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Starting The Conversation: Indigenous Boarding Schools In The U.S.

Renee Bright/KUER

Last week, the U.S. Department of Interior released an investigative report on Indigenous boarding schools in America. Of the 408 reported, eight were in Utah; three of those Utah schools are still operating.

Journalists and activists say this is the first time the U.S. government has acknowledged the abuse of Native children and the erasure of Native culture. In fact, Indigenous journalists and activists point out that the boarding schools are a form of genocide. The report only scratches the surface of this history and there is likely much more to find.

This Friday at 11 a.m., our guests share personal experiences. They also talk to us about the need for more information, collective healing and justice.

Content warning: This episode of RadioWest contains descriptions of sexual abuse that could be upsetting to some listeners. Please know that help is available for free at the Utah Crisis Line. Call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) [toll free] or 801-587-3000 [local]. Read more about the Utah Crisis Line on their website.


  • Davina Smith (Diné), Consultant with the National Parks Conservation Association as their Organizer/Tribal Coordinator in Southeastern Utah and a resident of San Juan County.
  • Courtney Tanner, Reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune. The article she wrote with Alastair Lee Bitsói (Diné) and Sheila R. McCann can be found here: ASSIMILATED. @CourtneyLTanner @AlastairBitsoi
  • Nick Estes, (Lower Brule Sioux) historian and host of the Red Nation podcast. @nickwestes

Air date: 05/20/2022 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. MT 

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