Elder Care Packages: A Healing Response To COVID-19
Imagine rarely, if ever, hearing the words “I love you” during your entire childhood. As unbelievable as this may seem, this was the experience of so many Native Americans who were forced to attend Indian boarding schools where they were routinely abused, neglected and tortured.
The survivors of these boarding schools, and many of their descendants, are now elders. Many of them are currently isolated from family and community for their protection during the COVID-19 pandemic. The isolation can be painfully reminiscent of their experiences at Indian boarding schools which forcibly separated Indian families for more than a century and ended only recently. But there is power in truth, and healing in love.
We Love You! Elder Care Packages are an expression of love to these elders, with the hope of reminding elders and boarding school survivors that they deserve love, protection, and healing. Filled with sacred healing medicines like sweetgrass and cedar, protective equipment to help them stay safe, traditional food and more—all produced by Indigenous makers—a We Love You! Elder Care Package will be sent to a survivor of an Indian Boarding School or a direct descendant of a survivor who is over 60 years old.
Join us by sponsoring a We Love You Elder Care Package!
“Right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us are working hard to stay safe and healthy, including isolating from many of our loved ones in order to protect one another. We want to show our elders how important they are to us and we hope these care packages are healing for them.”
– Christine Diindiisi McCleave (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), CEO
Indian boarding schools were centers of forced assimilation, and their explicit goal was cultural genocide.
Children forced to attend these schools regularly suffered physical, sexual, cultural, and spiritual abuse, neglect and torture. Many children never returned home.
The US government and many of the churches that ran these schools have yet to account for the widespread abuse, intentional destruction of culture and community, and trauma they inflicted. Data and records are still missing. Stories remain untold. Survivors and descendants suffer from intergenerational trauma.
The effects of this policy continue to harm Native communities today. Boarding school policy left a painful legacy that includes historical trauma, health disparities, and a loss of culture.
Today, this impact is felt acutely in the disparities of the COVID-19 pandemic. All Natives, and especially elders, face a heightened risk from the crisis.
We Love You Elder Care Packages
Join us in sending love and support to elders directly impacted by the boarding school system. “We Love You” care packages honor elders with sacred medicines, masks, traditional foods, and more—all while supporting small Indigenous businesses. These packages are an opportunity to offer love to elders in especially difficult times.
We invite you to join us in the journey of Truth & Healing by sponsoring a We Love You! Elder Care Package.
BECOME A MEMBER
You can still be an ally even if you are unable to donate at the moment. If you want to support NABS in its mission of building a better understanding of the scope, scale and impacts of Indian Boarding Schools, we invite you to apply to become a member and become part of the growing coalition in support of Boarding School Healing!
We are so pleased friends like Portugal. The Man and the PTM Foundation are supporting the National Native American Healing Coalition in providing a healing response to COVID-19 for our elders.”Thank you to all of our supporters, sponsors, volunteers and friends who are helping us deliver We Love You! Elder Care Packages to boarding school survivors and their descendants.
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition is a 501(c)3 leading the pursuit of understanding and addressing the ongoing trauma created by the US Indian Boarding School policy. We are driven by the vision of a world of Indigenous cultural sovereignty.