Catholic boarding schools, U.S. policies, swindled Indigenous families into paying for their children’s assimilation

Much has been written about how Indian children suffered tremendous physical, emotional and sexual abuse in Indian boarding schools during the 19th and 20th centuries. Some even died. Their cultures were beat out of them. They were punished for speaking their Native languages. Taken from their parents, they didn’t learn parenting skills. They were forced to take colonial names, wear colonial clothes, and worship the colonial God — “a deliberate policy of ethnocide and cultural genocide,”according to the Native American Rights Fund.

A less well known and disturbing fact is that Native American families were taken advantage of, and ended up paying tuition to Catholic boarding schools for their children’s traumatic assimilation, according to an article published Tuesday by Type Investigations, in collaboration with In These Times. Continue reading

Art Subcommittee Grants Catholic Church Request to Testify, Will Entertain Other Requests

Key decision makers in the debate over Minnesota Capitol Art are charting a new course in public input, granting a request by the Catholic Church to testify. The Catholic Church will be the first group allowed to give public testimony directly to the Art Subcommittee.

The Art Subcommittee met Monday, Feb. 11, to begin crafting its preliminary report, now expected mid-February. Its biggest challenge: deciding what existing art should stay and what art (if any) should be moved to a new location because of its negative depictions of Native Americans or one-sided view of Minnesota history.

In an interview, Sen. David Senjem, a tri-chair of the Art Subcommittee, said the Subcommittee had been asked — and agreed — to hear testimony from the Minnesota Catholic Conference. The Catholic Church has concerns about efforts to remove the painting: Father Hennepin Discovering the Falls of St. Anthony. (A letter from theĀ  Catholic Church to the Subcommittee explaining the Church’s position is reproduced in full at the end of this post.)

To date, the Art Subcommittee offered the two avenues for public engagement: “listening sessions” held around the state and participation in an on-line survey. (In the listening sessions, participants did not speak directly to the Subcommittee. Only one or two Subcommittee members attended each session. People participated in facilitated small group discussions and volunteer note takers summarized comments.) That public input process finished in December.

Speaking for Healing Minnesota Stories (HMS), we would love the opportunity to testify. Continue reading