Interior Secretary meets with federal Indian boarding school survivors and descendants in Tulalip

TULALIP, Wash. — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland met with Native survivors of the federal Indian boarding school system and their descendants in Tulalip as part of her “The Road to Healing” tour on Sunday.

As part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, Haaland is touring the United States to speak with survivors of the boarding schools and their descendants.

“Federal Indian boarding school policies have touched every Indigenous person I know. Some are survivors, some are descendants, but we all carry this painful legacy in our hearts,” said Haaland. “Through the ‘Road to Healing,’ our goal is to create opportunities for people to share their stories, but also to help connect communities with trauma-informed support and to facilitate the collection of a permanent oral history.”

A 2022 investigative report from the U.S. Department of the Interior found that from 1819 to 1969, the federal government supported more than 400 boarding schools in 37 states. 15 of those schools were in Washington.

The schools were used to target American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian children for cultural assimilation.

Local elected leaders, including Rep. Rick Larsen and Seattle City Council President Debora Juarez, were also present at Sunday’s event.

Western Washington was the sixth stop on the tour, which will go on throughout the year.