The remains of five Native American children who died at an Indian boarding school more than a century ago will finally be returned to their living relatives.
The Mountain West News Bureau’s Will Walkey reports.
“The Carlisle Indian Industrial school in Pennsylvania was a symbol of the notorious boarding school era. Thousands of native children were taken from their families sometimes at 6 years old and forced to assimilate into white culture.”
Gwen Carr is a member of the Cayuga Nation of New York and is Executive Director of the Carlisle Indian School Project. She says conditions at the school were harsh.
“Basically they tried to empty out all of the Indian in you, you know cutting your hair, taking your clothes. And you know being beaten a lot of times or punished with corporal punishment when you were heard speaking your language etc.”
Now, the U.S. is reckoning with that history. This will be the sixth disinterment at Carlisle since 2017, where the military transfers remains to relatives for reburial. Cemetery officials say 28 children have been returned so far.
Carr says these efforts are a critical part of healing for tribal members often suffering from generational trauma.
“Their spirit is still wandering around lost, and they need to go home, where the earth recognizes them and where they can truly be laid to rest in the land that birthed them with the people, family and tribes that they came from.”
The students will be moved this September, and they died between 1879 and 1910.
One named Beau Neal is from the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming. Others are from the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, the Puyallup Tribe of Washington State, the Spirit Lake Tribe of North Dakota and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe of South Dakota.
Officials are also working to recognize the troubled legacy of the boarding school era through the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative.
Three Lakota water protectors are in Ireland this week as part of a series of solidarity events.
Seo McPolin has more from Dublin.
Irish musicians and water activists on both sides of the border in counties Leitrim and Tyrone welcomed the group of Standing Rock protest veterans from South Dakota.
Several local communities here face increased mining and fracking activity.
Fracking is banned in the 26 counties of the Irish Republic, but allowed in the six counties still controlled by the British government known as Northern Ireland.
Scientists point out that pollution from mining and fracking is undeterred by Ireland’s 100 year-old political borders.
One of the water protectors, Lewis Grassrope from the Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Council, found a lot in common with his Irish counterparts during the event in County Tyrone.
“Since being here, you’re not so much different from us. Very similar. To hear your speeches, to hear the very same words, the same words I heard from Standing Rock.”
Activists are now fighting back against the extraction activities – and using lessons from the campaigns against North American pipeline projects.
Grassrope encouraged them not to give up even if it feels like they are losing.
“It’s not about if we win or lose. It’s about the gathering. About the love. It’s about what we create together. We will always keep standing because in the end, we think of giants as corporations, but they just awoken… a sleeping giant.”
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