Shawnee Indian Mission Manual Labor School

Established on October 28, 1839, the Shawnee Indian Mission Manual Labor School is one of North America’s earliest operating residential schools. Many Shawnee children resided at the mission, and questions remain as to whether there are Shawnee children buried on the site’s grounds, located in present-day Fairway, Kansas.

Now called the Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site, the mission’s grounds and its remaining buildings are currently operated by the Kansas State Historic Preservation Office, managed by the City of Fairway and supported by a private nonprofit foundation comprising local individuals.

Shawnee leadership encourages citizens to contact their U.S. congresspersons to urge them to support the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policy Act.

If you or a loved one have been affected by the historical trauma of Indian boarding schools, please reach out to someone. Click here for a list of resources from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.


House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States

HISTORIC HEARING IN WASHINGTON D.C.

“The stories of human suffering at these institutions can no longer be hidden…”

On May 12, Chief Barnes testified before the House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States in support of H.R. 5444, “The Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the U.S. Act.”

This legislation would establish a federal commission to locate and make available the records from Indian boarding schools that operated in the U.S. Native American children were treated harshly at these schools which sought to “civilize” Native Americans by eliminating their culture and heritage. The Shawnee Indian Manual Labor Boarding School in Fairway, Kansas was one of over 400 such schools.

Testimony was also provided by survivors who personally experienced boarding schools and leaders of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition in support of a national strategy to increase public awareness and cultivate healing for the profound trauma experienced by Native American individuals, families, and communities.

“It really sank in today that I’m the only federally recognized tribal leader that’s gonna be speaking today,” said Chief Barnes on his way to the hearing. “My daughter reminded me that there’s other tribes that need this story told—that need their truth told. That’s really the importance of this bill. It’s just the starting point.”

“182 years they’ve not let us talk about it,” he continued. “I’m tired of being told what not to talk about.”

 

Shawnee Tribe urges citizens and others to support this bill to establish a Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding Schools in the U.S. Find your Representative, State Senators, as well as Congress members.  

Find Your Congressional Contacts

  • H.R. 5444 (Rep. Sharice Davids, D-KS), To establish the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States, and for other purposes. “Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act.”

Companion Senate Bill

  • S. 2907 - To establish the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States, and for other purposes. Referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs

    IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

    September 30, 2021

     

 

Witness List, with links to submitted testimony:

James LaBelle, Sr. (testimony

1st Vice President and Boarding School Survivor

National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition

Matthew War Bonnet (testimony

Boarding School Survivor

 Rosebud Sioux Tribe

Dr. Ramona Charette Klein (testimony

Boarding School Survivor

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians

The Honorable Ben Barnes (testimony

Chief

Shawnee Tribe

Deborah Parker (testimony

Chief Executive Officer

National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition

Dr. Janine Pease, D. Ed. (testimony

Founding President and Faculty Member

Little Big Horn College