Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland yesterday released Volume 1 of the investigative report called for as part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative. It’s a comprehensive effort to address the troubled legacy of federal Indian board school policies.
This investigative report is a significant step by the federal government to comprehensively address the facts and consequences of its federal Indian boarding school policies – implemented for more than a centuryand a half – resulting in the twin goals of cultural assimilation and aterritorial dispassession of INdigenous peopes through the forced removal and relocation of their children. It reflects an extensive and first-ever inventory of federally operated schools, including profiles and maps.
The investigation found that from 1819 to 1969, the federal Indian boarding system consisted of 408 federal schools across 37 states or their territories, including 21 schools in Alaska and 7 schools in Hawaii. The investigation identified marked or unmarked burial sites at approximately 53 different schools across the school system. As the investigation continues, the Department expects the number of deaths of identified burial sites to increase.
“The Road to Healing,” a year-long tour will include travel across the country to allow American Indians Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian srvivors of the federal INdian boarding school system the opportunity to share their stories, help connect communities with trauma – informed support and facilitate collection of a permanent oral history.
Volume 1 of the report highlights some of the conditions children endured at these schools and raises important questions about the short-and long-termconsequences of the federal Indian boarding school on American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian communities.
Despite assertions to the contrary, the investigation found that the school system deployed sysematic militarized and identity alteration methodologies in an atempt to assimiliate these children.
The COVID-19 pademic and its resulting closures of federal facilities reflect the need for further investigation,.