Interior calls for tribal input as it prepares report on residential schools
Consultation hearings with tribes scheduled for November.
Home Secretary Deb Haaland, a citizen of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, announced on September 30 that the federal agency would begin its tribal consultation process, including with the eight sovereign nations of Utah, in the as part of the ongoing investigation into residential schools through the US
Haaland sent letters to tribal leaders, indicating the next steps of the Federal Indian Residential Schools Initiative, which was launched over the summer to review federal residential school policies.
The Interior says that for more than 150 years, indigenous children have been removed from their communities as part of its boarding school program. The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) has identified more than 367 schools operated by 14 different denominations in the United States, thousands of indigenous children have been forced against their will to attend boarding schools.
In Utah, there are four known boarding schools – Dill, Intermountain Indian School, Ouray, and Uintah – and the lesser-known Panguitch Boarding School, which the Salt Lake Tribune says is the unverified burial site of at least 12 children. Paiute.
According to a tribal letter sent to the Council of the Navajo Nation, Interior consultations are expected to begin in November. The letter calls on tribal governments, Alaska Native societies and Native Hawaiian organizations for their views on how best to protect potential burial sites and other sensitive sites in boarding schools.
“I launched the Federal Indian Residential Schools Initiative to begin the long healing process that our country must tackle in order to build a future we can all be proud of. ” Haaland wrote in a September 30 press release.. “As we move forward, working with tribal nations is essential to deal with this legacy with transparency and accountability.
“Tribal consultations are at the heart of this long and painful process to address the intergenerational trauma of residential schools and shed light on the truth in a way that honors those we have lost and those who continue to suffer trauma,” said added the secretary. .
Haaland tasked Deputy Indian Secretary Bryan Newland with preparing the report, which is expected to be released next spring.
Also Thursday, the NABS issued a statement saying he supports the proposal Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Residential School Policies in US Law. The legislation would provide “an important avenue for an investigation into the losses suffered by the Indian residential school policies and the lasting consequences of the violence of this attempted genocide,” said Secretary of the Council of the National Congress of American Indians, Juana Majel Dixon, in a statement. declaration.
“The residential school healing movement has had an international groundswell this year and we are now in an era of truth and healing,” said Ruth Anna Buffalo, NABS Board Chair. “It is a movement that is rooted in the countless prayers of our ancestors and our children and will not be ignored.”
Navajo Nation Council delegates Amber Kanazbah Crotty and Nathaniel Brown, both of whom work on human rights issues in the Navajo Nation, including the repatriation of Diné bodies from the Albuquerque Indian School, say these Federal efforts are opportunities to help recover and heal Indigenous communities. residential school atrocities in the early 1900s.
“So at the moment there is no quantification of the impact, but what we are seeing are the results of this experiment,” said Crotty, who represents the communities of Cove, Toadlena / Two Gray Hills, Red Valley, Tsé ‘Ałnáozt’i’í, Tooh Haltsooí, Beclabito and Gad’ii’áhí / Tó Kǫ’í. “Broken homes, suicidal thoughts, trauma and increased violence, etc. are primarily the experience of the residential school generation. This is what we are trying to get over. “
Brown, whose district includes Dennehotso, Kayenta and Chííłchinbii’tó and sits as chairman of the Navajo Utah Commission of the Navajo Nation Council, says he appreciates the work of federal boarding initiatives, especially since trauma associated with boarding schools are considered prohibited subjects in the communities he represents.
“The great thing I hear from our people is that people just need to get more information and understand what it is about,” said Brown, who attended Dennehotso Residential School. in Dennehotso, Arizona, when he was a child.
Brown added that he recently attended a local community meeting with Diné voters in his legislative constituency where residents who had worked at a residential school objected to community discussion on the issue because they feared the conversation doesn’t make an employee look bad.
“I think there must be a very important distinction in what happened,” he said, “and then recognize it, and then now how we go into healing mode.”