Healing In A Time Of Truth And Justice

National awareness about the role of the federal government and Christian churches in the U.S. Indian boarding school policy is growing rapidly.

Ignited by the discoveries of children’s graves at Canada’s Indian residential schools, the U.S. is poised to face its own reckoning for a similar history.

The Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition seized on the growing awareness during its Healing in a Time of Truth and Justice Summit, held virtually on Nov. 19-20.

Presenters at this year’s summit encouraged people to reach out to their congressional representatives in support of the Truth and Healing Commission on U.S. Indian Boarding Schools Act that was reintroduced to Congress on Sept. 30 by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and U.S. Reps. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, Ho-Chunk, and Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, Chickasaw Nation.

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School Works To Return Native Remains

Philadelphia – The School District of Philadelphia is working to repatriate Native American skeletal remains found in a high school classroom closet this summer.

A letter sent to parents of Central High School students Friday said the “human skeletal item” was previously used as a teaching aid and dated back to the 1850s.

The district consulted with the Department of Interior, Temple University and other experts about how to handle the remains, Evelyn Nunez, the district’s chief of schools wrote in the letter to parents.

“The District is also working with these partners to return this person, who has been identified as a male Native American, to his home tribe,” she said.

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Indigenous People’s Day Reminds Us To Acknowledge And Support Indigenous Struggles

Today is Indigenous Peoples Day. Across the country, a growing number of cities and states are recognizing this day in place of the traditional Columbus Day. This change reflects the growing awareness that holidays like Columbus Day are used to rewrite the past and uphold institutions of white supremacy, racism and settler colonialism. As Justin Teba writes, in Albuquerque, they issued a proclamation to recognize this as a day ” to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous peoples on this land.”

I can only write from the perspective of a settler, but I do want to highlight a few of the current struggles. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves about the history of the founding of the United States, to join in struggle with those who are oppressed and to transform our society to end these devastating institutions.

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Shining Light On The Dark Age Of The Tulalip Boarding School

From 1857 to 1932, hundreds of Native youth from across the state and as far as Alaska were taken to the Tulalip Boarding School. There, they were beaten for speaking their Native languages. They began industrial jobs as elementary age students. They didn’t get to see their parents for ten months of the year, and many of them never came home. The school closed in 1932, and for many families, the wounds are fresh.

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Orange Shirt Day Is A Reminder Of A Genocide

Some Canadians bristle at the suggestion that Canada has committed genocide. But the discovery of over 6,000 unmarked graves at residential schools has shocked Canadians into realizing that such atrocities occurred in their country. This is what we had to reflect upon during the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

According to the United Nations, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

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Tsleil-Waututh Nation Lead Powerful Pilgrimage Walk In North Vancouver

A sea of orange flowed down Dollarton Highway on Sept. 30 as members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation community, and family members from Musqueam and Squamish nations, took part in a pilgrimage walk to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The rain did not dampen the spirits of community members who gathered at the Tsleil-Waututh Reserve administration building at 9 a.m. on Thursday, to walk 8.5 kilometres to the site of the former St. Paul’s Residential School, now home to St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Secondary School.

The morning began with drumming and song and an uplifting, positive feeling grew amongst the crowd as more than 100 members began the journey. It was also a sombre time for many members, as they retraced the steps their relatives took every day to “school.”

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Rosebud Sioux Youth Council Returns To Carlisle Indian School

Carlisle, Pa. — Twenty-three-year-old Christopher Eagle Bear from the Rosebud Sioux tribe in South Dakota has been growing out his hair since he visited the site of the former Carlisle Indian Industrial School six years ago.

The trip, made by the Rosebud Sioux youth council in 2015, sparked a group of young tribal members to initiate a tribe-backed resolution to bring home their nine ancestors who died at the school as children some 140 years ago.

Six years after his initial visit, Eagle Bear’s hair falls down below the waist of his traditional regalia. He is back in Carlisle this week to bring his relatives home.

The Army’s Office of Army Cemeteries, which oversees the former school grounds, has agreed to exhume the remains of nine Rosebud Sioux children and return them to the tribe on Wednesday, July 14.

