The ELCA’s repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery includes our church’s commitment “to supporting the healing of survivors of Indian boarding schools, adoption, and foster care and their descendants while advocating for policies that will bring both truth and justice” (A Declaration of the [ELCA] to American Indian and Alaska Native People, p. 4).
The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs recently released Volume 1 of an investigative report that details the legacy of violence and abuse and death perpetrated by Indian boarding schools. The report found that the United States operated or supported 408 boarding schools across 37 states (or then-territories) between 1819 and 1969 and identified 53 burial sites for children across the system. Approximately 50 percent of the schools may have received support or involvement from a religious institution or organization, including Lutheran groups. The boarding schools sought to advance goals of forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples through the forced removal and relocation of their children.
Our advocacy will further the ELCA’s commitment to realizing justice and equity for Indigenous people. Congress must act to pass the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (H.R. 5444/S. 2907) and initiate long-overdue steps towards healing intergenerational trauma and seeking justice for survivors and their families.
Below are several quick references to continue further reading about the report’s findings:
Your voice is needed to support a Truth and Healing Commission for Indigenous Boarding Schools. Our advocacy is urgent and essential towards fulfilling the ELCA’s commitment to strengthening our anti-oppression efforts with a greater focus on realizing justice and equity for Indigenous people. Urge Congress to act. Please personalize the message below.
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]
We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God's grace. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person — questions, complexities and all. Join us as we do God's work in Christ's name for the life of the world.
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