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2019: This blog was ranked #50 in top 100 blogs about adoption. Let's make it #1... We hit 1 million reads! WOW!

2019: WE NEED A TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION Commission in the US now for the Adoption Programs that stole generations of children... Goldwater Institute's work to dismantle ICWA is another glaring attempt at cultural genocide.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lawsuit Shines Spotlight on Sexual Abuse of Navajo Children within the Lamanite Placement Program

PRESS CONFERENCE: Lawsuit Shines Spotlight on Sexual Abuse of Navajo Children within the Lamanite Placement Program

Two enrolled members of the Navajo Nation filed suit against LDS Family Services and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the “Mormon” or “LDS” Church, stemming from child sexual abuse that occurred during the Church’s “Lamanite Placement Program” in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Complex PTSD as an official diagnosis

CLICK: Complex PTSD as an official diagnosis

For many of us adoptees, this PTSD diagnosis is reason enough to seek immediate help... Trace

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How do we heal trauma suffered by Native communities?

It is not enough that the Attawapiskat First Nation has declared a state of emergency over the epidemic of suicides and suicide attempts among its youth. Our entire country should declare a state of emergency about the appalling health status, physical and mental, of First Nations and Inuit communities. Would we not have already if, instead of Nunavut or Attawapiskat, it was, say, the teens of Westmount, Forest Hill or Kitsilano who were killing themselves at 10 times the national rate?

I am often asked to visit First Nations communities across Canada to speak about addiction, stress-related illness and child development. The ordinary Canadian citizen simply has no idea, cannot even begin to imagine, what misfortunes, tragedies and other kinds of adversity many native young people experience by the time they reach adolescence – how many deaths of loved ones they witness, what abuse they endure, what despair they feel, what self-loathing plagues them, what barriers to a life of freedom and meaning they face.

At the core of the suicide pandemic is unresolved trauma, passed almost inexorably from one generation to the next, along with social conditions that induce further hopelessness. The source of that multi-generational trauma is this country’s colonial past and its residue in the present. The march of the history and progress Canada celebrates, from which we derive much pride and national identity, meant catastrophe for natives: the loss of lands and livelihood and of freedom of movement, the mockery and invalidation of their spiritual ways, the near-extirpation of their culture, the corruption of their intra-familial and intra-communal relationships, and finally, for nearly a hundred years, the state-sanctioned abduction, rape, physical abuse and mental torture of their children.

The questions we must ask ourselves nationally are very simple. How do we as a country move to heal the trauma that drives the misery of many native communities? What can be done to undo the dynamics our past has dictated? Some may balk at such inquiry, fearing the discomfort that comes with guilt. However, this is not a matter of communal guilt, but of communal responsibility. It is not about the past. It is about the present. And it is about all of us: When some among us suffer, ultimately we all do.

To begin, native history must be taught fully and in unsparing detail in our schools. All Canadians should know, for example, that 50 years ago it was not unheard of for a four-year-old girl to have a pin stuck in her tongue for the crime of speaking her mother language and later endure serial rape by teachers, religious mentors. Such were the antecedents of today’s drug use and suicidal anguish. The resonant values, brilliant art, stories and wisdom culture of First Nations people should be introduced in Canadian schools. Canadians must be helped to see their First Nations peers in their fullness, which includes their humanity, grandeur, unspeakable suffering and strength.

We must renounce any political, economic or social policy that reinforces the colonial trauma of disempowerment, loss and dispossession. Not another square centimetre of native land must be disturbed, not a blade of grass cut, not one more drop of water diverted, not a millimetre of pipeline laid without First Nations agreement.

Institutions and individuals interacting with native people must become deeply trauma-informed. Judges, teachers, law-enforcement personnel, nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, public employees, policy-makers all must understand what trauma is, its multiple impacts on human mentality and behavior, and how to address it. Without such information, as I have witnessed repeatedly, the best-meaning people can unwittingly re-traumatize those who can least bear further pain and loss. Practices that devastate families must be stopped, such as the frequent apprehension of children without restorative and compassionate family-building support.

