State Watch

Nevada governor apologizes for state's role in indigenous schools

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) on Friday apologized for the state's role in crimes against Native American children who attended boarding school. 

Sisolak met with Native American leaders on Friday amid a federal investigation into the government's role in the potential deaths of children at the state's Stewart Indian School, which operated from 1890 to 1980, the Reno Gazette Journal reported

An investigation has been launched into accusations that the school took Native American children from their homes to assimilate them, ripping them away from their Native American roots. 

"Though it was the federal government that established a policy to 'kill the Indian to save the man,' it was the state of Nevada that sold the bonds to fund this school, and it's the state that now manages much of this land," Sisolak said. "On the behalf of this state I want to make an apology.

"Acknowledging this role will not heal the pain," he added. "However, this is the beginning, and I'm proud to be the governor to take that first step," he added. 

The federal investigation was sparked by the recent discovery of an unmarked mass grave in Canada containing the remains of 215 Indigenous children, near the site of a former so-called residential school.

Sisolak said tribal leaders who are searching for unmarked graves should be allowed to use ground-penetrating radar so the graves would not be disturbed, according to the local outlet. 

The investigation comes after Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the nation's first Native American Cabinet secretary, in June called on the U.S. to address its history with Native American boarding schools. 

"The lasting and profound impacts of the federal government's boarding school system have never been appropriately addressed," Haaland wrote. "This attempt to wipe out Native identity, language and culture continues to manifest itself in the disparities our communities face, including long-standing intergenerational trauma, cycles of violence and abuse, disappearance, premature deaths, and additional undocumented physiological and psychological impacts."

Updated: 10:41 p.m.