Tracing the history of boarding schools, a daunting task

In the first picture, girls bound in blankets are standing in moccasins. The following photo, taken a few weeks later, is radically different: the children are dressed in checkered uniforms, they are dressed in lace-up shoes and wide-brimmed straw hats.

Associate history professor Larry Laricio says he discovered these 1,885 photos while researching an entirely different topic, but immediately realized their significance.

These images represent the efforts of the US government and religious organizations, in particular, to assimilate Aboriginal youth into the white community of the time by uprooting them from their homes and sending them to boarding schools, he describes.

When I took this photo, I was in tears. I looked at the faces of the beautiful Apache girls in their original clothes and then I looked at those ugly American hats, recalls the researcher associated with the Institute of Latin and Iberian America at the University of New Mexico.

Larry Laricio’s discovery indicates the scale of the challenge facing the US Department of the Interior in achieving it in boarding schools.

Photo: Associated Press/Susan Montoya Bryan

M. Larrichio also suspects that the recent discoveries are only Tip of the iceberg There is still much to be done.

A lot of this information is likely buried – literally buried as far as this group I’ve discovered is concerned., urges.

How many floors were buried, and how many stories were deliberately destroyed? I think it will be very difficult to get a full understanding of the impact of all this.

Quote from:Larry Laricio, Assistant Professor of History and Research Associate at the University of New Mexico

Research huge

The US Department of the Interior has begun searching archives in hopes of identifying former residential schools, student names, and their countries. The project also aims to determine the number of children who died in these schools and the number of those buried in unknown graves.

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As part of a multi-year initiative, the remains of nine Aboriginal youths who died more than a century ago while attending a Pennsylvania public school were recently returned to their loved ones during a ceremony so they could be returned to the Rosebud Sioux First Nation grounds in South Dakota.

Home Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Aboriginal person to head a government agency, has promised an investigation into deaths in Aboriginal boarding schools, acknowledging that it will be a painful and difficult process.

In fact, while the National Archives preserve some documents, most of them are found scattered in various jurisdictions – from the depths of university archives to government offices, including archives of churches, museums, and personal collections. Not to mention the documents that have been lost or destroyed over the years.

A printout of an archive photo of residents.

Students at a local residential school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, photographed in the late 19th century.

Photo: Associated Press/Susan Montoya Bryan

Thanks to grants and the work of independent researchers across the country, the National Alliance for Healing Native American Boarding Schools has identified nearly 370 damaged schools and estimates that hundreds of thousands of Native children passed through between 1869 and 1960.

It will be a huge task, the initiative launched by the Home Office is enormous, but the deadline is short and we will need to investigate further., said its general manager, Kristin Dendesi Macliffe, speaking knowingly.

Several years ago, his organization submitted requests for access to public documents of the federal government for information about boarding schools, most of the time to no avail.

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Encouraged by the first steps of the new US Department of the Interior, Mrs. Denisei McCliff reiterated her request to create a federal commission in the United States modeled on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada.

political representation

Deb Haaland, Denisie McCliff, and Lynne Trujillo, the Minister of Indigenous Affairs for New Mexico, all told the story of their grandparents being sent to a boarding school. They speak with one voice about intergenerational shock and its impact on younger generations seeking to preserve their language and cultural practices, which were once forbidden in boarding schools.

For some families, the boarding school experience was a taboo topic that should never be discussed. But for others, the recent collective awakening has sparked new conversations. Ms. Trujillo recounted that her grandmother was taken to a boarding school when she was six and described how hungry and cold she was.

Her grandmother was able to get home, unlike other children, but the experience shaped her character, as Ms. Trujillo shares.

Our communities and indigenous peoples have known about these atrocities for far too long, but being able to shine a light on and talk about them – no matter how painful – is part of the healing process.

Quote from:Lynn Trujillo, Secretary of Indigenous Affairs for New Mexico

For Diindiisi McCleave, moving toward treatment will require more research, data, and understanding.

Most work begins with the truth, and this not only includes the truth from the federal government and the churches that run the schools, but hears the truth from the perspective of those who have experienced it, d’hear the testimonies of survivors and their descendants and understand the full scope and impact of these experiences., confirmed.

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Experts say the list of known residential schools – and burial sites – will only increase because the research highlights schools that history would otherwise have forgotten.

The US Department of the Interior has announced that it is working on how to do this Create a safe space, including a hotline and a dedicated website where citizens can also share information about boarding schools and find resources.

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