Federal Indian boarding schools still exist, but their focus has shifted towards cultural preservation and education.
A different time: Past experiences at schools like Riverside Indian School in Oklahoma were marked by emotional and physical abuse, with students forcibly sent to these institutions.
* Older generations recall years of suffering, and attempts to erase Native languages and cultures, according to the Department of Interior.
New approach: Riverside Indian School has transformed into a place with a majority Native staff and an emphasis on cultural practices.
* The school offers culturally integrated classes and activities such as drum-making, flute-making, and traditional clothing-making.
* Students now choose to attend, seeing educational opportunities and cultural connections not present in their hometowns.
The challenge: While some believe the best way to heal from the past is to focus on the future, others want to ensure the painful history is remembered and taught.
* Alumni and families work together to provide students with positive experiences and a sense of community.
Generational impact: The journey of healing from intergenerational trauma continues, as some students carry the legacy from their grandparents who had experienced the boarding schools’ past abuses.
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