Indigenous people in the United States: hundreds of children killed in boarding schools

Indigenous people in the United States: hundreds of children killed in boarding schools

Status: 05/13/2022 09:23 AM

It’s a dark chapter in United States history, now it’s about to come to terms: tombs and remains of children’s bodies were discovered near former boarding schools for indigenous peoples. The number is likely to increase.

By Nina Barth, ARD Studio Washington

They were separated from their families and some never returned: the children of Native Americans. They should be re-educated in boarding schools, forgetting their history and culture. Many were tortured, abused, abused.

nina barto
ARD studio Washington

When US Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland presented a report on the conditions in these boarding schools, she shed tears. What happened was “heartbreaking and undeniable”.

more than 500 deaths

Between 1819 and 1969, there were more than 400 of these compulsory boarding schools for Native American children in the United States, either run by the federal government or churches. The report said that there have been over 500 deaths in 19 boarding schools.

Marked or anonymous burial sites were found in more than 50 places. The number is likely to increase.

The Halands themselves are descendants of the original inhabitants. “The fact that I stand here today as the first Indigenous minister testifies to the strength and determination of the Indigenous people. I am here because my ancestors persevered,” said Hollande.

Anonymous Graves in Canada

“I give my life to the strength and will of my mother and grandmother. And the work we do with the federal initiative to bring this together will have a profound impact on generations to come.”

The report was commissioned by the US Secretary of the Interior last year after anonymous graves were discovered in former boarding schools for Aboriginal children in Canada.

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coming to terms with the dark past

Deborah Parker of the Tulalib tribe in Washington presides over an initiative of more than 80 organizations that care about the rights of indigenous peoples and those with dark pasts. “Many of our children have been taken away and never returned,” she told PBS.

Parker said, “Just now, a member of an Alaska Native tribe told me that her mother was locked in the basement of one of the boarding schools. She was tied to a heater and was being beaten ,” Parker said. “And hearing these stories, knowing that our loved ones have suffered such indescribable pain, is a heavy burden.”

a first step

Parker welcomed the official inquiry. But more needs to happen, she said: “It means the government is apologizing, but not just apologizing, there is some kind of compensation.”

“I don’t have a prescription for this compensation,” Parker said. “But we’re just getting to the point where we’re telling our story. And I think the rest will come when we listen to our elders, as we hear stories.”

The investigation report released by the US Department of the Interior could be the first step in that direction. Processing will take a long time.

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