U.S. Indian Boarding Schools

The Department of Interior recently released the first volume of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative’s report. There were 408 schools across 37 states in the United States. 53 burial sites have been found so far.

FCNL welcomed the release of the first volume of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative’s long-awaited investigative report. Assembled by the Department of the Interior, this report serves as historic documentation of the trauma inflicted by Indian boarding schools. It also underscores the need for further reckoning on this vital issue, both in Congress and in the Quaker and faith communities.

According to the report, between 1819 and 1969, there were 408 schools across 37 states (or then-territories). Quakers managed at least 30 Indian boarding schools, and the conditions at these institutions were often horrific. These schools aimed to “assimilate” Native children through tactics such as renaming children with English names, cutting their hair, prohibiting the use of Native languages and religions, extensive military drills, and manual labor. Abuse ran rampant, including the withholding of food, solitary confinement, and physical punishment.

The investigation also found 53 burial sites at boarding school locations so far. As the Interior Department continues their investigation, they will produce a list of marked and unmarked burial sites and approximate the total amount of federal funding used to support the Indian boarding school system.

“This new report shines a much-needed light on the atrocities committed at Indian boarding schools, some of which were run by Quakers,” said FCNL General Secretary Bridget Moix. “We commend the Department of the Interior for doing this difficult work and we remain committed to doing our part to advance the reckoning and healing process for this dark chapter in American history.”

Further, we call on the faith community at large to share records and accounts of their administration of these schools. Only through complete honesty and transparency can we begin moving towards a more just future,” she continued.

Quaker Lobby Welcomes Long-Awaited Report on Indian Boarding Schools by Alex Frandsen, Friends Committee on National Legislation, May 12, 2022

Friends Committee on National Legislation
Native American Legislative Update

MAY 2022

The Interior Department also announced the launch of “The Road to Healing,” a year-long tour across the country to allow survivors to share their stories, connect tribal communities with trauma-informed support, and facilitate the collection of a permanent oral history.

Bill Tracker

Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act (H.R. 5444):
On May 12, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the U.S. held a hearing to receive testimony from boarding school survivors, tribal leaders, and the head of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

FY2023 Budget Hearings:
On May 11, the Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee received testimony from the Indian Health Service (IHS) on its proposal to move IHS funding from discretionary to mandatory funding in fiscal year 2023. If approved, this change would stabilize the tribal healthcare system.


Portia K. Skenandore-Wheelock
Congressional Advocate
Native American Advocacy Program

The following is a searchable list of Indian boarding schools identified by the Department of the Interior as part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative. The information is drawn from Appendix A of Volume 1 of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report. It shows the 408 schools were identified in 37 states, including 21 in Alaska and seven in Hawaii. Over time, the schools were located at 431 sites.“The research conducted has resulted in the identification of hundreds of boarding schools that have been considered against four criteria,” the 27-page document reads. “All four criteria must be met for an institution to be considered a FIBS.”

The four criteria follow:

  1. Housing – Institution ever described as providing housing or overnight lodging to attendees on site.
  2. Education – Institution ever described as providing formal academic or vocational training or instruction.
  3. Federal Support – Institution ever described as having federal government funds or other support provided to the institution.
  4. Timeframe – Institution operational at any time prior to 1969.

The schools in Iowa are listed here:

Toledo Industrial Boarding SchoolToledo Sanatorium; Sac & Fox Indian Boarding and Mission School; Sac & Fox Sanatorium; Tama School; Tama SanatoriumToledoIowa
White’s Manual Labor Institute – IowaIowa Boys Training School; Iowa Girls Training School; Indian Boarding School; Home and School for Boys and GirlsHoughtonIowa
Winnebago Mission SchoolYellow River SchoolAllamakee CountyIowa

List of Federal Indian Boarding Schools as of April 1, 2022, Indianz.Com, May 11, 2022

Quaker Statements on Indigenous Justice and Indian Boarding Schools. Minutes, Statements, and Resources from Quaker Organizations, Friends Committee on National Legislation, May 10, 2022


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