(Washington) On the heels of Pope Francis’ apology to Indigenous peoples in Canada, those in the United States are eagerly awaiting a national report on residential schools, which fuels hopes of achieving similar recognition.
Deb Haaland launched the Indian Boarding School Initiative in June, shortly after becoming the first Indigenous Secretary of the Interior in US history.
The results of this survey, which should detail the scale and scope of the phenomenon in the United States, are expected any day.
The cathartic moment of the papal apology and the impending release of Secretary Haaland’s report have sent a message to Church leaders in the United States as they prepare for what they hope will be a time of reconciliation.
“We recognized that we need to approach the story that is brought to light with sensitivity and humility. We hope these are steps on this journey to healing and increased awareness so that this history will never repeat itself,” said Chieko Noguchi of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The investigation of M.me Haaland aims to identify all schools that were part of the residential school program, with particular emphasis on “any records relating to potential cemeteries or burial sites that could later be used to help locate human remains.” unidentified”.
A dialogue should then be established with Indigenous communities across the United States on how best to manage these remains.
The report should serve as a starting point for a host of reconciliation efforts, Interior Department spokesman Tyler Cherry said in a statement.
Not like in Canada
What’s unlikely, however, is an odyssey similar to the one that took place in Canada, culminating earlier this month with the Pope’s long-awaited apology, nuanced Joseph Gone, a psychologist and professor of anthropology at Harvard, specializing in Indigenous mental health.
Not only is the story dramatically different in the two countries, but the scope and scale of the residential school saga has also been different, Professor Gone said in an interview. And while Indigenous issues have long been a driving force in Canadian racial politics, those same issues have been largely overshadowed in the United States by the dynamics between black and white communities.
[Les Autochtones] are often completely invisible in the United States, which is simply not the case in Canada, so our problems do not receive the same type of attention.
Joseph Gone, psychologist and anthropology professor at Harvard, specializing in Indigenous mental health
Indeed, any American awareness of trauma like that of residential schools or missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is largely the result of the long and arduous conversations and controversies that have evolved north of the border since at least the 1990s. , he said.
As a result, Professor Gone expects the report to shine a spotlight on these parts of Indigenous history and raise awareness, while allowing Indigenous voices to be heard.
“But I don’t think it will translate into great truth and reconciliation like we see in Canada. »