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Howdy! We've amassed tons of information and important history on this blog since 2010. If you have a keyword, use the search box below. Also check out the reference section above. If you have a question or need help searching, use the contact form at the bottom of the blog.
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This is a blog. It is not a peer-reviewed journal, not a sponsored publication... The ideas, news and thoughts posted are sourced… or written by the editor or contributors.

2019: This blog was ranked #50 in top 100 blogs about adoption. Let's make it #1...

2019: WE NEED A TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION Commission in the US now for the Adoption Programs that stole generations of children... Goldwater Institute's work to dismantle ICWA is another glaring attempt at cultural genocide.


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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Sending Them Home #ICWA

“The prayers of the children are very powerful, and I believe the prayers of the children are what brought us here,” LaMere said during his opening remarks. “Our children feed the system, and all of us let it happen. We make it easy for them, but that time has to stop.”

Researchers in the 1960s had found that up to 35 percent of all Native children were being taken from their families and tribes and placed in white homes or institutions.  ICWA, passed in 1978, aimed to curtail that practice, and to preserve Native culture and tribes by placing children with Native families when their biological parents could not care for them. A few states – including Iowa and Nebraska, where American Indian children are removed from their families at higher rates than their white peers – have adopted their own versions of ICWA.

GOOD READ: Sending Them Home

Saturday, May 11, 2019

ICWA case update

2018 ICWA Case Update PowerPoint


I get this request a lot, here so is a pdf of a PowerPoint with detailed citations and information for 2018/annual TICA update.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Seminole hold adoption ceremony

Participating in the Seminole Tribe’s first family adoption finalized on a Seminole reservation are, from left, Chief Justice Willie Johns, Associate Justice Moses “Bigg Shot” Jumper Jr., Loraine Marie Stewart Jumper, Joshua Jumper, Andrea Jumper, Circuit Court Judge Jose Izquierdo and Chief Judge Moses B. Osceola. The ceremony was held April 18 in the auditorium at Tribal headquarters in Hollywood. (Photo Damon Scott)
“This is a rare moment and occasion that we’ve been working for for almost 10 years,” Chief Justice Johns said. “That we would come collaboratively with the state and the Tribe to do the adoptions and to work with families and children through the [Florida Department of Children and Families]. This is our very first. It’s a moment that we’re going to all treasure.”
Chief Justice Johns congratulated the Jumpers on their latest addition to the family.

GREAT NEWS: Adoption ceremony marks a first at Tribal Court • The Seminole Tribune

Monday, May 6, 2019

OP-ED: Preserve the Indian Child Welfare Act


Preserve the Indian Child Welfare Act

Published
 

Navigating the U.S. child welfare process can be a highly emotional venture. As a judge who works in child welfare I know this better than most. Our end goal will always be to protect children’s best interests and ensure they have the love and support of a family so they flourish as they grow to adulthood. But the process of trying to protect children can be as painful and difficult as it is rewarding.
Because child welfare cases are so complex, a number of laws and legal practices are specifically designed to ensure the best outcomes. Perhaps one of the most highly regarded among these laws has been the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, which at its core helps keep Native American children within their families, communities and heritage.

KEEP READING 

Take it from someone who sees the benefits of ICWA in her own court. Or take it from the Native American tribes, the people most invested in the well-being of their own children. Or take it from the history books. ICWA supports the best interests of children and our Native American communities, and losing this law would set our country back decades.

Darlene Byrne has served as presiding judge of the 126th Judicial District Court in Travis County since January 2001. She is a commissioner on the Texas Children’s Commission, a past president of the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and a past Judge of the Year of National CASA, Texas CASA and CASA of Travis County.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

National Day Of Awareness | INVISIBLE NO MORE #MMIWG - Vital Billboard Campaign VIDEO

National Day Of Awareness For Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women (& Girls) #MMIWG

Guest Commentary Published May 5, 2019

“I stand before you today, a full-blooded Native American woman, a Northern Arapaho/Hunkpapa Lakota. The statistics that hang over my head are these: I am among the most stalked, raped, murdered, sexually assaulted, and abused of any women in any ethnic group, and I am among those who suffer domestic violence 50 times higher than the national average.” 

I use that statement to open my presentations on the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) crisis. I travel around Indian Country, as I have for years, to raise awareness and inform our people of the scale of the tragedy and, crucially, how to make a safer environment for their communities and families. I have done this work for over a decade, and when I committed to it the term “MMIW” had not been coined.

