How to Use this Blog

Howdy! We've amassed tons of information and important history on this blog since 2010. If you have a keyword, use the search box below. Also check out the reference section above. If you have a question or need help searching, use the contact form at the bottom of the blog.

“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” If you buy any of the books at the links provided, the editor will earn a small amount of money or commission. (we thank you) (that is our disclaimer statement)

This is a blog. It is not a peer-reviewed journal, not a sponsored publication... The ideas, news and thoughts posted are sourced… or written by the editor or contributors.

Can you help us? Here is how:

Please know that if you write an honest book review, we are very very appreciative. Amazon, Kobo, Good Reads, Apple Books, etc. - every opinion counts.

If you can, please donate a copy of our book titles to your local library, college or school.

Search This Blog

Friday, February 14, 2014

Adoption From a Native American Perspective

Leland Morrill, adopted from the Navajo Nation
Leland Morrill was estranged from his Navajo lineage for twenty years. Today, as an author, advocate, and speaker, Morrill shares the unique perspective of how adoption is viewed by Native American family and culture, through the eyes of an adult adoptee.

Leland Morrill was born in 1966, on sovereign land, in the Navajo Nation, within the state of Arizona. He was not issued a birth certificate, and does not know the exact date of his birth. His young, unwed mother was his sole caretaker for the first few years of his life, and according to Leland, this wasn’t unusual in Native American culture.
“Marriage is a Christian concept, not Native,” said Morrill. “Many people from my parent’s generation weren’t married. It’s a very matriarchal society. When you’re born, you take on your mother’s last name, you go to your mother’s family, and the women decide whether the men stay around after the children are born. That’s the way it was. ”
When Leland was two years old, his mother suffered a fatal head injury after flipping her car on a bridge in Albuquerque New Mexico. It was September 1968; Leland was two years old.
“My brother and I went to St. Anthony’s orphanage, where they figured out that we were Navajo, and took us back to the reservation to stay with my grandmother. In our culture, once your mother dies, your next caretakers are your aunts and grandmothers. They are considered your mothers,” said Morrill.
Less than a year after being placed in the care of his grandmother, Leland was taken to the Indian Health Services Hospital for a minor burn on his foot. After Leland was treated, he was taken to another hospital in Gallup, New Mexico, where the Bureau of Indian Affairs decided to investigate.
“They saw poor people, Indians. My grandmother was a sheepherder, living on an Indian reservation without electricity,” Morrill said. “My relatives couldn’t speak English, so they said— ‘we don’t know if these people are your relatives or not, so we are going to take you.’”
Leland was immediately removed from his home and placed with an adoptive couple looking for Native American children to foster and adopt. The day after he was adopted, the family moved to Ontario, Canada, severing all ties Leland had to his biological, Native American family.
Not uncommon for the times, before 1978, when Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act, a very high number of Indian children were removed from their homes by public and private agencies and placed in non-Indian foster and adoptive homes or institutions. Leland, who was part of the Amicus Group that went to DC to attend the argument on behalf of Dusten Brown and the Cherokee Nation in the “Baby Veronica” adoption case, explained that there are new laws and bills being passed currently to help further protect biological families. One bill in particular, the Oklahoma Truth In Adoption Act (HB 1118), urges judges to consider the biological family members first before allowing a child to be placed with non-related adoptive parents by an adoption agency.  
“From a human trafficking point of view, I was trafficked,” said Morrill. “Every time they adopted a child, they went to another country. They adopted seven more children when we got to Canada, and then we moved right after that. They separated us from our cultures.”

“They trained us within the Mormon ideology; they thought they were saving us. They thought they were doing the right thing, and from that perspective they were good people. But from a Native American perspective—they were not.”
Leland Morrill returned to his mother’s clan, the Many Goats Clan, for the first time in 1989, to be greeted with open arms by his grandmother and his cousins. “I was a little freaked out, like—wow! this is what I would have been raised like.”
“I tell Native American adoptees like myself—yes, this is what happened to you. You were trafficked. But you have to get past that. Consider yourselves different, because you were forced to assimilate into a different culture. But use that assimilation in your favor—whatever education or opportunities were presented to you that others on the reservation didn’t have, you can come back and use them to help your people.”

