US finds 500 Native American boarding school deaths so far

Discussion in 'Religion and Spirituality' started by themickey, May 11, 2022.

  1. themickey

    US finds 500 Native American boarding school deaths so far
    May 12, 2022

    Flagstaff, Arizona: 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, but officials say that figure could grow exponentially as research continues.

    The Interior Department report released on Thursday expands to more than 400 the number of schools that were known to have operated across the US for 150 years, starting in the early 19th century and coinciding with the removal of many tribes from their ancestral lands. It identified the deaths in records for about 20 of them.

    A makeshift memorial in Albuquerque for the dozens of Indigenous children who died more than a century ago while attending a boarding school.Credit:AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan

    The dark history of the boarding schools — where children were forced apart from their families, prohibited from speaking their Native American languages and often abused — has been felt deeply across Indian Country and through generations.

    Many children never returned home, and the Interior Department said that with further investigation the number of known student deaths could climb to the thousands or even tens of thousands. Officials say causes included illness, accidental injuries and abuse.

    “Each of those children is a missing family member, a person who was not able to live our their purpose on this earth because they lost their lives as part of this terrible system,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, whose paternal grandparents were sent to boarding school for several years as kids.

    Related Article
    Indigenous justice
    Pope voices ‘pain’ over Canadian school deaths, doesn’t apologise
    The agency — with the help of many Indigenous people who had to work through their own trauma and pain — has poured through tens of thousands of boxes containing millions of pages of records. But accounting for the number of deaths has been difficult because records weren’t always kept.

    A second volume of the report will cover burial sites as well as the federal government’s financial investment in the schools and the impacts of the boarding schools on Indigenous communities, the Interior Department said. It has so far identified at least 53 burial sites at or near boarding schools.

    The boarding school era perpetuated poverty in Indigenous communities, loss of wealth, mental health disorders, substance abuse and premature deaths, Haaland said at a news conference Wednesday, choking back tears.

    “Recognising the impacts of the federal Indian boarding school system cannot just be a historical reckoning,” she said. “We must also chart a path forward to deal with these legacy issues.”

    Haaland, who is Laguna, announced an initiative last June to investigate the troubled legacy of boarding schools and uncover the truth about the government’s role in them. The 408 schools her agency identified operated in 37 states or territories, many of them in Oklahoma, Arizona and New Mexico.

    Red painted handprints cover the empty spot at a park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where a historical marker for the Indigenous children who died while attending a boarding school nearby was removed.Credit:AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan

    The Interior Department acknowledged the number of schools identified could change as more data is gathered. The coronavirus pandemic and budget restrictions hindered some of the research over the last year, said Bryan Newland, the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for Indian Affairs.

    The US government directly ran some of the boarding schools. Catholic, Protestant and other churches operated others with federal funding, backed by US laws and policies to “civilise” Native Americans.

    The Interior Department report was prompted by the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites in Canada that brought back painful memories for Indigenous communities.

    Related Article
    Indigenous justice
    Hundred of bodies discovered at Canada’s former largest indigenous school
    Haaland also announced on Wednesday a yearlong tour for Interior Department officials that will allow former boarding school students from Native American tribes, Alaska Native villages and Native Hawaiian communities to share their stories as part of a permanent oral history collection.

    “It is my priority to not only give voice to the survivors and descendants of federal Indian boarding school policies, but also to address the lasting legacies of these policies so Indigenous Peoples can continue to grow and heal,” she said.

    Boarding school conditions varied across the US and Canada. While some former students have reported positive experiences, children at the schools often were subjected to military-style discipline and had their long hair cut.

    Early curricula focused heavily on outdated vocational skills, including homemaking for girls.

    Tribal leaders have pressed the agency to ensure that any children’s remains that are found are properly cared for and delivered back to their tribes, if desired. The burial sites’ locations will not be released publicly to prevent them from being disturbed, Newland said.

    Accounting for the whereabouts of children who died has been difficult because records weren’t always kept. Ground penetrating radar has been used in some places to search for remains.

    The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, which created an early inventory of the schools, has said Interior’s work will be an important step for the US in reckoning with its role in the schools but noted that the agency’s authority is limited.

