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Survivors of Indian boarding schools share their stories on the Road to Healing tour

The students of the Carlisle Indian School are amassed on the grounds of the school in March of 1892.
John N. Choate
Cumberland County Historical Society Photo Archives
The students of the Carlisle Indian School are amassed on the grounds of the school in March of 1892.

On this edition of Your Call, we're discussing the Road to Healing tour, an initiative organized by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to hear from survivors of Indian boarding schools. The tour kicked off on July 9 in Oklahoma and is expected to run through next year.

The United States operated or actively supported 408 Indian boarding schools between 1819 and 1969, according to the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report. More than 150 were run by churches, about half each by Catholic and Protestant groups, according to the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

By 1926, 60,889, or nearly 83 percent of Indian school-age children, attended boarding schools. Many were sexually abused, beaten for speaking their language, and stripped of their culture and traditions. What does healing and justice mean to survivors and their descendants?


Dr. Ramona Klein, retired educator and enrolled member of the Turtle Band of Chippewa

Brought Plenty, artist and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Jim Labelle, Sr., Inupiaq, member of the Native Village of Port Graham, first Vice President of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, and retired professor of Alaska Native studies at the University of Alaska, Anchorage

Web Resources:

WBUR: A survivor shares her experience at a Native American boarding school

Indian Country Today: Road to Healing: Deb Haaland pledges boarding school truths will be uncovered

NPR: The U.S. is reckoning with its troubled past of Indian boarding schools

The New York Times: Report Catalogs Abuse of Native American Children at Former Government Schools

Bee Soll is a producer with Your Call at KALW, and a producer, writer, and editor at KCBS Radio in San Francisco. She is a former reporter for Crosscurrents and contributor at KPFA Radio.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.