Minutes, Statements, and Letters on Boarding Schools

From Southeastern Yearly Meeting

Truth & Healing Commission for Native Peoples
  • April 14, 2021

At Yearly Meeting Sessions, the Committee for Ministry on Racism (CMOR) brought forward a minute, which was approved:

Southeastern Yearly Meeting supports the “Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policy Act” (HR 8420) that was considered by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019-2020. Although HR 8420 did not become law, CMOR continues to support the establishment of a Truth and Healing Commission.

The bill’s purpose was to set up a Truth and Healing Commission to address the multigenerational trauma experienced by American Indian and Alaska Native children, now adults, who were forcibly removed from their homes between 1869 and the 1960’s and placed in Indian Boarding schools far from their homes.

Quakers were among the strongest supporters of the federal policy calling for this forced assimilation, and operated some 30 Indian schools. The children were taught to reject their Native languages, cultures, and spiritual practices and adopt Euro-American culture.  

U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, has tasked Senator Elizabeth Warren with reintroducing the bill this year. Senator Warren will consult with the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition for wording for the bill. The bill is expected to be similar to last year’s bill.

Southeastern Yearly Meeting urges all Friends to watch for this bill and give it their support.

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From Intermountain Yearly Meeting

A Minute in Support of a Truth and Healing Commission for Native Peoples

Approved by Intermountain Yearly Meeting, June 20, 2021

The Intermountain Yearly Meeting supports the “Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policy Act” (HR 8420) that was considered by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019-2020. Although HR 8420 did not become law, IMYM continues to support the establishment of a Truth and Healing Commission.

The bill’s purpose was to set up a Truth and Healing Commission to address the historical trauma experienced by Native American and Alaska Native children who were forcibly removed from their homes between 1869 and the 1960’s and placed in Indian Boarding schools. The children were taught to reject their Native languages, cultures, and spiritual practices and adopt Euro-American culture. Native Americans continue to suffer multigenerational trauma caused by this policy of forced assimilation and cultural genocide. 

Quakers were among the strongest supporters of the Indian boarding school policy and operated some 30 Indian schools (some in collaboration with the federal government) for varying periods of time. We recognize that the history of the Indian schools is more complex than can be described in this brief minute.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is working with U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, and plans to reintroduce the bill this year. Senator Warren will consult with the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition for wording for the bill. It is expected to be introduced before the August Congressional recess, with wording very similar to last year’s bill.

IMYM urges individual Friends and monthly meetings to watch for this bill and to urge their congressional representatives to support it. IMYM further urges Friends to learn the history of the Quaker Indian schools and consider ways to support Native-managed healing processes, including programs to teach Native languages and prevent youth suicide.

From New York Yearly Meeting