500 Native Americans have died in US boarding schools, feds say

Flagstaff, Arizona.

A first-of-its-kind federal study of Native American boarding schools that for more than a century sought to assimilate Native children into white society has identified more than 500 student deaths at the facilities, but officials expect that number will increase exponentially as research continues. .

The Department of the Interior report released Wednesday brings the number of schools that have been established or supported by the United States government to more than 400, beginning in the early 19th century and continuing in some cases until the late 1960s. The agency identified the deaths in the records of about 20 of the schools.

The dark history of Native American boarding schools — where children were kicked out of their families, forbidden to speak their language, and often abused — has been deeply felt across Indian Country and across generations.

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