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News Release

U.S. Department of the Interior

In a new op-ed for The Washington Post, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland shares a powerful personal story about the experience that her grandparents faced as they were stolen from their families as children and sent to boarding schools. Secretary Haaland also notes the steps we need to take — including robust tribal consultation and upholding federal trust and treaty responsibilities — to seek justice and healing for Indigenous communities. 

This piece comes as the world learns of the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a former Canadian boarding school.

“My family’s story is not unlike that of many other Native American families in this country. We have a generation of lost or injured children who are now the lost or injured aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents of those who live today,” Secretary Haaland writes. “Though it is uncomfortable to learn that the country you love is capable of committing such acts, the first step to justice is acknowledging these painful truths and gaining a full understanding of their impacts so that we can unravel the threads of trauma and injustice that linger. We have a long road of healing ahead of us, but together with tribal nations, I am sure that we can work together for a future that we will all be proud to embrace.”

Opinion: Deb Haaland: My grandparents were stolen from their families as children. We must learn about this history.

About the U.S. Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior (DOI) conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper.

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