This morning Jean and David Hansen, Rodger Routh and I met with John Hollinrake, Regional Director for Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst. Several others had planned to join us but didn’t make it.
We expressed our appreciation for Senator Ernst voting for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
I asked John if he was familiar with the Indian Boarding Schools. He indicated he had read the information I had sent from Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) in emails prior to this meeting. Some of the great support we received from FCNL
John listened attentively and took notes as we told our stories and why we hope Senator Ernst will cosponsor and vote for the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 2907/H.R. 5444).
I spoke of why this was important to me, in part because of Quaker involvement with the residential schools.
Jean spoke from her Indigenous background, sharing from family experiences at those schools. She also spoke about the work of Quakers in those times trying to influence those emerging policies.
David spoke of hearing stories of Quakers helping in the residential schools, presented as good work. Most Friends I know were told similar stories. Now that he has been learning the truth about these institutions of forced assimilation, and the intergenerational traumas that occurred, he wants people to know the truth, and work toward healing, which is the purpose of the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act.
Rodger spoke of his Catholic upbringing, and the involvement of the Catholic church in many such schools in the lands called the U.S. and Canada.
John Hollinrake thanked us for coming but had no comment as to whether the Senator will co-sponsor the legislation. I followed up by emailing thanks to Mr. Hollinrake.
And submitted a Lobby Visit Report to FCNL.
We left the FCNL document “Co-sponsor the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the U.S. Act” with John.
We appreciated having these talking points from FCNL.
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 were unspeakable. Although the wrongs committed at these institutions can never be made right, we can start the truth, healing, and reconciliation process for all of us. The August congressional recess is an opportunity to educate your member of congress on the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act. Join us for this special training to learn how you can ensure your voice is heard during August recess.