Seven generations ago someone was praying for us. We are the answer to their prayers. We take this responsibility seriously. When you are working with our children, it is sacred work. Our children are sacred.
My mother Donna Lou was born in 1939. She and her family lived on Beaver Island in Michigan. After my grandmother died, my mother was separated from her brother and sent to be a domestic servant for a Mennonite minister and his wife in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This happened despite the fact that we had literally dozens of tribal family members who could have cared for her. Her Uncle Leo and his wife, for example, always wanted a daughter and would have loved to raise my mother. Unfortunately, she was sent away without any notice to her Indian family. While she was living with the Mennonites, she was forced to cut her hair outside of her Native tradition, prohibited from practicing Native
American traditions, and prohibited from any contact with her Native American family and tribe. When she turned 17, she was forced into a loveless, arranged marriage. The marriage didn’t last very long and she was on her own, alone in the world. She never had the courage to return home to her tribe because she felt so different and damaged. With her dark skin, black hair, and brown eyes she stood
out as different from the majority of her peers in the 1950s and beyond. She never felt like she belonged anywhere. Without good examples of parenting, raising her children was a struggle for her. If my mother had been born after the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and ICWA had been followed, she would’ve had a very different life and I would’ve had a very different mother.
Our Children Are Sacred
Why the Indian Child Welfare Act Matters
By Judge Tim Connors
[Please read this powerful paper by Judge Connors.. I am amazed at his eloquence on this topic. We need more judges like him ...Trace]