PRESS RELEASE 10-28-2022

Rounding out Indigenous Peoples Day on October 10, Interim President, Dr. Nicky Kay Michael, stood in front of the audience and announced “To anyone we hurt and caused harm, we apologize.  For anyone who was violated sexually or physically, we offer our most heartfelt apology.  To the Indian families we separated, we are sorry.”  Bacone College has had a ground penetrating radar survey to ensure that no additional unknown deaths and unmarked graves are on the property.  “If we had found any, we would repatriate those babies to their people,” she said.

Dr. Michael is a citizen of the Delaware Tribe, whose homelands are in Pennsylvania, where the most notorious Indian Boarding School initiated the forced assimilation of thousands of Native American children, Carlisle.  The Delaware were one of the first tribal nations to support repatriation of remains from the children and babies who passed away at Carlisle in the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

During the National Congress of American Indian’s 2021 Mid-Year Gathering, Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland announced the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative to address the wrongs and abuses caused by these schools.  Federal policies dictated Indian Boarding Schools to break up the extended family and clan units of most tribal cultures and forced many Indian children thousands of miles away from their families and communities.  With November being recognized as Native American Heritage month, it is critical we acknowledge the current, generational, and historical abuses of Native American children.  

We acknowledge and apologize that Bacone College was a product of this same process.  However, we were fortunate to have less severe practices.  As the Indian Boarding school era declined greatly after WWII, Bacone transitioned to a college and was known as Indian University.  Since then Bacone has been the go-to college for many Native people throughout the country.  In its height, Bacone had thousands of students, a rodeo, football, basketball, baseball, and softball.  However, Bacone is internationally recognized for the incredible American Indian Art of our students.  Today, Bacone has a 100% American Indian board and four chartering tribal nations: United Keetoowah Band, Osage Nation, Cheyenne and Arapaho, and the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, who all have members on our Board of Trustees.  Muscogee Creek Nation holds jurisdiction over the original Indian University.  Bacone is an Indigenous and minority serving institution as a private school under a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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