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First pope, now US churches face boarding-school reckoning

Indigenous Boarding Schools
Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia via AP, File
This photo made available by the Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia shows students at a Presbyterian boarding school in Sitka, Alaska in the summer of 1883. U.S. Catholic and Protestant denominations operated more than 150 boarding schools between the 19th and 20th centuries. Native American and Alaskan Native children were regularly severed from their tribal families, customs, language and religion and brought to the schools in a push to assimilate and Christianize them.

U.S. churches are bracing for an unprecedented reckoning with their histories operating boarding schools for Native Americans.

Native children were forced to attend these schools in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The schools broke down students' connections with their families, tribes and traditions and tried to assimilate them into a predominately white, Christian society.

The Department of Interior this month expects to issue a report on the enduring traumas of these schools.

Most were government-run, but many were church-run. The report comes after Pope Francis’ April 1 apology for abuses at Catholic-run boarding schools for Indigenous children in Canada.