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Support Info: If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419. Additional Health Support Information: Emotional, cultural, and professional support services are also available to Survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Services can be accessed on an individual, family, or group basis.” These & regional support phone numbers are found at https://nctr.ca/contact/survivors/ .
Warning: The story below contains details of residential schools that may be upsetting. Canada’s Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.
Canada has promised tens of millions of dollars to help Indigenous
communities in their search for unmarked graves linked to the
government’s decades-long residential school system, which a commission
of inquiry said in 2015 amounted to “cultural genocide”.
Hundreds of unmarked graves have been discovered since late May on the grounds of residential schools across Canada.
Between the late 1800s and 1990s, more than 150,000 First Nation,
Inuit and Metis children were forced to attend the institutions, which
aimed to forcibly assimilate them and destroy their cultures. Thousands
of children are believed to have died there.
In a news conference in August, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister
Carolyn Bennett said the government would provide an additional $66.2m
($83 million Canadian dollars) to help communities search for unmarked
“As a country, we know the truth. Once you know the truth, you cannot
unknow it. First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities have lived with
the trauma caused by residential schools for generations,” Bennett said.
“So today, we are announcing an additional $83 million in funding … to
support more Indigenous communities in this extremely difficult and
The announcement comes as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is
widely expected to trigger a snap election in the coming months amid
countrywide calls for his government to do more to address the
intergenerational trauma caused by residential schools.
Since hundreds of graves were first discovered
at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in the western province of
British Columbia in late May, Indigenous community leaders and
residential school survivors and their families have been plunged into renewed trauma.
They have demanded Ottawa support Indigenous-led efforts to find more unmarked graves and pressure the Catholic Church – which ran most of the institutions – to release its records, apologise and pay reparations.
Wisconsin had at least 10 Native American boarding schools.
Students spent half their day doing hard labor, which financially supported the schools. At 1, so many students were dying they started shipping them off before they died on school grounds. https://t.co/DCZbl1LyvA
This boarding school was established in 1893 on the Oneida reservation and was run by the federal government.
the book "Oneida Lives: Long-lost voices of the Wisconsin
Oneidas," John Skenandore recalls how he lost one of his hands in an
accident while working in the school's laundry room. He said he was
injured when he tried to put a sheet through a wringer.
at the boarding schools were often detailed to work in the laundry. In
the book, Skenandore wonders why he never received some kind of
compensation for his injury.
"If I was only
playing when this happened, I would not expect a thing, but I was put to
work among the machinery at the age of twelve," he is quoted as saying.
Joseph, Elder, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), who led an
opening prayer, called on the crowd gathered wearing orange to come
together and help one another through this difficult time, as Squamish
Nation begins an investigation of the former St. Paul's Indian
Residential School site. Elisia Seeber
Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) has announced it has launched an
investigation into the former St. Paul’s Indian Residential School site
to find answers about the children who attended the institution but never made it home.
On Tuesday (Aug 10) standing outside the site of the former
institution, which once stood on the 500 block of West Keith Road in
North Vancouver, Khelsilem (Dustin Rivers), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw
spokesperson, said the Nation had embarked on an Indigenous-led
initiative, on behalf of its people and in partnership with its
relatives, the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ
(Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, to investigate the site for burial grounds and
“We will begin that work to investigate and gather all information to
honour and find those children who might not have gone home that had
attended St. Paul’s Indian Residential School,” he said, adding that the
work would be done with the support of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese.
Khelsilem said the investigation was just in the beginning stages and
the process was still taking shape but would involve an inquiry into
the site and a field investigation.
The phases of the investigation will include an interview process
with survivors to help narrow down or expand investigation search areas,
gathering all records related to the school throughout its history, and
remote sensing searches, which may include ground-penetrating radar
The announcement comes after the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation
shared the discovery of the remains of an estimated 215 children in
unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School at the
end of May. Since then, further Nations have announced their own such
As the St. Paul’s site is now home to St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary,
Khelsilem said it had unique considerations in comparison to other sites
being investigated, which had to be considered during the
investigation, including the extensive development that has occurred at
There were 18 residential schools in B.C. St. Paul’s, located next to
the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh community of Eslhá7an, was the only institution in
the Metro Vancouver area.
It was opened in 1899 by the federal government’s Department of
Indian Affairs and was managed and operated by the Roman Catholic
Religious Teaching Order, the Sisters of Child Jesus.
