CULTURE: Transcontinental trip to 23 Indian boarding school sites concludes at National Museum of the American Indian

Posted on July 12th, 2009 by americanindiannews in Past News

American Indian News Service

The Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness, a 6,800-mile trip across the United States, concluded in ceremony in the Potomac Atrium of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian on Wednesday, June 24. The journey, made by car, began in May at the Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Ore., and visited 23 current and former boarding schools in 18 states.

By Abby Benson, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian  The Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness arrives in the Potomac Atrium of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian on June 24, to complete a 6,800-mile cross-country pilgrimage. Participants stopped at 23 current and former boarding schools, seeking healing for the schools’ survivors and their families

By Abby BensonSmithsonian’s National Museum of the American IndianThe Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness arrives in the Potomac Atrium of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian on June 24, to complete a 6,800-mile cross-country pilgrimage. Participants stopped at 23 current and former boarding schools, seeking healing for the schools’ survivors and their families

Don Coyhis, founding director and organizer of White Bison Inc., has sent a letter to President Obama asking for an apology for the abuses to Native American children in boarding schools. He hopes that the United States will follow in the steps of Canada and Australia, which have both apologized for lasting harm caused by boarding schools.

Coyhis said, quoting elders, that now is the time of forgiveness. Native peoples must forgive the unforgivable in order for healing to begin from the addiction, suicide and abuse that grew out of the 131-year-old boarding school system, he said.

Starting at Carlisle Boarding School in Pennsylvania in 1878, the U.S. government developed a pattern of separating Native students from their families, cultures and languages using punishment, and physical and sexual abuse, Coyhis said in a YouTube broadcast about the journey.

During the journey, local organizers invited the Native public to take part in events in their area, which drew hundreds of people. Lonny Pennycord, a member of the Boarding School Healing Project, participated in both the journey’s start in Oregon and its conclusion at the museum in Washington, D.C.

“I am proud to have been a part of this historic journey, being there at the beginning at Chemawa Indian School on May 16th, and at the end on June 24th at the National Museum of the American Indian,” Pennycord wrote. “The time for this healing has been a long time coming for the generations forcibly required to attend the boarding schools in the government’s attempts at assimilation of these proud peoples.”

At the journey’s conclusion, a ceremony was held, and those gathered were invited to step into the sacred hoop, to forgive and to be healed.

Learn about the Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness, and read journal entries from the route, at www.whitebison.org/wellbriety-journey/index.htm.

Comments are closed.

More News

Recipes

FOOD: Let’s eat: The executive chef of the Mitsitam Cafe whips up a cookbook

FOOD: Let’s eat: The executive chef of the Mitsitam Cafe whips up a cookbook

Washington, D.C.—Chocolate, chiles, tomatoes, blueberries and corn are just a ...

RECIPE: Mitsitam Cafe buffalo and duck burger

Buffalo and duck burger topped with roasted pepper, Dijonaise sauce ...

RECIPE: Mitsitam Cafe’s Mexican hot chocolate warms up cool summer nights

When the summer sun gives way to cool nights, chef ...

RECIPE: As cherries blossom, a taste of summer

Cherries pair with the earth and sea in this favorite ...

RECIPE: Chocolate’s indigenous history makes spicy tale

Washington—Chocolate is a flavor as old and varied as the ...

Readers' Favorites

CULTURE: Children step up as culture-bearers

CULTURE: Children step up as culture-bearers

Washington, D.C.—Kelly Church, a weaver of black ash baskets, is ...

EXHIBITION: Quileute separate fact from fiction for ‘Twilight’ fans

Seattle, Wash.—The Seattle Art Museum opened an exhibition of some ...

ART: One man’s interest helps save ancient art

Dennis White, 63, an Ojibwe mathematics scholar from the Lac ...

ARTS: Jungen’s farfetched animals stretch the imagination

Washington—Artist Brian Jungen’s oversized animals have invaded the Smithsonian’s National ...

Music

MUSIC: Nakai expands the language of Native American music

MUSIC: Nakai expands the language of Native American music

R. Carlos Nakai’s new album “Dancing into Silence,” (with William ...

MUSIC: Sky’s the limit for blues musician Derek Miller

Washington, D.C.—Derek Miller stepped onto an international stage in early ...

MUSIC: Jazz sax in a Native key

New York—Cherokee saxophone player and bandleader Sharel Cassity has a ...

MUSIC: Roots of the blues go deep into shared Native and African American history

Jimi Hendrix meteorically rose to rock-and-roll fame playing, smashing and ...

MUSIC: Native American school band rocks the oldies – and the ancients

Ten years ago Kim Cournoyer answered an ad seeking a ...

People

PEOPLE: Helen Maynor Scheirbeck (1935-2010)

PEOPLE: Helen Maynor Scheirbeck (1935-2010)

Washington, D.C.—Dr. Helen Maynor Scheirbeck, longtime champion of American Indian civil rights, ...

MOVIES: Big and blue, ‘Avatar’ with Wes Studi comes to DVD

Cherokee movie star Wes Studi is no stranger to standing ...

Movies: Native film star tells of his hero’s journey, on and offscreen

For Wes Studi, playing a character confronting colonial powers while ...

People: Unsung hero has a million books he’d like you to check out

Irving Nelson has had a desk in the director’s office ...

Museum: Seeds of understanding accompany interns into wider fields of work

Washington, D.C.— As the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American ...

Online Exhibitions

ARTS: Animal images tell visual story of boys in trouble

ARTS: Animal images tell visual story of boys in trouble

Rick Bartow’s sculpture “From the Mad River to the Little ...

Exhibition: “A Song for the Horse Nation” gallops into museum and onto the

The exhibition “A Song for the Horse Nation” recently made ...

Fritz Scholder continues to stir, stretch boundaries of Indian art

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian recently held ...

U.S. Postal Service delivers a tiny timeline of Native America

Washington—Stamps have carried art portraying Native Americans all over the ...