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 (H.R. 7227). This House bill will investigate the atrocities committed at Indian boarding schools throughout the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries.
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“If we are ever to get to a point of healing and justice, we first need a full accounting of what actually happened at Indian Boarding Schools, which were funded by our federal government in collaboration with various religious groups,” said FCNL General Secretary Bridget Moix. “Together with Indigenous leaders and communities, we call on Congress to establish a federal commission with 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.”
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. Quakers ran more than 30 Indian boarding schools.
“This is about tribal sovereignty, human rights, and accountability,” said Anika Forrest, FCNL domestic policy legislative director. “We can never fully atone for the terrorizing acts of the boarding school era. But we can advance truth-telling efforts and work to address centuries of genocide and oppression of Native people. This bill is a first step toward that goal.”
“As a Quaker organization, we are committed to this truth and reckoning process. 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 and justice,” said Moix.
In solidarity with Native American leaders and tribal communities, Quakers and friends in the FCNL community have been closely following the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act. In fact, several Quaker meetings and churches are looking into their own histories and taking steps toward accountability.
On March 16-19, hundreds of young adults will gather in Washington for FCNL’s Spring Lobby Weekend. They will lobby Congress for the establishment of the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools.
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.