More than 250 Alaska Native children who died after being taken away to boarding schools were never returned to their home. Bob Sam is trying to bring them back.
The Tlingit storyteller and University of Alaska Southeast visiting scholar is giving a presentation Friday entitled “Respecting our Ancestors” that tracks his journey from coast to coast to find the remains of these children and bring them back to where they came from. The presentation, part of the Evening at Egan series, begins at 7 p.m. at the Egan Library at UAS.
Sam is currently working with the Native American Boarding School Coalition (NABS) in supporting Tribal Nations seeking the repatriation of children buried at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and other parts of the country. In Carlisle, he discovered 13 Alaska children, four from Ketchikan, that he aims to bring back.
While other tribes around the country have filed petitions to address the many issues surrounding the Boarding School Policy, Sam sees a need for Alaskans to become more involved in leading the efforts for Alaska.
NABS was created to develop and implement a national strategy that increases awareness and cultivates healing of the trauma experienced by American Indian and Alaska Natives caused by the U.S. implementation of the Boarding School Policy of 1869.
Next month, Sam will be traveling to cemeteries in Colorado.