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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Adoptees who can't #FlipTheScript #breaksilence #adoption

By Trace (Adoptee-Author-Blogger)

After you read this post at Lost Daughters blog by Rebecca, HERE, I wanted to share a story about what happened to me in Wisconsin in 2008. I was invited to read an excerpt from my memoir at the Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison.

My memoir One Small Sacrifice wasn't done. It was a draft. It had changed almost daily. I knew it had holes in it.

I was having trouble finding and proving the Indian Adoption Project(s) had happened on paper.  I was using internet archives.

I was not finding adoptees who wrote narratives. I was not finding news articles.

I knew I was one voice among thousands of Lost Birds/Split Feathers. THOUSANDS!

This troubling chapter of history (Indian adoption projects run by the governments of Canada and America) and the truth of this intended genocide was buried, hidden.  Even academics had not caught on. Some were writing about residential boarding schools, not adoption.

The Native adoptees I was finding had not spoken to anyone. More than one adoptee said to me, I thought I was alone. I thought I was the only one.

Well their words echo in me even today...

Some adoptees are still not aware that there are thousands of others just like us - in the next town, in the next village, in the next county.

That happened here in western Massachusetts where I live.  One village over, I meet Daniel, a Lakota adoptee; we met at a ceremony in Wisconsin. Then I met another in the next town, an adoptee from Boston who is Inuit.

If adoption intended to isolate us from other adoptees, from our tribes, from our first families, they did it very successfully. Closed adoption succeeded by isolating us, by silencing us, paralyzing us, alienating us.

There is this silent shame in being adopted, lost to our tribes because of a government plan to erase Indian children from tribal rolls.

I felt such shame, and abandoned. Yet I was afraid to upset my adoptive parents. I was afraid something might be wrong with me. I was afraid to look for answers. I did not have friends helping me process what to do, what was next. I could not afford a private detective.

The inventors of this genocide experiment were successful until my first story about the Indian Adoption Projects ran in Talking Stick in NYC in 2005.  The article "Generation after Generation, We are Coming Home" broke that silence. Then adoptees found me. They broke their silence too.
If I had not met adoptees like me, I would not have been able to finish my memoir.

Two books, their narratives, stories written by Native adoptees soon followed - Two Worlds and Called Home.  These books will reach more adoptees like us. I wish I'd had these books when I was 22 and just starting my search. I had nothing to go on, and very little hope.

At the end of my reading in Wisconsin, a young man came up and said he was adopted too. Painfully shy, he admitted that he was afraid of upsetting his adopted parents if he tried to look for his first family.  He had not even tried because Wisconsin had sealed their adoption files tight as a drum. He was also scared of the expense ($$$) of looking!  I told him I understood and how many of us adoptees suffer from a "gratitude attitude," when we feel silenced and afraid. I told him to start his search when he was ready and I'd help him. I told him to contact me.

I gave him what I knew he needed: HOPE.

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Takeaway Podcast ICWA

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!
Survivors, write your stories. Write your parents stories. Write the elders stories. Do not be swayed by the colonizers to keep quiet. Tribal Nations have their own way of keeping stories alive.... Trace

Help in available!

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

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Diane Tells His Name

Please support NARF

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.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

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.