The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) is thrilled to announce the hiring this month of four additional staff members to advance our work for truth, justice, and healing from Indian boarding schools. Following the recent appointment of Deborah Parker, tsicyaltsa, (Tulalip Tribes) to Chief Executive Officer, and Samuel Torres (Mexica/Nahua) to Deputy Chief Executive Officer, NABS’s new executive leadership is eager to expand the reach and depth of the Coalition’s work with the announcement of these critical additions to the team.
Today, Pope Francis issued an apology on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, an action that had long been sought by survivors and communities impacted by Canadian residential schools. For those who had sought this apology, we join you in recognizing this historic moment that is so long overdue.
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) supports the introduction of the bill for a Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the U.S. Act. Today, we are honoring a National Day of Remembrance for U.S. Indian Boarding Schools and calling for a full accounting of the devastating impacts of the Indian boarding school policies that tore away generations of Native American children from their families and communities.
The truth about the US Indian boarding school policy has largely been written out of the history books, and we still don’t know how many students attended. Many have estimated that there were nearly 500 government-funded Indian boarding and day schools across the US in the 19th and 20th centuries, and NABS has identified 357 boarding schools alone. In boarding schools, Indian children were forcibly abducted by government agents, sent to schools hundreds of miles away, and beaten, starved, or otherwise abused when they spoke their native languages.
Truth. Healing. Justice. Reconciliation. These words carry different meaning for Americans today, depending on what side of history you hail from. If you’re Native American, you know that Justice in Indian Country cannot be fully realized without a major shift in our national narrative. Namely, that the U.S. has never accepted responsibility for its Boarding School experiment—the forced removal of our children, the prohibition of our language and culture, and the violation of our human, civil, and indigenous rights.