Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) welcomed the re-reintroduction of the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools Policies in the U.S. Act. This bill will investigate the atrocities committed at Indian boarding schools throughout the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries.
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“FCNL applauds the reintroduction of the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools Policies in the U.S. Act as a next step to investigating the atrocities of Indian boarding schools and opening a path toward justice,” said FCNL General Secretary Bridget Moix. “In solidarity with Indigenous leaders and communities, we call on Congress to establish a federal commission with suitable investigative authority to advance an accountability and healing process that can address the deep intergenerational trauma and legacies of violence perpetrated by the Indian boarding school era.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA), the lead sponsor, introduced the bill yesterday to investigate and document the attempted termination of cultures and languages of Indigenous peoples, including American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians through Indian Boarding School policies. A final report will be due within five years of the commission’s creation.
“As a Quaker organization, we also commit to and call on our own faith community to continue a truth and reckoning process with our role in facilitating this violence and cultural genocide against Native communities. Just as we must reckon with our own role in the Indian boarding school era, the federal government and other faith groups who bear responsibility must face the truth, demonstrate accountability, and actively participate in the long, hard journey toward healing that protects human rights and tribal sovereignty,” said Moix.
According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Christian churches collaborated with the government to create more than 400 boarding schools across 37 states/territories for Native American children throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
“This is about tribal sovereignty, human rights, and accountability,” said Anika Forrest, FCNL domestic policy legislative director. “Society can never fully atone for the terrorizing acts of the boarding school era, but we can advance efforts of truth-telling and work to address centuries of genocide and oppression of Native people. That is what this legislation hopes to begin.”
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.