Following the beginning of a five-part investigative report by Oregon Public Broadcasting on the Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon, Congressman Kurt Schrader released the following statement. The investigative report, which began airing one week ago, has revealed serious allegations of abuse, fraud and mismanagement at the boarding high school for Native American and tribal youth.
"I am deeply disturbed by OPB’s reporting of alleged abuse at the Chemawa Indian School. I support the school's mission to provide a high school education alongside an education in tribal heritage and vocational skills to Native American youth. And, I have maintained a deep interest over the years in ensuring that Chemawa has federal support to continue this effort. However, the allegations released over the past week surrounding the activities at Chemawa, and knowing that there are more allegations to come, are significant and deeply troubling. Over the past week, I’ve begun conversations about the allegations with tribal leaders in our 5th district, and in the coming weeks, I will remain committed to the needs of the tribal communities in my district and beyond as we closely follow the full investigative report. As we devise a course of action to investigate the allegations, I expect full cooperation on all levels to completely understand the scope and seriousness of the situation."
Chemawa, a Native American boarding school in Salem, has been part of Oregon’s community since 1880 and has called Salem home since 1885. The school was established to teach Native American youth a variety of trades including farming, animal husbandry and other vocational skills beneficial to reservation life and culture. Over the years, the school has progressed to provide a high school education to students of tribes, while maintaining an environment that promotes Native American identity and tribal heritage.