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A Washington Post investigation published today revealed at least 122 priests, sisters and brothers assigned to 22 Indian boarding schools in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest since the 1890s were accused of sexually abusing Native American children in their care. Most of the documented abuse occurred in the 1950s and 1960s, affecting more than 1,000 children.

Titled ‘In the Name of God,’ the year-long investigation is based on lawsuits, sworn affidavits, oral histories, thousands of boarding school records, more than two dozen interviews with former students, and thousands of pages of letters, diaries, memos, and government reports. 

Additionally, the Post credits reporting by other news organizations—including Native News Online—that contributed to its investigation.

Reporters Dana Hedgpeth (Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe) and Sari Horwitz led the reporting, with contributions from data reporter Emmanuel Martinez, former investigative reporter Scott Higham, and photojournalist Salwan Georges.

“The church wounded my spirit, took away my soul and robbed me of my childhood,” Clarita Vargas, of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington, told the Post. “It was the federal government that promoted the boarding school policy and the church was its arm. I blame them both.”

The full story of the investigation is available on the Washington Post website.  

Editor's note:  This story has been updated with the correct name of the data reporter, Emmanuel Martinez, and the correct title of former investigative reporter Scott Higham. Both contributed to the Washington Post's investigation. 

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