For more about Leland’s story, read: Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects


  1. This was a very interesting and informative post.

  2. I am so upset my blood boils.I'm not sure if I'm Choctaw Indain mix or what .Still as a mother of loss to my son that was taken ,almost like this back in the day of the baby scoop era ,my son didn't have a chance.Polotitions and people in high places of office of this supposedly free country ,that has never really been a free country as some greedy people from who knows where stole and made war on US soil ever since we knew land was over her but I wasn't there,history tells us we are and were never free.Only the jet set and the greatest of money in their banks made their own money making juman trafficking industry taking family of the American Indain and their children to this very day of a worldwide genocide .After the war on the American Indain ,it remained under a slavery.As their civil rights were taken away just as adoptees and 1st mothers of today and they are under this slavery for neglect to have what the constition says all man is supposed to have( Freedom to their documents of who they are ,adoptives changing the newborns very place and time of birth ,not giving the real mother any rights.All people are at risk and have lost a lot of blood relatives,they do not belive that blood has any merit for who we are.We are not made of iron and steel but the greeds adoptives have stone cold hearts,not a definition in my book of human beings that just take babys and children because they have more money,not once offering the good and civil way help thy neighbor -they only the adoption Industry helped themselves to other couples child which is not what God had in mind for his people .God is the one that had diciples to write down the many thousands of bloodlines,even Moses and he was also forced by having no choice .Later is when Moses left Egypt saying let my people go .He saw his real mother and they lived and were mother and son again the way God wanted it.I promise ,this all this horror is caused by greedy while man and I'm white,trying not to be preduce against my own people It's wrong no matter what the people my own kind -I think?As I grew older I saw in the holy bible many things in my Church said about indains and their life.What a goodness even when they meditated so did the diciples and spirit in the sky was a plus and I wish them all a final Open all records,give back all blood kin to the American Indains of this country ,enough -enough Maybe if one person starts a say no to votes and it turns overwhelming ,this nation just might then realize it is not theirs -But the Peoples !

    1. Free as A Bird, I am so sorry for the loss your son and hope beyond hope that you are reunited. What happened in the Americas to Indigenous First Nations has been buried and concealed -- but many adoptees I have met are opening their hearts and sharing the pain and loss they endured because of closed adoptions, like Leland did sharing his story. This story is still being written. Many of us were born in the 40s up to the 1970s, before the Indian Child Welfare Act was passed and made federal law. But we know many states are not following this law and children are still being placed with non-Indian adoptive parents, as with Baby Veronica last year. I agree we must say no, no more, no to taking Native children and placing them with non-Indian parents. It must end in 2014.

  3. I too was taken by a lutheran adoption agency. I was 4, and the only one of my bothers adopted. The issue for me, was that my grandmother was taken from her tribe and placed into a nunnery when she was young. She had no tribe to fight for her. It's a systematic problem, a forgotten racism that's too far removed from the source, that emanates in our society like an old scar. I feel like dirt swept under a rug. Now I am left without a family, and without my culture.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I am a black market baby from Arizona . Doctored birth certificate says 10/28/1969. I believe I am half native and half Caucasian. I have dreams , visions, and see things that I am told are Native American and I am highly intuitive and a long list of other gifts. I doubt I will find my family as my life is based on lies and I walked away from adoptive family and their trust fund. I know what I feel is truth. It is disgraceful what was done to people by powers that be. Thanks for letting me share. Nadia

    1. Nadia, There is always hope (as in DNA tests) and courts are changing how they deal with our issues. Please email me: - don't lose hope.



Please: Share your reaction, your thoughts, and your opinions. Be passionate, be unapologetic. Offensive remarks will not be published. We are getting more and more spam. Comments will be monitored.
Use the comment form at the bottom of this website which is private and sent direct to Trace.

Support them!

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.

Did you know?

Did you know?

Help in available!

Help in available!
1-844-7NATIVE (click photo)

click to listen

Diane Tells His Name

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?