I am somebody who works with data, but Chairman Gerald Grey of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council (RMTLC) recently made a statement that should resonate with us all, that speaks to more than numbers: “I choose not to quote statistics because our women and girls are human beings not statistics. This is mom. Auntie. Sister. Niece. Daughter. Cousin. And sometimes, grandma. We know the names of some of the victims, but study after study shows that MMIWG cases are underreported, so there are many, many names we do not and may never know.” This is personal. When we learn of another victim near or far, in our reservations communities we can relate on a deep, emotional level. We may not know the victim or their family, but we know the socio-economic conditions; we know the struggle.
READ MORE



Visit: www.mmiw-gic.com

Lynette Grey Bull is Senior Vice President of Global Indigenous Council and the founder of Not Our Native Daughters. In 2017, Lynette provided statistics and research on missing and exploited Native women and children for the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. She previously served as Chair of the Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs at the Governor’s office, and on the Arizona Governor’s Human Trafficking Task Force.

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Traumatic Legacy of Indian Boarding Schools

Statutes of limitations for civil or criminal cases make any legal action impossible in the United States, according to the Native American Rights Fund attorney Donald Wharton. Lawsuits against Christian denominations would need to take place in individual state courts, and would likely be costly and burdensome. Attempts at gaining reparations at the state-legislature level have failed, too; in February, the South Dakota legislature killed a bill that would have extended the window for childhood survivors of boarding-school abuse to file suits against organizations such as the Catholic Church.

READ: The Traumatic Legacy of Indian Boarding Schools - The Atlantic

Has anyone read a book by Boarding School Survivors who were molested in the Catholic Churches? Please leave a comment.

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Brooklyn Diocese Ignored Protocol And Unwittingly Accepted Priest Accused Of Abuse

link

After the Boston Globe’s 2002 Spotlight investigation of sexual abuse, the USCCB created the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which called on church leaders to more thoroughly vet priests in order to prevent sexual abuse. In 2003, the USCCB published guidelines for vetting international priests, acknowledging the unique difficulties of conducting cross-border background checks. Despite the attention to more thorough vetting, a 2007 USCCB audit found that half of the credible sexual abuse allegations from children that year who were still minors were made against international priests.
Last year, the Diocese of Brooklyn posted names of 13 priests on its website who have been accused of sexually abusing minors and have been laicized, the most serious punishment in Catholicism. In the interview with W Radio earlier this year, Tobón said he referred the sexual abuse allegations against Cadavid to the Vatican after suspending him in 2012, and that he was no longer a priest. The 13 priests named on the diocese website are priests from the Diocese of Brooklyn, so Cadavid is not included.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Navajo Nation Wins Appeal in Indian Child Welfare Act Case #ICWA

The Arizona Court of Appeals decided the juvenile court did not meet the requirements of the act.
window rock navajo code talker hero Navajo Code Talker Memorial at Window Rock, Arizona.
Photo: Ron Cogswell/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Arizona Court of Appeals ordered a new hearing Thursday over the guardianship of a 6-year-old child who is subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act.
The Navajo Nation appealed the case, The Navajo Nation v. Department of Child Safety et al., in October 2018 after the juvenile court failed to hear the testimony of a qualified expert witness as required by the ICWA in the child's guardianship case.
The child, R.Y., falls under the act because his mother is a member of the Navajo Nation.
Tamara Shanker, the attorney who represented the Navajo Nation, said the act is an effort to rebuild indigenous culture after centuries of the removal of indigenous children from their families.
When an indigenous parent cannot care for his or her child, the ICWA prioritizes the placement of the child in the custody of a relative or someone from the same tribal nation.
Shanker said that since the juvenile court awarded permanent guardianship without the testimony of an expert witness, it opened the door for future courts to disregard other aspects of the act.
"A Diné individual is as different from a Pascua Yaqui, as an Italian is from a Dane," Shanker said. "Just because they may all just be European doesn't mean that they're the same individual and have the same child rearing practices."
She said cultural experts are necessary to accurately assess an adult's ability to care for a child by his or her cultural standards.
The act allows for three types of qualified experts to testify in its cases. One type of expert is a fellow tribal member who is a specialist in the culture's childrearing practices. The person could also be someone who provides child and family services to tribal members and is an expert on the tribe's familial organization. The court will also hear testimonies from a specialist with extensive experience and knowledge on a certain topic pertaining to the case.
The expert or experts testify as to whether the parents or an indigenous relative could raise the child without causing severe emotional or physical harm.
"We needed to have this decision, because to not get this would have set a very dangerous precedent. If you start chipping away at critical requirements under the ICWA or any law, it's like, 'If we can chip away that requirement, we can chip away this one next time,'" said Shanker.
She said that since the juvenile court did not follow all of the act's requirements, R.Y.'s custody was legally unstable. Someone could appeal the ruling and possibly remove him from his guardian's care. She said this was not the Navajo Nation's goal in pursuing the appeal.
Shaker said she hopes the new hearing solidifies the boy's custody and reinforces that even permanent guardianship cases must follow all aspects of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

In "Bitterroot," a Native transracial adoptee explores identity, race, and belonging

Apr 23, 2019 

On this edition of Your Call, we’ll speak with oral historian Susan Devan Harness about her book Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption.
The memoir explores her search for answers to difficult questions about race, identity and family as an American Indian woman adopted by a white couple. She also chronicles her reconnection with her biological family and conversations with other transracial adoptees.

