Monday, March 27, 2023

The US Department of the Interior released the results of its investigation into abuse and death at institutions nationwide for Native youth

Chippewa citizen John Valet was 20 years old in 1910 when he left his home on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota and enrolled at Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. There, he trained as a blacksmith, played left-handed on the school football team and spent at least three summers on “outings” laboring on field farms.

His parents, Moses and Melanie, were thrilled to welcome him home five years later.

But many other parents who sent their children to boarding schools in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were not so lucky. Some children died in school, some died soon after returning home sick, and many simply disappeared, their fates unknown.

Illustration From The Cover Of The May 1912 Edition Of The Carlisle Indian School Student Publication, &Quot;Red Man,&Quot; By William Henry &Quot;Lone Star&Quot; Dietz

Illustration from the cover of the May 1912 edition of “Red Man”, a student publication of the Carlisle Indian School, by William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz

This week, Native Americans welcomed the first volume of the long-awaited US Interior Department report, which follows a nine-month investigation into federal Indian boarding schools.

“The consequences of federal Indian boarding school policies – including intergenerational trauma caused by family separation and cultural eradication on generations of 4-year-olds – are heartbreaking and undeniable,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. Wednesday. She hoped it would be the beginning of a healing process for “the Indian nation, the Native Hawaiian community, and throughout the United States, from the Alaskan tundra to the Florida mangrove, and everywhere in between.”

File - Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Speaks During A Tribal Nations Summit During Native American Heritage Month At The South Court Auditorium On The White House Complex On November 15, 2021 In Washington.

FILE – Interior Secretary Deb Haaland speaks during a Tribal Nations Summit during Native American Heritage Month at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex on November 15, 2021 in Washington.

original response

“It’s really personal to me,” said the valet’s granddaughter, Christine DiIndisi McCleve, who admitted she cried when she read the report.

“As a descendant of boarding school survivors and as the former CEO of the Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS), I worked for six years to try and advocate for truth and justice and healing. It seems like this report is too valid for survivors and descendants to be accepted by the Department of the Interior and the federal government,” she told VOA.

NABS, a nationally recognized non-profit organization, collaborated with DOI for months to develop the report. In a statement released Wednesday, NABS CEO Deborah Parker, a member of the Tulip Tribes in Washington state, called the report’s release a “historic moment,” confirming the stories that Native Americans grew up in and ” extreme torture” experienced by elders and ancestors. in these schools.

Preliminary findings detailed in a 106-page report by Assistant Secretary of State for Indian Affairs Brian Newland show that between 1819 and 1969, the federal government “operated or supported” 408 boarding schools in 37 states or former territories, including 21 in Alaska and Seven were involved. in Hawaii. Earlier NABS had counted only 367 schools.

So far, investigators have discovered marked and unmarked graves in 53 schools and counted the deaths of 500 students, but the DOI estimates the number of dead could eventually rise to “thousands or tens of thousands.” The report did not say how the children died or who was responsible; The VOA has previously reported that many people have died from infectious diseases that thrive in overcrowded school dormitories.

A Map Of Federal Indian Boarding School Sites Identified By The Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative At The Department Of The Interior.  Source: Appendix C, Volume 1, Of The Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report

A map of federal Indian boarding school sites identified by the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative at the Department of the Interior. Source: Appendix C, Volume 1, of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report

The report confirms that schools “systematically militarized” in their effort to Americanize Native children, give them English names, ban their languages ​​and cultural practices, and organize children into units to drill like soldiers. and identity-transformation methods”.

Former Osage Nation principal Jim Gray, whose great-grandfather Henry Roan also attended Carlisle School, says the report is a good first step, but more work is needed.

Carlisle Indian School Studio Portrait Of Henry Rhone, Raymond Buffalo Meet And Thomas Perrier, Ca.  1900

Carlisle Indian School studio portrait of Henry Rhone, Raymond Buffalo Meet and Thomas Perrier, ca. 1900

“The policy of the day was ‘kill the Indian and save the man’,” he told the VOA via Facebook. “The discovery of unmarked graves around these schools is a testament to the fact that this policy was brutal and a complete failure. This country must acknowledge this disaster and stop pretending it did not happen and the long-term consequences of generational trauma.” Stop trying to erase the effects.

Sunny Red Bear is a Lakota from Cheyenne River Reservation South Dakota and director of racial equity at NDN Collective, an Indigenous-owned advocacy group based in Rapid City, South Dakota. She said that while she welcomed the report, it represents only the first step in the long road toward healing.

“The kids are not at home,” she said. “I think they need to be brought home, and we really need to get some answers, because that’s a big part of our history as indigenous peoples — the erosion of our culture, our languages, our stories. Really need to get to the bottom of it.”


Secretary Haaland this week announced the launch of “The Road to Healing,” an initiative to help American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians survivors of the federal Indian boarding school system share their stories, help connect communities. For one year tour across America. To begin work with trauma-informed support and on collecting a permanent oral history.

On Thursday, the Subcommittee for the Indigenous Peoples of the United States held a legislative hearing on a proposed bill to study the implications and ongoing effects of federal Indian school policy, to be modeled after a similar commission Set up a Remedy Commission. Canada.

If passed, HR 5444, nominated member of the Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin, Kansas Democrat Rep. Sponsored by Sharis Davids, will establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the historical and current effects of forced attendance at boarding schools. , The commission will also work on ways to protect unmarked graves, support the repatriation of children’s remains, and identify the nations from which they were taken.

In addition, the law would work to prevent state social services, foster care, and adoption agencies from removing native children from families and communities, a practice still prevalent in states across the country.

NABS is requesting those who attend boarding school or who attend boarding school students to submit written evidence to the US House of Natural Resources Committee by May 26.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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