The U.S. government has not been open to investigating its role in stripping Native Americans of their cultures and identities in boarding schools. Until now.
That's partly because people who know first-hand the persistent trauma caused by the boarding school system are positioned in the U.S. government. Still, the work to uncover the truth and create a path for healing will require financial resources.
Tribes will have to navigate federal laws on repatriation to take Native children who died and are buried at boarding schools home. And some survivors might be hesitant to recount the painful past and trust the federal government to collect the stories.
“Working with the Interior, knowing that there are representatives in the federal government who understand these experiences not just on a historical record but deep within their selves, their own personal stories, really makes a difference,” said Deborah Parker, chief executive of the National Native American Boarding Schools Healing Coalition and a member of the Tulalip Tribes.