White Earth Nation Seeks to Build Back Cultural Archive

Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Jaime Arsenault is searching for documents and other artifacts that might provide closure for victims of boarding school assimilation programs. 

Feven Gerezgiher reports: 

 

Jaime Arsenault wears many hats as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for White Earth Nation. One includes managing cultural archives, which often first requires finding them.

 

She says that’s because a lot of tribal information is held in different institutions around the country and around the world. Arsenault says it’s not uncommon for schools, museums and churches to either deny tribal access to archives or to simply not have organized archival collections.

 

A few years ago the historic preservation office began a collaboration with the College of Saint Benedict and the Saint Benedict’s monastery, which historically operated boarding schools – including one at White Earth. 

 

“We were able to locate many pictures and documents and reports, things that might help families get answers, have some sense of closure, have at least some more information for them to maybe ask that next set of questions,” said Arsenault. 

 

Last spring the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict formally apologized for their role in the federal government’s assimilation policy. They are now working with Arsenault and a White Earth advisory committee towards truth finding and truth telling.

 

“I hear these stories about all that was lost, all that was disrupted, all that was taken, you know, whether it’s language, culture, land, family structures, wellness, self esteem,” said Arsenault. “It would be amazing to be able to have this work lead to something that builds those things back up.”

 

Arsenault says it is critical that Native Nations and survivors continue to inform the truth and reconciliation process every step of the way. As more people become involved, she hopes that this also results in an investment in the wellness and resilience of Indigenous communities nationwide.

 

Subscribe to hear Daily Updates in your podcast feed

SpotifyApple PodcastsRadio PublicGoogle Podcasts


  • Jury Selection Proceeds Quickly in Kim Potter Trial
    Thursday, the Hennepin County court seated the last three jurors for the trial of the former Brooklyn Center police officer charged in the death of Daunte Wright. The court still needs to seat two alternate jurors before it can begin testimony. Feven Gere
  • Jury Selection Continues in Potter Trial; Motorist Drives Through Protest
    The court now has 9 of the 12 jurors needed. Meanwhile a motorist drove through a crowd gathered in solidarity with Daunte Wright’s family. Feven Gerezgiher reports
  • Jury Selection Begins in Kim Potter Trial
    Four jurors were confirmed: two white males (one in his 20s and another in his 50s), an Asian woman in her 40s and one white woman in her 60s. Chioma Uwagwu reports.
  • Trial of Kim Potter Begins With Jury Selection
    Potter is charged with first and second-degree manslaughter after she shot Daunte Wright on April 11 during a traffic stop. Wright’s family and community leaders held a press conference Monday afternoon to demand Potter be held accountable. Georgia Fort r