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U.S. announces oral history project of country's dark Indian boarding school past

The Department of the Interior has launched an oral history project to document the country’s dark legacy of abuse against Native children in its boarding schools. 

The department said it’s the first time the U.S. government has launched a program like this. The project is aimed at teaching future generations about the schools' bleak pasts. 

These schools existed well into the 1960s and forced indigenous children to assimilate into white culture. At least 500 children died in connection with federal boarding schools. Native children were forced to suppress their own languages, their hair was cut, and their religious and cultural practices were banned. 

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition will receive $3.7 million for the oral history project. 

The first volume about the atrocities committed at these schools was released last year. A second volume is expected to be published at the end of 2023. 

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Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.