“Remember the Children” documentary highlights abuse at Indigenous boarding schools

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Filmmaker Jim Warne joined Arizona Horizon to talk about his award-winning documentary, “Remember the Children.”

This important documentary details the shocking experience of a number of children who attended the Rapid City Boarding School in Rapid City, South Dakota, one of a number of Indigenous boarding schools created and implemented by the U.S. government in an attempt to assimilate Indigenous children into American society.

Warne is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He graduated from Arizona State University (ASU) and was an All-PAC 10 tackle for the 1987 Rose Bowl Championship team.

“The boarding schools were designed to take the language, take the culture, cut our hair, change our clothes, so it was forced assimilation often through physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse, unfortunately,” Warne said.

Disease, neglect, malnutrition and unmarked graves were often results of these treatments. The Pope was in Canada this summer apologizing for the residential schools there and the thousands of unmarked graves.

“We’re doing the same here with the 400 boarding schools that were here in the United States. We want to find those children, acknowledge them and get them home,” Warne said.

The film was made with regional Lakota people.

“It’s really personal for me as a Lakota tribal member to share those stories of our Lakota people, and my films have been addressing Indigenous issues mostly associated with my tribe, but I do delve into other Indigenous stories as well,” Warne said.

Warne said this was always bubbling under the surface when he attended ASU. However, his understanding of his culture and background was always present, which was an expectation given to Warne by his mother.

When Lakota people see this film, Warne said he sees that “there’s been healing. There’s a lot of tears, and folks that have been hiding it and suppressing it all these years are able to discuss it.”

Jim Warne, filmmaker

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