We have a limited amount of time to hear directly from survivors and record their stories. A Congressional Commission is needed to locate and analyze the records from over 400 known Indian boarding schools that operated in the U.S. A Commission would also bring together boarding school survivors with a broad cross-section of tribal representatives and experts in education, health, and children and families to fully express and understand the impacts of this federal policy of Indian child removal.
NABS has collaborated efforts with Secretary Haaland and the Department of the Interior toward the goals of the Federal Boarding School Truth Initiative--announce on June 22, 2021. In that time, our teams have partnered to share data, analysis, and key insights into boarding school history. The first report of the initiative was released on May 11, 2022, lays a strong foundation, and recognizes the need for more work and expanded engagement.
The Boarding School Healing Coalition is working with the International Indian Treaty Council and the Native American Rights Fund to file a submission with the United Nations to call on the United States to provide a full accounting of American Indian and Alaska Native children who were taken into government custody under the U.S. Boarding School Policy and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown.
NABS is working to support Tribal Nations seeking the repatriation of their children buried at Carlisle. The Northern Arapaho repatriated two of their lost children, but the third boy couldn’t be found. The stakes are high for all involved, including Tribes who do not want their children disturbed. NABS is hosting a Tribal Roundtable in November.
We need the support of the masses to enact change. Tribes and Tribal Organizations have passed resolutions in support of boarding school healing, individuals have signed petitions in support of repatriation and government acknowledgement of boarding school impacts, and letters have been written to Congress but there is still more work to do.