Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal


This country's history is replete with evidence that the United States government deliberately caused the deaths of millions of American Indians. What is less well-known is the government's attempt to destroy the American Indian peoples by forcing generations of American Indian children to attend off-reservation boarding schools. In this article, Professor Curcio describes the use of government-run boarding schools as a way to destroy American Indian childrens' connections to their peoples, and ultimately, as a way to destroy the American Indian peoples. She discusses the schools' harsh and deadly living conditions and the schools' destructive impact upon generations of American Indians. She then examines American Indian boarding school survivors' potential legal claims against the United States government, including potential Tucker Act, Federal Tort Claims Act, and International law claims, and she discusses ways to overcome likely defenses to these claims. She also briefly describes how the Canadian government is handling similar claims. Professor Curcio concludes by arguing that these claims should be brought both to vindicate individual litigants and to raise public consciousness about the abuses committed by the United States government against generations of American Indian children.

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