The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) is petitioning the US Government to acknowledge the true history of the US Policy to forcibly assimilate Native Americans through boarding schools which resulted in cultural genocide and legacies of inter-generational trauma.
In a previous blog, the Boarding School Healing Coalition called for Presidential acknowledgement of boarding school impacts. We commended the First Lady’s recognition of the horrific history at Sante Fe Indian School when she gave the commencement speech there in June 2016. We urged the President to acknowledge the US Policy of forced assimilation and cultural genocide at these schools as well.
In June 2016, NABS conducted an online survey to gather the requests and recommendations of our Coalition Members, Tribal Leaders, Community Members, and Allies in order to draft our request for a statement from the President about Boarding Schools in the US.
In a matter two short weeks, nearly 300 people participated in the online survey. Demographics from the survey show that nearly half of the respondents were self-designated “non-Native allies” indicating that this issue is important to more than just Native Americans. The majority of the survey respondents were either Boarding School Survivors (8%) or descendants of Boarding School Survivors (40%).
Our Coalition Members and relatives want the truth about what happened in US Boarding Schools. We are petitioning for the creation of a “Truth Report: The US Boarding School Policy, History, and Legacy.” Any form of US Government Acknowledgement falls short if it does not include the commission of a study on Boarding Schools.
Members of our coalition have called for other various actions from the U.S. Government around boarding school acknowledgement such as the Lakota People’s Law Project calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Wellbriety Movement calling for Apology. The Boarding School Healing Coalition has been working with the White House Initiative on AIAN Education (WHIAIANE) to move the issue of boarding school healing forward in government to government relations.
Now, the whole Coalition is calling for a Truth Report. We have over 20 resolutions from tribes and tribal organizations in support of a study and report on US Boarding Schools and impacts. We believe this to be the beginning to any healing process for all involved. Before there can be apologies or reconciliation we must first talk about the truth. Even in Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission started with the TRUTH.
We request a statement from the US Government specifically acknowledging the ongoing legacy of inter-generational trauma, cultural destruction, language loss and social and family upheaval caused by the US Boarding School Policy. We call on any and all branches of the US Government to take definitive steps to address and support healing these open wounds, by working in collaboration with American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations, communities, and families.
The time for healing is now. The time for action is now.
This is not just Native American history. This is American History.
The Full Petition Reads:
We, the undersigned, hereby petition the US Federal Government to tell the American people the truth about their US Indian Boarding School Policy and we are petitioning for the creation of a “Truth Report: The US Boarding School Policy, History, and Legacy.”
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, along with our tribal allies, calls for: the commission of a comprehensive national study of the history of the US Boarding School Policy, complete documentation of all schools, how many students attended, and the events that took place at each of the schools.
We also seek the gathering of testimony from those that suffered from abuse, neglect or other trauma; and documentation of the effects of the policy on individuals, families and communities. This study is necessary to support recommendations by and to Tribal Nations concerning inter-generational trauma and potential paradigms for healing and reconciliation.
Our Coalition Members and relatives want the truth about what happened in US Boarding Schools. Any form of government acknowledgement falls short if it does not include the commission of a truth study on US Boarding Schools.
The petition will remain on our website until we reach 100,000 signatures at which time we will submit it to Congress and the White House. The Boarding School Healing Coalition is a grassroots organization and as such we are relying on our network of activists, supporters, and relatives to help us get the word out about this petition, sign it, and ask others to sign.
Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you are interested in helping with the petition and our overarching mission for community-led boarding school healing.
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The mission of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) is to work to ensure a meaningful and appropriate response from responsible agencies for those Native American individuals, families, and communities victimized by the United States’ federal policy of forced boarding school attendance and to secure redress from responsible institutions in order to support lasting and true community-directed healing. NABS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, incorporated in June 2012 under the laws of the Navajo Nation.