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Up to 40,000 Native American children may have died at government-run boarding schools across the US, expert says as remains of 10 kids are exhumed fr

Nan Yang

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Up to 40,000 Native American children may have died at government-run boarding schools across the US, expert says as remains of 10 kids are exhumed from unmarked graves in Pennsylvania
  • Preston McBride, a Dartmouth College scholar, has documented at least 1,000 deaths from 1879 to 1934 at four of the over 500 schools in the United States
  • The federal government does not know or is unwilling to say how many children attended the schools, how many died in or went missing from them
  • For over 150 years, Indigenous children were uprooted from their communities and forced into US government-operated schools that focused on assimilation
  • Many students were forced to cut their braids, dress in uniforms, speak English and adopt European names
  • Among those who have called for a commission to fully investigate the legacy of Indian boarding schools is Interior Secretary Deb Haaland
By SANDRA SALATHE FOR DAILYMAIL.COM and REUTERS
PUBLISHED: 06:01 EDT, 22 June 2021 | UPDATED: 17:10 EDT, 22 June 2021

As many as 40,000 Native American children may have died from poor care at government-run boarding schools around the US, a researcher has claimed.

Preston McBride, a Dartmouth College scholar, has documented at least 1,000 deaths from 1879 to 1934 at just four of the over 500 schools that have existed in the United States, including the non-boarding schools on Indian reservations.

He offered his grim estimate for total deaths at government-run schools - which came about in the early 19th century and still exist today - in a Reuters report published Tuesday.


'It's quite likely that 40,000 children died either in or because of these institutions,' said McBride, who estimates that tens of thousands more children were simply never again in contact with their families or their tribes after being sent off to the schools.

'This is on the order of magnitude of something like the Trail of Tears,' he added, referring to the government's forced displacement of Native Americans between 1830 and 1850. 'Yet it’s not talked about.'

McBride's comments came after a team of archeologists began exhuming the remains of ten Native American children who died more than a century ago at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania.

Founded by Army veteran General Richard Pratt in 1879, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (pictured) in Pennsylvania was among the 367 original government-operated institutions for Native American children

Founded by Army veteran General Richard Pratt in 1879, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (pictured) in Pennsylvania was among the 367 original government-operated institutions for Native American children

A team of archaeologists began work Saturday at the cemetery on the grounds of the Carlisle Barracks (pictured) to unearth the remains of 10 more Native American children who died more than a century ago at the Carlisle school

A team of archaeologists began work Saturday at the cemetery on the grounds of the Carlisle Barracks (pictured) to unearth the remains of 10 more Native American children who died more than a century ago at the Carlisle school

Of the ten deceased children, nine were from the Rosebud Sioux tribe in South Dakota and one was from the Alaskan Aleut tribe.

This is the Army's fourth disinterment project at the school in as many years.

Founded by Army veteran General Richard Pratt in 1879, Carlisle was among the 367 original government-operated institutions for Native American children. It's cemetery contains 180 graves of former students.

The federal government does not know or is unwilling to say how many children even attended the schools, how many died in or went missing from them, or even how many schools existed.

Preston McBride (pictured) a Dartmouth College scholar, has documented at least 1,000 deaths from 1879 to 1934 at just four of the over 500 schools that have existed in the United States, including the non-boarding schools on Indian reservations

Preston McBride (pictured) a Dartmouth College scholar, has documented at least 1,000 deaths from 1879 to 1934 at just four of the over 500 schools that have existed in the United States, including the non-boarding schools on Indian reservations

Among those who have called for a commission to fully investigate the legacy of Indian boarding schools is Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary and whose department oversees Indian schools, which churches began running in 1819 through federal funding.

Native Americans have watched with horror and a sorrowful sense of recognition as news unfolded in Canada of the discovery of the bodies of 215 children in unmarked graves at one of what were known as indigenous residential schools.

The Canadian government said its indigenous residential schools, the last of which closed in 1996, carried out 'cultural genocide.' Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has found at least 4,100 students died in the schools.

Among those who have called for a commission to fully investigate the legacy of Indian boarding schools is Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (pictured)

Among those who have called for a commission to fully investigate the legacy of Indian boarding schools is Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (pictured)

Haaland, in an essay published on June 11 in the Washington Post, said the news from Canada made her 'sick to my stomach.'

