This series is the result of almost three years of reporting by OPB reporters Rob Manning and Anthony Schick. After concerned staff members contacted OPB about troubles at the boarding school, Manning and Schick interviewed several dozen former Chemawa employees, students and parents and looked through hundreds of pages of records, including police reports, court records, depositions, academic reviews, financial documents and disciplinary reviews from Chemawa. They filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests with the Bureau of Indian Education, which oversees Chemawa. Some are still pending.
The Bureau of Indian Education allowed the current director of Indian education and the current Chemawa superintendent to speak with OPB. They declined OPB’s requests to speak with other teachers and administrators on campus.
Charles Hudson, the intergovernmental affairs director for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and Mandan-Hidatsa tribal member, reviewed the stories prior to publication with an eye toward cultural context.
For more on the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ struggles with Native education, this 2015 Politico series offers useful background.