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caption: Darrell Hillaire is a Lummi Nation leader and executive director of Children of the Setting Sun Productions.
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Darrell Hillaire is a Lummi Nation leader and executive director of Children of the Setting Sun Productions.
Credit: Photo by Beau Garreau/Children of the Setting Sun Productions

The lasting effect indigenous boarding schools have had on Washington state

By
With Special Guests
  • Darrell Hillaire
  • Rep. Derek Kilmer

Earlier this month, the Department of the Interior published a report on indigenous boarding schools in the U.S.

These schools separated Native kids from their families, forced them to stop speaking their own languages, and often inflicted abuse in the name of "civilizing" indigenous children.

The Interior Department said at one point the U.S. supported at least 400 boarding schools across the country — including 15 in Washington state.

The agency’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative also found at least 50 burial sites where children were left in unmarked or poorly maintained graves, and the department is still counting.

Angela King, host of KUOW's Morning Edition, spoke with Darrell Hillaire, a member of the Lummi Nation and founder and executive director of Children of the Setting Sun Productions.

You can find their original story at this link.

We’re playing an extended version of that conversation.

The Department of the Interior is still working on this report — hunting down evidence of old boarding schools, and particularly of burial sites, so that murdered and missing indigenous children might be returned to their families and so the truth of the schools won’t be lost to time.

A bill making its way through the House has the potential to help smooth that process.

It would create a truth and healing commission, modeled after one in Canada.

Derek Kilmer represents Washington’s 6th district, which includes Clallam, Kitsap, Jefferson, and Grays Harbor counties, and part of Mason and Pierce. He is also one of the original co-sponsors of the bill.

He spoke to Soundside host Libby Denkmann.