Report: 12 Indian Boarding Schools were located in North Dakota

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 5:49 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of the Interior released its first reports Wednesday on investigations into the history of Indian Boarding Schools in the United States, what happened at these schools, and what the department plans to do to correct the wrongs against Native Americans.

Locations of where these Indian Boarding Schools were in what is now North Dakota.
Locations of where these Indian Boarding Schools were in what is now North Dakota.(KMOT)

The above map shows the locations of where these boarding schools were in what is now North Dakota.

They span all five of the main Native American Tribes in North Dakota — from Belcourt, to Spirit Lake, to what is now the Three Affiliated Tribes, to Fort Yates, and to Wahpeton.

Some of these communities had multiple schools.

There were 12 boarding schools in North Dakota, according to the report.

The Interior’s goal was to identify these schools across the country, along with the names of students who attended them, and locate marked and unmarked graves of those who attended.

The department said in its report it plans to consult with tribes, and lays out a series of steps moving forward, which included identifying any surviving attendees.

Mark Fox, the chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes, released the following statement to Your News Leader:

“The Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation supports the Secretary of the Interior’s continued efforts to study Indian boarding schools. The historic and tragic injustices suffered by native people because of boarding schools is well known in Indian Country but not by the American public. This is an opportunity to educate all people about the persistent, historical and intergenerational trauma that many are still coping with and trying to heal from to this day. The MHA Nation has a deep respect and compassion for our members who were forced to attend boarding schools, who were whipped simply for speaking in their own language, and who suffered countless other indignities and abuse. We are especially sympathetic to the families of those who did not make it home. We know what they went through while they were away from their families, and we feel great compassion for them. We are working hard to address the intergenerational trauma inherited from those who suffered through the boarding school experience. Our goal is to restore the family relationships and cultural values affected by the boarding school era, to rely on our spiritual teachings, and to encourage our members to live healthy and rewarding lives. We encourage Secretary Haaland to complete the study and take whatever corrective action is appropriate.”

Your News Leader also reached out to leadership with the state’s four other main tribes.

Turtle Mountain Chairman Jamie Azure says he hadn’t had a chance yet to see the report, and we are waiting on responses from leadership with Standing Rock, Spirit Lake, and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.

We’ve also reached out to North Dakota’s U.S. Senators for reaction and will update this story as we learn more.

Related content:

Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report

List of Federal Indian Boarding Schools

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