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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

I Can't Breathe

 Charles (left) and an actor playing Abe Lincoln.
By Trace L Hentz (taking a break/blog hiatus)
I can't breathe. That is the way I feel.

JUNE 2020: We have multiple pandemics: The 2020 Depression, Covid-19 and the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed man, shown on live TV.
Then I find out my cousin has died.  Dr. Charles Bland, a film scholar historian and genealogist, was almost 80 and he and I had been working on a Native history project for the better part of seven years. I have mentioned him many times on my wordpress blog.

For over a year Charles was suffering with Myasthenia Gravis.  The day before he died (on April 25), I texted and said I wanted to kidnap him and bring him here to western MA and break him out of that New York nursing home. (There were Covid-19 cases but he never caught the virus.)

He texted back, calling me Bonnie and my husband Clyde.
Sadly our rescue didn't succeed. Charlie stopped breathing.
I am raw. I can't breathe.


Everything we are seeing globally is seeding a new future. What kind of future? My husband is African-American and he is dealing with the murder of George Floyd in ways I am not. The violence, injustice, racism, what has been happening with the protests, has filled my husband's reality his entire life.  He can't breathe.
The scene in Minneapolis, where I lived for years, is beyond words.  I lived on James Avenue South near Lake Calhoun, or Bde Maka Ska, off West Lake St. I don't think I'd recognize it anymore.
James Avenue
I walked around the lake daily in good weather.  Recently the MN Supreme Court ruled that "Lake Calhoun" in Minneapolis will officially now be known as "Bde Maka Ska." Lake Calhoun was named after John C. Calhoun, the South Carolina senator who became vice president in 1825. Supporters of the change wanted to distance the lake from Calhoun, a documented supporter of slavery.  In 1837, Calhoun gave a speech on "the positive good" of slavery.   He also authored the Indian Removal Act
Bde Maka Ska is pronounced "b-day ma-kha skah" (translates to "White Earth Lake" in Dakota)

Mourning takes time. Protests take time. Changing the world takes time.


Headlines:

Migizi Communication burns in Minneapolis protests

NBC News| 5 days ago
Democrats on Friday slammed President Donald Trump for what they said was inciting violence against protesters who were demonstrating in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody.

Riots, arson leave Minnesota communities of color devastated

StarTribune|10 hours ago
When the nonprofit's executive director, Kelly Drummer, returned to the scene a few hours later and saw the destruction, she said, "I knelt down and I just cried." The riots and arson that followed protests of George Floyd's death have devastated organizations and businesses that serve communities of color.


The anger behind the protests, explained in 4 charts

murder vs riot
Icantbreathe

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Modern-day Colonialism

"All records stemming from the redress process of the Indian residential school legacy should be public record and not subject to more legal wrangling," said Garnet Angeconeb, who attended Pelican Lake Indian Residential School, near Sioux Lookout and received the Order of Canada, in an email. "We often hear that the Indian residential schools legacy is our 'collective' or 'shared' history as a country. Why then is that one side is driving this contemporary history through the use of law? It looks like, smells like, feels like modern-day colonialism at its best."

READ: Ottawa's move to block statistical reports on residential schools 'modern-day colonialism,' says survivor | CBC News

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How Being Separated From My Family and Tribe Affected Me


By Jacqueline Davis, Activist          

Today the Supreme Court will hear Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a case about a South Carolina Indian girl who the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the child must be returned to her Indian father. The child's mother ignored the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978, a federal law designed to protect Indian families from "abusive child welfare practices that resulted in the separation of large numbers of Indian children from their families and tribes through adoption or foster case placement" and, as a result, both the tribe and the father were denied their rights under ICWA.
As the Supreme Court hears this case, the coverage has been largely one-sided. I thought it was important for people to hear my story, and how being separated from my family and tribe has affected me.

My name is Jacqueline Davis. I am one of six siblings affected by a decision made by the state of South Carolina. I am a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota and my grandfather is Chief Dave Bald Eagle. My father, who is African-American, met my mom and married her while he was stationed in the Air Force. They eventually moved off the reservation to South Carolina. Their lives changed one day when my mother applied for WIC and the nurse realized that she spanked her children as a form of discipline. Their children were taken and placed in foster care. We were split in pairs. The charges were piled on, and our parents lost custody. The Bald Eagle family offered to take us on the reservation and for reasons I still don't know they were told our case had nothing to do with ICWA. I can remember my parents coming to visit us for years.

