Native American leaders host memorial for the Albuquerque Indian Faculty Cemetery

Posted: 09/26/2021 / 8:23 am MDTUpdated: 09/26/2021 / 09:58 AM MDT

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque apologized on Saturday. It happened during an event in honor of the buried in an Albuquerque park that served as a graveyard for the former students of the Albuquerque Indian Boarding School.

Several Albuquerque City Native American leaders gathered Saturday afternoon to share further insight into the trauma they believe the Albuquerque Indian Boarding School has caused and continues to carry through their community. Now the city wishes to honor the students and families affected by the Albuquerque Indian Boarding School, where hundreds, if not thousands, of Native American children were forced to go there from 1882 to 1933.

“The purpose of the boarding schools was to forcibly remove children from their families and communities and relocate them to remote housing facilities. In an effort to consciously eradicate language, beliefs, culture and identities, ”said Dawn Begay, the city’s Native American Affairs coordinator.

Mayor Tim Keller and David Flores, deputy director of the city’s parks and recreation department, apologized on behalf of the city for the dark legacy the boarding school had left behind. They said the city is doing its part to protect and honor the children who went to school and were buried in 4H Park in Albuquerque.

“We have now taken the first step to demarcate the site and right now there are signs out there urging the public to respect this sacred site,” said Flores.

Although there are still questions about what they will do with the site, city guides said it was important to work and listen to pueblo and tribal leaders, as well as others in the indigenous communities, in order to find an appropriate way to honor these children . “We must continue to engage in warm, meaningful discussions and have productive dialogue with one another,” said Kyle Tapaha of the City of Albuquerque.

The city also plans to work with an archaeologist to find out what exactly lies beneath the sacred site. The public will have the opportunity to participate in the virtual discussion with the city’s stakeholders on October 8, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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