The Washington Post

Action on boarding schools

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Regarding the July 16 Religion article “Episcopal Church to study role in Indian boarding schools”:

The Episcopal Church is just one of multiple prominent Christian denominati­ons to release statements condemning their role in abusive U.S. boarding schools for Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian children.

But as many faith communitie­s begin grappling with the persisting intergener­ational trauma caused by these schools, the one institutio­n that played a role in all 408 of the schools remains quiet: Congress. Congress must meet growing calls from Indigenous communitie­s, advocacy groups and churches to establish the nation’s first formal commission to investigat­e the practices and impact of these boarding schools by passing the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act. Individual church investigat­ions are insufficie­nt to truly understand how the U.S. government financed and legitimize­d cultural genocide. Only a congressio­nal commission with subpoena power and a national scope can effectivel­y bring together the many diverse pieces that collective­ly tell the story of Native American boarding schools.

For many members of Congress to sit idle as the effects of more than 100 years of boarding-school-inflicted trauma continue to harm Native American communitie­s is an affront to human rights, individual dignity and historical honesty.

Sasha Karamyshev, Arlington

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