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News Release

Friends Committee on National Legislation

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) welcomed late last week’s introduction of important legislation to investigate and address the atrocities committed at Indian boarding schools throughout the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries.

“For far too long, the truth of cultural genocide led by European-Americans at Indian boarding schools has remained hidden in secrecy and ignored. Christian churches, including Quakers, carry this burden of transgression against Indigenous people. It is necessary and important for our government to investigate, acknowledge, and report the truth to help us move toward healing the injustice against American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians,” said Diane Randall, Friends Committee on National Legislation’s general secretary. “History cannot be undone. But it also can’t be ignored. The faith community must acknowledge our complicity in the historic trauma of the boarding school era and work in solidarity with tribal nations to advance congressional efforts to establish a truth, reconciliation, and healing process for the families and communities affected.”

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Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA), Representative Sharice Davids (KS), and Representative Tom Cole (OK) introduced the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act to establish the first formal commission in US history to investigate and document the attempted termination of cultures and languages of Indigenous peoples, assimilation practices, and human rights violations that occurred against American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians through Indian Boarding School policies. A final report will be due within five years of the commission’s creation.

“This bill is a positive first step toward addressing not only the crimes of the boarding school era but centuries of abuse, maltreatment, and genocide of Native people at the hands of the federal government. Acknowledging the truths tribal communities have always known is an important part of the healing and reconciliation process for all of us,” said Portia Kay^nthos Skenandore-Wheelock, Friends Committee on National Legislation’s Native American Advocacy Program Congressional Advocate. “Our work must also continue beyond the Commission in supporting the Indigenous languages, cultures, and peoples these policies were intended to destroy and erase. Only then can we create a future where all our children are safe, loved, and proud of who they are.”

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