Over 2,000 Indigenous children, representing six generations of
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ Nations, and other
Indigenous communities, were institutionalized there from grades one
through eight until it closed in 1959.
Children in the school were segregated by age group and gender, often
not permitted to visit other family members, stripped of their culture,
and punished for speaking their native languages or taking part in
their cultural traditions.
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw says oral histories told by St. Paul’s survivors include stories about children who disappeared.
“According to public records, 12 unidentified students died while
attending St. Paul’s between 1904 and 1913,” the Nation said in a
release, adding that the goal with the investigation is to find the
location of each of these children and “bring them home to rest.”
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw held a private gathering on Monday (Aug. 9) to tell members that the work was beginning at the site.
“This work is really sacred and really important to our people and,
first and foremost, this work is about protecting and helping our
survivors,” Khelsilem said. “They’re first in our minds, as we begin this work.”
James Borkowski, the archbishop’s delegate for operations for the
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, who spoke on behalf of
Archbishop Michael Miller, said the work to uncover the truth had
already begun over the past two months, and “continues as an urgent
Earlier this summer, the archbishop shared an apology and a firm
commitment on behalf of the local Catholic Church, to provide immediate
supports and co-operation in ensuring that all documents related to
residential schools be made available and accessible.
“We have much to learn and act on, as we hear from the Nations, and
community members in this journey of truth and reconciliation related to
the church’s historic and damaging role with residential schools,”
“Our hope as Catholics is that our Creator will give us the courage and strength to follow the truth wherever it takes us.”
On June 28, the B.C. government allocated $12 million to support
First Nations throughout the province with investigative work at former
residential school sites, as well as cultural and wellness supports.
Each caretaker community can receive up to $475,000 for each site.
The province has also appointed First Nations liaisons to support communities through the work.
On Aug 10, the federal government also announced a further $321 million in additional support for Indigenous-led initiatives.
Chief Jen Thomas, səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ, whose father is a survivor of St.
Paul’s, said she was “grateful for the work that’s going to be done”
saying it was the “start of our healing journey for our survivors.”
Chief Wayne Sparrow (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) added on behalf of his community
that “we’re going to work with each and every one of you to get to the
He acknowledged all Nations involved, both the federal and provincial
governments and the Catholic Archdiocese for stepping up to do the
“The only way that we’re going to heal is doing it together,” Sparrow said.
Elder Byron Joseph of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, who led an opening
prayer, called on the crowd gathered wearing orange to come together and
help one another through this difficult time.
“This is a time where our people come forward,” he said. “The ones
that have been forgotten. Those are the ones we have to honour. Those
are the ones these prayers are for.
“Keep a strong mind and strong heart as we go through this together.”
Mullings holds her three week-old grandson Micah Mindus-Morin on the
grounds of the former Charles Camsell Indian Hospital, in Edmonton,
Monday Aug. 9, 2021. Mullins is a co-organizer of a protest that has
been on site nearing 50 straight days, to bring awareness to the
discovery of over 5,000 unmarked graves at Canada’s former residential
school sites. PHOTO BY DAVID BLOOM /Postmedia
“Even if graves are found, those looking for answers may not get them. Records are scarce and DNA testing is possible but expensive, Bruneau says.
He also hopes former patients or a witnesses who may have details
that could help with the search will come forward, though he knows
speaking about the past can be painful.
“It seems like a good thing that they’re finding all these graves, but its also opening up old wounds.”
Updated article on the Indian Hospitals Class Action suit
by Koskie Minsky and the Federal Government’s attempts to negotiate a
settlement out of court [a correction: this suit is not new, as is
stated in the article. It was launched several years ago]
“I think that people need to know that this happened in our
hospitals, it happened recently and we need to acknowledge it,” [Chief
Complainant Ann] Hardy told CTV News.
“I know that sometimes Canadians think they’re just hearing too much
of it, and ‘Why can’t we just get over it?’ and I think we’re not going
to be able to, in my case, until we fully expose that this happened.”
Holly Moore and the APTN Investigates team recently looked into the
history and legacy of Indian Hospitals and tuberculosis in Canada. Out
of their work, they produced a 25-minute video that provides context and
dips into experiences at various hospitals, including the Camsell. In
addition to interviews with several authors and researchers (such as Dr.
