Chief Inclusion Office Weekly DEIB Resources

Residential Board Schools and Impact on Indigenous Communities  

These resources are meant to help people explore diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging[DEIB] for themselves, in their communities, and in our institution.  They may be resources that help you re-examine society or understand current events impacting different parts of our community and do some introspective reflection, explain core concepts like intersectionality or anti-racism, or practical guides for action, such as how to review a syllabus for equity-minded practice.

This week we offer resources on Residential Board Schools and Impact on Indigenous Communities.  Since last March the remains of over 1000 Indigenous children have been confirmed found in unmarked graves on the grounds of numerous Canadian Residential schools where children were forcibly removed from their families in order to make them assimilate into non-Indigenous culture. Sadly the number of unmarked graves is expected to grow as further efforts are made to search all former Residential Schools for marked and unmarked graveyard sites. The United States Government also used similar Residential Schools in its attempts to assimilate Indignous children, with many such schools constructed with graveyards.

The recent confirmation of these unmarked graves has been tremendously impactful on Indigenous communities throughout Canada and the United States as it resurfaces grief and trauma experienced due to the boarding school system. Within our own Clarkson and local communities we know many are dealing with the difficult emotions of these horrible atrocities.  We wish healing for fellow members of the Clarkson community and their families that may be affected by the ongoing events.

In Canada, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which was formed to examine the legacy of the schools, has identified at least 4,100 children who died of disease or by accident in these schools. It’s estimated that the actual number of deaths could be more than 6,000.

In remarks to the National Congress of American Indians 2021 Mid Year Conference (June 22, 2020) , Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal boarding school policies.

In an internal memo sent out at the Department of Interior, Haaland noted that the federal government oversaw boarding schools from 1819 through the 1960s under the Indian Civilization Act.

The law separated families of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian descent.

“Many students endured routine injury and abuse,” the memo reads. “Some perished and were interred in unmarked graves. Survivors of the traumas of boarding school policies carried their memories into adulthood as they became the aunts and uncles, parents, and grandparents to subsequent generations.”

These resources are for support and to educate yourselves on the situation. We will continue to update the resources in the Chief Inclusion Office as they become available.

How to support your friends, colleagues and students. 

  • Realize this can be a hard time where they may need more time and space to accomplish tasks.
  • Check in with them, but respect boundaries.  If someone doesn’t want to talk, give them space. Give them your full attention if they do want to share.
  • Know about resources that can offer support here at Clarkson.
  • Educate yourself about the crisis

These resources can help you better understand the current events and their historical connections.

For those struggling with the grief and trauma of these events we offer the following resources.

National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition offers both educational and healing resources.  Their self healing resource is linked here.

The St Regis Mohawk Tribe Offers a set of mental health and traditional medicine resources for its members.  It is included below.

At Clarkson, if you or someone you know needs support, please contact:

  • Chief Inclusion Office 315-268-3785 [will be monitored after hours]
    • The team is available and ready to support you.  We can help you figure out how to address your concerns and needs.  
  • Dean of Students Office 315-268-6620 [will be monitored during business hours]
    • Can help with any and all student needs from stress to housing to academic concerns.
  • Clarkson University’s Counseling Center staff is available to meet with students for a one-time or ongoing basis to offer counseling and support.  You can request an appointment by calling:  315-268-6633 or by sending an email to 
  • Human Resources wants to remind employees that they have access to resources on how to manage stress and mental health through the Employee Assistance Program and Telehealth.  315-268-7928.  
  • For crisis and 24 hour response please call Campus Safety and Security 315-268-6666 or 911 – CRC use (518) 631-9900 or 911
    • Safety Officers available in the ERC office and at number above. 
    • They can contact several offices throughout the university. 
    • CSS available 24/7 for safety escorts on campus and within the village of Potsdam.

The resources are linked in the announcement and saved to a common google folder for all to reference,

If you would like to share thoughts on resources, please contact  We will also be using some of these resources as the basis for workshops and professional development throughout the year.

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