Alternative forms of justice must be developed, aligned with native traditions and in consultation with First Nations. The implicit racism in our law-enforcement institutions must be openly acknowledged and cleansed. Powerfully beneficial traditional healing practices must be researched, taught, encouraged. We need to celebrate the First Nations cultural renaissance, a tribute to human resilience, now taking place.

Economic and social conditions that engender despair must be addressed, with the utmost urgency. If we could spend more than $15-billion on our self-declared mission to help the people of Afghanistan, surely we can find the resources in our rich land to help redeem people whom our history continues to victimize.

(Gabor Maté is a retired B.C. physician who specializes in addiction.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Missing Threads Best Documentary award! #WICWA

Adoptee Loa Porter (HoChunk)
One Native film, Missing Threads, was selected as the festival’s Best Documentary. The film chronicles the creation and passing of the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act (WICWA). This important piece of state legislation has far-reaching implications, and sets an important precedent for all tribes as they navigate the sensitive subject of the foster care system and its impacts on Native children. According to the ABQfilmx website the film reinforces the significance of the "thread that connects a child to their culture, to their sense of self, home and belonging. When that thread is broken or missing, the individual and the culture suffer. Can the thread be mended? Can connection be restored? This documentary explores the pivotal influence of tribal culture and connection for Native children, and the negative impacts for the child, the family and tribal culture when that connection is missing." 

More about this film is in the new anthology STOLEN GENERATIONS!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Early thoughts: Revelations and Dead Indians

Back in 2008, I had a draft of my first book and I had given it the name DEAD INDIANS (taken from the phrase "the only good Indian is a dead Indian.")  Here are some of my early thoughts.   

Trace (author of One Small Sacrifice)


“…well I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and civilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before. – Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)

Being so disconnected from self, or discombobulated, I’d call it paralyzed, emotionally closed for business. In other words, I was a wreck. This was a very big revelation for me. Huge. I didn’t like any of it. I’d found lots of books on what to do if you adopt a baby. There weren’t any on how to live like this.
            Realizing my assimilation, I had to accept that I’m a stranger to my own history, my own tribe. I wanted to feel better. I’m no kid. I’d had Indian friends all my life. What hurt, ducks around me were nice but didn’t care. They were not in my skin or have any clue.  How do I heal or deal with this? In many ways I was ashamed to admit any of it.
            Two ducks raised me, two (chickens) had walked away. All four parents were completely unaware of how they contributed to the big picture; this wasn’t about any fault or blame. I knew adopting was the way it was done; the bigger system decreed let someone else raise your baby. For Indian people, which you will read later, some were unwilling and did not have a choice.
            It was very hard for me to accept why my own birthparents, why my mother, rejected me. That’s how I felt. I didn’t know why.  “Left… Let go... Abandoned… Orphaned.”  Those words echoed inside me like an infection, like I was defective. Seriously, at times I acted like an emotionally battered and beaten dog. I remember. I felt terrible as a kid. It wasn’t safe to be me, so sad, so shameful. I remember living with my adoptive parents and it wasn’t all rosy. I held in more anger and anxiety than they or I could handle. I buried that too, filed it away, pretended it wasn’t there.
            I can see now that my new mom and dad pretended too; my (adoptive) parents were hiding their own pain, her infertility, their loss after her two miscarriages. As my little brother and I grew up their adopted kids, we lived their secret fear we wouldn’t turn out ok.
            This dead feeling (and sickness) was in my soul, invisible, but it’d spread like cancer. I could function, sure, and even be a writer and musician, someone my family could brag about. There’s no question my adoptive family gave me many things – along with the confidence that they loved me. Yet growing up, no one said how deeply disturbed or troubled I was.
            Right above my office chair is an African mobile called the Circle of Joy. The circle of dancers sway above me and remind me of why I’m here. It’s my purpose to ask, to write, to find joy in every moment, to dance my way home.
            So what is trauma and what caused the trauma I felt? I had to know so I could release it.
Sage Smudge is essential for all of us

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Adoption Trauma, Adaptation & Addiction

By Trace Hentz (American Indian Adoptees editor)

I freely admit I am an adoptee with trauma, a trauma that happened when I was a tiny baby (pre-language).  Doctors might classify this as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Today there are many other terms: Reactive Attachment Disorder, Severe Narcissistic Injury, the Primal Wound, or perhaps the Adoptee Syndrome.