Maureen Lux and Dr. Ian Mosby), they speak with Dorothy Wanahadie and
Marilyn Buffalo about their experiences – or their family members’
experiences – as patients and staff at the Camsell.
I think what Stephen Lewis, Director of AIDS-Free World said,
resonates. There’s a sense of “angry bewilderment” at the treatment of
Indigenous people during the era of the Sanatoriums, but also at the
lack of information today.
Hopefully all of our work to illuminate this past, and get answers, will be helpful.
ByKelly Geraldine Malone | The Canadian Press| Updated August 22, 2021
A tally from police across the country shows there are four
ongoing criminal investigations and one decade-long probe into
complaints involving residential schools. The Canadian Press contacted
RCMP and other policing agencies across the country over the last two
agencies said there are four ongoing investigations in Ontario,
Saskatchewan and Yukon as well as a probe that began in 2011 into the
Fort Alexander Residential School in Manitoba.
– as referred to in court documents – is a Navajo and Cherokee toddler.
When he was a baby, a white couple from the suburbs of Dallas wanted to
adopt him, but a federal law said they couldn’t. So they sued. Today,
the lawsuit doesn’t just impact the future of one child, or even the
future of one law. It threatens the entire legal structure defending
Native American rights. In season 2 of This Land, host
Rebecca Nagle investigates how the far right is using Native children to
quietly dismantle American Indian tribes. PREMIER August 23rd.
1978 law tried to remedy adoption practices created to forcibly
assimilate Native children. Now conservative lawyers are arguing that
the law constitutes ‘reverse racism’
of the Mosakahiken Cree Nation hug in front of a makeshift memorial at
the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honor the 215 children
whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility, in British
Columbia. Photograph: Cole Burston/AFP/Getty Images
There’s a reason why “forcibly transferring children”
from one group to another is an international legal definition of
genocide. Taking children has been one strategy for terrorizing Native
families for centuries, from the mass removal of Native children from
their communities into boarding schools to their widespread adoption and
fostering out to mostly white families. It’s what led to the passage of
the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978, touchstone legislation
that aimed to reverse more than a century of state-sponsored family
about time Indigenous peoples in Canada get “mutual respect” and
“meaningful actions” from their government, says a former Manitoba grand
In an interview with Global News on Friday, Sheila North, former
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak grand chief, said party leaders must
present solid policies during this federal election to get that respect.
“That is a big issue that needs to be addressed by all parties, and
follow it up with meaningful actions that will resonate right into the
heart of Indigenous people, especially on remote communities; if we see a
difference in remote communities, then we’ll know we’re actually making
progress in achieving reconciliation in this country,” she said. Visit
This is really the bare minimum of information, so I really encourage
you to do your own research and learn more about the atrocities that
the American and Canadian governments committed against the indigenous
peoples of this land.
The ‘Indian Residential School System’ in Canada was founded as
an attempt to continue assimilating indigenous peoples into the western
culture – this included but was not exclusive to religious
indoctrination into Christianity, learning English, and domestic and
agricultural work exclusive to Anglo-Saxon traditions.
The system came into use after the passing of the ‘Indian Act’ in 1876 and the last federally-funded school shut down in 1997.
Indigenous groups were excluded as part of the Indian Act such as the
Metis, the Inuit, and “non-status Indians” (e.g indigenous children with
parents from different tribes or other indigenous individuals from
tribes not recognized by the federal government at the time). Therefore
many Indigenous populations were without rights or the Indian Act, as
the Indian Act was meant to replace Canada’s “Charter of Rights and
Freedoms” for Indigenous groups acknowledged by the federal government.
schools were extremely harmful to indigenous children – removing them
from their homes and families often without consent, depriving them of
their ancestral languages, and exposing them to numerous forms of abuse
including (but certainly not limited to) experimentation, malnutrition,
neglect, arduous labor, and sexual abuse.
residential schools often showed signs of the trauma they endured in
post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, substance abuse, and
In 2021 alone, thousands of unmarked graves have been found at the locations of former residential schools.
Residential schools were not limited to just Canada!
of Native American “boarding schools” existed in the United States
between the 1700s and the 1900s with similar conditions.
Army Officer Richard Henry Platt, who founded one of the Residential
Schools in Pennsylvania was famous for stating “kill the Indian in him,
and save the man” with the similar ideology of assimilating indigenous
children under the belief that it was better for indigenous populations.
