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Schrader, Bonamici at hearing about Chemawa Indian School

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Traesa Keith is the mother of a student who died at the Chemawa Indian School, a federally operated Native American boarding school. 

She said her daughter had one of the biggest hearts. She also said valuable time was lost because the school assumed her daughter’s medical emergency was a student fight.

“It was some kind of heart failure,” she said.

Keith also says the school gave her no information and the information she did receive was from public records.

Lawmakers say they’ve been stonewalled too, getting no answers from Chemawa about the deaths of four students in recent years and a long list of other problems.

Oregon representatives Kurt Schrader and Suzanne Bonamici even went to the school.

Bonamici said, “We’re very concerned, that the students do not seem to be getting the support they need to be successful in school.  And that means having a safe campus.” 

Parents and former school employees say the Salem, Oregon school is in total crisis. 

There are additional concerns about the treatment of special education students and financial mismanagement. 

Mark Cruz said the Bureau of Indian Affairs is taking steps to address problems at Chemawa and other schools.