Crystal and Lashay find themselves in a secluded park where the local youth group is plotting to disrupt the survey for graves with a noisy protest. They are guided by elder survivors who faced baseball bat attacks and being chained to radiators by the priests at the school. After a heart-wrenching conversation around abuse, inherited trauma, our investigators begin to see what’s really at stake. This is bigger than the search for mass graves, this is cosmic and spiritual and has the potential to fracture the Native community nationwide. On the heels of this realization, a secret additional burial site is introduced, where folks report encountering the restless spirits of former students.


Amidst an unprecedented federal investigation into hundreds of Native Boarding Schools and the 100,000+ children these institutions forcibly removed, one school has become the epicenter of controversy in America’s attempt to reckon with its dark history: Red Cloud Indian School. While today some see the school as a positive presence in the Pine Ridge Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota tribe, others cite it as a perpetrator of generational trauma. While the US government is starting to admit its culpability in a church-facilitated campaign of genocide, the quest for justice is exposing tension throughout the Native community. In this new podcast from IllumiNative, series hosts Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee) and Lashay Wesley (Choctaw) hit the ground in Pine Ridge, South Dakota to chronicle the actively-developing situation for themselves, covering every twist and turn in this true crime story about the compounding intergenerational pain of Native American boarding schools and whether it’s possible for a community, Native peoples, and the United States to achieve truth, healing, and reconciliation.