an end in 1886. The U.S. Agency for the Navajo intended to use Torlino’s case to persuade parents to entrust their kids to Carlisle. However, rather than furthering the reach of residential education, Torlino worked as a rancher and medicine man in Navajoland where he used his knowledge of the English language and settler culture to assist Manuelito in dealings with settlers.50  For example, he served as cultural broker when the U.S. Army built a water system for Coyote Canyon, his place of residence within Navajoland. He also raised a family, the descendants of which continued to reside in the reservation at least until 2013. Speaking about Torlino’s ability to seamlessly move from Navajo to Euro-American cultural settings and back, his son, Francis, reported that “[Torlino] could put on a suit when he needed to, but he was just as comfortable in traditional (Navajo) clothing.”51  Much like this biographical information, Choate’s portrait of Torlino reveals the sitter’s ability to strategically subvert settler teachings and expectations for the benefit of himself, his family, and his nation. 


Photography, Time, and Assimilation


Beyond the specificities of Torlino’s depictions, the before-and-after format that Choate employed attests to photography’s ability to assimilate and historicize. In fact, the early photographs of the school aimed to prove that boarding education accelerated the assimilation of Indigenous children. These pictures were used as a tool to court public and private funding and raised awareness about the institution among private donors. The “Friends of the Indian”, a Christian group of policy reformers concerned with “humane” solutions for the “Indian Problem” (i.e. the question of “what shall be done with the Indians as an obstacle to national progress?), were amongst the school’s most vocal supporters.52 Given their aim and audience, the photographs promoting Carlisle had to be compelling, familiar, and easy to read.53 It was in this context that Pratt hired John Choate, a studio photographer, to depict the successful assimilation of the student body. 


Choate’s main challenge consisted of how to convey students’ acculturation visually. His compositional strategy was to employ a before-and-after format that juxtaposed two pictures of the same sitter in one single print (Figs. 1 and 2). Despite focusing on external changes, viewers would have interpreted these images as indications of the sitters’ psychological, linguistic, religious, and cultural assimilation.54 Such association does not come as a surprise. In the late nineteenth century, the pseudoscientific movements of phrenology and physiognomy spread the belief that an individual’s appearance reveals their psychological, intellectual, and behavioral traits.55 These pseudoscientific movements, much like Carlisle, relied on photographs to prove their beliefs about the correlation among physical traits, mental abilities, character, and ethnicity.  


In the same way that photography assimilated students, the Outing system catalyzed the children’s cultural uprooting through training in vocational occupations. Scholar Robert A. Trennert claims that “observers [in the 1880s and 1890s] liked to describe the [outing] system as the ‘strong right arm’ of the school and they maintained that no other program was as effective in removing the child from tribal influences.”56 This quote reveals that Pratt and his allies, who called themselves “Friends of the Indian”, instrumentalized the teaching of industrial skills to acculturate students. In fact, Pratt’s so-called “erase and replace” system meant that Anglo-Saxon values, skills, and lifestyles would replace Indigenous ones rather than amalgamating with them. Even if students often developed hybrid or border identities while at the institution, the school’s mission was never to foment multiculturalism, but always to acculturate.57 In the words of Apache educator Mildred Cleghorn, “they were trying to make white people out of ‘em [the children].”58 Additional practices of cultural genocide at Carlisle included the banning of Native American languages, the Christianization of students’ given names, religious indoctrination, and physical and emotional abuse.59 The mandatory uniforms worn by students imposed Euro-American notions of gender, propriety, and hygiene. The imagery of Carlisle and, specifically, the before-and-after portraits of the school’s student body, examines this strategic regulation of the students’ bodies. 


The before-and-after format employed by Choate drew attention to assimilation as a durational process, even if it only captured the beginning and the end of the students’ trajectories.60 At an elementary level, these photographs reduce the multi-year experience of students to a dialectic of two images that omit the violence and trauma endured by minors.61 This deliberate omission of the ‘in-between’ further speaks to how Social Darwinism influenced the school’s mission to civilize students.62 In her analysis of Social Darwinism and photography, Coco Fusco claims that before-and-after pictures proved that education could ‘accelerate’ the evolution of non-white peoples, achieving in a couple of years what supposedly took nature and culture centuries.63 The absence of the ‘in between’, that is of what happened from the time that the first picture was taken to when the last one was produced, also creates the impression that with the single act of entering the school and being photographed, Torlino became an American man. Because this photographic genre collapses time, the changes and violence that students endured in their time at the school are absent from the picture. 


Moreover, the use of photography at Carlisle speaks to the medium’s conceptualization as the visual technology of modernity. With its roots in science and industry, photography had reduced the amount of time needed to produce multiple, highly naturalistic depictions of an object or subject to a matter of seconds. Photography represented efficiency, reproducibility, and innovation, some of the core values of the U.S. industrial era. The assumed indexicality of nineteenth-century photography cast these images as uncontestable evidence of the students’ change. Even though Choate could alter the pictures, as evidenced by the artificial whitening of the students’ skin tones in the “after” images, most viewers would have assumed that these images provided a precise and objective documentation of the students’ assimilation to Euro-American society.64   


Considering that Pratt needed to prove that education could, and had, transformed students in a couple of years, why did Choate use a format that brought attention to the process rather than to the result? A fitting answer is that Wi-jún-jon, Pigeon’s Egg Head Going to and Returning from Washington (1837-9), a painting by American artist George Catlin (1796-1872), set a precedent of depicting the effects of “civilization” on Indigenous sitters through a before-and-after format.65 This genre was a broader trend among photographers of non-white or otherwise disadvantaged populations in the 1800s, who used it to convey assimilation and social improvement.66 



Fig. 8. Frances Benjamin Johnston, The Old Well, 1899-1900, platinum print, 7 1/2 × 9 9/16” (19 × 24.3 cm). Gift of Lincoln Kirstein. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY.


In addition to Choate’s work at Carlisle, photographers employed the before-and-after genre when portraying African American students at contemporaneous boarding schools and of orphaned, unhoused children who were rehabilitated to rejoin society. Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952) used this format in her tableaux-like pictures of the students at the Hampton Institute (1868-1943), a Black university founded with the expressly white supremacist purpose of uplifting the “backward races” through education.67 Johnston’s The Old Well (1899-1900) depicts an impoverished African American family drawing water from a precarious well made of wood (Fig. 8). The family members wear old, tattered clothes, and a rustic, dilapidated fence separates them from the rural surroundings. Conversely, The Improved Well (1899-1900) features three children, all descendants of the school’s alumni, wearing impeccable dresses and suits (Fig. 9). On top of their elegant clothing, the two girls in the picture have much lighter skin complexions. The kids, who are no longer accompanied by their parents or any adults, pump water from an industrial well, and the backyard in which they stand has trimmed grass and a solid fence. The “before” image of this duo conveys a sense of generational economic precarity that the children in the picture will inherit from the adults and where poverty also signifies lack of hygiene, pre-industrial lifestyles, and drought or winter. Even the trees in the image lack all their leaves and the dirt on the ground appears sterile. On the other hand, the “after” image communicates a sense of order and prosperity as the grass looks fertile, suggesting that the children have broken free from the cycle of generational poverty. 



Fig. 9. Frances Benjamin Johnston, The Improved Well (Three Hampton Grandchildren), 1899-1900, platinum print, 7 1/2 x 9 1/2” (19.1x 24.1 cm). Gift of Lincoln Kirstein. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY.


The contrast between these two images suggests that education could impact the living conditions of African American communities and allow them to reach prosperity. Schools like the Hampton Institute promoted education as an alternative to the more aggressive and expensive policies of assimilation and intervention in the South following the end of the American Civil War, which forced the government to confront the question of citizenship for African Americans. The Hampton Institute also enrolled Native American students and served as a model and inspiration for Carlisle, as Pratt worked at Hampton prior to launching his own school. The prominence of the before-and-after genre in the imagery of impoverished communities and boarding schools for Black and Indigenous children and young adults suggests that this was the photographic genre of assimilation. 


Hampton and Carlisle advanced a Social Darwinist agenda that positioned non-white peoples in the early stages of cultural development, while Western cultures supposedly existed in the most advanced phases. The linearity of this Eurocentric history positioned Native Americans in the pre-contact past. Social Darwinism denied the contemporaneity of Indigenous peoples with modernity. In Time and the Others, anthropologist Johannes Fabian defined the “denial of coevalness” as a widespread phenomenon in which colonial agents imagine contemporary societies, particularly non-Western ones, as belonging to a different epoch. This Western perception of time as a linear progression “is revealed to be an inherently exclusionist enterprise in that it is capable of accounting only for a singular monodimensional narrative.”68 


In Western thought, the passage of time generates sociocultural change, meaning that contemporary practices replace traditions and peoples of the past. They do not coexist with them. The presence of Indigenous communities, whose practices Euro-Americans deemed equivalent to those of ‘primitive’ Europeans, implied that multiple timelines of cultural development coexisted. In this context, to demonstrate that the education at Carlisle had accelerated students’ evolution, the pictures had to prove not only that students were transported from a ‘savage’ to a ‘civilizing’ space, but also that they were relocated from the pre-contact past of Indigenous North America to the vanguard present of the industrialized U.S. 


