INDIAN ISLAND — Tribal representatives and the state of Maine have named five people who’ll lead an investigation into past abuses by child welfare agents who systematically removed tribal children from their households, breaking up families and exposing some to abuse in foster care.

The naming of the commissioners on Tuesday was a milestone in the “truth and reconciliation” process aimed at exploring tribal experiences with the child welfare system.

Interim commission director Carolyn Morrison says the goal is to uncover the truth, promote healing and change the system so that the harm is not repeated.

The panel will consist of the secretary of state, a university professor, a former state board of education chairwoman and two Native Americans with ties to tribes in South Dakota and Massachusetts.