Let's Talk New Mexico, 11/18 8a: The boarding school era was a dark time in U.S. history. The Albuquerque Indian School was the second-largest school of its kind in the country. So much of the history is left untold. People who survived the worst era where students were abused for speaking traditional language are no longer alive. But the effects of boarding school policies remain in public education reform efforts, systemic failures disproportionately impacting Indigenous people and generational trauma experienced by families who survived actions by the U.S. government to eradicate Native people.
The city of Albuquerque, in an effort led by Native American leaders, investigated why a park was built over a gravesite of children who attended the Albuquerque Indian School, and to educate the public on the history of the city’s role in the boarding school era.
On a rainy day in September, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller offered an apology “for the grievous actions over the past decades that have occurred against Native American communities right here in the city.”
What’s next requires public input. Indigenous people from across the Four Corners are being sought to give their ideas about what to do with the gravesite and the park. Non-Indigenous people who live in the city can also share their opinions.
Do you know anyone that attended a Native American boarding school? Should the city of Albuquerque operate a park over a grave site? Should boarding school history be taught in public schools? And do students who aren’t Indigenous need to know about it? Email LetsTalk@KUNM.org, tweet with #LetsTalkNM, or call-in live during the show at 505-277-5866 (505-277-KUNM).
More information on the 4-H Park plans is available online. And comments can be sent to OEI@cabq.gov.
- Terry Sloan, intergovernmental tribal liaison, City of Albuquerque Office of Equity & Inclusion
- David Simon, director, City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation
- Valerie Siow, senior director of education and transformation, NACA Inspired Schools Network
- Joshua Krause, instructor with Native American Community Academy
- Indigenous communities face choices about Indian School gravesite in Albuquerque - Source NM
- Boarding school history underpins Yazzie Martinez findings on Native education - New Mexico InDepth
- Boarding School Survival - Farina King
- The Cemeteries of Albuquerque Bernalillo County, 1999 planning report - CABQ.gov
- City of Albuquerque Commission of American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs recommendations about AIS, 4-H Park gravesite - CABQ.gov