Probe identifies 500 Native American boarding school deaths so far – National & International News – FRI 13May2022

A makeshift memorial for dozens of Native children who died at an Albuquerque, NM, boarding school.


500 Native American boarding school deaths found so far. Haitian refugee boat capsizes near Puerto Rico. North Korea’s first COVID outbreak.




Probe identifies 500 Native American boarding school deaths so far

Last June, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a federal probe of Native American boarding schools that operated in the US from the early 19th century to the mid-20th century. The purpose of these institutions was to forcibly assimilate the children of Native American tribes into white, Christian culture.

These state-sponsored programs forcibly deported children from their tribal lands to attend these schools, often far away from their families. Children at the schools were forbidden to speak their native languages and suffered immense hardship and abuse. Native scholars say that the cruelties that children endured in these schools have left a lasting mark on Native American communities, creating a generational legacy of poverty, marginalization, mental health issues, and substance abuse. 

However, many of the children never came home. One of the objectives of this probe is to identify children who died at these schools, locate their graves, and repatriate their remains to their tribes if possible. So far, the investigation has identified 403 assimilation schools that operated in 37 states or territories. The records of 20 of those schools have thus far been carefully studied, pointing to at least 500 children who died in their care. Researchers expect that the final number may be in the thousands or even tens of thousands. Common causes of death were disease, abuse, and accidental injuries.

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At least 11 dead after migrant boat capsizes near Puerto Rico

Yesterday, a boat carrying an unknown number of Haitian migrants capsized in the waters off Desecheo Island near Puerto Rico. An ongoing US Coast Guard rescue operation has so far located 38 survivors, while 11 people have been confirmed dead. 

In recent months, Haitians have been making desperate and dangerous attempts to flee poverty, gang violence, and political unrest in their country. Many have resorted to boarding unseaworthy and overcrowded boats in a bid to reach US waters. Less than a week ago, the US Coast Guard and Dominican Navy rescued 68 people in the Mona Passage, a stretch of ocean between Puerto Rico and Hispaniola (the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Back in March, a boat carrying 300 Haitian migrants ran aground in the Florida Keys.

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North Korea reports its first COVID outbreak

North Korea has reported is first COVID cases and deaths. According to the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s official broadcaster, 6 people have died so far. Since late April, KCNA reports that 350,000 people have been treated for fever, of which 162,000 have recovered. 

Since the country is lacking in COVID-19 testing kits and other medical equipment, it’s impossible to reliably estimate how many North Koreans may have been infected. Scientists have been able to confirm that omicron variant is responsible. Outside experts fear that COVID could be especially deadly in North Korea since many of its people are unvaccinated and malnourished. 

Over two years ago, North Korea closed its borders tightly in hopes of shutting out the disease. This has made it difficult to obtain aid from China, North Korea’s western neighbor and closest political ally. The loss of outside aid and a poor harvest have led to widespread food shortages in the country.

North Korea’s leadership has also refused offers of Chinese vaccines. Some have speculated that this may have been due to concerns over their effectiveness.

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