Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition

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The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) is the first and only national organization whose purpose is to advocate on behalf of Native peoples impacted by U.S. Indian boarding school policies. We seek truth through education and research, justice through activism and policy advocacy, and healing through programs and traditional gatherings.

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, American Indian and Alaska Native Nations resulting from policy adopted in 1869 by the U.S. federal government that supported the building and operating of government and church-run Indian boarding schools.

Our mission is to lead in the pursuit of understanding and addressing the ongoing trauma created by the U.S. Indian Boarding School policy.

List of Indian Boarding Schools in the United States

In August 2023, NABS released its latest research identifying 523 Indian boarding schools in the United States. This three-year project resulted in the largest known list of U.S. Indian boarding schools ever compiled to date. See the full list here.

Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act

WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW THE TRUTH For over 150 years, hundreds of thousands of Native children were taken or coerced away from their families and Tribes and forced to attend government- and religious-run Indian boarding schools. These schools were tools of colonization, assimilation, and genocide, resulting in the loss of land, language, culture, traditional foods, and the permanent separation of children from their families. Survivors of Indian boarding schools have described physical, sexual, psychological, and spiritual abuse and neglect. Many other children died, went missing, or were murdered while in the custody of these schools, unable to tell their stories. 

(1) The number of Native children forced to attend these institutions; 

(2) The number of Native children who were abused, died, or went missing while at these institutions; and

(3) The long-term impacts on Native children and the families of children forced to attendIndian boarding schools.

Developing a complete picture of the ongoing impacts that Indian boarding schools have had on generations of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people is critical. Tribal citizens and Tribal Nations deserve justice for the generations of trauma they have endured because of the Indian boarding school policies era.

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A Federal Commission is needed to locate and analyze the records from the 521 known Indian boarding schools in the U.S. 408 of which have been directly funded or supported by the federal government. These records are scattered across federal, state, and local governments, hospitals, church archives, private collections, and other unknown repositories, and may take years to fully document. In addition to the search for records, a Commission would also bring together boarding school survivors with a broad cross-section of Tribal representatives and experts in education, health, and children and families to fully express and understand the impacts of this federal policy of Indian child removal. 

As we have seen in Canada, the truth will eventually emerge about what is buried on Indian boarding school grounds, though we have a limited amount of time to hear directly from survivors and record their stories. A Congressional Commission will help ensure that accounts of Indian boarding schools— told by survivors, families, and presently undisclosed records—are preserved.

 It is essential that our children who were forced to attend these schools are not forgotten, and that this assimilative era of U.S. Indian policy is acknowledged so that future generations may understand the impact that this trauma has had in their community. Ultimately, we must know the truth so that we ensure that this never happens again. 

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Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition

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