Read the rest here:
http://www.aclu.org/blog/racial-justice/how-being-separated-my-family-and-tribe-affected-me

Is Culture How You Think?

REBLOG

By Trace L Hentz (5/14/2015)

So much about adoption is complicated for the adoptee.  If you are like me, you may feel torn between who you think you are, who you are inside, versus how you were raised and who raised you.

I am an adoptee as readers know. What a great many adoptees have told me is they feel they lost culture when not raised in their tribe, losing parents, grandparents and the language. Even typing those words hurts. Loss is loss. Loss hurts.

This has bothered me. I think that the loss is true yet culture is not completely lost.

How? You still have the blood and that is built-in culture. (It's not erasable or removable.)

I think Native Adoptees have a different thought process that was not acknowledged or celebrated or honored when they were young. Non-Indian parents may not have appreciated how sensitive or funny or curious you were or if they did see it, they didn't say anything nice about it.

Girls who were strong tomboys like me were criticized and shy boys who were sensitive were bullied.

One thing to remember: non-Indians don't think Indian. You do. It's not their fault. We're very different in how we think.

Sit back and remember all the times as a child you made people laugh. Remember how much you loved animals. Remember what made you cry - like a sunset or sunrise. Remember how you gave thanks for life and all that is sacred, even if you were alone. Remember watching westerns on TV and rooting for the Indians?


We have a choice as an adoptee to return home and what I call "go full circle." It takes patience. It requires courage. It costs money. It demands you take time to learn and relearn and listen. This return to your culture may take years! (We still have the burden of closed adoption records in many states.)

Every culture will say it's people who carry the culture.

There is no culture better than another. That is true. But the culture of Indigenous People lives in your breath, bone and blood. If you exist, it exists.

Nothing, including adoption, can ever erase it.


Trace is the author of One Small Sacrifice, the book series Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects  and the creator of the blog American Indian Adoptees.

The Risk of Extinction due to #Covid-19

Native communities in the U.S. have suffered disproportionately from COVID-19, with higher rates of infection and death. The Navajo Nation has implemented a series of strict lockdown measures in an effort to protect its population, but health care facilities have still been overwhelmed. In fact, tribes across the country see the pandemic as representing an existential threat. Stephanie Sy reports.

Back in New Mexico, there are significant clusters of cases in the state's Pueblos. By one estimate, 11 percent of the Zia Reservation of only 646 members were infected. At that rate, leaders are concerned about the risk of extinction.

WATCH: Native communities have been hit hard by COVID-19 -- and fear for their survival

For more information on reports, helpful prevention tips, and more resources, please visit the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website at http://www.ndoh.navajo-nsn.gov/COVID-19.
To contact the Navajo Health Command Operations Center, please call (928) 871-7014.
For the latest news from the Office of the President and Vice President, please visit http://www.opvp.navajo-nsn.gov/ or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Rural Matters — Coronavirus and the Navajo Nation

Navajo Nation Doc: Matthew L.M. Fletcher


From the New England Journal of Medicine, here.

The Navajo Nation, Diné Bikéyah, is 27,000 square miles of high-altitude desert, steep canyons, red rock spires, and extinct volcanoes, which, at this time of year, are still spotted with snow. The population density is among the lowest in the contiguous United States: seven people per square mile. If you didn’t know better, the vast landscape would seem a perfect setup for social distancing.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Midnight Shine - Sister Love (Celebration of Sisters!) @midnightshineon

FUN FACTS
Ø  Adrian
Sutherland, Midnight Shine founder and frontman, wrote Sister Love from a poem written by his sister Iris Sutherland – she shares co-writing credit on the song. 
Ø  Adrians
Mom played acoustic guitar, keyboard, and sang, instilling in him his love of music, and inspiring him to play. 
Ø  Sister
Love
 is Midnight Shine’s 2nd most streamed song on Spotify – second only to Heart of Gold (which now has more than 227,000 YouTube views).
Ø  Sister
Love
 reached #1 on Canada's Indigenous Music Countdown when it was released.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Coming Up: Native America Calling

Native America Calling is a national call-in program that invites guests and listeners to join a dialogue about current events, music, arts, entertainment and culture.

