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Scholars Confront Clergy Sexual Abuse in Native American Communities

Native American Clergy Abuse

Title: Scholars Confront Clergy Sexual Abuse in Native American Communities
Author: Taylor Ha
Publisher: Fordham News
Date: 03MAR2021
Denise K. Lajimodiere, Ed.D., an indigenous educator and a guest speaker in a new Fordham discussion series, recounted the historical and intergenerational trauma experienced by indigenous sexual abuse survivors in U.S. Catholic boarding schools and their descendants in a Feb. 25 webinar.

“[A] man from Montana said, ‘How do you tell anyone that you’ve been sodomized over 300 times?’” Lajimodiere said, recalling an interview from her research. “That’s the issue with boarding school stories. How do you tell [them]? … They keep it inside. And we know that you’re only as healthy as your secrets.”

The event, co-sponsored by the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies and Fordham’s theology department, is part of the Taking Responsibility initiative, a grant-sponsored project that confronts the causes and legacy of clergy sexual abuse. This spring semester, the initiative is hosting a webinar series that examines how the crisis has affected historically marginalized communities in the U.S., including indigenous peoples.

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