As such, the before-and-after format of the Carlisle student portraits implies, yet evades, the passage of time. The temporal collapse speaks to the Western belief that assimilation simply accelerated the natural process of human development toward modernity. By skipping the “in between”, the transformation of the students seemed radical rather than gradual; this compels viewers to compare the two shots and label one as superior. In the case of Torlino’s portrait, this format encouraged viewers to see the sitter’s ‘past’ and ‘present’ as opposite states of being and to perceive his Anglo-Saxon present as superior to his Navajo past. In fact, as lens-based objects, the production and reception of the all before-and-after pictures was influenced by the unique mediatic qualities of photography. Art historian Douglas Crimp has written about photography’s ability to highlight similarities and differences, remarking that it “reduces […] heterogeneity to a single perfect similitude.”69 This claim posits that photography is a homogenizing medium that renders difference easily comparable and can create one single timeline to trace the development of phenomena worldwide.70 


Crimp’s take on photography as a visual equalizer that elicits comparisons clarifies the medium’s role as an agent of Western linear time in the Carlisle imagery. In the nineteenth century, white Americans considered Indigenous peoples to be timeless subjects trapped in the past. An example of this belief is the text that author George P. Donehoo (1862-1934) published in the Carlisle publication Red Man which explores the ways education overrides primitivism. Here, the author proclaims that “civilization commences when a tribe, or a group of tribes, begins to have time.”71 The single timeline of human evolution designed by Western modernity, especially during the 1800s, inherently relegated non-Western cultures to tradition, history, and obsolescence. 


The idea of civilization depended on the principle that non-Western peoples lived in a distant timeline as much as they lived in a faraway geography.72 Historian Dipesh Chakrabarty indicates that distance implies a spatial and temporal separation that takes the Western subject’s coordinates as an epicenter. Civilization is a spatio-temporal endeavor. The geographical displacement of Native American nations happened with the forced, massive relocation of entire communities from their homelands to reservations elsewhere and continued in the form of boarding education. The straightforwardness of this physical displacement contrasts with the more abstract process of including Native peoples in a universal historical narrative. To historicize Indigenous cultures, the dominant culture had to incorporate them into a universal timeline in the first place. Pratt achieved this at Carlisle through the creation of imagery that brought students into a Western chronology of human evolution. 


The fact that Indigenous sitters abound in nineteenth-century American photography proves that this medium facilitated comparisons of Indigenous and Western cultures. For instance, Torlino’s double portrait incarnates both indigeneity and Americanness, ‘savagery’ and ‘civilization’, past and present. Given the pictures’ substantial omission of Torlino’s broader experiences and the viewer’s limited understanding of Navajo culture, photography rendered the essential differences between the two images comparable exclusively based on sight. By presenting Native Americans in the form of a photographic print and providing a visual counter like their Westernized selves, Indigenous cultures were axiomatically linked to the past. Moreover, the before-and-after format established that Torlino had been relocated from his “dated historical position” to the cutting-edge present of American modernity, thus revealing his dislocation from a Navajo temporality to a Euro-American one. 


The before-and-after portrait of Tom Torlino reveals that histories of both domination and survivance coexist in the legacy of Indigenous boarding education. Moreover, the dual portrait embodies the sitter’s assimilation and strategic appropriation of Western precepts, including the tools of time and photography. In fact, Choate’s photographs visually facilitated Euro-Americans’ construction and deconstruction of otherness while contributing to the historicization of Native Americans as anachronistic peoples who were imminently vanishing and had to be aggressively assimilated for their own sake. Despite the persistent socio-political structure that would limit the sovereignty of Native nations and peoples, this position neglects Indigenous Americans’ survivance, their capacity to strategically employ different temporalities, time-consciousnesses, and visual media for their social, political, and financial benefit. Though photography integrated Carlisle students into modernity’s universal narrative of human history, it also offered a space for self-fashioning and personal expression. Eventually in the 1900s, Indigenous photographers, such as the Cherokee artist Jennie Ross Cobb (1881-1959), would portray the experience of boarding education with intimacy and subjectivity, showing that students found happiness and spaces for themselves regardless of the institutional oppression that they endured.73 In the case of the early imagery of Carlisle, such Indigenous-made photographs do not exist, and thus considering the agency of the students as sitters offers a means to reconceive the visual legacy of the school. 


