How the U.S. stole the sacred Pipestone quarry from the Ihanktonwan

In researching the history of Indian Boarding Schools in Minnesota, I came across the story of how the U.S. government stole the sacred Pipestone quarry from the Ihanktonwan people. (The federal government calls them the Yankton Sioux Tribe.)

In Dakota, Ihanktonwan means “People of the End Village People,” according to the Ihanktonwan Community College. “The Ihanktonwan are also known as the ‘Land of the Friendly People of the Seven Council Fires,'” known in Dakota as the Oceti Sakowin.

Historically, the Ihanktonwan’s role included protecting the sacred Pipestone Quarry, Wikipedia says,

The U.S. government took away that sacred duty.

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Indigenous organization seeks church partners for truth telling, healing, around Indian boarding school trauma

Part of an ongoing series on healing and reparations

Can you remember when you were 8 years old, somewhere around third grade? Put yourself in that frame of mind.

Imagine adults you don’t know come to your door. They grab you and take you away from your family. Your parents are distraught, weeping and seem powerless. You don’t know what’s going on.

You are taken to a place you have never been before. Nothing is familiar. You are immediately scrubbed with lye soap as some aggressive adult snaps about “filthy savages” to no one in particular.

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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