Secretary Deb Haaland: Federal Indian Boarding School Truth Initiative
Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2021
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Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announces a new federal initiative to address the harmful legacy of the Indian boarding school era on June 22, 2021.

“Our communities are still mourning,” Haaland said in remarks delivered at the National Congress of American Indians mid-year session.

“The federal policies that attempted to wipe out Native identity, language and culture continue to manifest in the pain our communities face, including long-standing intergenerational trauma cycles of violence and abuse disappearance of indigenous people, premature deaths, mental disorders, and substance abuse,” said Haaland, a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna who is the first Native person to serve in a presidential cabinet.

Through the Federal Indian Boarding School Truth Initiative, Haaland said the Department of the Interior will identify boarding school facilities and sites; the location of known and possible student burial sites located at or near school facilities; and the identities and tribal affiliations of children interred at such locations.

“I know that this process will be long and difficult,” said Haaland, a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna. “I know that this process will be painful. It won’t undo the heartbreak and loss that so many of us feel. But only by acknowledging the past, can we work toward a future that we’re all proud to embrace.”

TRANSCRIPT OF REMARKS: ‘Our communities are still mourning’: Secretary Haaland announces federal Indian boarding school initiative