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News Release

National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition

On September 13, tribal and Congressional leaders from across the country came together virtually to support the launch of “7 Weeks of Action for 7 Seven Generations,” a national campaign led by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS). For over a decade, NABS has worked to understand and address the ongoing trauma created by the U.S. Indian Board School Policy. Today’s announcement is a critical step to building upon this movement and compelling the federal government to take accountability for the federal Indian boarding school policy era. 

The virtual event featured tribal leaders, Congressional leaders, advocates, and boarding school survivors across the country. The tone and candor of the event were clear – the time for healing is now, and Indian Country is calling on Congressional leaders to pass the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act (S.2907 / HR 5444).

“The time for healing is now. We heard from elected leaders and our relatives that survived this traumatic period of American history. We deserve to know the truth, to know justice, and to continue our healing,” stated Deborah Parker, Tulalip, Chief Executive Officer of National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. “We cannot wait any longer. As we’ve stated in testimony to Congress, establishing a Congressional Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies is the most comprehensive way to investigate and document the impacts of this history.” 

The ”7 Weeks of Action for 7 Seven Generations” virtual launch featured the following key Congressional leaders, tribal leaders, and national advocates: 

  • Deborah Parker, Tulalip Tribes, NABS CEO
  • Robert McArthur, J.R., White Bear First Nations
  • Sandy White Hawk, Sicangu Lakota, National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition President
  • U.S. Representative Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk Nation, (D-KS-03)
  • Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, White Earth Band of Ojibwe
  • Dr. Ramona Klein, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Elder/Boarding School Survivor
  • Chief Ben Barnes, Shawnee Tribe
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  • National UNITY Ambassador Co-President Chenoa Scippio, Navajo Nation
  • Stacy Bohlen, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Chief Executive Officer of the National Indian Health Board
  • Reno Franklin, Chairman, Kashia Band of Pomo Indians
  • Kutoven “Ku” Stevens, Yerington Paiute Tribe
  • Sedelta Oosahwee, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Sr. Program Specialist, National Education Association 
  • Dallas Goldtooth, Mdewakanton Dakota and Diné, Indigenous Environmental Network 

“The boarding school era has impacted my entire life and the lives of all my descendants. I want my children, grandchildren and all descendants of the survivors to have justice from the abuse,” stated Dr. Ramona Klein, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, boarding school survivor.

“I think it would be difficult to find a Native person who hasn’t been affected. Native students were forced to change an entire sense of being. From names, culture, language, clothes, everything,” stated U.S. Representative Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk (D-KS-03). “This bill [HR.5444 and S.2907] is really aimed at seeking out healing for the stolen native children and the communities that were impacted. This transcends political lines and political parties. This is about making sure that we are getting to healing.”

“From the Doctrine of Discovery and forward our ancestors have been subjected to such atrocities, attempts to wipe us out. We have normalized suffering in a way. What happened to our people in boarding schools was a crime against humanity,” stated Stacy Bohlen Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), CEO of National Indian Health Board. “When we think about the health of American Indian and Alaska Native people, it has been proven that our culture is absolutely necessary for our health. We know that our strength and health rely on our culture, language, spirituality, Native ways of knowing. The very things that were taken away from our children. Maybe we need a 100-year policy of reversing boarding school policy.” 

Dallas Goldtooth, Mdewakanton Dakota and Diné, stated, “I have four grandmothers who all went to boarding school. My mother’s mother was raised by a system that didn't teach love. And my mother experienced that. I experienced that as an effect. So, it is essential for us to dive into what that means and how that impacts us.”

For more information or to participate in the campaign, visit: URL for campaign page/toolkit 

About National Native American Board School Healing Coalition (NABS)

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit in June 2012. NABS was created to develop and implement a national strategy that increases public awareness and cultivates healing for the profound trauma experienced by individuals, families, communities, and American Indian and Alaska Native Nations resulting from the U.S. adoption and implementation of the federal Indian boarding school policies. Today, the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition is a membership organization is comprised of members and organization committed to boarding school healing. 

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