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Rep. Sharice Davids (left) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (right) are leading a coalition of Democrats in urging for mental health care for Indian Boarding School survivors. Photos: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc and Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Twenty Democratic lawmakers are calling on the U.S. Indian Health Service (IHS) to provide "culturally appropriate" mental health care for Native Americans who might experience trauma as the Interior Department investigates the U.S. Indian Boarding School policy's lasting effects.

Why it matters: Under the policy, Native children were forcibly removed from their homes and placed in boarding schools that attempted to strip them of their cultures, practices and identities. Survivors, as well as their descendants, might face a "resurgence of trauma" amid revelations from the probe, lawmakers say.

Details: The lawmakers, led by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Sharice Davids (Kan.), are pushing IHS to consider...

  • Some form of protection for Natives since the Interior's probe is set to reveal troubling details.
  • A "culturally competent" hotline for survivors and families.
  • Other "mental and spiritual supports developed in collaboration with tribal nations."

What they're saying: "The Indian Boarding School era is a stain in America's history, and it is long overdue that we begin to formally investigate the past wrongs and ongoing harms of these policies," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the acting IHS director on Friday.

  • "The legacy of these policies continues to impact Native communities through intergenerational trauma, grief over the loss of children who never returned, cycles of violence and abuse, disappearance, health disparities, substance abuse, premature deaths, despair, and additional undocumented psychological trauma."
  • "[W]e look forward to working together to address the resulting painful intergenerational reverberations in Native communities today," the letter adds.

The big picture: Recent discoveries of Indigenous children's remains in former boarding school sites in Canada have prompted calls for accountability.

  • The policy left a legacy of low self-esteem, alcoholism and high suicide rates among Native communities, even after the last school closed.
  • Investigations would later find documented cases of sexual, manual, physical and mental abuse, many of which killed Native children, per Amnesty International.

Go deeper

How Ohio's 'land-grab' university was created

An aerial view of Ohio State University's campus. Photo courtesy of Ohio State University

The funds that established Ohio State University in 1870 only existed because the U.S. government seized land from Native Americans.

What's happening: For the past year, the university has been working toward making reparations to tribes affected by the loss of land.

  • A team led by professor Stephen Gavazzi, who initially approached OSU about the project, is gathering information to help the university create a "land acknowledgement" in the months ahead.
  • So far, the university has awarded $230,000 in internal grants to the land acknowledgement team.
  • The group gave a presentation last week to put this issue in the public's eye ahead of Indigenous Peoples' Day. More than 700 people representing 35 land-grant universities attended.

Scoop: U.S. and Israel to form team to solve consulate dispute

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right) meet in Washington. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel are planning to form a joint team to hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: The consulate handled relations with the Palestinians for 25 years before being shut down by then President Donald Trump in 2019. Senior officials in Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government see the consulate issue as a political hot potato that could destabilize their unwieldy coalition.

Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to Parkland school shooting

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz at the defense table during jury selection at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Oct. 6, 2021. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nikolas Cruz on Wednesday pleaded guilty on all counts for carrying out the 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, including 14 students and three staff members.

Driving the news: Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty at a hearing on Wednesday to 17 murder counts and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for carrying out the deadly shooting.

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