Hoag hosts discussion Wednesday on Native American boarding schools

Posted 20 September 2021 at 7:50 am

100,000 plus Native children were voluntarily or forcibly removed form homes and sent to schools far away

Press Release, Community Coalition for Justice

ALBION – Kae Wilbert of Albion, a Cherokee descendant and retired Churchville-Chili School music teacher, will make a presentation about Native American boarding schools on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Hoag Library with discussion to follow.

From 1869 to the 1960’s, more than 100,000 “U.S. Native children that were voluntarily or forcibly removed from their homes, families, and communities during this time, were taken to schools far away…”

The quote above from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition continues, “… they were punished for speaking their native language, banned from acting in any way that might be seen to represent traditional or cultural practices, stripped of traditional clothing, hair and personal belongings and behaviors reflective of their native culture.”

Wilbert, who also is on the Friends of Ganondagan Board of Directors, is a member of the local Community Coalition for Justice, a group of local church and civic organizations, which is sponsoring this event. This will be part of a series of talks on racial justice.

Quoting Michelle Obama during her visit to a current Native school: “As we all know, this school was founded as part of a deliberate, systematic effort to extinguish your culture; to literally annihilate who you were and what you believed in.”

The government operated and often church-run boarding schools numbered nearly 400. There were also numerous boarding schools for Indigenous children in Canada with similar circumstances. Neither government has revealed records indicating what happened to all these children and whether they survived or were ever reunited with their families.

The Healing Coalitions (NABS), among many other entities, are working to heal the multi-generational trauma of the boarding school legacy. They urge us to: “Break the silence, begin the healing.”

This evening talk will introduce you to this history and the decades of work done since to heal the ongoing effects of this trauma.

This is part of a series of programs on racial justice. Next, Herb Smith, Eastman grad and only Black member of the Rochester Philharmonic, will address “Race in Music,” Oct. 20 at the Hoag.