May 11, 2022

Schatz, Murkowski Statements on First Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Report

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chairman of the Committee, released the following statements on the Department of the Interior’s release of its initial investigative report initiated by its Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, which called for a comprehensive review of the legacy of federal boarding school policies.


“As Native communities across the country have long known, U.S. policy directly led to the forced assimilation, family separation, and deaths of Native children through federal Indian boarding schools,” said Chairman Schatz. “Today’s initial investigative report formally acknowledges this shameful legacy. I strongly support the Department’s continuing work to understand and address the full impact of past wrongs inflicted on Native children and their communities and intend to hold committee oversight hearings into this terrible injustice.”


“I welcome the Interior Department’s first investigative report formally recognizing the impacts of the boarding school system on Native children and their families,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “Native leaders from Alaska, Hawaii and across Indian country have called for accountability from the federal government for its Indian boarding school policies. The long-term repercussions of these past federal assimilation policies are still with us today, a shameful legacy of the attempt to eradicate Native languages and cultures. This volume exemplifies the need to continue looking into this dark side of our nation’s past. And with the help of former students and their families, advocates, tribal leaders, and other stakeholders, we can work together to address these past injustices and move forward in healing. That is why I am co-leading legislation to establish a commission dedicated to directly working on this important issue.”


Volume 1 of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report can be accessed here.