A Critical Appraisal of Reparations. The Boarding School Healing Project and the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) held a joint meeting in September, 2008, for a critical appraisal of reparations strategies. The ICTJ has worked in many countries to support struggles for reparations. The BSHP has been calling for reparations for American Indian boarding school survivors in the United States. However, in looking at the results of various reparations struggles in the world, it is clear that there are many strategic decisions to be made before articulating a reparations campaign. Unfortunately, these campaigns often do not have the space and time to make the most strategic decisions when issues become public and movements are forced to react to situations rather than frame their struggles in a pro-active manner.

Since the movement for justice for boarding school survivors in the United States is still in the process of coalescing, there is some time now to think critically and strategically about what a reparation campaign should look like. As more individuals and groups join this struggle, it is hoped that this report will provide some food for thought as they develop their own projects.

This report does not represent a consensus of the BSHP, the ITCJ, or the individuals that attended the 2008 meeting. The ideas put forth are not meant to be prescriptive, but rather to be conversation-starters in hopes that a movement will coalesce around the issue of boarding schools that is strategic, forward-thinking, and pro-active. However, before beginning this critical appraisal of reparations as a strategy for Native communities, this report will detail why a reparations framework might be helpful for survivors of American Indian boarding schools.


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