'Many Americans may be alarmed to learn that the United States also has a history of taking Native children from their families in an effort to eradicate our culture and erase us as people,' wrote Haaland.

For over 150 years, hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children were uprooted from their communities and forced into US government-operated boarding schools that focused on assimilation.

Before shutting down in 1918, the Carlisle school housed some 10,000 indigenous children.

Many students were forced to cut their braids, dress in uniforms, speak English and adopt European names. Infectious diseases and harsh conditions claimed the lives of many children buried there.

The deaths were primarily from diseases made far more lethal in many of the schools because of poor treatment.

Marsha Small, a Montana State University doctoral student, is part of a team that has worked to locate unmarked graves at the Chemawa Indian School cemetery in Salem, Oregon, using ground-penetrating radar.

Many Native American students (pictured) were forced to cut their braids, dress in uniforms, speak English and adopt European names.

Before shutting down in 1918, the Carlisle school housed some 10,000 indigenous children (pictured)

For over 150 years, hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children (pictured) were uprooted from their communities and forced into US government-operated boarding schools that focused on assimilation.

Since 2016, dozens of Native American and Alaskan Native families have requested that their ancestors be returned from Carlisle school (pictured)

Since 2016, dozens of Native American and Alaskan Native families have requested that their ancestors be returned from Carlisle school (pictured)

As many as 40,000 Native American children (pictured) may have died from poor care at government-run boarding schools around the US, McBride claims

As many as 40,000 Native American children (pictured) may have died from poor care at government-run boarding schools around the US, McBride claims

The remains of 215 children were discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia (pictured)

The remains of 215 children were discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia (pictured)

So far, Small has located 222 sets of remains, but says additional work is required to have a full accounting.

'Until we can find those kids and let their elders come get them or know where they can pay respects, I don't think the native is going to heal, and as such I don't think America is going to heal,' Small said.

Chemawa, founded in 1880, is still operating.

Native Americans acknowledge that the schools still operating have transformed in important ways.

Many are now under tribal oversight and children are taught their native languages instead of being punished for speaking them. However, the schools have yet to acknowledge their pasts, said the coalition's McCleave and others.

'Before we can move forward, they have to recognize that legacy,' she said.
 

Bilal9

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This is a misguided and sad legacy for the US. Trying to do everything to 'assimilate' a populace. Making them model minorities in their own land.

Sad any way you look at it.
 

dbc

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Preston McBride, a Dartmouth College scholar, has documented at least 1,000 deaths from 1879 to 1934 at just four of the over 500 schools that have existed in the United States, including the non-boarding schools on Indian reservations.
So a 1,000 children died in four schools in fifty five years between 1879 and 1934. McBride extrapolates that number to 40,000 probable deaths across 500 similar schools. Let’s overlay his claim over the child mortality rates in the general US population around that same period. The number hovers around 350 per 1,000 remember this period coincides with the Spanish flu. Does McBride present evidence of willful neglect? I don’t know, I haven’t read his paper. A 1,000 deaths spread across 55 years in four boarding schools @ an average 18 deaths per year in that period does not seem unusual to me.

These claim may be true or motivated regardless the fact that we are introspecting and trying to learn the truth speaks volumes for the kind of society we are.

Abstract from the paper cited by the Mail.

“ It examines how and why off-reservation boarding schools promoted contagion and incubated infections with lethal consequences for many Native American students. Admitting ill students, substandard housing, overcrowding, forced labor, physical, mental, and sexual abuse, malnourishment, dietary insufficiencies, psychological trauma, and willful neglect compromised student immune systems leaving them vulnerable to pathogens. These factors also impaired immunological defenses, decreasing the chances of recovery once a student became infected. Diseases, including diphtheria, influenza, measles, mumps, smallpox, and trachoma, spread and epidemics swept through student populations. “

 
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Nan Yang

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So a 1,000 children died in four schools in fifty five years between 1879 and 1934. McBride extrapolates that number to 40,000 probable deaths across 500 similar schools. Let’s overlay his claim over the child mortality rates in the general US population around that same period. The number hovers around 350 per 1,000 remember this period coincides with the Spanish flu. Does McBride present evidence of willful neglect? I don’t know, I haven’t read his paper. A 1,000 deaths spread across 55 years in four boarding schools @ an average 18 deaths per year in that period does not seem unusual to me.

