December, 2015: The Lakota People's Law Project calls on the U.S. government to follow the example set by Canada, South Africa and others and set up a federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission to confront, work through and find solutions for the trauma that continues today as the legacy of the Boarding School Era. LPLP asserts that the current state foster care systems perpetuate the ideals and functions of the boarding school system, and that part of reconciliation must be a fundamental change in Native American Foster Care.
We call upon the United States Congress to begin a Truth and Reconciliation process to provide redress to Native Americans for the harmful legacy of the Boarding School Era.
What is it?
The Truth and Reconciliation format is an effective methodology used successfully in numerous countries faced with historic injustices that continue to have lingering repercussions. Notable examples include South Africa and Canada. The commission will serve a threefold purpose:
To expose the true extent of the injustices caused to various Native American tribes due to the federal policy of the Boarding School Era, which subjected numerous individuals to forced assimilation into the dominant Caucasian culture.
To determine to what extent those policies continue to contribute to social ills that continue to plague Native American communities, particularly on reservations, where poverty, neglect, unemployment, poor health outcomes, high dropout rates continue to be an unaddressed problem.
To effect a reconciliation between the Native American communities and the federal government, and to give Native American individuals an effective means of redress so a renewal can take place.
We hereby support the enactment by the United States Congress of a bill to create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on American Indian Boarding School Policy; to take testimony from boarding school survivors, identifying how it impacted their lives so that their stories will not be lost in U.S. history; to release a comprehensive national study focused on the impacts and ongoing effects of the boarding school policy; to provide recommendations to Congress on how to begin an official process of healing, which includes specific ways to address the effects of the boarding school policy; and to provide recommendations to Congress on how to move toward having Child and Family Service Programs be run by Tribal Nations for Tribal Nations.