Interior Grant for Collection of Boarding School Oral Histories

Nov 28, 2023 | News

On September 26, 2023, the Department of the Interior awarded a $3.7 million dollar grant to the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition to create a permanent collection of oral histories from survivors of the federal Indian boarding school system. The Coalition will use the funding to collect first-person narratives that will promote learning and awareness for generations. The oral histories will be part of a permanent collection that will be available to federal partners, tribal governments, policymakers, researchers, and the public.

The Coalition will begin sharing dates, locations, and scheduling interviews this fall, and interviews may take place at tribal and urban Indian centers. Those interested in participating can sign up here. More information about the oral history project is available on the Coalition’s oral history project webpage. The grant was made possible in part by funding from National Endowment for the Humanities which committed to support Interior’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative.

These efforts are part of Interior’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative launched by Secretary Deb Haaland. Volume One of the Initiative, which was an Investigative Report, was released in May 2022 and included recommendations for collecting oral histories. Volume One documented that between 1819 and 1969 the United States operated or supported 408 boarding schools and confirms the targeting of Indian children in the pursuit of a policy of cultural assimilation and land dispossession. More information about Volume One is available here. Volume 2 is expected to be published at the end of 2023.

Patterson Earnhart Real Bird & Wilson LLP is dedicated to the representation of American Indian tribes, tribal entities, and individual Indians across the United States. Our mission is to support and advance the sovereignty, self-sufficiency, and self-governance of our tribal clients.

To learn more about how we can assist your tribe, contact our DC office at 202-434-8903.