November 16, 2021

Senator Murkowski Joins Indian Boarding Schools Commission Legislation

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, made the following statement after signing on as the lead Republican co-sponsor of S. 2907, the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools Act.


“For many years, thousands of Native children were taken from their families, homes, and communities, and forced to attend boarding schools far away. These Indian boarding schools stripped Native children of their identities and forced them to assimilate and conform to an identity that was thought to be more “acceptable” to Western society. Many Native children were abused, both physically and emotionally. Many developed illnesses and died, and were buried far from home. In many cases, their families and Tribes were never notified of their death.”


“S. 2907 would establish a commission to investigate and document United States Indian boarding school issues, locate the graves of Native children who died while attending these schools, and provide recommendations to Congress. This legislation is significant, but I recognize that it is a work in progress as we attempt to better understand the trauma that followed these policies. I look forward to holding hearings in the Indian Affairs Committee and favorably reporting a bill that will fully address the injustices done to Native peoples by Indian boarding schools as a result of federal assimilationist policies,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski.


Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is the lead sponsor of the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools Act. Representatives Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Tom Cole (R-OK) introduced a House companion bill, H.R. 5444, of which Congressman Don Young (R-AK) is also a cosponsor.

A Senate Concurrent Resolution was introduced by Senator Murkowski supporting the designation of September 30, 2021, as a National Day of Remembrance for the Native American children who died while attending a United States Indian boarding school, and to recognize, honor, and support the survivors of Indian boarding schools and their families. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) are co-sponsors to the resolution. A companion House Concurrent Resolution was also introduced by Congressman Don Young (R-AK) along with Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Ed Case (D-HI), Kaiali’i Kahele (D-HI), David Joyce (R-OH), and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). Additionally, Senator Murkowski provided a floor speech on the National Day of Remembrance, click here to watch.