|Maine signs Historic 'Truth and Reconciliation' Agreement with Indian Tribes|
Chiefs from all five of Maine's tribes joined Gov. Paul LePage today (06/29/2012) in signing an historic agreement to create a Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
It will examine child welfare practices that once resulted in large numbers of Indian children being forcibly removed from their homes. The ceremony in the State House Hall of Flags marks the first time that such an effort has occurred in the United States between Indian nations and a state government. Tribal members consider the agreement crucial to their healing process.
The statistics are sobering. Chief Brenda Commander of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians says at one time, 16 percent of all Maliseet children were in state custody. In the 1970's the Federal Indian Policy Commission backed that up with a report that found Indian children in Aroostook County were being placed in foster homes 60 percent more often than non-native children.
Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation says children were placed in foster homes or sent away to boarding school in a cruel attempt at assimilation. They were separated from their families, their language, their cultural identities--and in some cases, he says, subjected to horrific abuse.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Maine's apology for Indian Adoption Projects
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