These claim may be true or motivated regardless the fact that we are introspecting and trying to learn the truth speaks volumes for the kind of society we are.

Abstract from the paper cited by the Mail.

“ It examines how and why off-reservation boarding schools promoted contagion and incubated infections with lethal consequences for many Native American students. Admitting ill students, substandard housing, overcrowding, forced labor, physical, mental, and sexual abuse, malnourishment, dietary insufficiencies, psychological trauma, and willful neglect compromised student immune systems leaving them vulnerable to pathogens. These factors also impaired immunological defenses, decreasing the chances of recovery once a student became infected. Diseases, including diphtheria, influenza, measles, mumps, smallpox, and trachoma, spread and epidemics swept through student populations. “

Let wait for further investigation of each and every school.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announces investigation into 'unspoken traumas' at US Native American boarding schools: Deaths of 40,000 pupils may have been covered up in echo of Canada scandal
By Christopher Eberhart and Sandra Salathe For Dailymail.Com and Reuters00:39 EDT 23 Jun 2021 , updated 01:54 EDT 23 Jun 2021

  • Preston McBride, a Dartmouth College scholar, has documented at least 1,000 deaths from 1879 to 1934 at four of the over 500 schools in the United States
  • McBride estimates 40,000 children died in these institutions
  • US interior secretary Deb Haaland said in a June 22 memo that the US will investigate and create a report to document the deaths and burial grounds
  • In her memo, Haaland said most indigenous parents could not visit their children at these schools, where they were abused and killed
  • 'Survivors of the traumas of boarding school policies carried their memories into adulthood,' Haaland wrote in her memo
  • For over 150 years, Indigenous children were uprooted from their communities and forced into US government-operated schools that focused on assimilation
  • Many students were forced to cut their braids, dress in uniforms, speak English and adopt European names
As many as 40,000 Native American children may have died from care at government-run boarding schools around the US, a researcher has claimed, prompting a federal investigation to address the trauma's 'intergenerational impact.'

US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a June 22 memo that her department will prepare a report that identifies federal boarding school facilities, map out the locations of known and possible student burial sites, and learn the identities and tribal affiliations of the children.

In her memo, Haaland - a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe and first Native American Cabinet Secretary - said most indigenous parents could not visit their children at these schools, where some were abused, killed and buried in unmarked graves.

'Survivors of the traumas of boarding school policies carried their memories into adulthood as they became the aunts and uncles, parents, and grandparents to subsequent generations,' Haaland wrote in her memo.

'The loss of those who did not return left an enduring need in their families for answers that, in many cases, were never provided. Distance, time, and the scattering of school records have made it more difficult, if not impossible, for their families to locate a loved one’s final resting place and bring closure through the appropriate ceremonies.'

 

GiantPanda

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Let wait for further investigation of each and every school.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announces investigation into 'unspoken traumas' at US Native American boarding schools: Deaths of 40,000 pupils may have been covered up in echo of Canada scandal
By Christopher Eberhart and Sandra Salathe For Dailymail.Com and Reuters00:39 EDT 23 Jun 2021 , updated 01:54 EDT 23 Jun 2021

  • Preston McBride, a Dartmouth College scholar, has documented at least 1,000 deaths from 1879 to 1934 at four of the over 500 schools in the United States
  • McBride estimates 40,000 children died in these institutions
  • US interior secretary Deb Haaland said in a June 22 memo that the US will investigate and create a report to document the deaths and burial grounds
  • In her memo, Haaland said most indigenous parents could not visit their children at these schools, where they were abused and killed
  • 'Survivors of the traumas of boarding school policies carried their memories into adulthood,' Haaland wrote in her memo
  • For over 150 years, Indigenous children were uprooted from their communities and forced into US government-operated schools that focused on assimilation
  • Many students were forced to cut their braids, dress in uniforms, speak English and adopt European names
As many as 40,000 Native American children may have died from care at government-run boarding schools around the US, a researcher has claimed, prompting a federal investigation to address the trauma's 'intergenerational impact.'

US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a June 22 memo that her department will prepare a report that identifies federal boarding school facilities, map out the locations of known and possible student burial sites, and learn the identities and tribal affiliations of the children.