As the public now decries the unmarked graves of Indigenous children
of residential and boarding schools, many Native families are thinking,
“We know. Finally, they’re paying attention!” After all the work that
many Native communities and intellectuals/activists have been doing,
people are noticing and condemning, unlike any time before, the terror
and nightmare that Native families have been living with for
generations. Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland, a boarding school
descendant, recently announced the Federal Indian Boarding School Truth
Initiative, which offers hope to affected communities, but also raises
questions about the methods and approaches of this inquiry. Stories are
surging on the outcry and accusations about boarding schools, sometimes
without listening to the Native survivors, families, and communities
that have already been speaking out and seeking truth, healing, and
reconciliation in their own ways. For many that have experienced the
horrors of boarding school first-hand, and to their children, these
conversations trigger trauma.
Farina King and Marsha Small are two Native American scholars and
descendants of boarding school survivors who are dedicated to serving
their peoples by amplifying the voices of those who attended Indian
In her work, King addresses how Diné identity has changed among
boarding school students through the twentieth century, and she
addresses the physical affronts, illness, abuse, and punishment, and as
well as survivor skills and creativity that students used to overcome
their challenges at boarding schools.
Marsha Small, or O tata’veenova’e (Northern Cheyenne/Tsististah), has
used geo-referencing systems such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) and
geospatial information systems (GIS) to locate unknown and unmarked
burial sites of the Chemawa Indian School Cemetery.
Listen to Farina
King and Sarah Newcomb talk with Marsha Small for the Native Circles podcast.
We are part of a growing collaboration who address the
intergenerational impacts of what historian David Wallace Adams defined
as “education for extinction,” or schooling set to eradicate Indigenous
sovereignty and being in the empire of the United States. We call for
the Indigenizing of truth seeking and telling on the histories of
boarding schools. Healing derives from self-determination and
community-based approaches that center on living Indigenous communities
and boarding school survivors and their families. The National Native
American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) has spearheaded this
movement for truth and healing in the United States (https://boardingschoolhealing.org/).
As early as 1928, the Meriam Report uncovered many of the harms of
Indian boarding schools, such that the federal government increasingly
redirected their attention towards public schools for Native children.
However, some boarding schools have remained open into the twenty-first
century, though they have changed many of their most nefarious policies,
many even embracing the teaching of Native American cultures and
languages. Yet, struggles over educational sovereignty ensues as Native
youth fight to protect their right to life and water at home.
The One Mind Youth Movement are Cheyenne River Sioux young leaders
who are fighting to sustain Indigenous “outreach, community, and
Some Indigenous youth are fighting to wear ancestral regalia at their
graduations such as Christian Titman of the Pit River Tribe who sued his
school district in California for not allowing him to wear an eagle
feather in his graduation cap in 2015.
The Navajo Nation is an example of one tribal nation that is
attempting to reaffirm their authority over the education in public
schools on their reservation.
Boarding school histories trigger guilt, both in those involved, as
well as those looking on. Many now ask, what more could we have done to
save the lives of these children?
King once asked her Diné father why he never taught her Diné bizaad,
Navajo language, and he told her, “You never asked.” But she knows other
Diné parents who no longer talk to their children in Navajo, and they
openly admit that they thought that their language would hurt their
prospects in the future. The schools drilled in them that Indigenous
languages and cultures were impediments and vestiges of a losing and
dying people. They believed that the trajectory of their children
excluded Indigenous values, including sovereignty and peoplehood for
which many of their ancestors sacrificed their lives. A relentless
ailment that burdens the survivors of boarding schools and their
posterity is the paradox that we will either forever belong to a race of
victims, or we can reject our Indigeneity and side with “the winning
team.” History is often framed as a game of winners and losers, but
there are never winners in such histories of violence and rupture.
Indian boarding school truth-seekers must seek healing and recognize
our Indigenous ancestors made the most of a difficult situation. They
survived with the hope that their descendants would someday thrive.
Uncovering buried truths will reopen the wounds that never fully healed,
and the healing will be painful. This is not a process that can be
rushed, or ripped apart, and it must involve those who are affected by
the legacies of Indian boarding schools. Each grave uncovered represents
a missing child, a stolen ancestor, and a family that never came to be. -Farina King, Ph.D.
