PREVIEW: Tribal elders share stories from time at boarding schools

Eye on KELOLAND

SISSETON, S.D. (KELO) — From the late 1800s through the 1990s, Indigenous children were taken from their homes and placed in government or Catholic-run boarding schools.

One of them was on the Lake Traverse Reservation in Sisseton.

While experiences at the school vary, there have been many reports of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of priests and nuns.

Last month, the U.S. Secretary of Interior launched an initiative to look into the history of these schools.

“I felt like, okay, you know, maybe this will provide some healing and some closure. We can acknowledge what happened and maybe move on in a better way. But I feel like there’s also something that could like, if it’s not done in a good way, it could be very harmful and hurtful too. So, relief, but kind of that bittersweet feeling like, ‘Man, I just hope it’s done in a good way,'” Bobby GreyEagle, a ministry chaplain enrolled in the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, said.

In tonight’s Eye on KELOLAND, we bring you the stories of elders in the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate who were enrolled in the Catholic-run boarding school on the Lake Traverse Reservation.

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