Indian boarding schools; urging investigation.
State of Arizona
House of Representatives
Second Regular Session
HOUSE CONCURRENT MEMORIAL 2003
A Concurrent Memorial
urging the United States department of the interior to investigate former and current indian boarding schools in Arizona.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
To the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior:
Your memorialist respectfully represents:
Whereas, beginning with the Indian Civilization Act of 1819, the United States enacted laws and implemented policies establishing and supporting Indian boarding schools across the nation; and
Whereas, the express purpose of these laws and policies was to implement cultural genocide by removing and reprogramming American Indian and Alaska Native children to accomplish the systematic destruction of native cultures and communities; and
Whereas, between 1869 and the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Native American children were removed from their homes and families and placed in boarding schools operated by the federal government and churches; and
Whereas, Native American children who were forcibly removed from their homes, families and communities during this time were taken to schools far away where they were punished for speaking their native language, banned from acting in any way that might be seen to represent traditional or cultural practices, and stripped of traditional clothing, hair and personal belongings and behaviors reflective of their native cultures; and
Whereas, Native American children suffered physical, sexual, cultural and spiritual abuse and neglect and experienced treatment that in many cases constituted torture and child abuse for speaking their native languages; and
Whereas, many children never returned home from Indian boarding schools and their fates have yet to be accounted for by the United States government; and
Whereas, in the wake of the discovery of thousands of unmarked graves at boarding schools in the United States and Canada, United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland ordered a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies; and
Whereas, according to the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, most boarding schools were closed in the 1980s and early 1990s, but dozens remain open, with 15 still boarding students as of 2020; and
Whereas, Arizona had the second highest number of Indian boarding schools of any state in the nation, with 51 of the total 367 Indian boarding schools in the United States.
Wherefore your memorialist, the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona, the Senate concurring, prays:
1. That the United States Department of the Interior investigate all 51 of the former and current Indian boarding schools located in Arizona.
2. That the United States Department of the Interior use, or designate the use of, ground penetrating radar to look for unmarked graves and return any discovered remains to their families or tribes, as requested, for appropriate repatriation and burial.
3. That the Secretary of State of the State of Arizona transmit copies of this Memorial to the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior.