The Department of Interior’s year-long “Road to Healing Tour” will visit Arizona this week, with stops at the Gila River Indian Community near Phoenix this Friday and Navajo Nation at Many Farms on Sunday.

The tour is the second phase of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative that was launched in June 2021 by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo). 

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Haaland announced the Road the Healing Tour on May 11, 2022, in conjunction with the release of Volume 1 of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative. The report, penned by Assistant Secretary of the Interior - Indian Affairs Bryan Newland (Bay Mills Indian Community), recommended connecting with Indigenous communities and hearing about their experiences in Indian boarding schools directly. 

The stops along the tour allow for survivors and descendants of those who attended Indian boarding schools to come and tell their Indian boarding schools experiences. 

To date, the Interior has brought the tour to Native American communities in Oklahoma, Michigan and South Dakota.   

The Arizona events will allow Interior officials, including Haaland and Newland, to listen to testimonies and gather additional information about boarding schools in the southwestern United States. During the first hour, media will be allowed and then dismissed so that those who don’t want to make testimony with the press present may do so. 

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The location of the Gila River Indian Community event will be at Gila Crossing Community School, 4665 West Pecos Road, Laveen, Arizona, on Friday, January 20, 2023 at 10 a.m. - Mountain Time.

The location of the Navajo Nation event will be at Many Farms High School, N Highway 191, Many Farms, Arizona, on Sunday, January 22, 2023 at 10 a.m. - Mountain Time.

Trauma-informed support will be available on-site during the Arizona events.

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Levi Rickert
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Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].