On July 9, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland will visit Oklahoma on the first stop on “The Road to Healing,” a year-long historic tour across the country to provide Native survivors of the federal Indian boarding school system and their descendants an opportunity to share their experiences.
The first stop on the tour will take place at the Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Okla., on Saturday, July 9 at 10 a.m.
In June 2021, Secretary Haaland launched the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative to shed light on the troubled history of Federal Indian boarding school policies and their legacy for Indigenous Peoples.
In May, the Department released Volume 1 of the investigative report called for as part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, an effort to address the troubled legacy of federal Indian boarding school policies. This report lays the groundwork for the continued work of the Interior Department to address the intergenerational trauma created by historical federal Indian boarding school policies. It reflects an extensive and first-ever inventory of federally operated schools, including profiles and maps.
As part of the Initiative, the report calls for connecting communities with trauma-informed support and facilitating the collection of a permanent oral history. Trauma-informed support will be available on-site during the Oklahoma event, which will be memorialized as part of the effort to capture first-person stories.
According to a June 27 letter addressed to tribal leaders from Haaland, she said, “The opportunity to attend and participate in this event will help inform the Federal Government about subsequent work of the Initiative. It also provides a platform for stories to be heard. A court reporter will be on-site to transcribe the event. We expect to limit press access to the first hour of the event so that those who need privacy are afforded an opportunity to participate without the media being present.
“The burden of reliving this painful past will be immensely difficult for Indigenous families— including my own—who carry this trauma. Trauma-informed support will be available on-site. We will also connect survivors and their families with follow-up support, as requested.
“I thank you in advance for your engagement and for encouraging your community to participate. By acknowledging the past, we will work toward a future we can all embrace.”
In addition to visiting Oklahoma, Secretary Haaland will travel to Hawaii, Michigan, Arizona and South Dakota as part of “The Road to Healing” in 2022, according to a news release. Additional states will be announced for 2023.
If you have any questions, please contact Joaquin Gallegos, Special Assistant for Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Public feedback from Federal Indian boarding school survivors or their families may be submitted to the Department at email@example.com.