The redeveloped former Native American boarding school in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Federal Indian boarding schools are receiving renewed attention after the release of a new report detailing the abuse suffered by Native American children.

New Mexico had dozens of Indian boarding schools. One was in Albuquerque, and part of it is used today to teach native children. But the mission this time is quite different.

The Albuquerque Indian School was one of 45 federal Indian boarding schools in New Mexico and one of more than 400 across the country during the boarding school era from 1819 to 1969. The schools were established to wipe out indigenous identity.

“Languages, cultures, religions, traditional practices and even the history of indigenous communities, all of this has been targeted for destruction,” Home Office Secretary Deb Haaland said.

But today, the Albuquerque Indian School site has a much different story.

“I think our students are resilient, they come from tribal backgrounds who really believe in inspiring our children to understand language and culture,” said Mikki Carroll of the Native American Community Academy.

The Native American Community Academy has taken over one of the last buildings still standing from the old boarding school.

“We’ve actually had many students whose families, grandparents have connected here and shared stories as knowledge keepers at our school,” Carroll said.

The public charter school was launched in 2006 and moved into the building shortly thereafter and has “500 K-12 students”.

Once a place that stripped away indigenous culture, it is now a place that nurtures and strengthens it.

NACA Executive Director Zane Rosette says the culturally relevant program prepares students to become next-generation leaders.

“What that represented is no longer here at NACA, but having that understanding of the atrocities that happened is part of the things that are taught in our curriculum, so that our children understand what their parents, grandparents, great – grandparents may have gone through, and we will improve the lives of our communities in the future,” Rosette said.

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