Breaking the Silence: Seeking Truth, Justice, and Healing from Indian Boarding Schools in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas

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TULSA, Oklahoma –– The United Indian Nations of Oklahoma (UINO), the Shawnee Tribe and the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) announced that they will host a summit with tribes in the area discussing the history and impacts of Indian Boarding schools on June 22 at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The one-day event Breaking the Silence: Seeking Truth, Justice, and Healing from Indian Boarding Schools in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas, will include an array of topics including an introduction of the NABS Coalition and unpacking the Department of Interior report, discussions on further research and investigations, healing initiatives and the next steps call to action.

On May 11, 2022, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland released Volume 1 of the investigative report called for as part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive effort to address the troubled legacy of federal Indian boarding school policies. This report lays the groundwork for the continued work of the Interior Department to address the intergenerational trauma created by historical federal Indian boarding school policies.

UINO Chairwoman Margo Gray said, “We are honored to join forces with NABS to bring this important gathering to Oklahoma.” Gray added, “Oklahoma has ninety-three Indian boarding schools–the largest in the country, so it makes sense to have this meeting here in Oklahoma. Now more than ever, it is so important that we bring a forum discussion such as this. Bringing together tribal leaders, individual’s organizations, and boarding school survivors and their families committed to understanding and honoring, educating and embracing the healing process of the generational impacts of those who attended Indian boarding schools.”

Chief Ben Barnes said, “For us Shawnees, we found ourselves in the middle of investigating our own history with boarding schools when it became clear how far reaching the consequences of boarding school policies are on a national scale.” He continued, “At first glance, it’s hard to know how to tackle these complex and emotional issues, but they’re not insurmountable. We just need to come to the table and start the conversations.”

NABS CEO Deb Parker stated, “It is an honor to stand with the Shawnee tribe and UINO to honor all our relatives impacted by boarding schools. From the forced removal of children, to the removal of entire Native nations, the region of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas holds a history that deserves to be shared and reckoned with.” Parker added, “This is a critical time for leaders, communities, and nations to come together to demand truth, justice, and healing.”

Organizers will host a press conference at the end of the session, scheduled 4:00pm-5:00pm. Members of the press should RSVP to

Breaking the Silence: Seeking Truth, Justice, and Healing from Indian Boarding Schools in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas
June 22, 2022
9:00am – 5:00pm (Registration & doors open at 8:30; Lunch provided)
River Spirit Casino Resort—Tulsa, Oklahoma

About UINO

The United Indian Nations of Oklahoma was established to promote sovereignty, policy, and advocacy on behalf of the 39 tribes of Oklahoma.

About the Shawnee Tribe
The Shawnee Tribe is a sovereign nation of more than 3,700 citizens living across North America and abroad. Tribal headquarters are located in Miami, Oklahoma, For more information, visit

About the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
The mission of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) is to lead in the pursuit of understanding and addressing the ongoing trauma created by the United States Indian boarding school policy. The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, incorporated in June 2012 under the laws of the Navajo Nation. For more information, visit:


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