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Monday, January 17, 2011
The Strong People
The Strong People
Since the 1800s, Indigenous children from across North America were removed great distances from their homes and culturally-reprogrammed in large military-like facilities called residential boarding schools. One word to describe what happened to them is “brainwashed.” The kinder word is “assimilated.”
Why were these children treated like savages? Indians weren’t human; they were fierce warrior-like bare-chested wild Indians who shot arrows from bows and rode bareback and painted their faces and bodies. The “western” movie images never captured the beauty, or bravery, or dignity, or explained why Indian people fought the colonizer.
Laws were enacted to civilize Indians, to teach them “Christian values,” and to force them to stay in one place and become farmers instead of hunters. The Great White Fathers, the Presidents of the United States who lived in Washington, worked to seize more and more territory and tribal lands, and created bogus treaties only to break them later. These presidents forcibly removed tribes onto reservations, east to west. Then residential schools opened.
No matter what happened in these schools, these children grew into the strong people who endured every loss and suffered every indignity. They learned and realized what was happening. Some lived to return to their tribe, while others did not. These schools changed the Indian and Indian Country. The effects are still being felt.
Even erased, adoptees are still a part of Indian history. Wherever our tribes settled, they remain sovereign and sacred. Indians teach their own. Friends teach friends.
For adoptees with Native ancestry, we don’t know whether to feel abandoned or just plain robbed. “How can you miss people you haven’t met?” That is the million dollar question. We just do. It’s in our blood (even when we have more than one ancestry).
If you grow up near an Indian reservation and witness poverty firsthand, even today the U.S. government will insist Indian people are better off in cities or urban areas. What arrogance to suggest indoor plumbing and three meals a day are all an Indian family needs to survive. They need their families intact to survive.
The Adoption Projects and Programs, the next solution to the Indian problem, was to adopt and assimilate Indian kids far away from their homes and put them in new non-Indian families. The governments decided if you seal the records, the adoptee will never know.
I do not accept their plan. I plan to change their plan. I have many friends helping do this work. This blog was created to be a friend to the adoptees who have Native ancestry. If you are a Native adoptee, and need help, I am here for you. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Listening to The Other Side of Adoption with Trace A DeMeyer by Fire Talk Production https://t.co/6SGuMcotmn— TraceLHentz (@StonePony33) January 17, 2019
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