Many thanks to all of you who, over the past months, read our blog about the discoveries of mass graves of Indigenous children at Indian boarding school campuses. Thanks also to you who signed our petition to the president and Congress to form a Truth and Healing Commission. Today, I write to you with some good news and a follow-up action to take!
On Sept. 30 — the National Day of Remembrance for Native American Children — Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Reps. Sharice Davids and Tom Cole reintroduced a bill that will form just such a commission. This bill was formerly introduced by Sen. Warren and U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (when she was a N.M. congresswoman). Now, it’s time for all of us to make sure this important legislation gets passed! Please write to your congressional reps and tell them: vote to enact the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act!
Stolen babies: Generations of Native children were forced to attend boarding schools like the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which stripped them of their cultures and identities — and, too often, their lives.
I shared with you a couple months ago about my own familial experiences with boarding schools. I told you about the horrific practices that endangered and took the lives of Native children across Turtle Island. Now, against the backdrop of these mass grave discoveries, we must do all we can to ensure lawmakers take genocide seriously. It’s time to begin an official reckoning with America’s true history and a process that can aid in the healing of our tribal communities.
Please show your solidarity with me, my ancestors, and the generations to come. Your advocacy matters. Together, we can begin to make things better.
Wopila tanka — thank you for standing up for truth and healing!
Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project