In this sense, the “after” portrait of Torlino exemplifies how Native children and young adults manifested survivance through photography and fashion. The Diné student’s choice to wear a pocket watch when posing for this portrait reveals a defiance of the Protestant values that the school imparted, particularly as instructors criticized and dissuaded students from making extravagant purchases (e.g. a pocket watch). In wearing an object that many of his instructors would not have been able to afford, Torlino subtly challenged the school’s social hierarchy and reified the high social standing that he possessed back in his hometown. Moreover, in showing himself as a modern man with clock-literacy and clock-discipline, he also construed an empowered image that the Euro-American viewers of the photograph would have recognized. Because settlers imagined Native peoples to be timeless, Torlino’s possession of a watch cast him as educated and capable. Finally, this small token of survivance present in the image is consistent with Torlino’s experience at the school and his trajectory post-Carlisle. By paying attention to the small details in the Carlisle portraits, as well as in any other imagery produced under extreme colonial domination, it becomes possible to think about the sitters of these pictures beyond narratives of dispossession and victimhood; in fact, it becomes possible to tell subtle yet transcendent stories about agency, rebellion, and defiance.


I want to express my gratitude to all people who have read this text and provided invaluable suggestions for its improvement. This includes Professor Maria Antonella Pelizzari, whose class on time and photography inspired the topic for this study, as well as Professors Katherine Manthorne and Peter Hayes Mauro who shared relevant bibliography and offered guidance during the early stages of this paper. Similarly, I want to thank the anonymous reviewers as well as the editorial board of the Rutgers Art Review for their comments, which have only strengthened this essay. Finally, I want to thank my husband, Troy E. Spier, who introduced me to the history of Carlisle and encouraged me to pursue this topic. 

1. Many scholars have characterized Carlisle as the first residential school for Native Americans in the United States. However, other schools existed prior to Carlisle’s establishment in 1879. Carlisle was the first non-reservation and military-run boarding school for Native Americans. For a more comprehensive discussion of this issue, see Joy Meness, “The Curriculum of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School: An American Education,” PhD diss., (Pennsylvania State University, 2017), 30-31.
2. To understand the educational and political philosophy behind the foundation of Carlisle, see Richard H. Pratt, “The Advantages of Mingling Indians with Whites,” in Americanizing the American Indians: Writings by the “Friends of the Indian,” 1880–1900 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1973), 260–71. 
3. It is fundamental to acknowledge that the boarding school system is responsible for historical trauma among Native North American peoples. For a study of this trauma, see Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, “Historical Trauma Among Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: Concepts, Research, and Clinical Considerations,” in Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 43, no. 4 (2011): 282-90.
4. Carlisle’s imagery and curriculum have been discussed in terms of Americanization in several publications, including Hayes Peter Mauro, The Art of Americanization at the Carlisle Indian School (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2011). Similarly, the definition of “Americanness” has changed over time, but in the late nineteenth century, this definition became increasingly rigid and exclusionary as immigrants from Asia and Eastern and Southern Europe arrived in the country and as formerly enslaved people gained freedom. A large number of the country’s Euro-American citizens considered many communities, including Native North Americans, impossible to assimilate. See Rosemary C. Salomon, “Americanization Past” in True American (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), 15-45.
5. K. Tsianina Lomawaima and Teresa L. McCarty, To Remain an Indian: Lessons in Democracy from a Century of Native American Education (New York: Teachers College Press Columbia University, 2006), 4.
6. For instance, Jaqueline Fear-Segal writes that “the purpose of the education campaign matched previous policies: dispossessing Native peoples of their lands and extinguishing their existence as distinct groups that threatened the nation-building project of the United States.” (1) See J. Fear-Segal and S. Rose, “Introduction” in Carlisle Indian School: Indigenous Histories, Memories and Reclamations (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016), 1-34. 
7. The students underwent atrocities that included, but are not limited to, the imposition of uniforms and hairstyles, the suppression of first languages, loss of possessions, starvation, depression, isolation, and physical, emotional, and psychological violence. For an analysis of boarding education as a genocidal practice, see David Wallace Adams, An Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Education, 1875-1928 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995). Nevertheless, it is fundamental to also acknowledge the fact that boarding school education did have a positive impact in the trajectories and lives of several students. Brenda J. Childs, among others, claims that “Boarding school letters and oral histories indicate there were countless students who not only survived but flourished and emerged satisfied.” (45) The recognition of how students took advantage of the education provided at such schools and the strategies they used to navigate or resist their education are fundamental to understand the legacy of these colonial institutions. See Brenda J. Child, “The Boarding School as a Metaphor” in Journal of American Indian Education vol. 57, no. 1 (2018): 37-57. Also, there are a total of seven before-and-after portraits from this period at Carlisle. Some of these show students in standalone studio portraits, others are group portraits set up outdoors, and a few combine the before-and-after portraits in one single print.
8. This paper uses the term “assimilation” according to Berry’s model of acculturation which defines “assimilation” as “the relinquishing of one’s cultural identity and moving into the larger society. It can take place by way of absorption of a non-dominant group into the established dominant group, or it can take way by way of merging of many groups to form a new society.” See J. W. Berry, “Acculturation and Adaption in a New Society.” (3) in International Migration vol. XXX (1992):1-16. 
9. A portion of Torlino’s biographical information, including his Navajo name and the story of his return to Navajoland, was retrieved by Cindy Yurth, “Manuelito’s Legacy: Several Famous Navajos Called Coyote Canyon Home,” Navajo Times February 14, 2013. This article includes an interview with one of Torlino’s descendants and information provided by the community. 
10. This information is part of Torlino’s student record, which is available in the school’s digital archive. Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center: “Tom Torlino,” National Archives and Records Administration, RG 75, Series 1327, box 18, folder 872.
11. On this issue, Laura Briggs writes, “These photographs also showed a change in skin tone—and this is remarkably consistent—such that it appeared that the children were literally becoming white.” (49) Briggs, Taking Children: A History of American Terror (Oakland: University of California Press, 2020). The fact that Choate manipulated his “after” pictures is a well-established fact in the literature discussing the school’s imagery. Choate most likely employed filters that rendered the students’ skin tone lighter. 
12. See Thomas M. Allen, Republic in Time: Temporality and Social Imagination in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, 2008). 
13. For an in-depth discussion of the racist ideologies that influenced the Carlisle imagery throughout the school’s history, see Mauro, The Art of Americanization.
14. Shammon Zamir, The Gift of the Face: Portraiture and Time in Edward S. Curtis’s the North American Indian (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, 2014), 60.
