Following is the link to a page that will help you write a letter related to the Indian Boarding Schools and send it to your representatives. That is followed by the text of the bill.
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
It is long overdue for the United States to acknowledge the historic trauma of the Indian boarding school era. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Christian churches collaborated with the government to create hundreds of boarding schools for Native American children. The conditions at these schools, some of them Quaker-run, were unspeakable.
Now we must work with tribal nations to advance congressional efforts to establish a federal commission to formally investigate boarding school policy and develop recommendations for the government to take further action. Although the wrongs committed at these institutions can never be made right, we can start the truth, healing, and reconciliation process for the families and communities affected as we work to right relationship with tribal nations.
Remind your members of Congress of their responsibility to tribal nations and urge them to support the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 2907/H.R. 5444).
Use this link to send a letter about this to your members of Congress. https://fcnl.quorum.us/campaign/35660/?utm_souce=fcnlaction
Text of the bill
References to Churches are highlighted.
To establish the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States, and for other purposes.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
September 30, 2021
Ms. Warren (for herself, Ms. Baldwin, Ms. Smith, Mr. Padilla, Mr. Wyden, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Booker, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Markey, Mr. Luján, Mr. Merkley, Mr. Heinrich, Ms. Cortez Masto, and Mr. Schatz) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs
To establish the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act”.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(1) assimilation processes, such as the Indian Boarding School Policies, were adopted by the United States Government to strip American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children of their Indigenous identities, beliefs, and languages to assimilate them into non-Native culture through federally funded and controlled Christian-run schools, which had the intent and, in many cases, the effect, of termination, with dire and intentional consequences on the cultures and languages of Indigenous peoples;
(2) assimilation processes can be traced back to—
(A) the enactment of the Act of March 3, 1819 (3 Stat. 516, chapter 85) (commonly known as the “Indian Civilization Fund Act of 1819”), which created a fund to administer the education, healthcare, and rations promised to Tribal nations under treaties those Tribal nations had with the United States; and
(B) the Grant Administration’s peace policy with Tribal nations in 1868, which, among other things, authorized amounts in the fund established under the Act of March 3, 1819 (3 Stat. 516, chapter 85) (commonly known as the “Indian Civilization Fund Act of 1819”), to be used by churches;
(3) according to research from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, the Federal Government funded church-run boarding schools for Native Americans from 1819 through the 1960s under the Act of March 3, 1819 (3 Stat. 516, chapter 85), which authorized the forced removal of hundreds of thousands of American Indian and Alaska Native children as young as 3 years old, relocating them from their traditional homelands to 1 of at least 367 known Indian boarding schools, of which 73 remain open today, across 30 States;
(4) beginning in 1820, missionaries from the United States arrived in Hawai‘i, bringing a similar desire to civilize Native Hawaiians and convert “Hawaiian heathens” to Christians, establishing day schools and boarding schools that followed models first imposed on Tribal nations on the East Coast of the United States;
(5) as estimated by David Wallace Adams, professor emeritus of history and education at Cleveland State University in Ohio, by 1926, nearly 83 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native school-age children were enrolled in Indian boarding schools in the United States, but, the full extent of the Indian Boarding School Policies has yet to be fully examined by—
(6) General Richard Henry Pratt, the founder and superintendent of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, stated that the ethos of Indian Boarding School Policies was to “kill the Indian in him, and save the man”;
(7) in 1878, General Pratt brought a group of American Indian warriors held as prisoners of war to what was then known as the Hampton Agricultural and Industrial School in Hampton, Virginia, for a residential experiment in the education of Indigenous people;
(8) prior to arriving to the Hampton Agricultural and Industrial School in 1878, the American Indian warriors held as prisoners of war had already spent 3 years imprisoned, during which time they were forced to shave their traditionally grown hair, dress in military uniforms, participate in Christian worship services, and adopt an English name;
(9) General Samuel C. Armstrong, founder and, in 1878, principal, of the Hampton Agricultural and Industrial School, was influenced by his parents and other missionaries in the United States involved in the education of Native Hawaiian children;
(10) General Armstrong modeled the Hampton Agricultural and Industrial School after the Hilo Boarding School in Hawai‘i, a missionary-run boarding school that targeted high performing Native Hawaiians to become indoctrinated in Protestant ideology, which was similar to boarding schools led by missionaries in the similarly sovereign Five Tribes of Oklahoma, including the Cherokee and Chickasaw;
(11) in addition to bringing a group of American Indian warriors held as prisoners of war to the Hampton Agricultural and Industrial School in 1878, General Pratt influenced Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian missionary who, in 1885, was appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to be a General Agent of Education in the Alaska Territory;
(13) founded in 1879, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School set the precedent for government-funded, off-reservation Indian boarding schools in the United States, where more than 10,000 American Indian and Alaska Native children were enrolled from more than 140 Indian Tribes;
