Hundreds of Native American Children Died in Abusive US-Run Schools – Manila Bulletin
WASHINGTON, United States — More than 500 Native American children have died at US government-run boarding schools where students were physically abused and deprived of food, an Interior Department report said Wednesday.
‘About 19 federal Indian residential schools accounted for more than 500 deaths of Native American, Alaska Native and Hawaiian children,’ says the report, which follows an investigation ordered after similar abuses in Canada sparked widespread outrage over the summer. latest.
“The Department expects further investigation to reveal that the approximate number of Indian children who died at Federal Indian residential schools is in the thousands or tens of thousands,” he said.
According to the report, there are marked or unmarked burial sites in more than 50 locations, out of a total of more than 400 that made up the federal Indian boarding school system between 1819 and 1969. It describes the abusive punishments meted out in the schools , but does not relate them specifically to deaths.
“Federal residential school rules were often enforced through penalties, including corporal punishment such as solitary confinement; flogging; withhold food; whip; slaps; and handcuffs. The federal Indian boarding school system sometimes forced older Indian children to punish younger Indian children,” the report said.
Children in the boarding school system were not only abused, but taught skills that prepared them poorly for life after graduation.
The system “focused on manual labor and vocational skills that left Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian graduates with employment options often unrelated to the American industrial economy, further disrupting tribal economies,” the report says. report.
A statement released with the report said the school system had the “dual purpose of cultural assimilation and territorial dispossession of indigenous peoples through the forced displacement and resettlement of their children.”
– ‘Scared for life’ –
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who ordered the investigation that led to the report, condemned the traumatic impact on Native Americans that the boarding school system has caused.
“The consequences of federal policies on Indian boarding schools – including the intergenerational trauma caused by family separation and cultural eradication inflicted on generations of children as young as four years old – are heartbreaking and undeniable,” Haaland said in the communicated.
Deborah Parker of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition pointed to the devastating long-term consequences of schools.
“After generations, we still don’t know how many children attended. How many children have died…how many children have been permanently scarred for life because of these federal institutions,” Parker said at a press conference.
“Our children deserve to be found, our children deserve to be brought home. We are here for their justice. And we will not stop advocating until the United States fully accounts for the genocide committed. against Indigenous children,” she added.
Canada also grapples with the legacy of abuse and neglect in its schools for Indigenous children.
Thousands of people died in schools and many were victims of physical and sexual abuse, according to a commission of inquiry which concluded that the Canadian government had engaged in “cultural genocide”.
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