In her memo, Haaland - a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe and first Native American Cabinet Secretary - said most indigenous parents could not visit their children at these schools, where some were abused, killed and buried in unmarked graves.

'Survivors of the traumas of boarding school policies carried their memories into adulthood as they became the aunts and uncles, parents, and grandparents to subsequent generations,' Haaland wrote in her memo.

'The loss of those who did not return left an enduring need in their families for answers that, in many cases, were never provided. Distance, time, and the scattering of school records have made it more difficult, if not impossible, for their families to locate a loved one’s final resting place and bring closure through the appropriate ceremonies.'


Why just the schools? The entirety of the US and Canada is a massive graveyard of native peoples killed by Anglo whites.
 

dbc

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U.S. is not a country, It's a huge Native American graveyard.
Not even close to Iran. It terms of deaths in any country across recorded history - Iran and China are the champions. 90% of the Iranian population was exterminated by the Mongols.
As for China, well I think Mao may have outdone even Genghis Khan.
 

Cthulhu

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Not even close to Iran. It terms of deaths in any country across recorded history - Iran and China are the champions. 90% of the Iranian population was exterminated by the Mongols.
As for China, well I think Mao may have outdone even Genghis Khan.
Really nice analogy there, Except in this analogy Native Americans=Iranians and Mongols=Anglo whites.
 

tower9

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Not even close to Iran. It terms of deaths in any country across recorded history - Iran and China are the champions. 90% of the Iranian population was exterminated by the Mongols.
As for China, well I think Mao may have outdone even Genghis Khan.
Not really. Anglos are the masters of genocide and it isn't even close. Mao was an idiotic policy maker and his policies led to the accidental death of millions, though the total amount has been grossly exaggerated.

But Anglos committed genocide on three separate continental sized nations, the US, Canada and Australia. The proof is evident for all to see as those native lands have become "White" homelands in the last 200 years. The turmoil and anger you see tearing up American society today as people of color gain more numbers and voice are simply the chickens coming home to roost. It is funny how karma works that way. The reality is that the White man has committed so much evil at such a horrific scale, that the hatred this has created will never be buried and as the darker skinned peoples descended from those who were on the receiving side of this colonialism, abuse and genocide become more numerous, America is destined to a future of unending racial conflict and bloodshed.
 

dbc

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Really nice analogy there, Except in this analogy Native Americans=Iranians and Mongols=Anglo whites.
you were counting graves - so I guess you win in the grave count arena.
 

Cthulhu

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you were counting graves - so I guess you win in the grave count arena.
Yeah your are equating Mongols attacking Iran and mascaraing Iranians with Anglo-Saxons arriving at the U.S. and wiping out the Natives, Except you guys are the Mongols.
 

dbc

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The turmoil and anger you see tearing up American society today as people of color gain more numbers and voice are simply the chickens coming home to roost.
You are new to America so I'll let you in on a little secret. America has always been in turmoil. It has nothing to do with roosting chickens. When so many ideas and ideals compete there it is bound to be some violence - which is ok. Conflict and clash is essential for progress it is also woven into our constitutional fabric. When I read dairies kept by my forefathers going back to the family's first crossing to America in the 19th century.
I realize that America was always violent and tumultuous and I am not talking about violence against native Americans. I speak of violence between European settlers all struggling to establish their dominion over a new land. America is vibrant, dynamic and violent always has been always will be.
 

tower9

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You are new to America so I'll let you in on a little secret. America has always been in turmoil. It has nothing to do with roosting chickens. When so many ideas and ideals compete there it is bound to be some violence - which is ok. Conflict and clash is essential for progress it is also woven into our constitutional fabric. When I read dairies kept by my forefathers going back to the family's first crossing to America in the 19th century.
I realize that America was always violent and tumultuous and I am not talking about violence against native Americans. I speak of violence between European settlers all struggling to establish their dominion over a new land. America is vibrant, dynamic and violent always has been always will be.
First of all, I’m not new to America. Secondly, yes American history has been very violent but for the last two centuries, it has also been predominantly white or white dominated which has kept society intact. The future, where blacks and Latinos will start forming the majority along with their racial grievances will make sure that racial strife and hatred will become embedded into the mainstream.
 

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