NOTE; Arizona, where I am, had one such school here in Phoenix. I know where it was, I've seen it before it was closed and torn down.
'Our children had names': New report outlines grim legacies of Indian boarding schools
The languages, cultures and history of Native American tribes were "targeted for destruction" by federal Indian boarding schools, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Wednesday, and some of the children who attended those schools never made it home.
Haaland, whose grandparents were taken to boarding schools at the age of 8, said her agency had begun the work of chronicling the worse of the abuses and trying to find out what happened to the students who were lost in the system, an attempt to "honor our trust obligations to Indigenous communities."
The secretary made her remarks as the Interior Department released its first report on Indian boarding schools and their impacts on Native peoples throughout the United States.
The report is the first step in the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a series of examinations into the generational impact of 408 federal boarding schools and more than 1,000 religious and privately run schools upon Native peoples, and how to address those impacts. More than 50 of those schools, including the Phoenix Indian High School, were located in Arizona.
The report also included schools in Alaska and Hawaii as well as 89 additional schools that received no federal funding at all.
Deborah Parker, the CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, spoke during an often-tearful press conference outlining the report's release and next steps.
"Our children had names," Parker said. "Our children had homes. They had families. They had their languages, their regalia, their prayers and religions."
But as Parker, a member of the Tulalip Tribes, pointed out, a system of federal, private and religious-run boarding schools over more than 150 years did its best to wipe out thousands of years of Native languages, cultures and family ties. The damage done to these children, and to the generations that followed, was immense, she said.
Said Dakota Sioux historian Jeanne Eder Rhodes: "If you want to change the culture, the first thing you do is take away their children and put them where they can't access their culture."