The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) returns to Washington, D.C. next week, to educate and bring awareness to the impacts of Federal Indian boarding school policies on Tribal Nations. Marking this historic initiative, NABS will host briefings to update partners, allies, and the public about S. 1723 and H.R. 7227, a bill to establish a Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States.
“For too long, the stories of Native children stripped of their heritage, families, and lives were hidden. We must bring the light of truth to this dark chapter in our nation’s history and establishing this commission is imperative to that,” said Congressman Cole, Member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. “It will provide needed answers and build a pathway to healing for survivors and tribal families. Turning acknowledgment into action will help ensure the harms of the past are never repeated.”
“My grandparents are survivors of Indian boarding schools, but many other children never returned to their families or their communities. Those that did lost generations worth of cultural knowledge, stories, and traditions,” said Congresswoman Sharice Davids, Member of the Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin and Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. “Establishing a Truth and Healing Commission would bring survivors, experts, federal partners, and Tribal leaders to the table to fully investigate what happened to our relatives and work towards a brighter path for the next seven generations.”
NABS Board President Ruth Anna Buffalo (Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation, Chiricahua Band of Apache descent), former North Dakota State Representative, shared, “Native children were forcibly taken from their parents, from their Tribal Nations, and their traditional territories. Many never returned nor lived to tell their story. The passage of S. 1723 and H.R. 7227 is paramount, as there has never before been a federal commission created to investigate and document the colonization and assimilation of Native children.”
“The time is now to pass S.1723 / H.R. 7227,” said Deborah Parker, Chief Executive Officer of NABS and a citizen of the Tulalip Tribes. “We applaud Representative Davids and Representative Cole for their leadership in bringing forward this historic legislation to address the devastating legacy of the United States Indian boarding schools. This Federal Commission will investigate the long-term effects of what happened to Native children at the hands of the United States government. Ultimately, we will work with Congress to promote truth, justice, and healing.”
The Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act will establish a Federal Commission initiating a full investigation into the impacts and ongoing effects of the U.S. Indian Boarding School Policies (federal policies under which American Indian and Alaska Native children were forcibly removed from their family homes and placed in boarding schools).
The Federal Commission will establish a Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies, (1) to formally investigate, document, and report on the histories of Indian boarding schools, Indian Boarding School Policies, and the systemic and long-term effects of those schools and policies on Native American peoples; (2) to develop recommendations for Federal participation based on the findings of the Commission; and (3) to promote healing for survivors of Indian boarding schools, the descendants of those survivors, and the communities of those survivors.
Learn more about S. 1723 / H.R. 7227
On Monday, February 12th at 2pm (EST), NABS will host a legislative briefing on the bill alongside the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) at the Westin Washington, 999 9th Street NW, WA D.C. 20001, Room Anacostia D, with Congressional staffers and Tribal leaders.
On Wednesday, February 14th at 12pm (EST), NABS will co-host a lunch & learn with Congressman Tom Cole (Chickasaw) (OK-4) and Congresswoman Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) (KS-3) at 2075 Rayburn House Building for Congressional members' staff to learn about H.R. 7227.