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Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Boarding School Abuse: “To Heal We Must Know the Truth”

"They always go for our babies." -Emily Edenshaw, President & CEO at Alaska Native Heritage Center

Chief Bill Erasmus, Emily Edenshaw, Gunn-Britt Retter and Benjamin Jacuk.JPG
Chief Bill Erasmus, Emily Edenshaw, at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Gunn-Britt Retter at the Saami Council and Benjamin Jacuk at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. (Photo: Trine Jonassen)
Anchorage Alaska (High North News): 
He admitted that this was genocide. -Chief Bill Erasmus
Most Arctic nations have been affected by assimilating and oppressive boarding school policies. Now indigenous community leaders are looking for healing as they brace for the dark truth of a government-led genocide.

Ground zero

The boarding school practice started in Alaska in 1879, 12 years after the USA purchased the Arctic state from Russia without consulting the indigenous population.

Maybe that is also where the healing has to start.

"Alaska may be ground zero for all of this.  But ground zero can also be the place of healing for indigenous peoples from all over the world," Jacuk concludes.

In 2015 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded what happened was "cultural genocide". It identified more than 3,000 children who died from disease due to overcrowding, malnutrition, and poor sanitation or died after being abused or trying to run away.

Most schools had their own cemeteries, and sometimes when children died, their parents were never informed.


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