The revelations in Canada regarding the history of Catholic boarding schools among our Native sisters and brothers are heartbreaking.
The Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus recognizes that we must take responsibility for our legacy of boarding schools with Indigenous peoples. We must all confront, atone, and strive for healing and transformation for the shameful actions against Indigenous people wherever and whenever they have occurred.
The province stands with the people of Red Cloud Indian School as we continue to work through the process of understanding and reconciling the school’s complicated 133-year history, both positive and negative, as well as the Jesuits’ role in that history.
At the center of this work is Red Cloud’s Truth and Healing program, which was launched in 2019. Guided by the principles of honesty, transparency, and accountability, the Truth and Healing program includes working with Indigenous experts, sharing research, making records broadly accessible, leveraging ground penetrating radar, and other methods of truth-seeking. The province is committed to Red Cloud’s Truth and Healing program.
Notwithstanding its history, Red Cloud today is a beacon of God’s light. Lakota culture—particularly language, ceremony, and visual arts—are championed to create transformational intellectual and spiritual growth opportunities for our Oglala Lakota community. Red Cloud’s community members find strength in their Indigenous identities, and they define their own paths and purpose.
We recognize, however, that all that is good about Red Cloud today does not negate or dismiss the painful past. It is our responsibility to take the proper actions to achieve understanding and the proper space necessary to achieve healing.