(14) Indian boarding schools, and the policies that created, funded, and fueled their existence, were designed to assimilate American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children into non-Native culture by stripping them of their cultural identities, often through physical, sexual, psychological, industrial, and spiritual abuse and neglect;
(17) according to research from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition—
(A) while attending Indian boarding schools, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children suffered additional physical, sexual, psychological, industrial, and spiritual abuse and neglect as they were sent to non-Native homes and businesses for involuntary and unpaid manual labor work during the summers;
(B) many American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children escaped from Indian boarding schools by running away, and then remained missing or died of illnesses due to harsh living conditions, abuse, or substandard health care provided by the Indian boarding schools;
(C) many American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children died at hospitals neighboring Indian boarding schools, including the Puyallup Indian School that opened in 1860, which was first renamed the Cushman Indian School in 1910 and then the Cushman Hospital in 1918; and
(18) according to independent ground penetrating radar and magnetometry research commissioned by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, evidence of those unmarked graves and off-campus cemeteries has been found, including—
(19) according to research from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, inaccurate, scattered, and missing school records make it difficult for families to locate their loved ones, especially because—
(20) parents of the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children who were forcibly removed from or coerced into leaving their homes and placed in Indian boarding schools were prohibited from visiting or engaging in correspondence with their children;
(21) parental resistance to compliance with the harsh no-contact policy described in paragraph (20) resulted in the parents being incarcerated or losing access to basic human rights, food rations, and clothing;
(24) the 2018 Broken Promises Report published by the United States Commission on Civil Rights reported that American Indian and Alaska Native communities continue to experience intergenerational trauma resulting from experiences in Indian boarding schools, which divided cultural family structures, damaged Indigenous identities, and inflicted chronic psychological ramifications on American Indian and Alaska Native children and families;
(25) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study shows that adverse or traumatic childhood experiences disrupt brain development, leading to a higher likelihood of negative health outcomes as adults, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and early death;
(27) the longstanding intended consequences and ramifications of the treatment of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children, families, and communities because of Federal policies and the funding of Indian boarding schools continue to impact Native communities through intergenerational trauma, cycles of violence and abuse, disappearance, health disparities, substance abuse, premature deaths, additional undocumented physical, sexual, psychological, industrial, and spiritual abuse and neglect, and trauma;
(28) according to the Child Removal Survey conducted by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, the First Nations Repatriation Institute, and the University of Minnesota, 75 percent of Indian boarding school survivors who responded to the survey had attempted suicide, and nearly half of respondents to the survey reported being diagnosed with a mental health condition;
(29) the continuing lasting implications of the Indian Boarding School Policies and the physical, sexual, psychological, industrial, and spiritual abuse and neglect of American Indian and Alaska Native children and families influenced the present-day operation of Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools;
(31) in Alaska, where there are no Bureau of Indian Education-funded elementary and secondary schools, the State public education system often fails to meet the needs of Alaska Native students, families, and communities;
(32) the assimilation policies imposed on American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians during the Indian boarding school era have been replicated through other Federal actions and programs, including the Indian Adoption Project in effect from 1958 to 1967, which placed American Indian and Alaska Native children in non-Indian households and institutions for foster care or adoption;
(33) the Association on American Indian Affairs reported that the continuation of assimilation policies through Federal American Indian and Alaska Native adoption and foster care programs between 1941 to 1967 separated as many as one-third of American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families in Tribal communities;
(34) in some States, greater than 50 percent of foster care children in State adoption systems are American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian children, including in Alaska, where over 60 percent of children in foster care are Alaska Native;
(35) the general lack of public awareness, accountability, education, information, and acknowledgment of the ongoing and direct impacts of the Indian Boarding School Policies and related intergenerational trauma persists, signaling the overdue need for an investigative Federal commission to further document and expose assimilation and termination efforts to eradicate the cultures and languages of Indigenous peoples implemented under Indian Boarding School Policies; and
(36) in the secretarial memorandum entitled “Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative” and dated June 22, 2021, Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland stated the following: “The assimilationist policies of the past are contrary to the doctrine of trust responsibility, under which the Federal Government must promote Tribal self-governance and cultural integrity. Nevertheless, the legacy of Indian boarding schools remains, manifesting itself in Indigenous communities through intergenerational trauma, cycles of violence and abuse, disappearance, premature deaths, and other undocumented bodily and mental impacts.”.
SEC. 3. PURPOSES.
