WASHINGTON | Hundreds of Native American, Alaskan and Hawaiian minority children died in federally run residential schools between 1819 and 1969 where they were abused, says a report from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs released Wednesday .
Burial sites, identified or unnamed, have been discovered near 53 residential schools where these children separated from their families were placed for the purpose of assimilation, according to this report on the “federal residential school system for Indians”.
About 19 of these facilities “account for more than 500 deaths of Native American, Alaskan and Hawaiian Native American children,” the report says, noting that authorities “expect to see an increase in the number of identified burials” as as the investigation progresses.
Their location has not been disclosed in order to prevent “grave robbing, vandalism and other disturbances of Indian burial sites”, the authors specify.
Between 1819 and 1969, the “Federal Indian Residential School System” totaled 408 schools located in 37 US states and territories, including 21 schools in Alaska and seven in Hawaii, says the report commissioned by Minister Deb Haaland, herself a Native American. .
He “deployed systematic militarized methods of identity alteration in an attempt to assimilate through education” the children of these Native American communities, including giving them an English name or cutting their hair.
Schools discouraged or prevented children from speaking their language and focused on technical education or manual labor “with job prospects often unrelated to the American industrial economy, further disrupting tribal economies,” according to the report.
In these institutions, the rule was often enforced through corporal punishment such as solitary confinement or starvation, flogging, beatings and shackles, the report said, adding that older children were forced to punish the youngest.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs wants to continue its investigation to determine the total number of children who have entered these schools and the total number of burials in the country, and to identify the children buried at these sites.