The second edition of Healing Voices Volume I was released last month and is now available to members of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS). Since Volume 1 was published in September 2018, NABS has distributed nearly 4,000 copies of the publication. Written by NABS CEO Christine Diindiisi McCleave, M.A. (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) and titled A Primer on American Indian Alaska Native Boarding Schools in the U.S., this formative document has served not only to contextualize the work of NABS, but also to inform and educate on the historical and contemporary implications of the United States’ federal Indian boarding school policy. It has been included in historical exhibits at the Heard Museum (Phoenix, Arizona) and the Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum (Carson City, Nevada), and it has been made available to the public at gatherings and presentations nationwide. The reach and impact of this publication has been extensive.
Plans for a second edition have always been in the works, as the accounting of Indian boarding institutions has undergone additions and modifications over the years. As we devote more time and resources to this research, the list continues to grow and change. It has been nearly two years since initial publication, and now, producing a second edition of Healing Voices Volume 1 provides a clear path toward delivering such an update.
The release of the second edition offers a substantive boarding school list revision and minor edits to the publication’s text overall. Prominently featured in this edition is the revised count of U.S. Indian boarding schools, having grown to 367 from 357, with 73 remaining open today (up from 64). While much of the original list was compiled by Dr. Denise Lajimodiere, recent updates have come from my collaborative efforts with Dr. Rose Miron and Ellie Heaton. NABS continues to expand the knowledge base about these institutions and continues to work toward the creation of an interactive, digital map to host and display such content comprehensively and interactively.
Since the release of the second edition of Volume 1, NABS has been developing Volume 2 of the Healing Voices publication series. Designed to complement the first volume by providing new insights, this work will examine contemporary efforts of U.S. Indian boarding school research through a contextualized focus highlighting NABS’s commissioned field research. Publication is projected for November of this year.
Central to the Healing Voices series is the rigorous analysis of integrating truth and healing as critical precursors to transformative justice. This is stated early on in Volume 1 in the challenge that “justice in Indian Country cannot be fully realized without a major shift in our national narrative…[and] in order to have healing, we must reveal the truth” (NABS, 2020). The myriad dialogues that have been prompted by this work continue to bring critical and creative voices to healing and justice frameworks that center Native peoples and respond to the consequences of historical trauma caused by Indian boarding schools. One of the more profound lessons of Healing Voices is that the role of Indigenous-led research cannot be overstated in charting pathways toward truth-telling and community-led healing. As stated in Healing Voices Volume 1, “healing begins with the truth” (NABS, 2020).
Samuel B. Torres, ED.D
Director of Research and Programs