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Thousands March In Cancel Canada Day Actions

On July 1, several thousand Indigenous people and settler and immigrant allies answered the call of organizations like Idle No More to protest the celebration of Canada Day and the ongoing genocide of Indigenous peoples. Cancel Canada Day actions took place across the land occupied by the Canadian state, from St. John’s, Newfoundland, in the east, to Victoria, B.C., including a march of thousands to parliament in Ottawa.

July 1 of this year marked the 154th anniversary of Confederation, forming the “Dominion of Canada” out of the colonies of Upper Canada (now Ontario), Lower Canada (now Quebec), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. From the start, however, the invasion of the West and expropriation of Indigenous peoples loomed large in the minds of the “Fathers of Confederation,” ranging from the reform liberal expansionist George Brown to the initially hesitant, though then supportive, John A MacDonald.

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Statues Of Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II Toppled

Demonstrators toppled statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II in Winnipeg Thursday as outrage grows in Canada over the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous children. Reuters reports a group of protesters gathered at the Manitoba legislature and pulled down the statue of Queen Victoria on Canada Day, an annual holiday that celebrates the Canadian Confederation.

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First Nations Replace Canada Day Fireworks With Vigils

In Keewaywin First Nation, a remote community in Northwestern Ontario of about 500 people, it won’t be dark enough to set off Canada Day fireworks until 11 p.m. But, this July 1, there won’t be any.

Instead, there will be a candlelight vigil outside the band office, as the community foregoes its traditional holiday activities to honour the hundreds of Indigenous children and adults believed to be buried in unmarked graves recently uncovered at former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

On Wednesday, the Ktunaxa community of Aqam, in B.C., announced that a preliminary search had discovered another 182 burial sites, which they said may belong to children who attended the nearby St. Eugene Mission residential school.

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The Horrific Truths About Indian Boarding Schools Are Gaining Attention

Due in part to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the horrific truths about what children and their families endured and the graves of the children who were murdered in the residential schools are being uncovered. The residential schools originated in the United States, which has yet to recognize their existence and what happened in them. That may be starting to change after many decades of activism to raise awareness and now an initiative by Secretary of the Interior Haaland. Clearing the FOG speaks with Matt Remle, an indigenous human rights activist about the history of the boarding schools, their purpose to enable the exploitation of resources and how they are connected into the bigger picture of genocide and colonization.

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New Federal Initiative To Investigate The Legacy Of Indian Boarding Schools

Washington — In remarks to the National Congress of American Indians 2021 Mid Year Conference today, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies.

Today’s announcement is accompanied by a secreterial memo in which Secretary Haaland directs the Department to prepare a report detailing available historical records, with an emphasis on cemeteries or potential burial sites, relating to the federal boarding school program in preparation for a future site work. This work will occur under the supervision of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.

“The Interior Department will address the inter-generational impact of Indian boarding schools to shed light on the unspoken traumas of the past, no matter how hard it will be,” said Secretary Haaland.

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Residential School Survivor Is Not Staying Silent

A residential school survivor from Haida Gwaii, B.C., is calling for a class-action lawsuit against the Catholic Church to reveal the names of the children who died at the schools.

Sphenia Jones went to the Edmonton Residential School where she said she was given a different name, Pauline, and was forced to stop speaking her language.

She was 11 years old when she attended the school and was put on a train from British Columbia where she said it stopped multiple times to pick up other children from communities along the route.

“There was a whole bunch of kids in there. They were stopping and picking up a bunch of kids,” she said. “Some of them died on the way and they just threw them off the train.”

“Very scary,” she added. “Mainly because there were so many little kids that were younger than me there. Babies.

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China, Allies Seek Probe Into Indigenous Children’s Remains In Canada

Geneva – China and its allies called on Tuesday for an independent investigation into the discovery last month of the remains of more than 200 indigenous children at a Canadian boarding school.

The remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were found in British Colombia at the site of a former residential school for indigenous children, a discovery Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described as heartbreaking.

“We call for a thorough and impartial investigation into all cases where crimes were committed against the indigenous people, especially children, so as to bring those responsible to justice, and offer full remedy to victims,” Jiang Duan, a senior official at China’s mission to the U.N. in Geneva, told the Human Rights Council.

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