Through Andrew Kennard
Home Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) will outline the Home Office’s next steps to “start reconciling the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies” on June 22 at the mid-June conference. year 2021 of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the department said. Monday.
The announcement follows the recent discovery of an anonymous mass grave of 215 Indigenous children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, Canada. The conclusion was greeted with widespread media coverage, reopening the conversation about the damage and trauma caused by federal boarding systems for Indigenous peoples in the United States and Canada.
On June 11, Haaland called for recognition of the past and present impacts of the boarding school system in an editorial published in the Washington Post.
“While it is uncomfortable to learn that the country you love is capable of committing such acts, the first step to justice is to recognize these painful truths and fully understand their impacts so that we can untie the threads of trauma and injustice that persist. ”Haaland wrote.
There were 357 residential schools operating across the United States from 1819 to the 1960s. By 1925, over 60,000 children attended schools. The federal government and religious organizations were responsible for running schools, where students were prohibited from practicing their culture or speaking their mother tongue, and many suffered physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse.
The Canadian residential school system operated from the 1880s to the late 1990s with the same goal of removing Indigenous children from their families and stripping them of their culture. There, Indigenous children experienced similar horrors of physical and sexual abuse, as well as high death rates in schools.
Poor overcrowded conditions and disease have resulted in the deaths of thousands of students in boarding systems, and the remains of many students have not been returned to their families. The harmful intergenerational effects of schools persist in many Indigenous communities in the United States and Canada.
With Senior Assistant Deputy Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland, Haaland will announce next steps to address the legacy of the US federal boarding system during NCAI’s ‘Home Office Update’ at 2:50 p.m. EDT.
The full agenda for the conference, which runs June 20-24, can be found here. You can still register for the conference here.
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