The AP covers the statement on Indigenous boarding schools by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and President of the House of Deputies Gay Clark Jennings.
This month top officials with the U.S. Episcopal Church acknowledged the denomination’s own need to reckon with its involvement with such boarding schools.
“We all need to work together on this,” said the Rev. Bradley Hauff, a Minnesota-based Episcopal priest and missioner for Indigenous Ministries with the Episcopal Church. “What’s happening in Canada, that’s a wakeup call to us,” said Hauff, who is enrolled with the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Hauff noted that the experiences of former students, such as his own parents, ranged widely. Some said that even amid austerity, loneliness and family separation, they received a good education, made friends, learned skills and freely spoke tribal languages with peers. But others talked of “unspeakable, cruel abuse,” including physical and sexual assault, malnourishment and being punished for speaking Native languages.
“Even if some of the children did say they had a positive experience, it did come at a price,” Hauff said. “Our church worked hand in hand with the government to assimilate these children. … We need to acknowledge it happened.”
AP’s story includes other denominations’ acknowledgment of their need to reckon with their complicity with residential schools.