Amidst an unprecedented federal investigation into hundreds of Native Boarding Schools and the 100,000+ children these institutions forcibly removed, one school... More
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6. Where We Stand
One year after the former Native American boarding school began surveying its grounds for the bodies of former students, Crystal and Lashay examine the results, revisit the characters we met, and take a hard look at what steps have been taken toward truth and healing. It's an episode full of unexpected surprises that culminates in a bold call to action for Indian country and all of its allies.
The air is heavy as Crystal and Lashay arrive at Red Cloud Indian School on the day the ground will be scanned for mass graves. All of the characters we have met along the way have descended on the campus with their own agendas. Some want answers, some want solidarity and some want conflict. It is an explosive situation that is exacerbated by the surprise arrival of high ranking government officials. After this episode, nothing will be the same.
4. The Scientist Detective
Crystal and Lashay set out to clear any doubts they have around the integrity of the search of the school grounds. This leads them to the eccentric scientist who operates the ground penetrating radar. She’s Native American, determined, and despite her cutting-edge technology, swears her allegiance is ONLY to the “lost and stolen children” that she searches for under former boarding schools around the country. They also encounter the wisened elder who will perform a prayer over the grounds. He claims to have perfectly merged Lakota and Catholicism via quantum physics. It is an enlightening and unexpected journey into the deep spirituality that looms over the proceedings.
3. The Medicine
Crystal and Lashay meet with progressive community leaders who are combating the Catholic church with the strongest weapon they have: their culture. They are locked in a battle of wills with Red Cloud school and what they see as systemic leeching off-of their people. For a better understanding of the fissure between Catholic and Lakota, the investigators travel with one of the leaders to his dining room table, where three generations of abuse survivors, male and female, describe their ordeals. The investigators are left wondering if they could even trust the findings that the school will hand down in the grave search.
2. Pissed Off Activists
Crystal and Lashay find themselves in a secluded park where the local youth group is plotting to disrupt the survey for graves with a noisy protest. They are guided by elder survivors who faced baseball bat attacks and being chained to radiators by the priests at the school. After a heart-wrenching conversation around abuse, inherited trauma, our investigators begin to see what’s really at stake. This is bigger than the search for mass graves, this is cosmic and spiritual and has the potential to fracture the Native community nationwide. On the heels of this realization, a secret additional burial site is introduced, where folks report encountering the restless spirits of former students.
Amidst an unprecedented federal investigation into hundreds of Native Boarding Schools and the 100,000+ children these institutions forcibly removed, one school has become the epicenter of controversy in America’s attempt to reckon with its dark history: Red Cloud Indian School. While today some see the school as a positive presence in the Pine Ridge Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota tribe, others cite it as a perpetrator of generational trauma. While the US government is starting to admit its culpability in a church-facilitated campaign of genocide, the quest for justice is exposing tension throughout the Native community. In this new podcast from IllumiNative, series hosts Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee) and Lashay Wesley (Choctaw) hit the ground in Pine Ridge, South Dakota to chronicle the actively-developing situation for themselves, covering every twist and turn in this true crime story about the compounding intergenerational pain of Native American boarding schools and whether it’s possible for a community, Native peoples, and the United States to achieve truth, healing, and reconciliation.