The night before the Interior Department issued a historic report on its investigation into Indian Boarding Schools, Assistant Secretary Bryan Newland got some helpful insight at home. 

“I was talking to my daughter the night before about this, (and) she said something that was very poignant and powerful. I was explaining the boarding school system to her and she said, ‘They're just kids.’ And that simple statement from her really hit me,” Newland said. “We are talking about, as the report says, this federal policy targeted kids. It wasn't a federal policy aimed at adults who had a choice or in the abstract. It was a deliberate targeting of kids.”

During this week’s Native Bidaske (Spotlight), Native News Online Editor Levi Rickert and Senior Reporter Jenna Kunze met with Newland to talk more about the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Report. He spoke openly about Volume 1 of the report and the impact of Indian Boarding Schools on all Indigenous people in this country.  

“​​Well, obviously, the boarding school system has affected every single native person in this country whether they realize it or not,” Newland told Rickert and Kunze during the live stream.  “Whether they attended the boarding schools or whether their parents did, we all live with its legacies — from the lack of language speakers in so many communities, to broken families. When I say broken families, I mean families that are literally (torn apart) from people being sent to boarding schools and some kids not making it home. 

“The experiences of kids who went to these boarding schools, it's weighing; it's emotional. You can't be an empathetic person and not feel that.”

To hear the entire conversation, watch the 15-minute episode of Native Bidaske below or on YouTube or Facebook.

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12 years of Native News

This month, we celebrate our 12th year of delivering Native News to readers throughout Indian Country and beyond. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.

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About The Author
Neely Bardwell
Author: Neely BardwellEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Neely Bardwell (descendant of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indian) is a staff reporter for Native News Online. Bardwell is also a student at Michigan State University where she is majoring in policy and minoring in Native American studies.