Fault Lines

Buried Truths: America’s Indigenous Boarding Schools

Fault Lines reports on the consequences of a century-long US policy designed to forcibly dispossess Indigenous children of their culture.

For roughly a century, the United States government forced Indigenous children to attend boarding schools far from their families and communities.

Hundreds of thousands of children were placed in institutions across the country, starting in the late 1800s and continuing into the 1970s.

The government’s goal was to prevent the continuation of Indigenous societies, attempting to strip the children of their cultures and punishing them for speaking their languages.

Those running the schools abused many children, and an unknown number never came home.

In June 2021, the federal government announced for the first time that it would investigate former boarding schools, including possible sites where children could be buried.

Fault Lines speaks with the descendants of boarding school students and those who survived the institutions themselves to learn how they are trying to heal from this trauma.