Letter: Support federal bill on Indian boarding schools


We applaud Harry Anderson for his column about Squanto and the history of Thanksgiving. It is always unsettling to learn that what we learned in school was not the whole story.

Another sad reality of the Native American USA relationship was the history of the Indian boarding schools. For 100 years these “schools” caused the death and suffering of thousands of Native American children. Until the last one closed in 1978, children were ripped from their parents and communities, shipped far from home and stripped of their culture and language. They suffered unspeakable abuses and many suffered and died.

Small wonder Native Americans rank first in psychosocial problems. When you take and abuse its children, you damage the heart and soul of a community. When this is repeated for generations, it creates intergenerational trauma. Most U.S. citizens know nothing of this history. How ironic that a country whose constitution guarantees freedom of religion and expression would deny it to its original inhabitants.

Fortunately, we now have an opportunity to rectify this great wrong. HR 8420 The Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policy Act would establish a commission charged with investigating the trauma to these children and their communities. The bill is gaining bipartisan support.. Sad fact: While most schools have playgrounds, these schools had cemeteries.

According to the UN, cultural genocide is genocide, a crime against humanity. It is rare that an ordinary person can contribute to the rectification of a crime against humanity. HR 8420 provides us that opportunity.

Please contact Senators Patty Murray at 202-224-3441 and Maria Cantwell at 202-224-2621 and Rep. Rick Larson at 202-225-2605. Urge them to support HR 8420. Learn more at the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. On their behalf we thank you.

Dianna and Gary Deseck-Piazzon