Legislation endorsement: Truth and Healing Commission
As a religious congregation with a history of administering a Native American boarding school during the era of assimilating Indigenous children into Euro-American culture, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration support the legislation to establish the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policy in the United States.
We acknowledge our own history and are researching our archives and studying the impact of our operation of St. Mary’s Boarding School in Odanah, Wisconsin, from 1883 to 1969. We recognize that the work of truth and healing cannot wait any longer. As a congregation we are members of The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition and are proactively,
-working to contribute our archival records to the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition’s online database resources center, while working with the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer in Odanah to explore how materials and artifacts are pertinent to both FSPA and the people of Odanah.
-reading FSPA congregation diaries authored during 1883-1969, collating information specifically related to big events, sickness, deaths and parish events.
-enriching our internal committee membership by including a member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa who is also a graduate of St. Mary’s Boarding School.
-serving in new ways at St. Mary’s Parish in Odanah, having recently accepted an invitation for Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Roselyn Heil to fill a position of pastoral associate.
-inviting our sponsored Franciscan spirituality centers to consider their support of FSPA’s Truth and Healing journey, starting with education, including hosting Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change, an interactive exercise that traces the historic and ongoing impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery.
-committing ourselves to transparency in the process, sharing our progress on our Truth and Healing page.
Our hope is that as we listen to the painful and tragic experiences of Indigenous communities and take responsibility for the role we played, we can take action in dismantling systemic racism and white supremacy in ourselves and our areas of influence. Our intention is to address our complicity in unjust systems, both historically and now, and strive to enhance dignity and wholeness to those who have suffered for generations.
In our support letter to Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, we asked for her continued support for this legislation. "We appreciate your co-sponsorship and reintroduction of The Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act. As you stated on September 30, 2021, the National Day of Remembrance for U.S. Indian Boarding Schools, “We cannot gloss over this dark and tragic period of our nation’s history.”