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MINNEAPOLIS — Love is a great gift from the Creator. Love is the theme of care packages being sent from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) to American Indian boarding school survivors or their direct descendants beginning in late August.

The “We Love You!” elder care packages are being carefully arranged by volunteers from the Tulalip community in Washington state, and are filled with items that were created or produced by Indigenous artists, healers, entrepreneurs, companies and friends from across Turtle Island.

Every survivor of an Indian boarding school or a direct descendant over 60 years old is eligible to receive a care package. Family members are also encouraged to request a care package for a relative if they satisfy the requirements.

The care packages can be requested, beginning on Aug. 10, through the NABS website. There are 1,000 care packages available and will be sent on a “first come, first served” basis.

“Our elders carry irreplaceable wisdom, ancestral teachings and traditional languages from their homelands, and we are thankful for all their presence and patience among us,” said Christine Diindiisi McCleave (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), CEO of NABS. “Right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us are working hard to stay safe and healthy, including isolating from many of our loved ones to protect one another. We want to show our elders how important they are to us and we hope these care packages bring both joy and healing for them.”

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition

Incorporated in 2012, part of NABS’s mission is to build a better understanding of the scope, scale and impacts of Indian boarding schools across the country. As part of this mission the organization is looking forward to getting to know survivors better and hearing their stories.

The Elder Care Package Request Form provides an opportunity for survivors and descendants to share something about their experiences related to boarding schools.

Those interested in sponsoring one or more packages, or partnering with NABS, can do so on their sponsorship page. NABS also encourages interested parties to share this information widely to ensure the opportunity is presented to the maximum number of elders, survivors and descendants. 

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These stories must be heard.

This May, we are highlighting our coverage of Indian boarding schools and their generational impact on Native families and Native communities. Giving survivors of boarding schools and their descendants the opportunity to share their stories is an important step toward healing — not just because they are speaking, but because they are being heard. Their stories must be heard. Help our efforts to make sure Native stories and Native voices are heard in 2024. Please consider a recurring donation to help fund our ongoing coverage of Indian boarding schools. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

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