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Legislation introduced in Lansing to raise awareness of the history of Indian Boarding Schools in Michigan

mtpleasantboardingschool.jpg
UpNorth Memories - Don Harrison / CC BY 2.0
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/72988954@N00/6847146583
Mt Pleasant Indian Boarding School

The history of boarding schools for Indian children is described, by those who experienced it, to be horrific. Many say it has caused them generational trauma.

Some survivors of the schools traveled to Lansing this week to help introduce a bill that would encourage the State Board of Education to include information on Indian boarding schools in statewide curriculum standards. The bill is sponsored by Senator Wayne Schmidt and Senator Jeff Irwin, and has bipartisan support.

Kim Fyke, a survivor of an Indian boarding school, said “I think the best part of yesterday for me was when they all stood up down there while we were up in the gallery and they introduced us, and every one of them stood up and clapped for us. And when they did that, to me it felt like someone was finally listening to the children in us. Because when this was all happening to us nobody wanted to hear it.”

Meredith Kennedy, a Tribal citizen, says learning about this part of history in schools is important to helping the next generations.

“Let’s face it, when you know more about your community you really begin to understand your neighbor, and you’re going to have a better appreciation for the differences within our cultures.”

Senate Bill 876 has been referred to the Michigan Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee.