WRITTEN & CONTRIBUTED BY KWYN TOWNSEND RILEY
What You Need To Know:
Indigenous people have endured abuse for thousands of years and recently, bodies of children have been discovered on the grounds of former boarding schools in Canada. About 215 graves and over 700 more were found on federal grounds of former boarding schools. This discovery prompted Secretary of the Interior for the United States Deb Haaland, who is the granddaughter of indigenous people who attended these boarding schools, to investigate the grounds of former boarding schools in the U.S..
Currently, the investigation is underway at two locations in Colorado: Grand Junction Indian School in central Colorado, which closed in 1911, and the Fort Lewis Indian School, which closed in 1910 and reopened in Durango as Fort Lewis College.
Why We Need to Know:
Federal boarding schools were created to “civilize” indigenous peoples. In our former history as a founding of the United States, a Eurocentric approach to education was used as a war tactic to mentally corrupt thousands of indigenous peoples to adopt a monolithic way of behavior that aligns with the colonizing mentality. This forced assimilation began around 1775. Federal funds were allotted for these schools to be built and sustained. It was not until 1978, with the passing of the Indian Child Welfare Act, that Native American parents gained the legal right to deny their children’s placement in off-reservation schools.
The trauma that our indigenous people have endured is too similar to what our ancestors have gone through. It is time for America to acknowledge the genocide that has been inflicted on our indigenous brothers and sisters for centuries. We must stand in solidarity with them, for once and for all.
One way to help is to acknowledge that we are on stolen land. You can discover whose land you are on by visiting the Native Land website.