Governor Evers Apologizes for Wisconsin’s Role in Residential Schools


ONEIDA, WB (WBAY) – On Indigenous Peoples Day, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order to officially recognize and apologize for “Wisconsin’s historic role in residential schools.”

The governor made the announcement during a visit to the Oneida Nation. Action 2 News was there and will have coverage on Monday.

“For more than a century, between the 1860s and 1970s, the United States federal government instigated and coerced thousands of Native American children from their families and homes, placing them in boarding schools funded by the United States government and operated by government and religious organizations. Estimates indicate that thousands of children have been forced to attend day schools and boarding schools across the country. Residential schools sought to force assimilation of Native American children by isolating them from their cultural identity, punishing them for speaking their mother tongue or practicing their traditions, prohibiting them from wearing traditional clothing, and forcing children to cut themselves. the hair. Investigators condemned the conditions at the residential schools in 1928 as “grossly inadequate” and, in 1969, as “sterile, impersonal and rigid, with a major emphasis on discipline and punishment,” read a statement from the office of the governor.

The records available show that there were at least 10 days and boarding schools in Wisconsin. Thousands of indigenous children are said to have attended these schools. Some were sent to boarding schools in Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Virginia.

“As a state, we share the responsibility of recognizing the pain inflicted on tribal communities historically and even today. We also have a moral obligation to seek the truth and bring to light these injustices in Wisconsin and across our country, because this understanding and recognition is essential to accountability and healing, ”Governor Evers said. “We recognize the trauma inflicted on Indigenous families and communities and the loss of language, culture and identity and the intergenerational effects that these facilities have had and still have while honoring the resilience and contributions of Indigenous peoples. to our state and our country. “

Action 2 News reporter Jeff Alexander spoke to members of the Menominee Indian tribe who say many of their ancestors suffered traumatic experiences in boarding schools on the reservation and across the country. They say the stories of their grandparents and great-grandparents, as well as many anonymous graves near where the residential schools once stood, are evidence of widespread abuse and neglect.

The executive order also declares Wisconsin’s support for federal investigations in consultation with Indigenous nations.

Wisconsin is home to these Indigenous Nations:

  • Chippewa Lake Superior Bad River Strip
  • Forest Potawatomi County
  • Ho-Chunk Nation
  • Short Lake Band Ears of Lake Superior Chippewa
  • Flambeau Lake Band Chippewa Indians of Lake Superior, Menominee Indian tribe of Wisconsin
  • Oneida Nation of Wisconsin
  • Chippewa Lake Superior Red Cliff Band
  • Sokaogon Chippewa Mole Lake Community Chippewa Lake Superior Band
  • St Croix Chippewa Tribe of Wisconsin
  • Mohican Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe
  • Brothertown Indian Nation

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