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TEC ran 18 Native-persons boarding schools – where is the apology, the examination?

TEC ran 18 Native-persons boarding schools – where is the apology, the examination?

[Unlike the Anglican Church of Canada,] The Episcopal Church has failed to apologize or examine its own complicity in the genocide of Native peoples through the boarding schools the church operated. – The Rev. Tom Ferguson

In recent weeks, horror stories of the discovery of deaths of Native children at Catholic boarding schools in Canada have emerged. The Catholic Church and the Pope have been heavily criticized for failure to take responsibility. The Anglican Church of Canada, however, has reiterated its acknowledgment of and apology for its complicity in the operation of assimilation schools.

As Tom Ferguson reminds us, the Episcopal Church also ran boarding schools that aimed to assimilate Native children, erasing their heritage.

In a post entitled “We Are Pontius Pilate: Episcopal Church and Indian Boarding Schools”, Ferguson writes:

There were similar residential boarding schools in place in the United States, especially beginning on a large scale in the post-1871 period.  These were schools established under policies promoted by the United States government, with an emphasis on assimilation of Native Americans to “civilized” ways.

The Episcopal Church operated at least 18 such boarding schools.

These schools actively endorsed the cultural genocide of Native Americans.  Native languages were forbidden; children were forced to cut their hair and dress in Western clothing; and were forced to adopt “Christian” names. …

… We have the written policies of these schools.  We have letters and journals from the missionaries and teachers and bishops and church organizations involved. …

May this be a time for the Episcopal Church to take the lead and work with the state, local, tribal, and federal authorities to examine and compile all records and sources related to residential schools in the United States, and to begin processes of apology, acknowledgment, and reparations for the Church’s complicity in literal and cultural genocide of Native peoples.

Read it all.

Image: Students and staff of Robert’s Mission. Source


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Suzanne Lynn Huffman

It seems the height of hypocrisy to me, especially given the church’s active role in many indigenous communities, not to mention outstanding clergy, especially Bishop Steven Charleston. I would be interested to hear his perspective on this issue.

Carol Christoffel

Totally agree with this. In fact, I look to the Episcopal Church to take the lead in acknowledging the past and working to support a NATIONAL APOLOGY that is not hidden. An apology given in a closet is not a real apology. Begin the process of reconciliation and respect for race with stepping up. I feel BISHOP CURRY is the man to do it.

Suzanne Lynn Huffman


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