Call to Collect Testimony about the American Indian and Alaska Native Children who went Missing under U.S. Boarding School Policy

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TITLE: Call to Collect Testimony about the American Indian and Alaska Native Children Who went Missing under U.S. Boarding School Policy

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of Indian peoples, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety, human rights and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, the promotion, protection and preservation of Tribal members' health, welfare and human rights is a priority for all Tribes; and

WHEREAS, the United States attempted deliberate eradication of Native American culture and forced assimilation through the Boarding School Policy of 1869 also known as “President Grant’s Peace Policy;” and

WHEREAS, American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children were required by law to attend boarding schools with the stated purpose of “Kill the Indian, Save the Man;” and

WHEREAS, NCAI passed previous resolutions (ATL-14-026; and REN-13-055) which called on the U.S. federal government to acknowledge its role and responsibility for the historical and intergenerational traumas brought by the Boarding School policies and called for a beginning to the process of healing among our people, families, communities, and Tribal Nations; and

WHEREAS, NCAI also passed resolution PHX-16-063 requesting that the United States government provide a full accounting including the total number of students removed to the custody of boarding schools operated by the federal government, or remanded to churches that operated with federal funding, including the fate and final resting place of each child that did not survive; and

WHEREAS, in PHX-16-063 NCAI expressed support for the efforts by Tribal Nations, Families and organizations seeking this information through national and international mechanisms, including the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID) and calls upon the United States Federal Government to comply with all requests and efforts to obtain this information by families, descendants, Tribal Nations and Alaska Native Villages as well as Indigenous organizations and coalitions working on their behalf; and

WHEREAS, the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS), the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) submitted a FOIA request in February 2016 and several follow-up requests since that time to the BIE requesting documentation including identities, fates and final resting places as well as steps that were taken to inform the impacted parents, families and Tribes about children that did not survive in boarding schools, and have not to this date received the requested documentation; and

WHEREAS, these organizations are reaching out to families and Tribes who may have specific information or testimonies they are willing to share about family and Tribal members who attended boarding schools but remain unaccounted for or are still missing which could be included in a submission to the UNWGEID calling on the United States government to provide this information to the families and Tribes of those individuals.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) calls on its membership to gather testimony and share information, where appropriate, for the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances filing to call on the United States to provide a full accounting of American Indian and Alaska Native children who were taken into government custody under the U.S. Boarding School Policy and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.


The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2017 Midyear Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center, June 12 to June 15, 2017, with a quorum present.