15. Cheryl Al. Wells, “‘Why [,] These Children Are Not Really Indians’: Race, Time and Indian Authenticity” in The American Indian Quarterly 39, no. 1 (2015): 1-24. “Native Americans, like Americans of all stripes, functioned within multiple, conflicting, cyclical, linear, gendered, religious, personal, natural, and clock times, among others. What they did not share was the process of clock time’s installation or the time frame in which that installation occurred” (5).
16. Bauerkemper, “Narrating Nationhood,” 43.
17. This paragraph’s characterization of Navajo time is based on Rik Pixten, “Comparing Time and Temporality in Cultures” in Cultural Dynamics 7, no. 2: 233-52.
18. Ibid. 
19. Carol J. Greenhouse has written about the Western fixation with time visualization. She argues, among other things, that Navajo time is impossible to spatialize or visualize. See Carol J. Greenhouse, A Moment’s Notice: Time Politics Across Culture (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008), 86. 
20. Ibid., 244. 
21. See E. P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism” in Past & Present. 38 ( 1967): 56-97.
22. Colloquially throughout the US, this view of time is referred to as “Indian Time.” For an account of contemporary Indian Time, see Indian Country Today, “A Look at Indian Time,” July 2, 2008.
23. Wells, ‘Why [,] These Children Are Not Really Indians’, 14.
24. Wells, Race, Time, and Indian Authenticity, 14.
25. Thomas M. Allen has thoroughly examined the formation of clock-consciousness in the U.S.; see Republic in Time.
26. Zamir specifically says, “As a visual eruption within the pictorial mise- en- scène of the image, the clock exposes Curtis’s representation of Native cultures as a historical falsehood. Since the presence of the clock was clearly intended by one or both of the men in the picture (since one or both of them, rather than Curtis, must have been responsible for the inclusion of the clock in the scene), the clock’s disruptive and revelatory eff ects are read as evidence of a certain resistance, however ambiguous and elusive, on the part of the Piegan men to the fi ction created by the photographer.” Zamir, The Gift of the Face, 58.
27. To see an analysis of the temporal dimension of these narratives, see Wells, ‘Why [,] These Children Are Not Really Indians’, 4-6. Wells specifically discusses the case of Luther Standing Bear, a student at Carlisle who received a gold pocket watch from his father.
28. Luther Standing Bear, My People the Sioux (Hegne Publishing, 2017), Kindle, 120. The first edition of the text was published in 1928. The full quote reads “When my father arrived at Carlisle School, he had two presents for me-some silver dollars and a golden watch and chain. There was a little cross-piece in the center of the watch chain to fasten through my vest button. How proud I was to receive this watch! When any of the boys or girls looked at me, I always took out that watch and looked at it, imagining I could tell the time! At that day I did not know how to tell the time by looking at a watch or clock. And those silver dollars-how they did jingle in my pocket!”
29. Wells, “‘Why [,] These Children Are Not Really Indians’, 4. Regarding agency and Carlisle students, scholars of NAIS acknowledge that despite the pernicious effects of boarding education, many graduates achieved social mobility thanks to their Anglo-Saxon education. For instance, David Wallace Adams “understands that in spite of the fact that Indian students suffered loneliness, harsh punishments, isolation, dangerous diseases, and a continual assault on their traditional cultures, many students found ways to cope with and to enjoy their boarding school days. Native parents and tribal elders often implored their children to work hard and learn as much as they could so that the students could better serve their communities. Many students felt obligated to make the best of their schooling, while others openly embraced their educational experience.” See Adams, “Beyond Bleakness: The Brighter Side of Indian Boarding Schools, 1870-940,” 35.
30. Wells., 14. Wells discusses the case of Tlingit Rudolph Walton who advocated for his biracial children to attend a mostly-white school by proving that, as a horologist who repaired clocks and watches, he and his family upheld a civilized lifestyle.
31. Ibid., 12.
32. Meness, “The Curriculum of Carlisle,” 37. Students also received training in the following institutional departments: tinsmithing, tailoring, printing, steam heating, domestic science, breadmaking, sewing, laundry work, hospital, farming, dairying, athletics, music, and painting. The gendering of these skills and of the children’s appearance is a topic that deserves closer investigation. See Meness, “The Curriculum of Carlisle,” 37.
33. See Native Students at Work: American Indian Labor and Sherman Institute’s Outing Program, 1900- 1945 (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press), 30. Moreover, committed to fomenting Protestant attitudes toward money management, Pratt enforced a savings program that allowed students for one monthly withdrawal for the purchase of basic goods.
34. “Many students enjoyed making money through the “outing” (work) programs, and they sent money home and bought things they had long wanted. Students enjoyed learning a number of trades, including harness making, carpentry, masonry, and sewing.” (35) Adams, “Beyond Bleakness: The Brighter Side of Indian Boarding Schools, 1870-940” in Boarding School Blues: Revisiting American Indian Educational Experiences (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006), 35-64. Also, for a Hopi-centered analysis of survivance and residential education, see Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, Education beyond the Mesas: Hopi Students at Sherman Institute, 1902-1929 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2010). 
35. “In a Minute” in The Indian Helper: A Weekly Letter from the Indian Industrial School 9, no. 50, September 7, 1894.