(1) to formally investigate and document—
(A) the attempted termination of cultures and languages of Indigenous peoples, assimilation practices, and human rights violations that occurred against American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians through Indian Boarding School Policies in furtherance of the motto to “kill the Indian in him and save the man”; and
(B) the impacts and ongoing effects of historical and intergenerational trauma in Native communities, including the effects of the attempted cultural, religious, and linguistic termination of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, resulting from Indian Boarding School Policies;
(2) to hold culturally respectful and meaningful public hearings for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian survivors, victims, families, communities, organizations, and Tribal leaders to testify, discuss, and add to the documentation of, the impacts of the physical, psychological, and spiritual violence of Indian boarding schools;
(3) to collaborate and exchange information with the Department of the Interior with respect to the review of the Indian Boarding School Policies announced by Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland in the secretarial memorandum entitled “Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative” and dated June 22, 2021; and
(4) to further develop recommendations for the Federal Government to acknowledge and heal the historical and intergenerational trauma caused by the Indian Boarding School Policies and other cultural and linguistic termination practices carried out by the Federal Government and State and local governments, including recommendations—
(C) to prevent the continued removal of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children from their families and Native communities under modern-day assimilation practices carried out by State social service departments, foster care agencies, and adoption services.
SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.
(3) INDIAN BOARDING SCHOOL POLICIES.—The term “Indian Boarding School Policies” means—
(A) the assimilation policies and practices of the Federal Government, which began with the enactment of the Act of March 3, 1819 (3 Stat. 516, chapter 85) (commonly known as the “Indian Civilization Fund Act of 1819”), and the peace policy with Tribal nations advanced by President Ulysses Grant in 1868, under which more than 100,000 American Indian and Alaska Native children were forcibly removed from or coerced into leaving their family homes and placed in Bureau of Indian Affairs-operated schools or church-run schools, including at least 367 known Indian boarding schools, at which assimilation and “civilization” practices were inflicted on those children as part of the assimilation efforts of the Federal Government, which were intended to terminate the cultures and languages of Indigenous peoples in the United States; and
(B) the assimilation practices inflicted on Native Hawaiian children in boarding schools following the arrival of Christian missionaries from the United States in Hawai‘i in 1820 who sought to extinguish Hawaiian culture.
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall include 10 members, of whom—
(2) REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP.—To the maximum extent practicable, the President and the Members of Congress shall appoint members of the Commission under paragraph (1) to represent diverse experiences and backgrounds and so as to include Tribal and Native representatives and experts who will provide balanced points of view with regard to the duties of the Commission, including Tribal and Native representatives and experts—
(3) PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENT.—The President shall make appointments to the Commission under this subsection in coordination with the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the Bureau of Indian Education.
(5) PERIOD OF APPOINTMENT; VACANCIES; REMOVAL.—
(B) VACANCIES.—A vacancy in the Commission—
(f) Commission Personnel Matters.—
(1) COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS.—A member of the Commission who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which the member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Commission.
(2) TRAVEL EXPENSES.—A member of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Commission.
(g) Truth And Healing Advisory Committee.—
(2) MEMBERSHIP.—The Advisory Committee shall consist of—
(A) 1 representative from each of—
(E) not fewer than—
(iv) 2 health care or mental health practitioners, Native healers, counselors, or providers with experience in working with former students, or descendants of former students, of Indian boarding schools, to be selected from among nominations of Tribal chairs or elected Tribal leadership local to the region in which the practitioner, counselor, or provider works, in order to ensure that the Commission considers culturally responsive supports for victims, families, and communities;
(v) 3 members of different national American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian organizations, regional American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian organizations, or urban Indian organizations that are focused on, or have relevant expertise studying, the history and systemic and ongoing trauma associated with the Indian Boarding School Policies;
(vii) 4 alumni who attended a Bureau of Indian Education-operated school, tribally controlled boarding school, State public boarding school, private nonprofit boarding school formerly operated by the Federal Government, parochial boarding school, or Bureau of Indian Education-operated college or university;
(3) DUTIES.—The Advisory Committee shall—
(B) provide to the Commission advice and recommendations, and submit to the Commission materials, documents, testimony, and such other information as the Commission determines to be necessary, to carry out the duties of the Commission under subsection (h).
