Indigenous Leaders, US Interior Chief To Discuss Probe Of Unmarked Graves - Representative

Indigenous Leaders, US Interior Chief to Discuss Probe of Unmarked Graves - Representative

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 30th July, 2021) Indigenous leaders will discuss the US probe into possible unmarked graves at the sites of former boarding schools for Native Americans during a meeting with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Native Organizers Alliance Director Judith LeBlanc told Sputnik.

The US investigation, launched by Haaland last month, was spurred by the discoveries of the remains of hundreds of Indigenous children at former forced assimilation schools across Canada.

"Absolutely," Leblanc said on Thursday, responding to a question of whether the probe will be a topic of conversation during Friday's meeting with Haaland.

Leblanc, a citizen of the Caddo Nation, whose traditional territory spans across the Southeastern United States, welcomed the Department of the Interior's (DOI) investigation.

"The initiative that Secretary Haaland has taken, has given us a lot of hope that finally there will be some Federal government action to reveal what the truth is and then to begin the healing process for so many families," she said.

The Indian boarding schools were established by the Indian Civilization Act of 1819 and existed through the 1960s to culturally assimilate Indigenous children of the United States by forcibly relocating them from their families and communities where their Native identities, languages, and beliefs were forcibly suppressed, Haaland said.

The meeting will come at the conclusion of the Red Road to DC, a cross country tour highlighting indigenous scared sites at risk, by tribal leaders from across the country, which was commemorated by the presentation of a 25-foot totem pole to the nation's capital.