May 11, 2022

Cortez Masto Applauds First Steps in Federal Indian Boarding School Investigation

The investigation found burial sites across the Federal Indian Boarding School system, along with evidence of horrifying abuse 

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, released the following statement on the administration’s report on federal Indian boarding school policies and their devastating impacts on Native communities across the United States. Due to the history of the Stewart Indian School in Carson City, Senator Cortez Masto cosponsored bipartisan legislation last year to establish a formal commission to investigate, document, and acknowledge past injustices of the federal government's Indian Boarding School Policies.

“The conditions Native children endured in the federal Indian boarding school system are appalling, and these policies have harmed Native communities across generations,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I commend the Interior Department’s first steps in confronting this painful chapter in our nation’s history, and I’ll continue working to support Native communities in Nevada and across the nation.”

This investigative report is part of the Department of Interior’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, which is aimed at unearthing the devastating legacy of federal Indian boarding school policies and beginning to address the intergenerational trauma created by these policies. The first volume of this report highlights some of the abuse children suffered in the federal Indian boarding school system.

You can read the report’s first volume here.

Senator Cortez Masto is one of the strongest champions for Native Americans in the Senate. She has repeatedly called on the administration to do more to address the epidemic of violence against Native women and girls, including securing federal funding to protect Native communities, urging the administration to put together a plan to address this issue, and requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the federal response to this crisis.

In 2020, she passed the bipartisan Not Invisible Act and Savanna’s Act to help address the epidemic of missing, murdered, and trafficked Indigenous women. Last month, she joined Senators Tester and Murkowski in pushing the administration to implement these laws. Following her advocacy, the Departments of Interior and Justice named members to the commission required by Senator Cortez Masto’s Not Invisible Act