DOI report offers a glimpse into buried history of federal boarding schools

Of the hundreds of boarding schools funded by the federal government that beat, belittled and whitewashed the culture and history out of Indigenous children, 16 were in Montana.

That is, according to a report published by the Department of the Interior earlier this week. The report, a part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative launched last year is the first federal effort to appreciate and document the scale of the damage inflicted by U.S. boarding schools operating in the 19th and early-20th centuries.

Preliminary data published in the first report from the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative identified 16 federal Indian boarding school sites. 

Courtesy of the Department of the Interior

“This report confirms that the United States directly targeted American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children in the pursuit of a policy of cultural assimilation that coincided with Indian territorial dispossession,” wrote Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland in a letter to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, which is included in the report.

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