May is Indian Heritage Month, a time to reflect on the rich and diverse cultures of the indigenous peoples of North America. However, it is also a time to acknowledge the atrocities that Native Americans have suffered and the land that was stolen from them. For centuries, Native American communities have faced violence, displacement, and cultural erasure at the hands of European colonizers. Their land was taken, their languages and traditions were suppressed, and their lives were endangered. The impact of this history is still felt today, with many Native Americans living in poverty and struggling to preserve their cultural heritage. One of the most significant atrocities committed against Native Americans was the forced removal of thousands of people from their ancestral lands during the 19th century. This practice, known as the Trail of Tears, resulted in the deaths of thousands of Native Americans as they were forced to walk hundreds of miles to designated territories. This act of violence was just one of many in a long history of broken treaties and promises made by the US government. Moreover, Native Americans suffered a great deal at the hands of European settlers, who brought with them diseases that decimated entire communities. In addition to the physical violence and disease, Native Americans also faced cultural genocide as European colonizers attempted to forcibly assimilate them into Western ways of life. This included the suppression of Native American languages, traditions, and religions. It is essential to recognize that the struggles of Native Americans are ongoing. Many indigenous communities still face significant challenges today, such as poverty, lack of access to healthcare and education, and environmental degradation caused by extractive industries. It is vital to support indigenous-led movements for social and environmental justice and work towards reparations and healing for the harm that has been inflicted on Native American communities. Sr. Susan Gardner and The Catholic Native Boarding School Accountability and Healing Project of the U.S. Bishops is doing just that and the work that they are starting here will bring about equity and healing to a community so deserving of both.( https://adriandominicans.org/News/sister-susan-gardner-op-participates-in-healing-and-reconciliation-project ) This Indian Heritage Month, let us honor the resilience and strength of Native Americans while also acknowledging the atrocities that they have suffered. By acknowledging the past, we can work towards a more just and equitable future for all.