By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Related Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque metropolis officers plan to make use of ground-penetrating radar as they analysis the historical past of a web site the place dozens of Native American boarding faculty college students are believed to have been buried greater than a century in the past.
Orange flags additionally will probably be positioned on the metropolis park to indicate the significance of the positioning as extra everlasting plans are labored out amongst metropolis officers, Indigenous leaders and advocacy teams. Orange is the colour used to represent the motion that’s bringing extra consciousness to the troubled legacy of the boarding faculty system that sought to assimilate Indigenous youth into white society over many a long time.
Indigenous activists turned involved earlier this yr when a plaque memorializing the scholars from the previous Albuquerque Indian College vanished. They established a makeshift memorial of flowers and different choices and demanded an investigation.
The plaque’s disappearance got here because the U.S. authorities started a nationwide investigation into boarding faculties, the place reviews of bodily and sexual abuse have been widespread and the place kids who died whereas attending the colleges have been typically buried in unmarked graves. A part of the large enterprise goals to find out what number of kids perished.
Latest discoveries of kids’s stays in Canada and the investigation within the U.S. have stirred sturdy feelings amongst tribal communities, together with grief, anger, reflection and a deep need for therapeutic.
Metropolis officers acknowledged the intergenerational ache brought on by federal boarding faculty insurance policies. Whereas it might probably’t be undone, they mentioned reconciliation is so as. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller supplied an apology on behalf of the town in an announcement issued Wednesday.
“That is necessary as a result of we’ve got a chance to be taught and perceive from our collective historical past and make significant change,” mentioned Rebecca Riley, who’s from Acoma Pueblo and serves on the town’s Fee on American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs. “We deserve to know the reality, decide our steps ahead, and owe the Native kids and workers who by no means returned residence to do higher.”
In the US, the Indian Civilization Act of 1819 and different legal guidelines and insurance policies have been enacted to ascertain and help a whole bunch of Indian boarding faculties. For over 150 years, kids have been taken from their communities and compelled into boarding faculties that targeted on assimilation.
The Albuquerque Indian College was began in 1881 by the Presbyterian Church and got here beneath federal management a number of years later. The college closed within the Eighties, and the property was put into belief for New Mexico’s 19 pueblos. The buildings ultimately have been torn down, and a tribal improvement company is working to make it a business hub.
The park is a few blocks away.
The Fee on American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs has really helpful that the Metropolis Council go a decision acknowledging the historical past of the Albuquerque Indian College and its burial websites, with a pledge to work with Native American leaders and residents to make sure historical past isn’t forgotten.
Over the long run, the fee really helpful that Albuquerque decide to funding well being and group initiatives that instantly impression the well being and well-being of Native American residents affected by federal boarding faculty insurance policies.
One other suggestion requires working with Indigenous leaders to develop a curriculum on the historical past of the Albuquerque Indian College and Native People in New Mexico and the American Southwest.
In keeping with the fee, illness and illness contributed closely to the reason for deaths amongst college students and workers on the former faculty, and data relating to the variety of folks buried and their location on the metropolis park is inconclusive.
Town mentioned a public memorial occasion and an extra conferences are deliberate over the approaching weeks.
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