By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Benedictine nuns are apologizing for decades of trauma caused by Native boarding schools in Minnesota.

Starting in the late 1800s, American Indian children were forcibly taken from their families and placed in boarding schools, where they were stripped of their Native traditions and language.

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

There were at least 16 such boarding schools in Minnesota, and they were run mostly by religious orders. The Benedictines operated schools on the White Earth and Red Lake reservations in northern Minnesota.

The Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict issued an apology letter over the summer. It read:

“We acknowledge the injustice done through our community’s participation in the federal government Assimilation Policy to educate Native American youth at Saint Benedicts’ Mission boarding school on the White Earth Reservation (1878-1945), St. Mary’s Mission on the Red Lake Reservation (1888-1940s) and the Industrial Boarding School (1884-1896) on our monastery campus.

“Within the past two years the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict have been working in collaboration with the White Earth community, its Tribal Historic Preservation Office and the College of Saint Benedict to strengthen the bonds that continue to move toward reconciliation and peace with our Native American sisters and brothers.”