Deb Haaland launched theIndian Boarding School Initiative in June, shortly after becoming the first Native Secretary of the Interior in United States history.
The results of this survey, which should detail the scale and scope of the phenomenon in the United States, are expected any day.
The cathartic moment of the papal apology and the impending release of Secretary Haaland’s report have sent a message to Church leaders in the United States as they prepare for what they hope will be a time of reconciliation.
” We have recognized that we need to approach the story that is brought to light with sensitivity and humility. We hope these are steps on this journey to healing and increased awareness so that this story will never repeat itself. »
Ms. Haaland’s investigation seeks to identify all of the schools that were part of the residential school program for Indians, with particular emphasis on
any records relating to potential cemeteries or burial sites that may later be used to help locate unidentified human remains.
A dialogue should then be established with Indigenous communities across the United States on how best to manage these remains.
The report should serve as a starting point for a host of reconciliation efforts, Interior Department spokesman Tyler Cherry said in a statement.
What’s unlikely, however, is an odyssey similar to the one that took place in Canada, culminating earlier this month with the Pope’s long-awaited apology, nuanced Joseph Gone, a psychologist and professor of anthropology at Harvard, specializing in Indigenous mental health.
Not only is the history radically different in the two countries, but the scope and scale of the residential school saga has also been different, Professor Gone said in an interview. And while Indigenous issues have long been a driving force in Canadian racial politics, those same issues have been largely overshadowed in the United States by the dynamics between black and white communities.
” Native people are often completely invisible in the United States, which is simply not the case in Canada, so our issues do not receive the same kind of attention. »
Indeed, any American awareness of trauma like that of residential schools or missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is largely the result of the long and arduous conversations and controversies that have evolved north of the border since at least the 1990s. , he said.
As a result, Professor Gone expects the report to shine a spotlight on these parts of Indigenous history and raise awareness, while allowing Indigenous voices to be heard.
But I don’t think it will translate into great truth and reconciliation like we see in Canada.