Give Closure to Families of Indigenous Children Kidnapped, Abused, and Killed in Name of Assimilation

Target: Teresa Leger Fernandez, Chair of House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States

Goal: Enact commission to further investigate and make amends to indigenous tribes victimized by government-run reeducation camps.

Before Indiana achieved statehood, the then-territory’s governor William Henry Harrison made a mission of taking as much land from native tribes as possible, by any means necessary. When the tribes did not agree to easy surrender, these means included deadly “battles” that cost countless lives. This former military leader’s reputation as an “Indian killer” paled in comparison to Andrew Jackson. The general built his own military career on bloody village massacres like the 1832 Black Hawk “battle” that saw more than 400 souls, including many women and children, slaughtered. As a “lesson to the Indians,” in his words, Jackson ensured these assaults included burnings, torture, and brutality that would easily fit the definitions of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity today. Both Harrison and Jackson went on to become United States presidents. Their dark legacy is a stark representation of the American government’s centuries-long oppression of its indigenous people. By the beginning of the 20th century, the as many as 15 million native Americans who once populated this continent had been reduced to under 250,000. A sizeable percentage of this eradication resulted from the 1,500-plus “battles” waged against indigenous tribes at the American government’s command.

Tragically, a new discovery has shed light on just how long and far these systemic abuses went. The Department of the Interior launched an investigation into the widespread use of Native American so-called boarding schools that were operated by the government for 150-plus years. Children were taken away from their parents and sent to these “schools” in order to force their assimilation into white American culture. Reports of horrific physical and sexual abuse taking place at these facilities have been uncovered. And tragically, mass grave sites have been unearthed as well. The Interior Department has acknowledged at minimum 500 deaths occurred at these sites, and in most cases families never learned of their loved ones’ fates. The report arising from this investigation also predicts that the actual number of deaths could climb into the tens of thousands.

Leaders of tribal nations most impacted by this tragedy have called for measures that can bring some degree of peace and healing to their people. Sign the petition below to support these calls to action.


Dear Representative Fernandez,

“The consequences of federal Indian boarding school policies, including the intergenerational trauma caused by the family separation and cultural eradication inflicted upon generations of children as young as four years old, are heartbreaking and undeniable.” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland used these words to sum up the horrific findings of a report on the once-widespread practice. She also stressed that this investigation must lead to a moment of reckoning. Tribal leaders across the nation have echoed this sentiment, and they believe decisive action must be taken.

Among these actions includes an assurance that discovered remains will be returned to ancestors so that proper burials can take place. In addition, leaders are requesting not just an acknowledgement but a formal apology from the U.S. government for its past role in these tragedies. And perhaps most crucially on the legislative front, the bill proposing a truth and healing commission must be embraced and enacted by Congress.

Please put your full support behind each of these initiatives and do everything in your power to ensure America’s indigenous people receive the truth and healing they deserve.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Unknown


  1. The plight of the American Indians and tribes is beyond imaginable.
    Reservations are on lands almost unlivable. Native Americans have suffered from the day the white man set foot in this country and they still suffer today. The Indian must walk 8 miles to get water. Although pipes are being placed for homes few are operational. Water supply is mostly by foot. There are not indoor bathrooms either. While the rest of the country can’t imagine living such a harsh life, Indians, have no other choice. Yet these are the people the white man stole from. killed, cheated, and more. If one lives on a reservation today they must live a life of fear in the knowing no one cares.

  2. Canada is addressing this horrible situation right now.The US has to do the same.

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