Guest:
Susan Devan Harness, writer, lecturer and oral historian, and author of Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption

Web Resources:
Hippocampus Magazine: Review: Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption (American Indian Lives) by Susan Devan Harness

Friday, April 19, 2019

Too Burdensome to report or keep data on #ICWA (really?)

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Notice of Proposed Rule Making. Again.

Here.

We cannot currently track on a national level in any way how ICWA works, where children who are involved in ICWA cases are placed, what their outcomes are, or how many cases are transferred to tribal court, as examples. There is barely statewide data available, and most of it is on a county-by-county level. As just one example, Michigan is in a federal lawsuit over its data collection system.

I am deeply tired of hearing that tracking this information is simply too burdensome for the states that are putting children in care, and then getting hit in lawsuit after lawsuit with claims that are not supported by any data, but also cannot be refuted by data we refuse to collect.

If your tribe wants to submit comments, there will be model comments available before the deadline of June 18.

**
Consider this: The states pay foster parents - the bureaucracy secures money and keep those records, right?
Why not keep data on the kids they place? And did you know that once a child is adopted, no one from the state goes to check on the child(ren)?

read this:

Peter Lengkeek is one of 14 members of the Crow Creek Tribal Council. He said he is enraged by the number of children that the Department of Social Services has removed from his reservation. The Tribal Council recently passed a resolution saying that the state cannot remove children without the council's approval.
John Poole/NPR



 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Proposed California law would make it easier for Native Americans to argue their side in child custody cases

California lawmakers are considering a proposal to make it easier for Native American tribes to make their arguments in child custody cases.
Technically, the proposed legislation, AB 686, would let lawyers or other representatives of Native American tribes appear by phone or electronically in cases involving the possible removal of Native American children from their families and tribes.Such hearings are held as part of the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law enacted in 1978 to stem the systemic removal of tribal children from their families and cultures — a practice that at one time touched as many as one in three Native American children. But the problem AB 686 aims to fix is as much about geography as culture.
Often, the hearings that determine where Indian children are placed are held hundreds of miles from tribal lands, making it difficult for all sides to be well represented in court. And without tribal presence during those proceedings, judges are denied information that might make their decision more compliant with the federal law, according to a statement from the Juvenile Court Judges of California to the Judiciary Committee, which passed the bill April 2.

GREAT NEWS: Proposed California law would make it easier for Native Americans to argue their side in child custody cases

Monday, April 8, 2019

American Indian adoptees deal with painful past and family separations

Larry Brown, Navajo, prepares for the November powwow ceremony at the Minneapolis American Indian Center. The ceremony provides a space for American Indian families to heal after decades of family separation. (Photo: Camille Erickson. )
The Indian Child Welfare Act has faced numerous constitutional challenges in federal courts since its enactment in 1978, attempts to undermine tribal nations’ authority in child welfare matters
Jane Harstad gave birth in 1986 to her first child, a son. Soon after, a pediatrician asked for her family’s medical history. She didn’t have a clue. She didn’t know who her biological mother or father was, let alone what medical conditions they had.
Harstad, who is Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, was adopted shortly after birth through Catholic Charities adoption services in 1965. The agency placed her in a white, middle-class family living in St. Paul, Minn.
After obtaining her biological mother’s address through the adoption agency, Harstad sat down to write a letter. She felt immediately overwhelmed.
“It took me a long time, you know, days or weeks [to write]. Even the first word like, ‘Hello,’ or ‘Dear Mom,’” she said. “It took a long time to carefully choose my words.” Harstad provided her phone number in the letter and said she wanted to meet her mother.
Harstad, now 56, would later reflect on that moment: “I was searching for a part of myself that was missing, and I knew she was the answer whether it was good or bad or ugly. It was like a puzzle and you’re missing one piece. You’re just never going to be complete.”
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Takeaway Podcast ICWA

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!
Survivors, write your stories. Write your parents stories. Write the elders stories. Do not be swayed by the colonizers to keep quiet. Tribal Nations have their own way of keeping stories alive.... Trace

Help in available!

Help in available!
1-844-7NATIVE (click photo)

click to listen

Diane Tells His Name

Please support NARF

Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

Join!

National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (NISCWN)

Membership Application Form

The Network is open to all Indigenous and Foster Care Survivors any time.

The procedure is simple: Just fill out the form HERE.

Source Link: NICWSN Membership

ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.