X. MULLEN: The cemetery now known as the “Old Stewart Indian Cemetery”
or the “Dat-So-La-Lee Cemetery,” after the master Washoe basket weaver
who is buried there. Most of the stones are simple marble tablets but
there are also a few wooden, concrete and sandstone markers, as well as
numerous unmarked graves. In the 1940s, a new cemetery was established
less than a mile to the west of the old cemetery. Both are on Washoe
tribal property. Photos used in this story were taken from outside the
in the late 1800s, a system of more than 350 Indian boarding schools
was tasked with stripping indigenous Americans of their language and
culture, while isolating them from their families and tribes, in an
effort to “assimilate” the students into white society.
Indian School, which opened in 1890, the very existence and memory of
about 200 native people, presumably children, were erased as well.
the old school cemetery adjacent to the 240-acre campus, southwest of
central Carson City, there are more than 170 marked graves. Those range
in time from 1880, a year before the school existed, to the early 2000s.
The marked gravesites include many with weathered, nearly-illegible
headstones as well as easily-read marble markers and well-tended family
plots. The wind-swept site on tribal land, protected by a fence and
ringed with gnarled sagebrush, also encompasses an estimated 200
unmarked plots, whose occupants and dates of interment are a mystery.
institution is among hundreds of Indian boarding schools that will be
examined by the federal government in an effort to document their
histories, including identifying the students who attended them and
those who never went home. That review, announced in June by U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, came after nearly 1,000 unmarked graves were found at former Indian boarding schools in Canada.
Stacey Montooth, the executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission,
last month inspected the Stewart cemetery and reported her findings to
the Interior Department, which decided to add the institution to its
“I hope we find
the names of every student who attended the Stewart Indian School and
find those dates (of attendance) and their tribal affiliations. I’m
hopeful that we can share that information with their families, their
descendants. Then that will give new insights for their loved ones and
allow them to have a new appreciation for the experience of their
ancestors or their elders.”
– Stacey Montooth, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission.
said the review is about more than cataloging names and gathering data.
Learning about students’ experiences at the school, she said, could
help tribal people understand “some of the dynamics in their families,
and with reflection, quite possibly make those families stronger and
more grounded in their culture, which would lead to stronger
The history of the Stewart Indian School, the topic of a sidebar to this story,
is a mixture of proud achievement and shameful treatment; school
spirit, loneliness and resilience. What was called “assimilation” from
the early 1800s to the 1930s is today seen as an attempt at cultural
genocide, even ethnic cleansing. The boarding schools’ initial goal to
“kill the Indian, save the man” failed, but the human price of those
policies reverberates down through generations of tribal people.
costs yet to be tallied include information about those who rest in the
unmarked burials among the headstones in the old school cemetery,
located on land returned to the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada.
Permission from the tribe is required for entry.
must shed light on what happened at federal boarding schools. As we
move forward in this work, we will engage in tribal consultation on how
best to use this information, protect burial sites, and respect families
— Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland.
Some records lost
said the Nevada Indian Commission is gathering what records are
available, but has not yet received specific direction from the
Department of Interior about how to proceed. The commission will work
with tribal leaders and school alumni during the course of the review,
There is no complete roster of Stewart students, but
according to an estimate by the Nevada State Museum, about 30,000
children were enrolled there during the 90-year life of the school. Some
pupils attended for many years; others for just a few months. When the
institution closed in 1980, some school documents and records were lost
and others were sent to federal repositories, said Bobbi Rahder,
director of the Stewart Indian School Museum and Cultural Center.
said that when federal authorities suddenly closed the school, “there
was absolutely no transition plan. It was a shock to staff, students,
faculty and the state of Nevada.” In addition to the documents stored at
federal facilities, she said, some documents and artifacts formerly
displayed in the school are now under the control of the Bureau of
Indian Affairs and kept in a warehouse in Carson City.
hopeful that eventually those items will be returned to the Nevada
Indian Commission, especially in light of the Secretary of the
Interior’s initiative that aims to find out the names, dates and tribal
affiliations of all people who attended boarding school,” she said. “…It
would not only help in the healing, but allow (tribal people) a place
to come and do research to find out about their families. It also would
be very helpful to us in filling in the holes we have in the records.”
