Male and female students posed in a classroom with a white female teacher. On the blackboard at the rear of the room at left is a drawing of a teepee and at right is information on "Hiawatha's Childhood." Hanging against the blackboard are Native American textiles, possibly clothing. Native American baskets or pots are sitting on the desks of the students in the front row. The students are reading from small books, and may be studying the poem "The Song of Hiawatha" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
The Cumberland County Historical Society's cataloging identifies this as a "Ninth Grade Class School Room." Johnston took two very similar photographs of this classroom. The other version can be seen in Related Images.
In 1901 the Bureau of Indian Affairs contracted with the photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston to document the school at Carlisle for an exhibit at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Johnston visited the school in the spring of that year and took at least one hundred photographs. When the school closed in 1918, two albums of Johnston's photographs were sent to the Pennsylvania State Museum, which transferred them to the Cumberland County Historical Society in 1934. This is one of the images from those albums.
The Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection at the Library of Congress also contains a print of this photograph. A copy of that print is available for download from the Library of Congress website: https://www.loc.gov/item/97503299/