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Residential school abuse

Native American children at more than 400 boarding schools across the US suffered physical and sexual abuse, solitary confinement, malnourishment, and more, in the decades spanning 1819 to 1969. The findings, released in a federal report yesterday, also concluded a number of the schools were responsible for the deaths of at least 500 children, uncovering roughly 50 burial sites. Officials expect the numbers to increase; read the 106-page report here.

The federal residential school system was designed to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American society (see history). The schools often utilized militaristic approaches in an effort to overwrite native identities, the report concluded, though the practices were subject to little oversight. The analysis is the first comprehensive historical review of the school system.

The study comes a year after similar findings in Canada, where more than 200 burial sites for Indigenous children were discovered at a residential school in British Columbia that closed in 1978.