Overseas Network, July 10. The ABC reported on the 9th that a tribal elder who had attended a U.S. government Indian boarding school testified in Oklahoma on the 9th, telling the story of the U.S. government’s attempt to use the boarding school to “assimilate” the aborigines. Children were subjected to a series of physical and mental abuses including beatings, sexual assaults, forced haircuts and nicknames.
The American Riverside Indian School is hosting a year-long series of events that tell the history of boarding schools to learn about the traumatic experiences of First Nations. Oklahoma is the first stop on the national tour. U.S. Interior Secretary Harland said at the event on the 9th: “The situation of Indian boarding schools has touched every Indigenous people I know, some are survivors, some are descendants, but we all have trauma in our hearts.” Rand was the first Indian Secretary of the Interior in U.S. history.
A Native named Nekoney recalled being beaten at the Lee Riverside Indian School in the late 1940s and early 1950s if he cried or spoke his native Kiowa. “Every time I wanted to speak Kiowa, they put lye in my mouth. That was 12 years of hell.”
The U.S. Department of the Interior released its first review of boarding school policies for Indigenous children in May, confirming that more than 500 Indian, Alaskan and Native Hawaiian children had died in 19 such boarding schools that offered “assimilation” education. From 1819 to 1969, there were 408 boarding schools for indigenous children in the United States, funded or directly established by the federal government, in more than 30 states. Of those, Oklahoma has 76, Arizona has 47 and New Mexico has 43.