The only way to know if Indigenous children are buried in unmarked graves on the remaining 12 acres of what used to be the Indian Manual Labor School grounds in Fairway, Kansas, is to go there and look.
That’s exactly what leaders of the Shawnee Tribe are asking the U.S. federal government to do. “Our kids are missing,” said Shawnee Chief Benjamin Barnes. “The U.S. Congress knows this. They have known because we have been telling them for a long time. They have done nothing. The U.S. has an obligation.” Barnes says these are children who may have become sick and died and whose bodies were never returned to their families over the span of 150 years.
The Biden administration last month announced an initiative to search for the remains of hundreds of thousands of Native American children who were for more than a century forcibly taken from their families and communities and sent to government boarding schools, where they were stripped of their culture.