Native American leaders push for boarding school commission

The Associated Press - June 25, 2022 9:15 am

FILE - Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks with reporters in Jackson, Miss., on Feb. 15, 2022. A first-of-its-kind federal study of Native American boarding schools that for over a century sought to assimilate Indigenous children into white society has identified more than 500 student deaths at the institutions so far. "Each of those children is a missing family member, a person who was not able to live out their purpose on this Earth because they lost their lives as part of this terrible system," said Haaland, whose paternal grandparents were sent to boarding school for several years as kids. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says the federal government has a responsibility to Native American tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Native Hawaiian communities to fully support education, language, and cultural practices that prior boarding school policies sought to destroy. She testified Wednesday before a U.S. Senate committee on legislation to establish a national commission on truth and healing to address ongoing trauma stemming from the legacy of Native American boarding schools in the United States.

Tribal leaders and advocates from Maine to Alaska and Hawaii joined Haaland in voicing their support. They say a commission would offer a path for many to have their personal stories validated.

 

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