How To Learn More About National Day of Remembrance for Indian Boarding Schools

How To Learn More About National Day of Remembrance for Indian Boarding Schools

A before and after photo of “Three Lakota boys” at Carlisle Indian School, circa 1890

September 30th is National Day of Remembrance for Indian Boarding Schools, a day in both the United States and Canada to recognize the true history and deep generational trauma caused by Indian boarding schools.

For over a hundred years, thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their families and transported to isolated boarding schools hundreds of miles away from their communities. These schools were established with the explicit purpose of committing cultural genocide by forbidding the children from speaking their traditional languages or practicing their cultural or religious traditions in any way. Their hair was cut, they were dressed in Western clothing, their personal belongings were taken away, and they were forced to speak only English and convert to Christianity.

Click here to download this PDF publication about the history of boarding schools

The injustices committed by boarding schools are many; there is much to do to address the effects that are still being felt in Native families and communities today. With that in mind, we want to uplift and highlight the work of our partners and relatives at the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

Established in 2012, the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition’s (NABS) mission is to “lead in the pursuit of understanding and addressing the ongoing trauma created by the U.S. Indian Boarding School policy.” They have a wide array of resources, and the following is an introduction to some of the assets we believe you’ll find useful as you observe this solemn day of remembrance and consider how you can be part of the truth and healing process.

US Indian Boarding School History

“The truth about the US Indian boarding school policy has largely been written out of the history books.” This section of the NABS website summarizes the general sentiments, policies, and events that lead to the creation of the boarding school system.  You will also find their publication “Healing Voices Volume 1: A Primer on American Indian and Alaska Native Boarding Schools in the U.S.” in a downloadable PDF.

Click here for the Recommended Reading list

Educational Curriculum For Students & Children

The subject of Indian boarding schools is not a cheerful one to discuss, but it is important to make sure that it is no longer hidden away, especially from students and children. NABS has developed a curriculum for teachers and parents to help them broach the topic. The Truth and Healing Curriculum consists of four lessons covering History, Impacts, Stories, and Healing and is sectioned into three age levels for primary, middle, and upper grades.

Recommended Reading

The Resources page on the NABS website stores a multitude of educational tools including a list of recommended books on Indian boarding school history and experiences. A total of 24 books are listed under three categories: General Native American Boarding School History, Healing and Decolonization, and For Children and Young Adults.

This is just a very small sample of what The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition has to offer. In addition to educational resources, they also have information about the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, action steps for survivors of Indian boarding schools and their descendants, and a list of resources for self-care and trauma support, just to name a few.

For more information, please visit boardingschoolhealing.org.


The Member Education Session held on September 29, 2022 focused on the topic of Boarding School Reconciliation and Philanthropy and you can view the recording of that session on our YouTube channel here.

You can join our moderator, Stephine “Steph” Poston (Pueblo of Sandia) and three strategic change makers, Deborah Parker (Tulalip/Yaqui/Apache), Dr. Samuel Torres, Ed.D. (Mexica/Nahua), and Winoka Yepa (Diné), as they discuss how philanthropy can uplift and support our relatives working and living in these spaces.

For more information about our upcoming Member Education Sessions and other Native Americans in Philanthropy events, please sign up for our mailing list to receive updates and announcements through the NAP Journal here.