Today I was explaining to a friend on the phone I was trying to find an analogy for her high stress (distress).  I told her: Imagine you are a rabbit raised in a den of snakes. That rabbit would never feel comfortable and you'd be on high alert, as in adrenal overload - "fight or flight." That stress on you the rabbit would not go away: You are not home. The mother snake is not your mother. You want your own mother. You don't feel safe. These snakes are not your people. They literally scare you.

The trauma can add up: being abandoned-relinquished-separated from your source/mother, foster care before adoption, or an orphanage, not bonding to anyone: all these add up to more trauma and being afraid.

Now I know this will upset people who adopted a baby. Some are very nice people. They don't want to be called snakes or scary.

But the bottom line for the adoptee: The strangers are not your parents. They adopted you. They are substitutes.  What happened as a baby affects us as adults.

And as this short video (above) by Paul Sunderland suggests: it's not adoption, it's adaptation. We adoptees do adapt.  Some of us go insane. And we get scarred. And the stress of that is not good for any child. And it follows you into adulthood. (And as the video suggests, some of us fall into addictions and self-medicating behavior and suicide.) Some of us get very sick.  Full Video

No matter how well meaning our adoptive parents are, they must understand how we view this situation, what we take from it and understand, and what we feel deeply in our soul.

Watch Part One: Primal Wound with Nancy Verrier...

This loss we experience is a soul injury.  And it lasts our entire life.

Friday, May 20, 2016

#60s Scoop Unbelievable Journey

Heather Sararas, local crisis counsellor at Maggie’s, has found her birth mother 47 years after she was removed from her home at the age of four during the “Sixties Scoop” of aboriginal children in Canada. Here she visits with her mother, who is now living in Kingston.


Heather Sararas is one of the crisis counsellors at Maggie’s Resource Centre of North Hastings, and for many years has been working to help women and children in North Hastings change their lives for the better. She is a mother, wife, and now grandmother; a hard worker devoted to her family and herself, and her community.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Language has power: “Education is the means whereby a culture perpetuates itself and transfers itself to the young"

This is first time UAS has had graduates with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Alaska Native Languages and Studies. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)
The University of Alaska Southeast graduated its first Alaska Native Languages and Studies majors in 2014. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Many of Alaska’s rural schools are not working. Low student performance and high teacher turnover are just two of more obvious indicators of problems in these mostly Native school districts. Those working in the schools say it’s time for radical changes.

Paul Berg has taught in Alaska for more than 40 years — 10 of them in villages.

“You want to see racism go to a village school,” said Berg. “You’ll see Outside, usually Anglo teachers have the best jobs, the most pay. Vast majority of administrators will be Anglo. It is not working. The statistics and the data are very clear. ”

Berg, now 70, teaches high school students during the summer and works as a cross-cultural specialist for the Goldbelt Heritage Foundation. He, among other educators meeting this month at the University of Alaska’s Natives Studies Conference, describes schools as colonial forces not that much different from the boarding schools of years ago that punished Native children for speaking their languages.

“Education is the means whereby a culture perpetuates itself and transfers itself to the young. Public education has taken this away from the Yupik, the Inupiat, the Aleut and others and given basically middle-class America to these people,” said Berg. “As to the degree that they wish that… that should be their choice but they should have the inalienable undeniable right to transfer the culture and the language to their children. It’s called the right of culture sovereignty and English-speaking nations are among the last on earth to recognize it.
Xh'unei Lance Twitchell addresses the crowd that had gathered for the signing of HB 216, a bill making Alaska's Native languages official state languages. (Photo by Jennifer Canfield/KTOO)
Xh’unei Lance Twitchell addresses a crowd at the 2014 Alaska Federation of Natives Convention. At the event, Gov. Sean Parnell signed HB 216, a bill making Alaska’s Native languages official state languages. (Photo by Jennifer Canfield/KTOO)

“My prayer is that Tlingit is going to live forever because we want our little babies to be talking,” said Xh’unei Lance Twitchell.

