U.S. counts Indian boarding school deaths for first time but leaves key questions unanswered

At least 500 Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian children died while attending Indian boarding schools run or supported by the U.S. government, a highly anticipated Interior Department report said Wednesday. The report identified over 400 schools and more than 50 gravesites and said more gravesites would likely be found. The report is the first time in U.S. history that the government has attempted to comprehensively research and acknowledge the magnitude of the horrors it inflicted on Native American children for decades. But it falls well short of some independent estimates of deaths and does not address how the children died or who was responsible. The report also sheds little new light on the physical and sexual abuse generations of Indigenous children endured at the schools, which were open for more than 150 years, starting in the early 1800s. The report identified more than 500 child deaths after examining records for 19 of the facilities, a small share of the total number of schools identified. The number is significantly less than some estimates, which are in the tens of thousands. Preston S. McBride, an Indian boarding school historian and a Comanche descendent … has found more than 1,000 student deaths at the four former boarding schools he has studied, and estimates the overall number of deaths could be as high as 40,000. “Basically every school had a cemetery,” he said. “There are deaths at or deaths because of virtually every single boarding school.”

Note: Canada has been investigating its own residential schools. What happened at these schools was akin to “cultural genocide,” according to a 2015 report from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.

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Author: {Want To Know}

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