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Schrader Welcomes Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative as Pathway to Healing for Local Native Communities

Congressman Kurt Schrader is welcoming the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative recently announced by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. The comprehensive investigation may include Chemawa Indian School in Salem.

Native children were forcibly removed from their families by the U.S. government from the 1800’s through the late 20th century and required to attend federal boarding schools. These students faced abusive tactics intended to strip them from their culture, and some lost their lives, while others were never reunited with their loved ones and placed in foster care. 

Secretary Haaland’s Initiative directs the Department to launch an investigation into its past oversight of all participating boarding schools including Chemawa Indian School, which is the country’s oldest continuously operated residential boarding school for Native American students. Investigators will be documenting locations of known and possible student burial sites located at or near school facilities and record Tribal affiliations and identities of children buried at these locations. The Department will be conducting consultations with Tribal Nations, Alaska Native corporations and Native Hawaiian organizations during the process as well. The findings will be detailed in a report to guide future site work. 

“When speaking with members of the Chemawa community, I heard how the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative will help many Native Americans begin to heal from generations of trauma, frustrations and betrayal that came from this painful period in American history,” Rep. Schrader said. “I have worked with Chemawa Indian School many times over the years, and I welcome this independent investigation as a pathway to healing for many Native families in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District and around the nation, so a new chapter can begin that fully embraces an educational experience rich in culture and personal history.”

 

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