U.S. Catholic and Protestant denominations operated more than 150 boarding schools between the 19th and 20th centuries. Some U.S. churches have been reckoning with this activity for years through ceremonies, apologies and archival investigations, while others are just getting started. Some advocates say churches have more work to do in opening their archives, educating the public about what was done in the name of their faith and helping former students and their relatives tell their stories of family trauma.
“We all need to work together on this,” said the Rev. Bradley Hauff, a Minnesota-based Episcopal priest and missioner for Indigenous Ministries with the Episcopal Church. “What’s happening in Canada, that’s a wakeup call to us,” said Hauff, who is enrolled with the Oglala Sioux Tribe.