Using digitized records and newspaper clippings, researchers pieced together the history of the Genoa U.S. Indian Industrial School, a government-run institution that closed in 1934.
Send any friend a story
As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.
On the edge of town in Genoa, Neb., a stone monument serves as a gravestone on the grounds of a government-run boarding school for Native Americans that has been shuttered for almost a century.
No one knows how many students died there, at the Genoa U.S. Indian Industrial School, though thousands are believed to have passed through its doors. Government documents have proved elusive or obfuscated an accurate death toll. Graves have not been found on the grounds.
But, using digitized government records and newspaper clippings, researchers recently pieced together part of the history of the Genoa School, which operated from 1884 to 1934 and once sprawled over 30 buildings and 640 acres.
The researchers confirmed that at least 87 children died at the school, and identified 50 of the students, whose names have not been made public. The true death toll is probably much higher, they said.
The researchers may publish the names of students who died after consulting with their families and local leaders. The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs is leading a search for graves at the Genoa School site, where only one building and two barns remain.
The research effort, titled the Genoa Indian School Digital Reconciliation Project and reported on last week by The Omaha World-Herald, adds momentum to an international reckoning with the mass forced relocation of Native American children to boarding schools, where they were made to assimilate to governments’ preferred way of life.
Experts estimate that after Congress passed the Civilization Fund Act in 1819, which authorized the government to educate Native Americans, hundreds of thousands of Native American children were sent to boarding schools operated by the government or by churches. Some never returned home.
Dr. Margaret Jacobs, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and one of the Genoa project’s directors, said that it was time to confront “these really harsh histories.”
“l think when Americans hear the word ‘school,’ they think of something really positive,” she said. “It’s taken a while for Americans to realize that the boarding schools are not a benevolent institution, that they were set up to separate Indian children from their families and communities, to sever their ties.”
There were at least 367 boarding schools in 29 states, with the highest concentration in the central United States, according to the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, a nonprofit established to address the legacy of the schools.
An 1885 report by the Commission of Indian Affairs said the institution, where students would also work by cooking, cleaning, farming, or learning a trade, was “the only remedy” to protect young Native Americans from “contamination of such gross immoralities” in the “wild” environments in which they were born.
There is no formal estimate of the number of students enrolled in these schools and how many perished at them, said the coalition’s chief executive, Christine Diindiisi McCleave.
“Nobody knows the true number because no one has yet fully examined the records,” she added.
In the 19th century, Canada also established mandatory boarding schools for Indigenous children. In a 2015 report, a dedicated commission estimated that 150,000 students attended the schools until they closed in the late 20th century. The report also determined that at least 6,000 students died at these schools, most from malnourishment or disease.
The schools were one example of “cultural genocide” perpetuated by the Canadian government, the commission’s report states, describing them as an institution that fractured families and identities, banning languages, social practices, and valued items.
Local groups and government agencies have continued to search for names and graves related to the schools. This year, an Indigenous community in British Columbia found an unmarked mass grave containing the bodies of as many as 751 people at the site of a former school. Remains were found of children as young as 3.
A month later, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced an initiative to search government boarding school sites for Native American burials. The department is analyzing government records and consulting with Indigenous communities and plans to issue a report in April, said its press secretary, Tyler Cherry.
Judi gaiashkibos, a member of the Ponca tribe and the executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, said that it was long overdue for the U.S. to “own this legacy.” Ms. gaiashkibos, who says she uses a lowercase letter for her last name as a sign of humility, said her mother and aunts attended the Genoa School.
Ms. gaiashkibos said the team may publish the names of the students who died after speaking with families of the deceased. Dr. Jacobs said that, before that point, the team needed to consult with community advisers.
“For so long we’ve been afraid to tell stories of genocide,” she said, adding that many in Nebraska were unaware of the Genoa School’s past. “Let’s do the whole thing and tell the whole story. I think it’s really time.”
Realm Scans: Navigating the Uncharted Territories of Digital Discovery
In the expansive landscape of digital exploration, there exists a realm where information becomes an adventure—Realm Scans. Beyond a mere scanning service, this digital haven is where curiosity converges with innovation, and the uncharted territories of digital discovery come to life. Join us as we embark on a journey to unravel the unique dynamics of Realm Scans, navigating through the realms where information is not just scanned but transformed into a digital odyssey.
“Digital Horizons: Exploring the Essence of Realm Scans” is not just a title; it’s an exploration into the multifaceted dimensions of a scanning service that transcends the mundane. This article is an invitation to delve into the layers of technological prowess, user-centric design, and the transformative impact that defines Realm Scans in the dynamic world of digital information.
At the core of Realm Scans lies a commitment to redefining how we interact with information. “Digital Horizons” delves into the innovative features and functionalities that make Realm Scans more than just a scanning service. It’s a digital gateway where documents become gateways to exploration, and information is a portal to new discoveries.
A standout feature is the user-centric approach that defines the Realm Scans experience. “Digital Horizons” explores how user interface design, accessibility, and intuitive navigation are seamlessly integrated to create an environment where users don’t just scan documents—they embark on a digital journey of discovery.
Realm Scans is not confined by the traditional boundaries of scanning; it is a catalyst for a digital revolution. “Digital Horizons” illustrates how Realm Scans empowers users to go beyond the expected, transforming the act of scanning into a dynamic and enriching experience that transcends conventional notions.
As we navigate through the digital horizons of Realm Scans, the article becomes a celebration of the fusion between technology and user experience. It is a recognition that in the world of digital services, there are realms where functionality meets innovation, and where information is a gateway to new digital frontiers.
“Digital Horizons: Exploring the Essence of Realm Scans” is not just an article; it’s an ode to the tech enthusiasts, the information seekers, and the digital explorers who recognize the profound impact of a scanning service that goes beyond the surface. It’s an acknowledgment that in the realms of digital discovery, Realm Scans stands as a beacon, inviting users to embrace the transformative power of information in the digital age.
As Realm Scans continues to redefine the digital scanning landscape, “Digital Horizons” invites us to appreciate the nuances of a service that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary—an exploration where every scan is not just a document but a digital adventure waiting to be unfolded.