The Circle of Nations Indigenous Association put out a call to search our campus for graves a month ago.
June 14. 2021
CW: Indian Boarding Schools, Historical Trauma, Cultural Genocide.
Circle of Nations Indigenous Association calls upon UMN Morris to make immediate plans to search for unmarked gravesites of children buried on/near our present-day campus.
How many colleges in America have 2-7 murdered children buried underneath their campuses? How many colleges have gone decades without intending to search for these remains and return them to their families? These circumstances are unacceptable.
Since 2019, UMN Morris has committed to a policy of truth telling, understanding, and healing in regards to our campus’s history. We believe honoring this commitment is impossible without searching for these children and returning them to their homes, so that their spirits and their kinships may heal as well.
We are thankful for the University’s decision to cooperate with the Department of Interior’s review of federal Indian boarding schools. However, it would be more appropriate if the university led the search itself, with constant, close collaboration from tribal nations and our Indigenous campus community, rather than the United States federal government.
Search the School.
Circle of Nations Indigenous Association
Our student leaders seconded that suggestion.
There is a petition.
The University of Minnesota-Morris has a moral obligation to make immediate plans to search the school for the unmarked burial sites of the 2-7 Indian boarding school victims. These children must then be returned to their home communities so their spirits and families can heal.
This is an essential action step towards fulfilling UMN Morris’s policy of truth telling, understanding, and healing in regards to our institution’s history as a former Indian boarding school.
In June 2021, outgoing Chancellor Michelle Behr announced the University’s willingness to cooperate with the Department of the Interior’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative.
However, we prefer that the search be conducted by an Indigenous ground-penetrating radar specialist, in constant collaboration with tribal nations and our Indigenous campus community, rather than the federal government – an institution responsible for destructive policies towards Native American people, including Indian boarding schools.
I assume that number of 2-7 comes from some historical evidence. I hope it isn’t more. If there are unmarked graves on or near campus, I agree that we have an obligation to find them.