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Sunday, October 1, 2023

The Times is Now... A Virtual Conversation on the U.S. Truth and Healing Commission...

 

Webinar on the U.S. Truth & Healing Commission Bill on 9.27.23


The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) hosted a virtual conversation on the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act (S. 1723). 

NABS is joined by U.S. Congresswoman Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) and a guest panel featuring Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Muscogee), Dallas Goldtooth (Lower Sioux Dakota Nation), Mato Wahuyi (Oglala Lakota), and Georgeanne Growingthunder (Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes). 

Learn how you can advocate for the U.S. Truth and Healing Commission Bill. 

 Learn More: https://boardingschoolhealing.org/truthcommission/

 Explore our Advocacy Toolkit: https://sites.google.com/nabshc.org/nabs-truth-and-healing-toolkit/home

Why a Truth and Healing Commission

We have a right to know the truth of what happened in Indian boarding schools in the United States.

Over the course of a century, hundreds of thousands of our children were taken or coerced away from our families and Tribes and forced to attend government-sanctioned Indian boarding schools.  These schools were tools of assimilation and cultural genocide, resulting in the loss of language and culture and the permanent separation of children from their families.  To date, there has never been an accounting of:

  • the number of children forced to attend these schools;
  • the number of children who were abused, died, or went missing while at these schools; and
  • the long-term impacts on the children and the families of children forced to attend Indian boarding schools.

We have a limited amount of time to hear directly from survivors and record their stories.  A Congressional Commission is needed to locate and analyze the records from the 523 known Indian boarding schools that operated in the U.S.  A Commission would also bring together boarding school survivors with a broad cross-section of tribal representatives and experts in education, health, and children and families to fully express and understand the impacts of this federal policy of Indian child removal.

 

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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.

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