fbpx
 

This month, we’re compiling questions that our readers are asking us about Indian Boarding Schools and offering answers as reported by our team. 

Today’s reader question about Indian Boarding Schools comes from Loretta O., who asked us: 

What is the number of children buried at Chemawa Indian Boarding School?

Our reporter Jenna Kunze, who has written nearly half of our 100-plus stories about Indian Boarding Schools, provides this answer.

According to Native News Online's interview with the expert who has been surveying the grounds of Chemawa Indian Boarding School in central Oregon for eight years, the school has at least 222 unmarked graves belonging to Native children.

In January, Native News Online interviewed Marsha Small (Northern Cheyenne), a doctoral candidate at Montana State University who has been working with ground-penetrating radar for almost a decade. She is researching its use to locate and document deaths at two Indian boarding-school cemeteries: Chemawa Indian School, north of Salem, Ore., and another on-reservation boarding school in South Dakota.

Since 2014, Small has been surveying the cemetery at Chemawa, the longest-running Indian boarding school in the country. Opened in 1880, it is still operating today, now under the federal government’s Bureau of Indian Education. Through her work, Small located 222 unmarked graves, more than the 208 that records said existed there.

If you have a question about Indian Boarding Schools, please submit them to [email protected] or use the online form that can be found at the bottom of stories such as this one. Want to help us shine a light on the dark era of Indian Boarding Schools and their continued impact on Native families and communities today? Become a recurring donor for $5 or $10 a month, or make a one-time donation.  

Tell Us What You Think


More Stories Like This

When it comes to Indian Boarding School Graves, Tribal Spiritual Law is Shunned as Repatriations Continue to Fail Some Tribes
Senate Committee Hears Indigenous Testimony on Federal Indian Boarding School Report and Legislation
Ponca Tribe Gets its Tomahawk Back
Two Catawba Nation Matriarchs will bring an Ancestor Home from Carlisle Next Week
Hawai’i Housing Group Sues Bank of America Over Broken $150 Million Commitment

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. 

About The Author
Jenna Kunze
Author: Jenna KunzeEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Staff Writer
Jenna Kunze is a reporter for Native News Online and Tribal Business News. Her bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Smithsonian Magazine and Anchorage Daily News. In 2020, she was one of 16 U.S. journalists selected by the Pulitzer Center to report on the effects of climate change in the Alaskan Arctic region. Prior to that, she served as lead reporter at the Chilkat Valley News in Haines, Alaska. Kunze is based in New York.