The remains of nine Indigenous children were buried by the Rosebud Sioux in South Dakota after being transferred back from the former Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, where the children were forcibly sent over 140 years ago.
Carlisle was the first government boarding school off reservation land, and it set the standard for other schools with its motto, “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” The schools were known for their brutal assimilation practices that forced students to change their clothing, language and culture.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe negotiated the return of the children’s remains buried at the school, and a caravan of Rosebud Sioux youth returned them to their tribe this week. Dozens of other Native American and Alaskan Native families have asked Carlisle to return their relatives’ bodies. Knowledge of the boarding schools is still being recovered as many survivors are reluctant to revisit the trauma, says Christopher Eagle Bear, a member of the Sicangu Youth Council.
“These schools, they played a key part in trying to sever that connection to who we are as Lakota,” he says. “They took away our language, and they made it impossible for us to be who we really are.”
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Human Rights and Equality
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