    Later this week, a US House subcommittee will hear testimony on a bill to create a truth and healing commission modelled after one in Canada. Several church groups are backing the legislation.

    wrbtrader likes this.
  2. wrbtrader


    There are many more. Here's a post I made back on July 1st 2021 in the Cmon Canada thread to someone that thinks Canadians should boycott Canada Day because of the atrocities to the Indigenous Canadians.

    I replied to him, in that case, shouldn't Americans do the same type of boycott on July 4th for the exact same atrocities ???


    I truly do not think you understand the few Indigenous Canadian members at this forum and most likely not the few Indigenous American members at this forum. I'm a citizen of both countries and I can say that Canada cares enough to actually now searching the grave sites associated with the historical residential schools...
    • So far...the United States has not.
    Do you understand the Indigenous culture and how the Indigenous Americans helped the Indigenous Canadians to give birth to Canada ?

    Complaints about the residential schools in Canada and United States for +100 years involving missing children or children suddenly dying for unknown reasons and then buried in either unmarked graves, graves with just a first name or buried on top of each other because the school ran out of burial land...

    All of these schools in both countries were under the guidance of the Christian Missionaries, Catholic Church and the governments of both countries. They all have the shitty hand prints all over this tragedy...not just one...all of them including the surrounding communities that allowed such under their noses.

    As I stated before many years ago and recently, Indigenous families have been complaining and no one gave a shit. I myself have had message posts deleted here @ because they were deemed "off topic" when I first arrived at this forum.
    • Nobody wants to hear it.
    It reminds me of my childhood in the summers in South Dakota with my grandmother (Lakota Sioux)...Indigenous Canadians would cross the border looking for their children in the American Residential Schools via rumors that they may be there after disappearing from Canada.

    Just the same, Indigenous Americans would cross the border into Canada looking for their missing children in the Canada Residential Schools via rumors that they be there after disappearing from America.

    To boycott Canada Day...they should do the same for July 4th Celebrations in America because many missing Indigenous American children still have not been found. As I've stated before, the residential schools in Canada are now being searched...

    America is next and do not pretend the cemeteries or burial sites associated with the United States Indian Boarding Schools are off-limits for search considering the same complaints are associated with the U.S. schools too.
    • As a veteran that has spent time at different military installations / properties...some of these burial site locations of former the United States Indian Boarding schools make the hair on the back of my neck stand up...something insidious about them.
    A good place to start is in Pennsylvania on the ground of the old Carlisle Indian Industrial School that's now owned by the United States Military and other places now owned by the United States military across the United Kentucky, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and many other states.
    I remember very well as a youth when I lived with my Grandmother that some of the Sioux Canadians from Manitoba / Saskatchewan would come to South Dakota and put posters on poles...looking for their kids.

    I also remember a women whom 10 year old daughter disappeared and last seen talking to the South Dakota police officers. Her mother would travel all over South Dakota and Manitoba / Saskatchewan Canada looking for her daughter...never finding her even though she heard a rumor her daughter had been sent to a residential school in Canada...against her will.

    Never heard from her again.

    Don't be naive and use a tragedy like this for your own gain. Missing Indigenous children in both countries...nobody cared because the complaints have been loud for +100 years...not enough to even have our photos put on Milk cartons that use to list missing American kids.
    • Does anybody remember those pictures the United States government used to put on Milk cartoons of missing kids? I do and it was done in the mid-1980s...Kentucky, Illinois, and South Dakota before it went nationwide for a few years ??? :banghead:
    Not once in the United States do I remember seeing an Indigenous American kid on one of those milk cartoons when I sat at the kitchen table eating a bowl of cereal as a teenager. We were not important enough nor white enough to make it on a cartoon of Milk.

    You want to talk about boycotting (cancel) Canada should then boycott (cancel) July 4th Independence Day.

    Seriously, walk that talk yourself if you want the Canadian members of this forum to boycott Canada Day. Just as serious...I thought you were somewhat the type of a person that did not support protesting...would that be a contradiction ???
    Last edited: May 11, 2022