REPORT: Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) released its initial findings in May 2022 after a nine-month investigation into the fraught legacy of Indian Boarding Schools that the U.S. government ran or supported for a century and a half.

REPORT: Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report

Access the report here: https://www.bia.gov/sites/default/files/dup/inline-files/bsi_investigative_report_may_2022_508.pdf

The 106-page report—penned by Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Bryan Newland—details for the first time that the federal government operated or supported 408 boarding schools across 37 states, including Alaska and Hawai’i, between 1819 and 1969. About half of the boarding schools were staffed or paid for by a religious institution. The investigation identified marked and unmarked burial sites at 53 of those schools, though the DOI expects to find the number of children buried at boarding schools across the nation to be in the “thousands or tens of thousands,” as the investigation continues.

The DOI also identified more than 1,000 additional federal and non-federal institutions that didn’t fall under its definition of “federal Indian boarding school.” Those additional institutions such as Indian day schools, sanitariums, asylums, orphanages, and stand-alone dormitories worked similarly to assimilate Native youth into white society.

“The consequences of federal Indian boarding school policies—including the intergenerational trauma caused by the family separation and cultural eradication inflicted upon generations of children as young as 4 years old—are heartbreaking and undeniable,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “We continue to see the evidence of this attempt to forcibly assimilate Indigenous people in the disparities that communities face. It is my priority to not only give voice to the survivors and descendants of federal Indian boarding school policies, but also to address the lasting legacies of these policies so Indigenous peoples can continue to grow and heal.”

“This report confirms that the United States directly targeted American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children in the pursuit of a policy of cultural assimilation that coincided with Indian territorial dispossession,” Newland wrote in a letter to Haaland along with his submission of Volume 1 of the investigative report on April 1. “I believe that this historical context is important to understanding the intent and scale of the Federal Indian boarding school system, and why it persisted for 150 years.”

(Source: Native News Online)