Volunteers cleaned up site
have located some of the documents related to the school housed at the
San Bruno National Archives in California. In 2007, the Nevada
Department of Transportation initiated the Old Stewart Indian Cemetery Clean-up Project,
an effort that involved the Washoe Tribe, the Nevada Indian Commission,
the Virginia City Cemetery Foundation and the Stewart Indian Colony
Youth Group. The young volunteers cleaned up the site, repaired broken
grave markers, and documented more than 250 gravesites. Researchers
pored through federal records, copies of the school newspaper,
obituaries, death certificates and other sources to find out more about
the people who rest there.
Some of the results of that research are listed on the Find a Grave website,
where 176 Stewart cemetery graves are catalogued. The people interred
beneath those markers were students who died while enrolled at the
school, staff members, alumni, and their relatives. About half of those
buried in the 176 plots listed on Find a Grave were adults, the rest
were children, including some infants.
Students who died at the school also are buried in other cemeteries around Northern Nevada.
Epidemics and outbreaks
researching the names on the Old Stewart Cemetery markers found
evidence documenting students who died of communicable diseases, which
spread easily in the close conditions at the institution.
deaths are connected to epidemics. In 1896, for example, four children
between the ages of 7 and 13 were interred there. Researchers attributed
some of those deaths to the “Russian flu.”
In 1919, four children between the ages of 12 and 15 were buried in the
cemetery. Newspapers at the time reported that a total of five children
and three staff members died in the third wave of the Spanish flu
A similar spike in burials occurred in 1906, when five
children ranging in age from 7 to 10, and a 21-year-old male student
were interred, but researchers found no connection to a disease outbreak
at the school that year.
The public summary of the clean-up
project notes the existence of unmarked graves in the cemetery, but no
number is noted. More detailed information, including a digitized map of
gravesites, is in the custody of the Washoe Tribe. The tribe created an
on-line virtual “cemetery,” where relatives can share photographs,
stories and information about their loved ones.
the school opened in a single wooden building 1890, it had no medical
facilities. During the first half century of its history, tuberculosis
and trachoma (an eye infection than can result in blindness) were
endemic at the school. Epidemics swept through the student body and
outbreaks of illnesses, including measles, mumps and related infections,
Bonnie Thompson wrote her doctoral thesis about the
school and the evolution of its policies on student health in 2013,
while a student at Arizona State University. Thompson wrote that the
school opened during an era of scientific racism, which continued through 1905.
officials and the Indian Office largely believed that Indians’ ‘savage’
lifestyle and traditional beliefs predisposed them to chronic diseases…
Following this logic, the Indian Office did little to prevent students
from contracting these diseases or other illnesses other than isolating
— Bonnie Thompson, doctoral thesis, 2013.
infirmary was built on campus in 1905 and a full-time nurse joined the
school staff. Germ theory eventually took hold, but the consistency of
better nutrition, good sanitation and the best-available health
practices varied over the years.
“Mumps, scabies, impetigo,
measles, smallpox, and influenza all reached epidemic proportions at
Stewart between 1890 and 1940,” Thompson wrote. “…The sheer magnitude of
these epidemics struck fear into the children and their parents and
reinforced the idea that boarding schools were death traps.”
Sent home to die
sanatorium for students infected with tuberculosis was built in 1916,
but it was always inadequate for the demand. Often, critically ill
children were sent home.
“To avoid deaths at the school, the
sanatorium also sent home students with advanced tuberculosis as soon as
possible,” Thompson wrote. “The wishes of parents and children
certainly played a role in the students’ return to their families.
Parents wanted to say goodbye to their children before they died. But by
sending the children home, the school pushed its responsibility for
sickness and the cost of further care onto other Indian agencies and
Superintendents only reported deaths that occurred on campus, several researchers noted.
The ‘Indian New Deal’
1928, the federal Meriam Report laid bare the problems at Indian
boarding schools, including the dismal states of nutrition and health
care. The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, dubbed the “Indian New
Deal,” resulted in tribes using their new political power to pressure
the federal Indian Office to reform its policies.
up its education and prevention programs, but budget constraints and
changes in leadership got in the way of implementing best practices.
“Pupils at Stewart often complained about the quality and quantity of
food, physical exhaustion from their work regimen, and crowded
dormitories where they often slept two to a bed,” Thompson wrote.
more records may provide more insight into how children lived – and
died – at Stewart Indian School, but some gaps in the narrative may
never be filled.
