Truth and Healing Process Begins at Red Cloud

September 30, 2020


Holy Rosary Mission Boarding School Photo


Today, Orange Shirt Day, encourages us to remember the trauma that Indian boarding schools inflicted on generations of Indigenous peoples across North America. In that spirit, we openly acknowledge Red Cloud's own boarding school history, grieve the tragic injustices in our own past, and commit to addressing that history with honesty and humility.

On July 1, Red Cloud graduate Makȟá Black Elk '05, who has served as an educator and leader at Red Cloud for nearly a decade, was appointed Executive Director for Truth & Healing, to help facilitate this process in the months and years ahead. As he shared today:

“Indigenous people carry stories of immense tragedy and loss, and many of these stories can be directly connected to the nineteenth century’s national Indian Boarding School Policy, designed to assimilate Native children and systematically destroy indigneous cultures and communities. Red Cloud, and other institutions like it, were created as part of this project of colonization, which violently sought to change Native people without their consent, causing a ripple effect still felt to this day.

This process of Truth & Healing demands that we examine, with unflinching honesty, the trauma that our institution caused survivors, their descendants, and our wider community. It requires that we take a deep look at ourselves, hold up a long-needed mirror, and open our hearts and minds to the stories that must never be forgotten. And it insists that we provide space, resources, and transparency to support the healing process. Today that work begins, and I hope you will join us.”

As part of this work, Red Cloud was proud to endorse new legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that would “establish the first formal commission in United States history to investigate, document, and acknowledge past injustices of the federal government’s cultural genocide and assimilation practices through its Indian Boarding School Policy.” If passed, the Commission created under this legislation would also work to “develop recommendations for Congress to aid in healing of the historical and intergenerational trauma passed down in Native American families and communities and provide a forum for victims to speak about personal experiences tied to these human rights violations.” (Read the full press release and find links to the legislative language here).

In the weeks and months to come we will share more information about the Truth & Healing process at Red Cloud. Please also visit the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition website for additional information, and for resources on trauma and resources for healing.

Photos © Red Cloud Indian School



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