In Minneapolis, a march for residential school victims and survivors


MINNEAPOLIS – On Friday, hundreds of people marched in solidarity as part of the memorial event for survivors and victims of residential school in Minneapolis. Crowds marched through Southside neighborhoods to raise awareness of the residential school legacy that is still felt in the Native American community today.

The walk was organized by the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center and sponsored by the Minneapolis American Indian Center, the Tiwahe Foundation, Ain Dah Yung, the Lower Phalen Creek Project, and other Native American community organizations in the Twin Cities area.

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“Today we came together as a community to honor and remember our people who have experienced a strategic and intentional genocidal policy known as residential schools,” said Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center Executive Director Marisa Cumings , at Native News Online. “Many of us carry the trauma and pain within ourselves and in family lines. Today we are survivors. We stand here today in solidarity and strong to honor those who survived and those who never returned home and lost their lives in these violent government and religious institutions. ”

(Photo / Darren Thompson for Native News Online.)Participants hold placards at the Residential School Survivors and Victims Memorial Walk in Minneapolis on Friday, September 24, 2021. (Photo / Darren Thompson for Native News Online.)Prior to the march, crowds gathered in the Little Earth neighborhood in the southern district of Minneapolis and listened to speakers share their experiences of attending residential school.

“I came to the march to support the people here,” Anango Desjarlait, 14, told Native News Online. “I hope people see us for who we are and what we’ve been through and that we’re still here.” Anango traveled to the Twin Cities from the Red Lake Indian Reservation, 230 miles north, with her family to participate in the march.

Many families were present at the march.

“I took my daughters out of school because I think this issue is really important for them to understand how historical and intergenerational trauma affects our daily lives, even now,” said Erin Thin Elk (Sicangu Lakota) at Native News Online. “My children are aware of the newly discovered bodies of babies and it affects them too.”

Lt. Governor of Minnesota, Peggy Flanagan, was also present, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.

“This is the most important place I could be today,” Flanagan told Native News Online. “I am here as a member of the community.

(Photo / Darren Thompson for Native News Online.)Danielle Tasheena Finn, former Miss Indian World, with Lt. Governor of Minnesota Peggy Flanagan at the Residential School Survivors and Victims Walk in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Friday, September 24, 2021 (Photo / Darren Thompson for Native News Online .)“As we hear more from our young people whose graves are found in Canada, we know the same is going to happen here,” said Flanagan. “We have a responsibility here in Minnesota to tell the truth.”

On June 22, 2021, Home Secretary Deb Haaland announced a federal residential school initiative, which is expected to be a comprehensive review of federal residential school policies. The initiative calls on the Home Office to prepare a report detailing available historical documents, with a focus on potential cemeteries or burial sites, related to the federal boarding school program.

Next week, September 30, marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to recognize and reflect on the legacy of residential schools in Canada. Many solidarity events are planned in the United States.

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About the Author

Author: Darren thompson

Darren Thompson (Flambeau Lake Ojibwe) is a freelance journalist based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where he also contributes to Unicorn Riot, an alternative media publication. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty and Indigenous issues for the Indigenous Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to the New York Times, Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in the international conversation. He holds a BA in Criminology and Legal Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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