Rounds Statement on Meeting Between U.S. Army and Tribal Representatives to Discuss Bringing Remains of Native Youth Home

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Rounds (R-S.D.) made the following statement after representatives from his office participated in a meeting with Army representatives and tribal representatives in Rosebud, South Dakota. The meeting was to discuss returning the remains of Native American children buried at Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to their rightful home on their tribal land:

“During the 19th and early 20th centuries, nearly 830,000 Native American children were forcibly removed from their families and sent to boarding schools—like Carlisle—to assimilate them into what was considered ‘modern society.’ It is past time that the remains of the children who are buried at Carlisle Indian School be returned to their rightful home.”

“I thank the Army representatives for working with tribal leaders to begin the formal process of bringing the children home to their relatives. Today’s meeting was - by all accounts - a success. My office will remain engaged throughout the process and stands ready to assist in any way possible.”

The Carlisle Indian School, founded in 1879, was one of many boarding schools across the country whose goal was to assimilate Native American youth by removing them from their families, cultures and traditions. Faculty cut students hair short, enforced a strict dress code and confiscated sacred objects that students may have brought with them from home in an effort to introduce them to ‘modern’ American culture. Today’s meeting included representatives from the Rosebud Sioux, Oglala Sioux, Northern Arapaho, Cheyenne River Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, Standing Rock Sioux and Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, whose members are among those buried at the Carlisle Indian School. The Defending Childhood Initiative Sicangu Youth Council and the Tokala Inajinyo Suicide Prevention Peer Mentors, two groups of middle and high school students from the Rosebud Sioux tribe, also participated in today’s meeting. After a trip to Carlisle last year, they have been very active in working to bring their relatives home.  

Rounds recently sent a letter to the Army requesting the transfer of tribal remains from the cemetery at Carlisle Barracks to South Dakota. At today’s meeting, the Army representatives confirmed they intend to use their resources to return the remains home.