Hundreds of Native children died in boarding schools the U.S. government forced them to attend from 1819 to 1969 in a violent and racist attempt to assimilate Natives and take their territories, according to an Interior Department report .
the report released Wednesday, commissioned by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, found that about 19 federal Indian residential schools accounted for more than 500 deaths of Native American, Alaska Native and Hawaiian children. The number is likely to increase as the Federal Initiative’s investigation of Haaland’s Indian Residential Schools continues.
There were over 400 such federal schools in 37 states. The survey found burial sites in more than 50 schools, some of which are unmarked.
Over a 150-year period, federal Indian residential school policies forcibly removed Indigenous children from their families and transferred them to these institutions, “resulting in the twin goals of cultural assimilation and territorial dispossession of Indigenous peoples,” says The report.
The boarding school system renamed students with English names, cut their hair and banned them from using Indigenous languages and cultural practices, the investigation found. Children were abused with corporal punishment, solitary confinement, flogging, withholding food, whipping and slapping.
“The intergenerational trauma caused by family separation and cultural eradication inflicted on generations of children as young as 4 years old is heartbreaking and undeniable,” said Haaland, the first Aboriginal to serve as Cabinet Secretary, in a statement carrying the report. She added that her initiative aims to “give voice” to the survivors of these schools and to address the “lasting legacies” of these policies on Indigenous communities to date.
Haaland spear the Indian Boarding School Initiative in June 2021 after more than 750 bodies of Indigenous children have been found buried in a residential school in Canada.
From the 1800s to the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of indigenous children have been abducted from their families and homes and forced to attend US federal boarding schools, The New York Times reported.
haaland said his own grandparents attended these schools in the United States
Among its recommendations, the report suggested compiling a list of marked and unmarked burial sites at federal Indian residential schools and further investigating the lasting trauma of the residential school system on Indigenous communities today.