At about 7:30 A.M., Frank pulled into the HIHS parking lot and got into a long vehicle line at the gate for clearance to enter. He noticed that across the street there were three churches. One was a Methodist church, another was a Mormon Temple, and the other one was a Catholic Church. He thought more about it and it seemed like they were built like that on purpose to surround the school.
“Good morning Mr. Nickels,” the guard shack man said as he showed him his ID.
So now Frank is in a Dormitory. Everything seems to be in slow motion. The fog is thick and covering everything from the ceiling to the floor. He can hear what sounds to be laughter. Like a little girl’s laugh. It sounds so sweet and reminds him of the times he spent with his niece and a funny book on dogs.
He can barely make out the two front offices on the right side when first entering the dorm. There’s also a large tan double door way on the left that leads into the living room. Frank slowly and carefully makes his way into the living room. It has four big brown couches in a U formation, two beige love seats, an old dark wooden table, a vending machine, and a glass entertainment center with an old forty inch, perhaps original flat screen TV and Blu-ray player underneath. Some people are sitting on the couches and watching the old 90’s College sitcom “A Different World” on TV. It’s hard to make out who they are, but upon further inspection they look like four elder Native American women. Each was wearing a different colored dress with a Native American geometric pattern on it. The elder woman on one end couch wore brown. The woman to her right wore yellow. The next one red and the last one on the opposite end couch was in blue.
“Over the four decades that the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School operated in Michigan, thousands of Native American children from across the country were taken from their parents and sent there to be stripped of their languages and traditions.
The U.S. documented five deaths of Indigenous children at the school from its opening in 1893 to its closure in 1934. But when the land where the school once sat was returned to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan in 2010 by the state, the tribe’s researchers uncovered a more extensive history of the federal government’s violence: records confirming the deaths of 227 children while at Mount Pleasant. The search for their remains is still underway.
The effort to figure out what happened to those children illustrates the challenge the Department of the Interior faces in its recently announced investigation of the more than 350 Native American boarding schools that operated in the United States for more than a century.”
“This is the new extra help from the BIA. His name is Frank Nickels,” Phil painfully introduced him.
“Nice to meet you, my name is Gertrude Albatross. I manage the Business around here,” she said with a very polite smile and demeanor.
Frank was shocked by the brutal display, but he went along with the charade because he had a mission and still no leads so he said, “Nice to meet you too.” He partially smiled and stayed far away from her.
She focused her scowl back on Phil and said, “My computer is infected with a virus Phil, and you know why.” She picked up an old wooden chair that was close to a table. She then smashed it on him and it broke in two. He fell to the floor reeling in pain, then started to crawl over to where Frank was standing.