South Dakota Boarding School Survivors Detail Sexual Abuse@ Seraphima
"Spanish zeal eventually enabled Catholicism to make great inroads into the New World. But in the process, New World Catholicism evolved into a religion that integrated aspects of indigenous beliefs into Catholic teachings and that adapted Christian concepts, images, and saints to local traditions."
In 2010, South Dakota legislators discussed the Churchs difficulty defending against these many suits and passed a statutewritten by a Church attorney and submitted as a constituent billblocking anyone over 40 from suing an institution, such as the Catholic Church, for childhood sexual abuse, though they may still sue individual perpetrators.
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Howard Wanna, 60, is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, whose homeland straddles North and South Dakota. He has terminal lung cancer and recently celebrated what doctors tell him will be his last birthday.
When I first arrived at Tekakwitha at age four or five, the nuns and priests seemed welcoming, as though they wanted me to think of the place as my home. This friendliness went on for several weeks. Then one day, Father Pohlen came to the Papoose House, where I was living, and took me by the hand. He led me to the church, where we went behind the altar to a little room that had nothing in it but a chair.
Father Pohlen sat me down, unzipped his pants, took his -------- to graphic to post on Topix ---------- I didnt know what was happening. In later sessions, sometimes behind the altar and sometimes at his house,---------
He rotated among about five of us younger boys, which left me with such confused emotions. On days it wasnt my turn, I was so grateful, yet I felt terrible that one of my little friends was suffering. I also dreaded the fact that my day was coming again soon. Worst of all, I had no one to turn to, not even God, because Gods representative on earth was the one hurting me.
[I believe] the Church caused the drinking and other problems former students experience. As a result, the tribe must sponsor chemical-dependency, suicide-prevention, anger-management, and many other programs, which is an enormous economic burden. At Sisseton Wahpeton, we just had three suicides, all youngsters in their 20s, and this happens frequently. Why? Its the result of how we elders were treated as childrenan effect that continues through the generations.
I often wonder how so many pedophiles ended up at Native American schools. Father Pohlen was not only a pervert; he also hired the worst of the worst, which meant none of the Tekakwitha staff would protect us from the others. How did he find them? Is there someone in the Church you can call to request problem priests and nuns? Was there a dual plan to hurt Native Americans while taking care of the pedophiles? Was this genocide? Its so confusing, but its also just plain evil.