By Kalle Benallie, Indian Country Today
The U.S. Department of Interior will formally investigate the impact of federal Indian boarding schools, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced before tribal leaders on Tuesday.
The new “Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative” will result in a detailed report compiled by the Interior and will include historical records of boarding school locations, burial sites and enrollment logs of children’s names and tribal affiliations. Haaland made the announcement virtually at the 2021 National Congress of American Indians mid-year conference, a four-day gathering for tribal leaders, policymakers, and partners to discuss issues currently facing Indian Country.
The unprecedented move will ultimately aim to create healing by understanding the true scope of boarding schools in the U.S., Haaland said.
“I know that this process will be long and difficult. I know that this process will be painful. It won’t undo the heartbreak and loss we feel. But only by acknowledging the past can we work toward a future that we’re all proud to embrace,” Haaland said who is a citizen of Laguna Pueblo.