Support boarding school truth and healing via Senate
FSPA is a Nuns & Nones Land Justice Focus Community. Here, we share this news as drafted by our N&N partners.
June 15, 2023
Today we woke up to some fantastic news - the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to uphold The Indian Child Welfare Act. ICWA is critical legislation that protects current and future generations of Native kids and families from forced removals and assimilation. Overturning it would have opened the door to broader attacks on tribal sovereignty - so this is BIG.
And, now there's another important opportunity to support justice and repair for Native people (and the world):
A bill that would establish a boarding school “Truth and Healing Commission” in the United States unanimously passed through the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
Let's show our support for S.1723 to our senators!
The Truth and Healing Commission would conduct a comprehensive investigation into the assimilative policies of Indian Boarding Schools in the United States, while identifying the locations of children’s burial sites, locating church and government records, and documenting the ongoing impacts to Native communities. Those who drafted the legislation looked to Canada’s Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation Commission as an important framework for the U.S.
The Indian Boarding School policy was an effort by the U.S. government, enthusiastically embraced by mainline Christian denominations, to assimilate Native people to dominant white culture. Catholics ran at least 87 of these schools, the impacts of which have been widely recognized, including by Pope Francis, as cultural genocide: loss of land, language, culture, and even life.
FSPA administered a boarding school in Odanah, Wisconsin.
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, is asking supporters of this bill to contact their U.S. Senators to request they vote to pass S. 1723. Theresa Sheldon (Tulalip), Policy and Advocacy Director for NABS, said of the bill, “Native peoples, especially boarding school survivors, deserve justice and the chance to heal. This legislation is the first step.”
Please take the important step today to call your U.S. Senator and express your support for S. 1723, a much-needed step toward truth and healing.
Steps to take:
>Call congressional offices directly or through the switchboard. If you do not have the direct number, you can reach U.S. representatives by calling 202-225-3121, and U.S. senators by calling 202-224-3121. Ask the operator to connect you to the individual office. If you do not know the names of your members of Congress or want the direct line to their office, you can look up your members here: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/
>Let them know that you are a constituent. Be sure to say the city and state you are from. Elected officials are most interested in your opinions if you are their constituent.
>Note your expertise. If you have professional experience with the issue you are calling about, be sure to mention it. This will establish your credibility on the issue and may even prompt the aide to ask you for some guidance on the issue.