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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Washtenaw Tribal Court Celebrates Event

Washtenaw County Reunification Day Coverage; Justice McCormack, Judge Conners, and Chairman Mandoka


Here is “Reunification Day” from the Washtenaw County Legal News, Michigan.

An excerpt:
Justice McCormack acknowledged how moving the annual Adoption Day celebrations are and that “in a way, this is even more moving.
“As I look around and talk with people today, I believe it’s a privilege to be a part of this celebration. What a tremendous accomplishment. In reading thousands of petitions, you come to understand the struggles that families are facing in this process and of what’s required of them. I know from personal experience and as a mother that parenting is incredibly hard work. Raising a family is hard even when things are going well let alone the curve balls thrown at families in the court process.”
McCormack noted that parents “are only as happy as your unhappiest child.”
“As an appellate judge, it isn’t often that I can look a parent in the face and say, ‘Well Done.’ So it’s nice to say that today. In spite of setbacks, you didn’t stop working to show your kids what it means to be a family. And as important as that accomplishment, you have shown your kids how to get through it when life throws you a curve ball.”
Chairman Mandoka noted that during his involvement in the development of a tribal court system in Michigan, tribal leaders needed to address difficult family situations.
“We wanted to make sure people could see more clearly when in a fog. In the fog, you feel lost, you make wrong decisions. We’ve all been a part of that. We have now developed a court system and a probation system to help struggling individuals see past that fog.
“In the end, it’s always about a relationship. You can talk about models, plans and forecasts but it’s still all about the relationship; eye-to-eye contact and a handshake.
“We all should make sure that we leave this earth a better place than how it was when we came into it, for our children. That’s what should drive us, should be our passion.”
Judge Connors noted that those involved in child welfare work have defined the responsibility to three core accomplishments: safe children, strong families and supportive communities.
“We are always looking at doing whatever furthers those key goals. One thing we have learned from Native American culture and tribal courts is the importance to come to your work with an internal balance. Only then can we bring the best that we have to a situation."

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Takeaway Podcast ICWA

What our Nations are up against!

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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

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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.