On Columbus Day, Wisconsin governor apologizes for Indian boarding schools

“ As a state, we share responsibility for acknowledging the pain inflicted on Tribal communities historically and even still today,” Tony Evers says.

Updated: October 11, 2021 - 11:29pm

Wisconsin’s governor is using the state’s Indigenous Peoples Day to apologize for Indian boarding schools in the United States and Canada.

Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order on Monday, which is Columbus Day in most of the country and Indigenous Peoples Day in the state, to apologize for the state’s role in sending Indian children to schools across the country.

“As a state, we share responsibility for acknowledging the pain inflicted on Tribal communities historically and even still today. We also have a moral obligation to pursue the truth and to bring these injustices to light in Wisconsin and across our country because that understanding and acknowledgment is essential for accountability and healing,” the governor said in a statement.

Evers’ office says there were 10 Indiana Boarding Schools in Wisconsin, all of them closed decades ago. There are no reports of mass deaths at the schools, which have been reported at other Indian Boarding Schools in the United State and Canada, but the schools were known for separating families and extreme discipline.

“We recognize the trauma inflicted on Native families and communities and the loss of language, culture, and identity and the intergenerational effects these facilities had and still have while honoring the resilience and contributions of Indigenous people to our state and our country,” Evers added.

Monday was Wisconsin’s third official Indigenous Peoples Day. Gov. Evers ordered the state to recognize it instead of Columbus Day back in 2019.

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