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.