The children had been separated from their families more than a century ago under American policies of forced assimilation.
A caravan carrying the bodies of nine disinterested Native American youths who died more than a century ago made its way across the continental United States Thursday en route to the Rosebud Sioux tribal lands in South Dakota.
The trip represents a delayed return for the children, who, like hundreds of thousands of other Native Americans, were separated from their homeland as part of a U.S. government effort of forced assimilation in the 19th and early 20ths. century, largely from the Indian Civilization Act of 1819.
The nine children died between 1880 and 1910 at the government-run Indiana Carlisle Industrial School in Pennsylvania, an institution that housed about 10,000 Native students and forced them to cut their braids, to dress in style uniforms. military and punished for speaking their native language. .
Their bodies were unearthed in June with the remains of an Alaska Aleutian girl, who has already been handed over to her tribe.
Ken Fisher, 77, leads the bones of his 9 Lakota ancestors in 2 Rosebud Sioux homes. Tribal Police Officer for 36 years. Now the dead carry 4 FBI. “I don’t like to think too much.” It’s all bad. We can’t bring them back, but we can bring them home. ”Day 2 caravan pic.twitter.com/cLa7LlKqio
– Brandi Morin (@ Songstress28) July 15, 2021
With the recent discovery of almost a thousand unmarked graves in Canada in boarding schools for indigenous children drawing attention to the victims of forced assimilation programs, Thursday’s caravan served as a dull reminder of the decades-long effort of tribal leaders, activists and researchers. to obtain a more accurate account of what has become of the indigenous youth who are never again returned to their families.
Separate indigenous youth registries remain at the finest patchwork and scattered in institutions and jurisdictions across the country.
“We want our children to be at home, no matter how long,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. the first Native American to serve in a cabinet position, he said Wednesday at a ceremony at what is now the U.S. Army’s Carlisle Barracks and which contains about 180 graves of students from Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
In June, inspired by the discovery of graves in Canada, Haaland launched an inquiry into the policies in place the boarding will try to compile as much as possible of an account of the experience of indigenous children. There will be particular “emphasis on cemeteries or potential burial sites” and linking buried children to their tribes, the interior department said in a press release at the time.
The investigation will culminate with a report to be presented in April 2022.
The caravan carrying the remains of nine children from the Rosebud Sioux tribal lands will be greeted Thursday evening by a prayer service in Sioux City, Wisconsin – a city that has served as a transit point for several separated Indigenous children.
It is the fourth exhumation of the remains of Indigenous youth conducted by the U.S. Army Ceremonies Office and comes after a six-year effort led by youth council Rosebud Sioux.
Russell Eagle Bear, a representative of the Rosebud Sioux tribal council, said a lodge was being prepared for a ceremony Friday at a Missouri River landing near Sioux City.
“We’re here today and we’re going to take our kids home,” Eagle Bear said at Wednesday’s ceremony in Pennsylvania.
“We have a great return to the other side.”