The country is putting a spotlight on the injustices of Indian Boarding Schools.
A new report from the U.S. Department of the Interior documents the practices meant to erase Native American culture and assimilate children.
According to the report, at one point in history, Oklahoma had the most boarding schools in the nation.
Most of the schools don't exist anymore, but the last remains of their existence are tucked away with the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Now, the federal government is trying to unearth decades of pain and bring closure to families and tribes.
On the top floor of the State Capitol, Oklahoma City Democrat Rep. Ajay Pittman's office is filled with native art.
Reading the report, she said she was humbled that the truth is finally coming out.
"Native Americans have been fighting for this type of justice for a long time," Rep. Pittman said. '
The report brought to light centuries of suffering.
"America has to face their past and face the trauma, and the torture and the beatings that people sustained in these boarding schools," Rep. Pittman said. "The mutating rituals, them cutting out people's tongues, those types of things for speaking what is innately theirs, their language."
Those horrific events happened at boarding schools across the country.
According to the report, 76 were in Oklahoma.
Rep. Pittman grew up hearing the stories of what happened behind those walls.
"My great, great-grandmother was bussed to a boarding school and taught not to speak her native tongue," Rep. Pittman said. "She went mute for awhile."
The years of trauma are now coming full circle as the truth is exposed.
"She's being validated. Her memory is being validated. What she went through is being validated," Rep. Pittman said.
While many Native Americans were stripped of their identities, Rep. Pittman grew up celebrating hers.
"My grandmother spoke in native tongue," Rep. Pittman said. "When I was little when she taught me how to make fried bread and Indian tacos. We did smudging ceremonies for our dead, and she made moccasins for us. So it was something where I grew up knowing who I was in my culture."
She was raised by trailblazers not only culturally, but also in Oklahoma history.
Her grandfather, Enoch Kelly Haney, was the first Seminole election to the state legislature.
Her mother, former Sen. Anastasia Pittman, was the second.
Rep. Pittman is living the legacy, becoming the Secretary of the National Native American Caucus.
With a seat in the Capitol and rooted in tradition, she's committed to making sure her family's history is never forgotten.
"We will speak the names of these people in these graves," Rep. Pittman said. "We will speak the names of the people who were missing. We will speak the names of the people whose stories will be told. We will keep their memory and we will keep their legacy alive, just like we will do for my grandmother and my family."
In response to the report, there will also be a year-long nationwide tour for people to share their stories.
Rep. Pittman says this is an opportunity for not only her family, but the entire country to heal.
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