Chief Shawnee Calls for Broad Federal Inquiry into US Indian Residential Schools | New
Chief Ben Barnes of the Shawnee Tribe will hold a press conference at the Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site in Fairway, Kansas to encourage a full federal investigation into all residential schools and to honor the Native American children who were enrolled and died at these schools in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Orange Shirt Day – September 30 – began in Canada in 2013 to commemorate the thousands of Indigenous children killed in Church-run residential schools. Tribes and advocates across America are embracing this movement to support further investigations into similar conditions at residential schools in the United States where hundreds of thousands of children have been taken.
While the Biden administration vowed to initiate such a review, much of its discussion focused only on schools started after the 1870s. There were hundreds of schools, such as the Shawnee Indian Mission. , which had been in operation as early as the 1830s. These schools were home to thousands of indigenous children, many of whom died and potentially still lie on the ground in anonymous graves.
“We are proud of our relationship with the local leaders here in Kansas who have stepped up to begin working with us to examine and deeply understand the history of Shawnee Indian Mission Boarding School and seek a healing path. We now invite the federal government to join us. We applaud President Biden and Secretary Haaland’s commitment to investigating this dark chapter in history and hope they intend to make it clear: this chapter began much earlier and lasted much longer than most Americans don’t think so. We encourage the administration to examine in detail each of these schools, those operated by the federal government and those operated by the Federal Indian Agents. The children who endured conditions in all of these places deserve to be found, named, returned and honored, ”said Barnes.
The press conference will begin at 10 a.m. on September 30 at the Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site 3403 W. 53rd Street, Fairway, Kansas. Participants are urged to follow the social distancing guidelines outlined by the CDC.