Numbers, not names
Jackson, a graduate student in education at the University of Nevada,
Reno, wrote his 1969 master’s thesis about the history of Stewart. He
noted that quantifying the number of children who died of disease at
Stewart, or at any federal boarding school, can be challenging.
an institutional level, superintendents reported deaths of nameless
students in their annual reports to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,”
Jackson wrote. “Even then, no complete record exists and the rates of
morbidity and mortality have to be pieced together from reports,
letters, death certificates, student records, and grave stones.”
part of what the federal review is trying to accomplish. The results
may not be comprehensive, but any further information will shed more
light on the experiences of the children who attended the school for
Dedicated to the task
in those gaps in the school’s history “looks like the direction the
Secretary of the Interior wants us to take and that’s what we want to
do,” Montooth said. Even if it’s possible to identify every student who
was enrolled, many of their fates may remain unknown.
were here and didn’t come back, you may not know why they didn’t come
back,” she said. “Did they run away, make it home, and were able to hide
(from the truant officer)? Did they not come back because they
perished? It’s such a complex situation. Most of the alumni and staff
records we have specific to the school indicate that there wasn’t a big
focus on record-keeping here. It followed that if the operation was
violent, and would reflect poorly on the federal government, then the
folks who had the ability to keep those records wouldn’t have made that a
Still, Montooth said, every effort will be made to
learn as much as possible. “We want to be transparent and to be able to
tell relatives that, yes, this is when your relatives went to this
school and this is what we now know about them.” SOURCE
Wauzhushk Onigum receives 'long overdue' $3M to search for unmarked burials at former residential schools - read here
(August 14, 2021) The chief of Wauzhushk Onigum says elders in the northwestern
Ontario First Nation have been telling stories for decades about
unmarked graves and the children who never came home from St. Mary's
Indian Residential School.
time to listen to their stories and educate non-Indigenous Canada,
educate the world on what happened to our people," Chief Chris Skead
told CBC News.
He hopes the $2.9 million in funding announced
Thursday by the federal and provincial governments will help the First
Nation find "the entire truth."
Former TRC director to head 'secretariat' investigation
(August 13, 2021)
Kimberly R. Murray
former executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of
Canada has been hired to help create a “survivors’ secretariat” to
oversee a search for graves at the former Mohawk Institute residential
school. Kimberly R. Murray, a Mohawk of Kanehsatake, will act as executive
oversight lead. In addition to her work with the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, Murray was the first assistant deputy
Attorney General of the Indigenous Justice Division at the Ontario of
the Attorney General.
Six Nations has put $1 million into the creation of the survivor secretariat.
Mohawk Institute operated for 142 years from 1828 to 1970. More than
15,000 children, most of them from Six Nations, were forced to attend.
Editor Note: I have said this before in a non-fiction book I wrote in 2018. We are not supposed to know or care about Native People. It's obvious we have a century of bad history to rewrite and write right...
Why Do Native People Disappear From Textbooks After the 1890s?
Ward Jeffery, who is not Native, is an assistant professor of history
and Diné studies at Navajo Technical University, a public,
tribally-controlled university of the Navajo Nation in Chinle, Ariz.,
and the editor of H-High-S, a national online network of high school
social studies educators, historians, social scientists, and K-12
teacher educators. He also is the academic coordinator for the Navajo
Nation Police Academy.
current manufactured controversy over critical race theory in American
schools that has been roiling parts of the nation this summer has
exposed two truths: Most K-12 teachers do not teach CRT, but they
absolutely should. And while anti-education conservatives claim that CRT
teaches things like “race essentialism” and that all white people are
racist, the academic framework does nothing of the sort.
it does is demand that we compare our ideals about law, justice, and
the way government works with the lived experience of racial and ethnic
minorities within those systems.
CRT, then, examines how America actually is in comparison with how we think it ought
to be. When applied to history, critical race theory demands that we
examine the American reality instead of the American mythology that has
often masqueraded as history in classrooms.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland’s recent visit to the former site of the government-run Carlisle Indian School
highlights some of that destructive American mythology. Haaland, an
enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo of New Mexico, is the first Native
Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. Last month, Haaland visited the
graveyard on the U.S. Army’s Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania during a
ceremony to repatriate the disinterred remains of nine Rosebud Sioux
children who died over a century ago at the school.