(h) Duties Of The Commission.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Commission shall develop recommendations on actions that the Federal Government can take to adequately hold itself accountable for, and redress and heal, the historical and intergenerational trauma inflicted by the Indian Boarding School Policies, including developing recommendations on ways—
(2) MATTERS INVESTIGATED.—The matters investigated by the Commission under paragraph (1) shall include—
(A) the implementation of the Indian Boarding School Policies and practices at—
(D) the location of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children who are still, as of the date of enactment of this Act, buried at Indian boarding schools and off-campus cemeteries, including notifying the Tribal nation from which the children were taken; and
(3) ADDITIONAL DUTIES.—In carrying out paragraph (1), the Commission shall—
(C) provide to, and receive from, the Department of the Interior any information that the Commission determines to be relevant—
(4) TESTIMONY.—The Commission shall take testimony from—
(A) survivors of schools described in paragraph (2)(A), in order to identify how the experience of those survivors impacts their lives, so that their stories will be remembered as part of the history of the United States; and
(B) American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian individuals, tribes, and organizations directly impacted by assimilation practices supported by the Federal Government, including assimilation practices promoted by—
(C) those who have access to, or knowledge of, historical events, documents, and items relating to the Indian Boarding School Policies and the impacts of those policies, including—
(A) INITIAL REPORT.—Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall make publicly available and submit to the President, the White House Council on Native American Affairs, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate, the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives, and the Members of Congress making appointments under subsection (b)(1), an initial report containing—
(iii) the recommendations of the Commission to provide or increase Federal funding to adequately fund—
(iv) other recommendations of the Commission to identify—
(B) FINAL REPORT.—Not later than 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall make available and submit a final report in accordance with the requirements under subparagraph (A) that have been agreed on by the vote of a majority of the members of the Commission.
(i) Powers Of Commission.—
(1) HEARINGS AND EVIDENCE.—The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out this section—
(A) hold such hearings and sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, receive such evidence, and administer such oaths, virtually or in-person, as the Commission may determine advisable; and
(B) subject to subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (2), require, by subpoena or otherwise, the attendance and testimony of such witnesses and the production of such books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, videos, oral histories, recordings, documents, or any other paper or electronic material, virtually or in-person, as the Commission may determine advisable.
(A) IN GENERAL.—
(i) ISSUANCE OF SUBPOENAS.—Subject to subparagraph (B), the Commission may issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of any evidence relating to any matter that the Commission is empowered to investigate under this section.
(iii) ATTENDANCE OF WITNESSES AND PRODUCTION OF EVIDENCE.—The attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence may be required from any place within the United States at any designated place of hearing within the United States.
(B) PROTECTION OF PERSON SUBJECT TO A SUBPOENA.—
(i) IN GENERAL.—When issuing a subpoena under subparagraph (A), the Commission shall—
(II) take reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue burden, including cultural, emotional, and psychological trauma, on a survivor, family member, or community member affected by the Indian Boarding School Policies.
(ii) QUASHING OR MODIFYING A SUBPOENA.—On a timely motion, the district court of the United States in the judicial district in which compliance with the subpoena is required shall quash or modify a subpoena that subjects a person to undue burden as described in clause (i)(II).
(C) FAILURE TO OBEY A SUBPOENA.—
(i) ORDER FROM A DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES.—If a person does not obey a subpoena issued under subparagraph (A), the Commission is authorized to apply to a district court of the United States for an order requiring that person to appear before the Commission to give testimony, produce evidence, or both, relating to the matter under investigation.
(ii) LOCATION.—An application under clause (i) may be made within the judicial district where the hearing relating to the subpoena is conducted or where the person described in that clause is found, resides, or transacts business.
(D) SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION.—The district court of the United States in which an action is brought under subparagraph (C)(i) shall have original jurisdiction over any civil action brought by the Commission to enforce, secure a declaratory judgment concerning the validity of, or prevent a threatened refusal or failure to comply with, the applicable subpoena issued by the Commission.
(E) SERVICE OF SUBPOENAS.—The subpoenas of the Commission shall be served in the manner provided for subpoenas issued by a district court of the United States under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
(F) SERVICE OF PROCESS.—All process of any court to which an application is made under subparagraph (C) may be served in the judicial district in which the person required to be served resides or may be found.
(3) ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL AND SERVICES.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—The Chairperson of the Commission may procure additional personnel and services to ensure that the work of the Commission avoids imposing an undue burden, including cultural, emotional, and psychological trauma, on survivors, family members, or other community members affected by the Indian Boarding School Policies.
(B) COMPENSATION.—The Chairperson of the Commission may fix the compensation of personnel procured under subparagraph (A) without regard to chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for such personnel may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of that title.
(l) Collaboration By The Department Of The Interior.—The Department of the Interior shall collaborate and exchange relevant information with the Commission in order for the Commission to effectively carry out the duties of the Commission under subsection (h).
(n) Authorization Of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated to the Commission to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary, to remain available until expended.
This is a link to the text of the bill displayed above: https://www.congress.gov/117/bills/s2907/BILLS-117s2907is.xml