The event in Tulalip was led by Minister Deb Haaland as part of her year-long “Path of Healing” tour.
TULALIP, Wash. – Several indigenous survivors of India’s federal boarding school system had the opportunity to share their stories on Sunday as part of the Home Secretary’s year-long cross-country tour. United States Deb Haaland, “Road to Healing.”
“I don’t want my kids to feel that way,” said one survivor. He was just one of the few survivors who spoke out on Sunday, recounting the pain they went through while attending the federal Indian Boarding School System.
One survivor said: “He would go out with his belt on, pick a child out of bed and beat him because he was crying.
Hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children and youth nationwide were forced to leave their families and attend these schools until the 1970s, with each school’s mission to erase the children’s indigenous identity.
“Family ties have been broken,” said one survivor. “When you’re sent to all the different parts of the area and you’re not allowed to go home.”
Survivors say physical and sexual abuse is common at these boarding schools. A study published last year found that there are more than 400 schools across 37 states, including 15 in Washington state.
“My ancestors and many of you endured the horrors of the assimilation policies of the Indian boarding school carried out by the very department that I currently lead,” the Home Secretary United States, said Deb Haaland.
Minister Haaland helped lead Sunday’s event in Tulalip, the sixth stop on her year-long nationwide tour “Road to Healing.”
“To give people an opportunity to share their stories,” said Minister Haaland. “But also to help connect communities with trauma-informed support and facilitate long-term oral history collection.”
Minister Haaland acknowledged that healing that would help indigenous communities would not happen overnight. But she and other members of the community believe it can be done. “It’s time for all of us to come together to heal our wounds and create a better tomorrow,” said one survivor.