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NLL Statement In Support Of Truth And Healing Commission On Indian Board School Policies Act

Today, the National Lacrosse League (“NLL”) announces its support for the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act. This legislation is pending in the House of Representatives (H.R. 7227) and the Senate (S. 1723). It seeks to investigate the impact and ongoing effects of the U.S. Indian Boarding School Policies. These federal policies were initiated in the early 1800s and continued into the 1960s. American Indian and Alaska Native children were forcibly removed from their family homes and forced into boarding schools where they were stripped of their identities and forced to assimilate.

Lacrosse is a game that was given by the Creator to the Haudenosaunee people over a thousand years ago. The National Lacrosse League, through its program NLL Unites, is committed to celebrating and elevating this history of this game and the people who nurtured it for a millennium. To this end, when Canada declared a Federal Holiday for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2021, the National Lacrosse League was eager to support. The League added a specially-designed orange decal on every helmet that season, and dedicated one weekend to the Every Child Matters movement. Canada is further along in this process than the United States.

Supporting this bipartisan legislation is another step in the League’s deepening commitment to the heritage of our game. “We are fortunate to play this game and operate a professional lacrosse league,” said Brett Frood, Commissioner of the National Lacrosse League. “This privilege comes with a responsibility to be good stewards of the game and better allies to the people who called it ‘Tewaaraton’ (pronounced deh-wah-ala-don). We stand with our friends from Indigenous communities and our charity partner, The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition to demand truth and reconciliation.”

H.R. 7227 and S. 1723 establish a Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States. More specifically, the legislation calls for the (1) formal investigation, documentation, and reporting on the histories of Indian boarding schools, Indian Boarding School Policies, and the systemic and long-term effects of those schools and policies on Native American peoples; (2) developing recommendations for Federal participation based on the findings of the Commission; and (3) promoting healing for survivors of Indian boarding schools, the descendants of those survivors, and the communities of those survivors.

Canada engaged in this process in 2007 when it created a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“TRC”). The TRC declared the Indian Residential School system a cultural genocide and issued 94 Calls to Action to the citizens of Canada.