Historically, the United States committed itself to a policy of cultural genocide in the early part of the 19th
century, and it created an education program for which Native children
were removed from their parents—sometimes violently. The schools then
compelled the children to give up their culture in favor of American
norms, including by forcibly cutting students’ hair, replacing their
names, prohibiting them from speaking their own language, and
restricting their visits home. This boarding school period of Indian
education continued until the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act in
1978, a law aimed at preventing the forced removal of Native children
from their families and tribes. Understandably, many Native people
remain skeptical of educational systems designed and run by the federal
In fact, many students are actually surprised to learn that Native peoples still exist."
addition to present-day educational disparities, Native American
history is neglected in most K-12 classrooms. In fact, many students are
actually surprised to learn that Native peoples still exist. It is
almost as if Gen. Richard H. Pratt, the founder of the Carlisle School,
was successful in his attempt to “Kill the Indian, and save the man.”
Many non-Native students assume Native people must have died off since
they largely disappear from textbook narratives after the 1890s. (They
also make up about 1 percent of the national student population, so it’s
possible that many non-Native students might not have been exposed to
their Native peers.)
do not learn that many Native people don’t have access to running water
or electricity. They do not learn that the U.S. Supreme Court has
limited how tribes can exercise their governmental power—such as police
power—to serve and protect their citizens. They certainly do not learn
about the inequalities in the educational system between predominantly
white schools and those serving Native students. If they did, then they
might question how we treat our Native neighbors.
I live on the Navajo Nation—which straddles Arizona, Utah, and New
Mexico and is about the size of West Virginia—about a third of the
population lives without running water or electricity. In 1936, when
President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification
Administration, the program only offered electrification loans to states
and counties, not to tribal governments. The result was that while most
rural Americans quickly gained electricity in the next decade or so,
many living on reservations did not.
before the pandemic, my college students told me stories about charging
their laptops in their cars overnight and then traveling to the closest
town for Wi-Fi to turn in their homework. These same students travel 20
miles to the closest gas station to get ice to keep food cold, which
they cook on gas-powered camping stoves. They use outhouses. They drive
several miles to windmill-powered water tanks. They drive 30 miles to
the closest truck stop about once a week to take a shower. While this is
difficult under normal circumstances, it is nearly impossible to
overstate the burden that a lack of electricity and running water has
created during the ongoing spread of COVID-19 on the reservation.
much of America, my neighbors also have urgent, albeit different,
complaints about the police. The Navajo Police Department does not
employ a single white officer, so racism in law enforcement on the
reservation manifests itself in different ways from how it does in the
rest of the country. Instead, Navajo people complain about a lack of
police because of funding and the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has
limited the effect of tribal criminal jurisdiction on non-Native
Americans. So, when someone on the Navajo Nation dials 911, there is a
high probability that police will be unavailable for help. And, if
officers are available, in most cases, they are limited in their ability
to arrest and charge non-Native suspects for violations of tribal law.
have good reason to protect the mythological narrative of America that
their political power is rooted in. If American K-12 teachers used
critical race theory to inform their social studies curriculum, students
might learn the real truth about the country’s failures to live up to
its own ideals.
The religious organizations that operated the schools — the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Jesuits of English Canada and some Catholic groups — in 2015 expressed regret for the “well-documented” abuses. The Catholic Church has never offered an official apology, something that Trudeau and others have repeatedly called for.
Almost 7000 bodies found and not one member of the church has been arrested. The names are out there. The church must be held accountable. #NeverForget#EveryChildMatters
The Justice Department is protecting the names of many perpetrators of abuse of Indigenous children. We need a special independent prosecutor who can force the government and church to turn over the documents. There can be no reconciliation without justice.@MumilaaqQaqqaqpic.twitter.com/5TL6OxKM5O
Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.
Did you know?
Did you know?
New York’s 40-year battle for OBC access ended when on January 15 2020, OBCs were opened to ALL New York adoptees upon request without restriction. In only three days, over 3,600 adoptees filed for their record of birth. The bill that unsealed records was passed 196-12.
According to the 2020 Census, 3.6% of Colorado's population is American Indian or Alaska Native, at least in part, with the descendants of at least 200 tribal nations living in the Denver metro area.
Diane Tells His Name
Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines
click to read and listen about Trace, Diane, Julie and Suzie
As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.” The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.
Original Birth Certificate Map in the USA
Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab
Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:
Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.