The program is hosted by Tara Gatewood (Isleta Pueblo) and airs live each weekday from 1-2 pm Eastern.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Covid-19 in Indian Country

Today's Headlines
April 3, 2020
A travel advisory near Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico. The tribe has confirmed a COVID-19 case and is asking community members to limit travel outside the reservation. (Photo-Pueblo of Zuni, Facebook)
 
Some Pueblos communities confirm first cases of COVID-19

Volunteers deliver traditional herbs to elders in Rapid City

Doctor discusses anxiety and stress during the pandemic

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Oregon: Houses Passes Bill to Place Native American Foster Children in Culturally Appropriate Care #ICWA

  House Bill 4148 was passed in the Oregon House of Representatives on Thursday, February 20. The legislation seeks to place Native American and Alaska Native foster children in culturally appropriate care.  

WOULD ALIGN OREGON WITH FEDERAL LAW: This bill modifies the current dependency law in order to better fit with the Indian Child Welfare Act and mandates the Oregon Department of Human Services to provide reports every other year on American Indian and Alaska Native children in the welfare system.  
This new legislation essentially works to protect Native American children in culturally appropriate environments within Oregon’s foster care system. “Culturally appropriate” meaning that the cultural identity of Native American foster children will be protected through carrying on their traditions and connection to their family and tribe whilst they are in the foster care system.   
The bill is a response to the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which was created “to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture.”  
4148 is a direct follow up to concerns about over-representation of Native American children in the foster care system, who made up 4.8 percent of Oregon’s system in 2018, though they make up only 1.6 percent of the total population.  
SOURCE

Friday, February 21, 2020

How a white evangelical family could dismantle adoption protections for Native children- VOX

The federal court case could have a sweeping impact on Native families and tribal sovereignty.
This cultural difference — that a family’s fitness is determined by its wealth, and that those concerns should outweigh a child’s connection to their family and heritage — is essentially why the Indian Child Welfare Act was created in 1978. The law recognizes the history of federal policy aimed at breaking up Native families and mandates that, whenever possible, Native families should remain together.

Sarah Kastelic, the executive director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, said that ICWA acknowledges important familial and tribal bonds that have long been disregarded, and that Native ways — such as extended families living under the same roof — have often been used to show unfitness in child welfare proceedings. “No matter the picket fences and swimming pools and things, most of the time, kids want to be with their families,” she said.

READ: The Native adoption case that could dismantle the Indian Child Welfare Act, explained - Vox

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Modern day treaty could help make Alaska a model for state-tribal child welfare partnership


House Bill 221 is "long overdue," according to Rep. Tiffany Zulkusky, Yup'ik, (D) Bethel, chair of the House Committee on Native Affairs.



Tribes say an end to hostilities with the state of Alaska is long overdue.

A bill that would require state acknowledgement of federally-recognized tribes had its second hearing Tuesday and was approved and moved out of the Alaska House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.
At the hearing questions were raised and addressed about the impact of the legislation on state jurisdiction and sovereignty.

Two witnesses gave legislators a look at what could be a national model for a state-tribal partnership, in 2017 the state of Alaska and a dozen tribes signed an Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact.

Nicole Borromeo, Athabascan, general counsel for the Alaska Federation of Natives, said a compact is like a modern-day treaty. "[This one] specifically defines the services and supports that are going to be carried out by our tribes and tribal organizations on behalf of the state as well as the funding streams required," she said.

“I want to call the committee’s attention to the fact that this is the first ever compact that has been negotiated at the state level. And that is something for all of us to be proud of,” Borromeo said. “We [Alaskans] tend to be at the top of the list of undesirables and at the bottom of the good list. In this case we are truly breaking ground and we're on the cutting edge of law and policy. It's just something that all Alaskans should know about and be able to celebrate.”

Francine Eddy Jones, director of tribal family and youth services, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Francine Eddy Jones, director of tribal family and youth services, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)

Francine Eddy Jones, Tlingit, is director of tribal family and youth services at the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.
🔻


The Journey Home: Wayne William Snellgrove

(reblog from 2013)
Wayne (center) with his brother and a-mom Ann Snellgrove
Torn Apart 32 Years Ago By Canadian Policy Toward Aboriginals, A Mother And Son Meet For The First Time.


