In the United States, hundreds of Native American children died in federally run residential schools

Hundreds of children from Amerindian minorities, Alaska and Hawaii died in residential schools run between 1819 and 1969 by the federal state and where they were victims of abuse, indicates a report from the United States Office of Indian Affairs published this Wednesday May 11.

Burial sites, identified or unnamed, have been discovered near 53 boarding schools where these children separated from their families were placed for the purpose of assimilation, according to this report on the “federal residential school system for Indians”.

Native Americans: under the boarding schools, children’s graves

About 19 of these establishments “account for more than 500 deaths of Native American, Alaskan and Hawaiian children”says the report, which points out that the authorities “expect to see an increase in the number of identified graves” as the investigation progresses.

Their location has not been disclosed in order to prevent “Grave robbing, vandalism and other disturbances of Indian burial sites”say the authors.

“Weaponized methods of identity alteration”

This report is the first part of a major investigation launched by the Department of the Interior, a vast department that manages Native American reservations as well as the natural resources of federal lands, after the discovery since 2021 of more than a thousand graves. of Aboriginal children on the sites of former residential schools run by the Catholic Church in Canada.

Between 1819 and 1969, the “federal residential school system for Indians” totaled 408 schools located in 37 states and American territories, including 21 schools in Alaska and seven in Hawaii, specifies the report requested by the minister Deb Haaland, herself Native American.

“All of American history revolves around this attempted Native American genocide”

He “deployed systematic militarized methods of identity alteration in an attempt to assimilate through education” the children of these Amerindian communities, in particular by giving them an English name or by cutting their hair.

Corporal punishment and food deprivation

Schools discouraged or prevented children from speaking their language and focused on technical education or manual labor “with job prospects often unrelated to the American industrial economy, further disrupting tribal economies”according to the report.

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In these institutions, the rule was often enforced through corporal punishment such as solitary confinement or starvation, flogging, beatings and shackles, the report said, adding that older children were forced to punish the youngest.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs wants to continue its investigation to determine the total number of children who have attended these schools and the total number of burials in the country, and to identify the children buried on these sites.

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