US grappling with Native American boarding school history

The Associated Press - May 14, 2022 7:54 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)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. government hasn’t been open to investigating its role in stripping Native Americans of their cultures and identities in boarding schools. Until now.

That’s partly because people who know first-hand the persistent trauma caused by the boarding school system are positioned in the U.S. government. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland last year announced an investigation into the government’s oversight of Native American boarding schools, and the Interior Department released some initial findings this week.

However, the work to uncover the truth and create a path for healing will require financial resources. Tribes will have to navigate federal laws on repatriation to bring home children who died and were buried at the schools.

 

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