36. For example, Edward Brooks’ Normal Mental Arithmetic proposes a problem about work hours and production goals: “How many days, of 10 hours each, will be required to make 40 hats, if 4 hats can be made in 7 hours?” At first sight, this mathematical problem evaluates the students’ understanding of units of time and their ability to cross-multiply but, after close examination, it also equates time to productivity. The problem, of which iterations appear in every arithmetic textbook, positions hours, labor, and the number of commodities a worker can produce as correlated variables. In doing so, this type of mathematical problem advances a quantitative, commodifying view of time that reifies the capitalist precept of efficiency. Edward Brooks, New Normal mental Arithmetic: A Complete and Thorough Course, 86 (Philadelphia: Christopher Sower Company, 1873). Though there is no archival evidence proving that this exact textbook was used at Carlisle, a similar publication was used at the school. The faculty employed the same didactic materials designed for white children, most of which approached arithmetic in a similar fashion and introduced the same type of mathematical problems, even if with different information. I selected this arithmetic text by Brooks due to its popularity, as it was reprinted as late as 1903, and because it was published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the same state where Carlisle is located.
37. See Eittreim, Teaching Empire, 80. 
38. “Educators at the turn of the twentieth century argued that as Indian students became “civilized,” the development of their mental and manual skills through art classes would facilitate their assimilation into mainstream society, thus allowing them to embrace American values, secure an income through the work of their trained hands, and live dignified lives in ordinary homes.” See Marinella Lentis, ‘An Indispensable Adjunct to All Training of This Kinds: The Place of Art in Indian Schools’ in Colonized Through Art: American Indian Schools and Art Education, 1889-1915 (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2017).
39. “Good News” in The Indian Helper: A Weekly Letter from the Indian Industrial School 4, no. 9, October 12, 1888.
40. “Moreover, frugality combined with industry, honesty, equity, generosity, piety, and covenantal solidarity constituted the core of the classical ‘Protestant ethic’” (127). James A. Nash, “Toward the Revival and Reform of the Subversive Virtue: Frugality” in The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics 15 (1995): 137-60.
41. Here, it is important to acknowledge that the development of individuality among Carlisle students has been studied as a desirable outcome of the education offered by the school. Individuality is an American trait that stood in opposition to communal, tribal identity. See Joel Pfister, Individuality Incorporated: Indians and the Multicultural Modern (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004).
42. Gerald Vizenor, Native Liberty: Natural Reason and Cultural Survivance, (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2009), 88. 
43. During the presentation of an early version of this paper at SECAC (South Eastern College Art Conference), two participants suggested that Torlino’s pocket watch features traditional Navajo beadwork. Upon examination of the glass negative and consultation of nineteenth-century pocket watch catalogues, I believe that the design of Torlino’s pocket watch chain is one of many used by manufacturers of the time. However, this research also led to the discovery that Carlisle students produced beaded pocket watch belts in the early 1900s. These objects were popular among white visitors who toured the school.
44. See Jennifer Nez Dentdale, Reclaiming Diné History: The Legacies of Navajo Chief Manuelito and Juanita (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2007).
45. Child, “The Boarding School as a Metaphor,” 53.
46. John H. Bowman to Office of Indian Affairs, December 19, 1885, Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center: “Request for the Return of Tom Torlino,” National Archives and Records Administration, RG 75, Entry 91, box 279, 1885-#30714.
47. Henry Pratt to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, January 4, 1886, Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center: “Request for Student Transfer from Carlisle and Enrollment of Quapaw Students,” National Archives and Records Administration, RG 75, Entry 91, box 280, 1886-#537.
48. Bowman to Office of Indian Affairs. The capitalization of words such as “People” is present in the original text.
49. R.H. Poach to Captain henry Pratt, August 10, 1886, Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center: “Request to Return Tom Torlino to His Home,” National Archives and Records Administration, RG 75, Entry 91, box 327, 1886-#21355.
50. See Yurth, “Manuelito’s Legacy.”
51. Ibid.
52. See Fear-Segal and Rose, “Introduction,” 1. One of the foundational texts that tackled the so-called “Indian Problem,” was Francis Walker’s The Indian Question (1874). An introductory analysis of Walker’s text can be found in Simson Garfinkel, “Walker and the Indian Question,” MIT Technology Review, October 7, 2021.  
53. Margolis has examined how these portraits were meant to communicate work ethic and discipline, given the fact that they promoted the outing system, among other labor-related activities fostered at the school. See Eric Margolis, “Looking at discipline, Looking at Labour: Photographic Representations of Indian Boarding Schools” in Visual Studies 19 no. 1 (2004): 54-78. Also, the images produced by Choate were also featured in the 1895 Souvenir Book of the School, see Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center: “United States Indian School Carlisle, Penna,” Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections, CIS-I-0037.
54. Laura Turner, “John Nicholas Choate and the Production of Photography at the Carlisle Indian School,” Chronicles, Dickinson College. Turner describes Choate’s choice of photographic processes and the formats that he chose to reproduce the images. For example, Choate reproduced students’ portraits in the form of cabinet cards that he was able to mass-produce and sell. This fact reveals the popularity of the Carlisle imagery. 
55. In his book on Carlisle, Mauro thoroughly examines the impact that phrenology had in the context of boarding education for Native children as well as in discourses about race at the time. See Mauro, “The ‘savage’ and Antebellum Science” in The Art of Americanization.
