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News Release

U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

This week, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) held an oversight hearing on “Volume 1 of the Department of the Interior’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report” and a legislative hearing to receive testimony on S. 2907, the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, provided opening remarks acknowledging the dark legacy of the Indian boarding school era, the need to address those past injustices, and support processes that bring healing to survivors, their families, and communities. The Department of the Interior’s release of volume one of its ongoing investigation is an important first step, but Congress also needs to act. Senator Murkowski is co-leading legislation, S. 2907, to establish a formal commission to complement the Interior Department’s Initiative, to further investigate, document, and address the impacts of Indian boarding schools.

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Pictured: Senator Lisa Murkowski with Ms. Liz La quen náay Medicine Crow, Haida and Lingít, at U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on June 22, 2022.

Pictured: Senator Lisa Murkowski with Ms. Liz La quen náay Medicine Crow, Haida and Lingít, at U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on June 22, 2022.

“It is long past time for the United States to come to terms with the dark and terrible legacy of Indian Boarding Schools. These boarding schools attempted to ‘break’ Native children in order to quickly assimilate them into the dominant white culture. As part of this breaking process, Native children were stripped of their identity, language, and culture, often forcibly. Many of these students never returned home,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “Last September, on the National Day of Remembrance for Indian Boarding Schools, I had the honor of speaking on the Senate floor to recognize and remember the children who attended these schools. The stories are terrible, but they are not isolated to Alaska. Instead, they are very similar to many Native children’s stories that are just beginning to be recounted. Alaska’s neighbor to the east, Canada, is dealing with its own history and legacy of Indian Boarding Schools. The idea of a Truth and Healing Commission to help address and heal from such atrocities has been implemented in Canada and serves as an example we can learn from, which is why I am co-leading S. 2907 to establish a formal truth and healing commission in the United States.”

Vice Chairman Murkowski invited Ms. Liz La quen náay Medicine Crow, President and CEO of the First Alaskans Institute, to testify at the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing. Medicine Crow is Haida and Lingít from Kake, Alaska, and an enrolled Tribal Citizen of the Organized Village of Kake.

Click here to watch the full Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing and find witness testimony.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs - banner logo