Gov. Evers Signs Executive Order on Indigenous Peoples Day Issuing Formal Acknowledgement, Apology for State’s Historical Role in Indian Boarding Schools
Governor’s order expresses support for federal investigations into Indian boarding schools
ONEIDA — Gov. Tony Evers on Indigenous Peoples Day today signed Executive Order #136 issuing a formal acknowledgement and apology for Wisconsin’s historical role in Indian boarding schools. The governor’s order also includes a formal declaration of support for the U.S. Department of Interior investigation announced earlier this year and requesting any investigations in Wisconsin be undertaken in consultation with Wisconsin’s Native Nations.
Available records indicate there were at least 10 day and boarding schools operated in Wisconsin where thousands of Native children attended, while hundreds of children from Wisconsin were sent to attend out-of-state boarding schools in places like Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Virginia. Lack of available and reliable documentation presents challenges for understanding the full scope and effects of boarding schools in Wisconsin and across the U.S. Nevertheless, the residential schools have had intergenerational effects on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities, including emotional trauma and culture and language loss, among many other long-lasting, negative consequences.
“As a state, we share responsibility for acknowledging the pain inflicted on Tribal communities historically and even still today. We also have a moral obligation to pursue the truth and to bring these injustices to light in Wisconsin and across our country because that understanding and acknowledgment is essential for accountability and healing,” said Gov. Evers. “We recognize the trauma inflicted on Native families and communities and the loss of language, culture, and identity and the intergenerational effects these facilities had and still have while honoring the resilience and contributions of Indigenous people to our state and our country.”
Today marks the third time Wisconsin has celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day, first recognized in 2019 when Gov. Evers signed Executive Order #50 to recognize the day annually on the second Monday in October. A proclamation for Indigenous Peoples Day is available here.
Wisconsin is home to eleven federally-recognized Native Nations and one federally unrecognized nation, including Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Forest County Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk Nation, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Sokaogon Chippewa Community Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, St Croix Chippewa Tribe of Wisconsin, Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Tribe, and Brothertown Indian Nation.
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