56. Robert A. Trennert, “From Carlisle to Phoenix: The Rise and Fall of the Indian Outing System, 1878-1930,” in Pacific Historical Review 52 no. 3 (1958): 275.
57. In Berry’s model, acculturation stands in opposition to integration. Integration allows for the generation of bicultural or multicultural identities in which both dominant and non-dominant features coexist. Berry, “Acculturation and Adaption in a New Society,” 3-4. Likewise, beyond Berry, scholars such as Homi Bhabha and Gloria Anzaldúa have articulated the importance of mixed identities in colonial and post-colonial contexts. See Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (Oxford and Philadelphia: Routledge, 1994) and Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 2012).
58. Mildred Cleghorn quoted on “Friends of the Indian,” PBS New Perspectives on the West, 2001.
59. “One of the earliest, most dramatic and infamous acts of cultural transformation involved renaming students, and this task fell to teachers. Teachers approached this in different ways, and as with most of the cultural changes imposed on children at the school, students accepted these new names to varying degrees” (80). See Elisabeth M. Eittreim, “Life at Carlisle, 1879-1918” in Teaching Empire: Native Americans, Filipinos, and US Imperial Education, 1879-1918 (Lawrence, KA: University Press of Kansas, 2019), 80-82. As summarized by K. Tsianina Lomawaima and Jeffrey Ostler, “[boarding schools] were designed to be inimical to the health and well-being of Indigenous societies, knowledge systems, peoples, and children.” See K. Tsianina Lomawaima and Jeffrey Ostler, “Reconsidering Richard Henry Pratt: Cultural Genocide and Native Liberation in an Era of Racial Oppression,” in Journal of American Indian Education 57 no. 1 (2018): 82. 
60. This omission is significant as photographers at this time were obsessed with capturing continuous phenomena. Muybridge (1830-1904) and Étienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904) developed competing technologies that captured human and animal movement. They also arranged their printed photographs in sequences that reproduced the timeline of their subjects’ actions. Despite their efforts, a frustration that Marey and Muybridge shared was that, in recording a walk with a camera, for example, the photographs fragmented the models’ movements, presenting them in a series of static, frozen poses. See Marta Braun, “Marey, Muybridge, and Motion Pictures,” in Picturing Time: The Work of Étienne- Jules Marey (1830-1904) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 228-62. 
61. According to Fear-Segal, contemporary artists like N. Scott Momaday have created images in response to Choate’s oeuvre that capture the violent processes of boarding education. In his painting Carlisle (2012), Momaday merges Torlino’s before-and-after portraits in a chaotic and dramatic composition where “none of the horrors of rupture, loss, dispossession, and pain are concealed. As such, the painting stands as both illumination and retort to the Carlisle photographs.” This artistic intervention in the official archive points out that the most significant component of the Carlisle experience is missing in the school’s visual documentation. Choate’s emphasis on the results was strategically devised to dismiss white Americans’ concerns about the evolutionary time of Indigenous cultures. See Fear-Segal, Facing the Binary, 171.
62. Jacqueline Fear-Segal has written about the impact that Social Darwinism had in debates about education for Indigenous Americans in the 19th century. See Jacqueline Fear-Segal, “Nineteenth-Century Indian Education: Universalism Versus Evolutionism” in Journal of American Studies 33 no. 2 (1999): 323-42, 325. 
63. Fusco, Coco. “Racial Time, Racial Marks, Racial Metaphors,” in Only Skin Deep ed. Coco Fusco and Brian Willis (New York: International Center of Photography/Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 2003), 16.
64. For more about the relationship between photography and scientific racism, see Amos Morris-Reich, Race and Photography: Racial Photography as Scientific Evidence, 1876-1980 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016). The first chapter of this book precisely examines the issue of photography as evidence of race-based theories. 
65. Peter Mauro has looked at the relation between Choate’s portraits and Catlin’s painting.
66. For a diverse analysis of how this format appears in the history of photography, see Jordan Bear et. al. Before-and-After Photography: Histories and Contexts (Oxford and Philadelphia: Routledge, 2017).
67. Sarah Bassnett, “From Public Relations to Art: Exhibiting Frances Benjamin Johnston’s Hampton Institute Photographs” in History of Photography 32, No. 2 (2008): 152-68, 153.
68. Joseph Bauerkemper, “Narrating Nationhood: Indian Time and Ideologies of Progress” in Studies in American Indian Literatures 19, No. 4 (2007), 27-53, 37.
69. Douglas Crimp, “On the Museum’s Ruins” in October 13 (1980), 41-57, 52.
70. Crimp’s examination of the homogenizing potential of photography comes from his analysis of Andre Malraux’s Museum Without Walls, where the French scholar suggests that photographic reproductions of artwork can facilitate the classification, display, and study of universal art collections. He argues that difference becomes comparable through photography because the medium obliterates differences of color, scale, volume, and shape, thus facilitating the classification and analysis of artwork from distinct traditions. Art history classroom’s reliance on pictures of artwork is further evidence of Crimp’s assertions. Ibid. 
71. George P. Donehoo, “I Am Famine, Budkadawin,” in The Red Man 6, no. 5 (January 1914): 175-80.
72. Dipesh Chakrabarty, “Introduction: The Idea of Provincializing Europe” in Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), 5. The author writes, “[h]istoricism thus posited historical time as a measure of the cultural distance […] that was assumed to exist between the West and the non-West. In the colonies, it legitimated the idea of civilization.” 
73. Examples of student-created photographs are examined in Nicole Strathman, “Student Snapshots: An Alternative Approach to the Visual History of American Indian Boarding Schools” in Humanities 4 no. 4 (2015): 726-47.