National Day of Remembrance for U.S. Boarding Schools
Mark September 30 as a National Day of Remembrance for U.S. Indigenous Boarding Schools. The Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition encourages Native communities, as well as non-Native allies, to hold healing-informed events honoring boarding school survivors and call for accountability of the Federal Indian Boarding School policies. The introduction of a bill establishing a Commission for Truth and Healing on U.S. Boarding School Policy is anticipated for that day.
Canada and the United States were two of the four “no” votes against the Declaration in 2007 but, by 2016, both had agreed to uphold it in some fashion.
There are also several other things we can do – or begin – on that day of remembrance. Check the list here.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Announces Boarding School Initiative
June 22, 2021 – In remarks to the National Congress of American Indians 2021 Mid Year Conference today, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies.
Today’s announcement is accompanied by a secretarial memo in which Secretary Haaland directs the Department to prepare a report detailing available historical records, with an emphasis on cemeteries or potential burial sites, relating to the federal boarding school program in preparation for a future site work. This work will occur under the supervision of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.
“The Interior Department will address the inter-generational impact of Indian boarding schools to shed light on the unspoken traumas of the past, no matter how hard it will be,” said Secretary Haaland. “I know that this process will be long and difficult. I know that this process will be painful. It won’t undo the heartbreak and loss we feel. But only by acknowledging the past can we work toward a future that we’re all proud to embrace.”
Secretary Haaland recently reflected on the inter-generational trauma created – even in her own family – by these policies in an op-ed.
See full press release here.
Christine Diindiisi McCleave, chief executive officer of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, added that a legislative proposal for a Boarding School Healing Commission would go forward as a complement to the Department’s initiative.