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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Road Trip: BOOK TOUR 2010

By Trace L. Hentz (formerly DeMeyer)

I hear this: “Oh, you wrote a book? When do you hit the road to read it?”
            I plan to share the story about American Indian adoptees with my hometown of Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota on my “book tour” next week. 
            Hardly anyone knows this story, unless you’re an American Indian adoptee or an American Indian family who lost a child to adoption during the Indian Adoption Projects.
            Back in 2008 I read from my manuscript at the Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison, Wisconsin. My friend Mark Anthony Rolo (Bad River Ojibwe) read from his book The Wonder Bull and we had a great big audience with great big questions. One young adoptee came up to me afterwards and said he’d never heard anyone say that adoptees have a “gratitude attitude” which we’re expected to display on demand, our entire life. And he thanked me!
            I told him, “Trust me, when we’re adopted, it’s expected. Once you move past gratitude, you’ll find yourself in unchartered waters, torn between acceptance, anger, love and despair…you might even have to break a few laws to find your own parents.”  This young man was afraid to move forward and open his adoption because he imagined it would hurt his adoptive mother.
            How perplexing, I thought, since I’d been there myself, as I handed him my email address. I advised him to be totally prepared and do his adoption search without telling anyone in his family. I know. I wish every day I didn’t have to say this. 
           
If you’ve read One Small Sacrifice, you know that many parts of the book are truly painful.  My 89-year-old neighbor Karolyn read my book and calls the Indian Adoption Project an atrocity and an outrage.
            What my hand wrote down at 4 a.m. – it was the best I could do. Every page was a canvas, a place to exorcise trauma and stir up ghosts.
            Slowly, the topic of adoption has shifted away from what I call “the gratitude attitude” to a more realistic discussion. Simply look at the numerous articulate writings by adoptees out there. This topic has grown up as we have grown up. Adoptees have sprouted new wings. Adoptees just need other people to hear us and read us. Perhaps then archaic atrocious adoption laws might change.
            So I’m planning a road trip. I am not managed or sponsored by a giant publisher…I’m simply a journalist who scoured adoption history and blended in some personal experience for a book.  
            That is really where the road trip began.  I had to look for strangers. I had to stop being afraid I might hurt someone if I found my family. I had to stop worrying how I might make people uncomfortable. I had to stop being afraid of the truth. 
             I decided I had to grow up.

            Trace’s reading schedule:
            Superior Public Library (on Tower & Belnap) Superior, Wisconsin, Wed., Sept. 29, 6:30 p.m.
            Jitters Coffee, Superior Street, Duluth, Minnesota, Friday, October 1, 5 p.m.
             (Trace will blog again after her road trip!) 

Check out my friend Mark's new book: THE WONDER BULL

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful Trace! Wishing you beautiful, marvelous, memorable connections ahead. XOXO Anecia XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful Trace! Wishing you beautiful, marvelous, memorable connections ahead. XOXO Anecia XOXO

    ReplyDelete

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Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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