September 21, 2003| BY MARGO HARAKAS


He called himself Lost Cub, and for years he tried futilely to find his way home.


Then in 2002, feeling that at last he was closing in, Wayne Snellgrove hired a private investigator to follow up on the final four names on his list. He needed a shield, a buffer from the searing pain of renewed rejection. When the Canadian investigator finally telephoned her news, Snellgrove took the phone to the bedroom, closed the door, and, lying down on the bed, braced himself.


http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/images/pixel.gif
"I found your mother," she said. Then it all tumbled out.


Nora Smoke, a Saulteaux Indian living on a reserve in Saskatchewan, told the investigator, she loved Wayne, always had, that it was the happiest day in her life that he had found her. She had never forgotten the child she'd never seen.


"Please tell my son," Smoke pleaded with the investigator, "I've always thought of him."


And the 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound athlete sobbed, sobbed like a baby, sobbed with 32 years of repressed emotion, sobbed like a kidnapped child returned to his bereft mother.


The search had ended; however, the story of a newborn's disappearance three decades ago was yet to be told.


Snellgrove, like many Canadians, calls it kidnapping. Others call it cultural annihilation or cultural genocide. Officially, it's been dubbed the Sixties Scoop.


Throughout the 60s, 70s and into the mid 80s, thousands of native children were separated from their mothers and adopted out to middle-class, non-native families in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.


"Some communities lost an entire generation," says Darrell Racine, professor of native studies at Brandon University, in Manitoba, Canada.


At best, say the critics, the action of the Children's Aid Societies, authorized at the time to administer Canada's child welfare services, was misguided. At worst, it was racism.


"It goes back to the usual manifest destiny complex white people have over red people and the idea they are more civilized than aboriginal people. They thought they were doing the aboriginals a favor," says Emma LaRocque, professor of native studies at the University of Manitoba.


The problem was those removing the children were usually white and, because of bias or ignorance of aboriginal culture, they were, say critics, unqualified to determine what was in the best interest of the native child.


That the Sixties Scoop followed on the heels of the horrific residential school program was not coincidence. The thinking there, says Racine, "was the only way to civilize the Indians was to get the child away from the parents." So the children were forced into church-run boarding schools to be purged of their language, customs and culture. (Similar boarding schools were operational throughout most of the 20th century in the United States, as well.)


In the 1960s, with the closing of Canada's residential schools, aboriginal children continued to be removed, this time on the grounds of parental ambivalence, poverty, illness, or drug or alcohol addiction.
http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/images/pixel.gif


"Entire reserves would be assessed as dysfunctional and every child in the community would be removed," says Kenn Richard, director of Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.


And then "because of racism," says Richard, who is half native, "few white Canadians were willing to adopt aboriginal children, so placements were made through agencies in the U.S."


'I really don't belong'


Wayne Snellgrove came through an agency in Northampton, Mass. Six months before getting the 2 1/2-year-old Wayne, Richard and Ann Snellgrove, his adoptive parents, had taken home another boy, a white boy. They wanted to find for him a companion.


Despite loving and caring parents, Wayne says, "I've always had this feeling of being lost and misplaced, feeling I don't really belong here. Every time I looked in the mirror, I knew it. I had only to look at my brother to know I was different."


He describes his adoptive family as "wonderful." But his situation was far different from those that have made headlines in Canada and suggest there was little screening of prospective parents. Several stunning cases are recounted by the Native Child and Family Services of Toronto in its report titled "Research Project: Repatriation of Aboriginal Families -- Issues, Models and A Workplan." One Native child, placed with a bachelor in Kansas, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing his adoptive father with a baseball bat. The trial revealed that for years the youth had been sexually abused by his adoptive father.


Likewise, a native girl placed with a family who subsequently moved to Holland wound up a drug addict and prostitute after being impregnated twice by her adoptive father. After years of living abroad, she returned to Canada where, with the help of birth siblings, she established a new life.


 Please leave a comment! Wayne, an amazing artist and Olympic swimmer, is on Facebook.  He lives in Florida. This is his painting of a red hand.

Listen

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!

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.

Generation Removed

Did you know?

Did you know?
lakota.cc/16I9p4D

Dawnland

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?