- By Darren Thompson
MINNEAPOLIS—On Friday, hundreds of people marched in solidarity as part of the boarding school survivor and victim memorial event in Minneapolis. Crowds marched through Southside neighborhoods to raise awareness of the legacy of boarding schools that is still felt in the American Indian community today.
The march was organized by the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center and sponsored by the Minneapolis American Indian Center, Tiwahe Foundation, Ain Dah Yung, the Lower Phalen Creek Project, and other American Indian community organizations in the Twin Cities area.
“Today we came together in community to honor and remember our people who experienced a strategic and intentional genocidal policy known as boarding schools,” Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center Executive Director Marisa Cumings told Native News Online. “Many of us carry the trauma and pain in ourselves and family lines. We stand today as survivors. We stand here today in solidarity and strength to honor those who survived and those who never made it home and lost their lives at these violent government and religious institutions.”
Prior to the march, crowds met in the Little Earth neighborhood on Minneapolis’s Southside and listened to speakers share their experiences attending boarding school.
“I came to the march to support the people here,” Anango Desjarlait, 14, told Native News Online. “I hope that people see us for who we are and what we have gone through and that we are still here.” Anango traveled to the Twin Cities from the Red Lake Indian Reservation, 230 miles north, with her family to participate in the march.
Many families were present in the march.
“I pulled my girls out of school because I feel that this issue is really important for them to understand how historical and intergenerational trauma affects our everyday lives—even now,” Erin Thin Elk (Sicangu Lakota) told Native News Online. “My children are aware of the babies’ bodies who have been recently discovered and that affects them, too.”
Also in attendance was Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, an enrolled member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.
“This is the most important place I could be today,” Flanagan said to Native News Online. “I’m here as a member of the community.”
“As we are hearing more about our young people whose graves are being discovered in Canada, we know that the same thing is going to happen here,” said Flanagan. “We have a responsibility here in Minnesota to tell the truth.”
On June 22, 2021, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, which is expected to be a comprehensive review of federal boarding school policies. The initiative directs the Department of Interior to prepare a report detailing available historical records, with an emphasis on cemeteries or potential burial sites, relating to the federal boarding school program.
Next week, on September 30, marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to recognize and reflect on the legacy of residential schools in Canada. Many solidarity events are planned in the United States.
More Stories Like ThisFood Sovereignty Initiative is in Full Swing at Zuni Youth Enrichment Project
Cortez Masto, Gallego Introduce BADGES Act to Strengthen Tribal Law Enforcement
University of Kansas Says It Has Native American Remains in Museum Collection
AAIA Aiming to ReACTivate Ancestral Connections at 8th Annual Repatriation Conference
A Road Map Home: Reclaiming Buried Relatives from Carlisle Indian School
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.