This month, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) released its initial report on Federal Indian Boarding Schools. Indigenous organizations such as the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition and Native News Online have been working hard to document people’s experiences in these schools and facilitate healing. Now the DOI, drawing on its own records of the federally-run boarding schools, is contributing a series of investigative reports.
“The Federal Indian boarding school system deployed systematic militarized and identity-alteration methodologies to attempt to assimilate American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children through education.”Newland, Brian (2022). Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report, p. 7.
It is striking both to see the similarities between the US boarding schools and residential schools in Canada, and to realize that it has taken until 2022 for a government report on these schools to be conducted. This important work is ongoing.