How the US stole thousands of Native American children

The long and brutal history of the US trying to “kill the Indian and save the man”.

For more of Vox’s reporting on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, check out the latest episode of Today Explained:

Toward the end of the 19th century, the US took thousands of Native American children and enrolled them in off-reservation boarding schools, stripping them of their cultures and languages. Yet decades later as the US phased out the schools, following years of indigenous activism, it found a new way to assimilate Native American children: promoting their adoption into white families. Watch the episode to find out how these two distinct eras in US history have had lasting impacts on Native American families.

In the Vox series Missing Chapter, Vox Senior Producer Ranjani Chakraborty revisits underreported and often overlooked moments from the past to give context to the present. Join her as she covers the histories that are often left out of our textbooks. Our first season tackles stories of racial injustice, political conflicts, even the hidden history of US medical experimentation.

Have an idea for a story that Ranjani should investigate for Missing Chapter? Send it to her via this form!

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Explore the full Missing Chapter playlist, including episodes, a creator Q&A, and more!

And to learn more, check out some of our sources below:

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition and their primer on American Indian and
Alaska Native Boarding Schools in the US:

A Generation Removed by Margaret D. Jacobs:

The National Indian Child Welfare Association’s background on the Indian Child Welfare Act:

1776 – 1880 here:
1930 here:

First Nations Repatriation Institute:

An in-depth documentary about Native American child separation: is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what’s really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

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