For over a century, Native American children have been subjected to the cultural genocide of being forced to attend boarding schools in the United States. These schools, renovated and funded by the federal government and various Christian denominations, were designed to strip away Native American culture, language, and identity with the aim of assimilating them into mainstream American society. The reverberations of this system are still felt today and have left devastating scars on many Native American communities throughout the nation.
The effects of this travesty are explored in depth in the recently released documentary entitled, ‘American Indian Boarding Schools: An Underground History’. This film documents how these institutions operated as a mechanism for white supremacy and reveals their lasting impact on generations of indigenous peoples in North America. Through interviews with survivors, archival footage, and expert testimony, this film is essential viewing for understanding the ongoing legacy of colonialism on Native peoples.
Native Americans who attended these boarding schools started out stripped from their families and culture at an early age – they were forbidden to speak their native languages or practice traditional religious ceremonies. Many children spent years separated from their loved ones, undergoing immense psychological trauma that continues to haunt them to this day. The scars created by these schools can be seen in every aspect of life within Indigenous nations; from intergenerational poverty caused by assimilation policies which denied access to land allotments promised under treaties, to diminished tribal sovereignty due to forced enrollment into educational systems which sought to erase Indigenous identities.
It is important that we remember what happened during these years so that history does not repeat itself – watch ‘American Indian Boarding Schools: An Underground History’ and join us in recognizing the immense pain endured by countless Indigenous peoples over centuries of systemic oppression.