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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is celebrating its one year anniversary



Post by Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


Today marks the One Year Anniversary of the Commissioners being seated. Happy Day to the TRC!
The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is celebrating its one year anniversary! Created to uncover, document and explore the experiences of Wabanaki individuals with the state child welfare system, the TRC has spent this past year actively engaging with Wabanaki communities, DHHS workers and non-native community members from across the state.
Formally seated last February, the five Commissioners: Carol Wishcamper, gkisedtanamoogk, Sandy White Hawk, Matt Dunlap and Gail Werrbach, have been busy setting the Mandate into action. In addition to meeting the logistical needs of establishing a functioning TRC, the Commission has been visiting regularly with native communities to create working relationships and foster meaningful conversations. The TRC held its first official community listening session at Sipayik in November of 2013, and is scheduled to attend events at each of the remaining tribal communities and Wabanaki Health and Wellness before this year is out. Commissioners will also be attending private statement gathering sessions within communities and the TRC will be hosting several public events across the state.
In addition to facilitating structured truth commission listening sessions, the Commission has been actively working to promote understanding of the TRC and its process through events such as recent engagements with Justice Albie Sachs of South Africa and Commissioner gkisedtanamoogk's recent TEDx talk.
While it has been only one year since the five Commissioners were seated, there is an undeniable sense of urgency within the TRC. Under the formal Mandate signed in 2012 by all five tribal chiefs and the governor of the State of Maine, the Commission has just eighteen months remaining in which to complete its task. At the close of this time, a final report will be issued and disseminated across the state, summarizing the findings of the Commission as well as making formal recommendations. Despite the tight time frame, expectations are high. "It is a remarkable group," observed Commissioner Dunlap, "We have a lot to do, but certainly the right people to do it."
In carrying the work forward, the Commission continues to work closely with Maine Wabanaki REACH, a cross-cultural organization working to ensure that the voices of Wabanaki people are heard and their experiences respected.

For More Information, visit the website, www.MaineWabanakiTRC.org or their FaceBook page - or phone the office at 207. 664.0280.
Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC is the nation's first TRC to address child welfare and native people - formerly Maine Tribal-State Child Welfare TRC
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Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

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where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?

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.