Keep Reading

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Indian Child Welfare Act: The Real Tragedy Is That It’s Not Enforced

Casey Jo Caswell of Lansing, Mich. made a terrible mistake. Homeless and jobless, she turned to Michigan’s child welfare agency for help raising her son, Ricky.
But the agency offered no help with housing, no help with a job and no help with education. They told her to surrender the child to “temporary” foster care, and then rushed to terminate her parental rights.
Ricky was placed with middle class foster parents in a nice, big home. First it was as a foster child, then it became his adoptive home.
Once, during a counseling session, The Detroit News reported, the boy was playing with two plastic horses when he said: “This little horse is going to die if he can’t be with his mother.” That proved prophetic. Ricky Holland’s white adoptive parents murdered him. They stuffed his body in a trash bag and left it by the side of a road.
Yet in all the years since, no one has suggested that, because of this horror story, the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), the law that spurred the rush to place Ricky in the home where he was adopted to death, should be repealed or curbed. That’s understandable. There’s an excellent case for curbing ASFA, but it shouldn’t be built on horror stories that unfairly stigmatize entire groups.
Yet Marie Cohen offers a similar horror story involving a Native American home (recycled from the Goldwater Institute) as the only evidence in support of her claim that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) should be curbed. Or maybe should never have been passed at all; she’s not clear about that.
Cohen dismisses in a single sentence the horrors inflicted on Native American children that led to passage of ICWA. In fact, from the 19th century through the 1960s, American child welfare agencies tried to effectively eradicate Indian culture and, indeed, Indian tribes, by simply taking away children.
First, they were warehoused in hideous orphanages. Later, there was a campaign of mass adoptions. Melissa Harris Perry called the orphanages an “explicit cultural extermination mission.”

By the mid-20th century, people stopped actually saying “kill the Indian, save the child.” But it took ICWA to change practice, and it hasn’t changed nearly enough.


HELP us find Navajo adoptee Christopher Largo

We received this urgent message from Tina. If you know an adoptee born on Nov. 12. 1973/4 - or on January 12, 1974 -- please contact me immediately. []

His mom is very ill and just had cancer surgery. She has made a major effort to try and find her son (my brother) recently. She put him up for adoption through the Navajo Nation Social Service. 

My brother was adopted through the Navajo Nation Social Service. What information I received from my mom is as follows: He was born November 12, 1973/1974 at the Gallup Indian Hospital or on January 12, 1974 in Gallup, New Mexico.  My mom, Betty Jean Largo, named her son Christopher Largo. He was immediately adopted as soon as he was born.  Since he was adopted out through the Navajo Nation and in his 40's there was nothing Navajo Social Services office could do. 
My mom said she thought she gave birth on November 12, 1973/1974 but her aunt said she gave birth on January 12, 1974.  Anyway, my mom said everything was a blur. The days after she adopted, she tried to get her baby back but social service told her she couldn't do that.

If he has non-identifying information, his mother was born in 1949 and was age 24 when she had him. Both parents are Navajo.

Please share this message.

Monday, May 16, 2016

We Were Children

Josephine sent us this link from New Brunswick, Canada


In this 2012 feature film, the profound impact of the Canadian government’s residential school system is conveyed through the eyes of two children who were forced to face hardships beyond their years. A s young children, Lyna and Glen were taken from their homes and placed in church-run boarding schools, where they suffered years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, the effects of which persist in their adult lives. We Were Children gives voice to a national tragedy and demonstrates the incredible resilience of the human spirit.

Thank you Megwetch Josephine!

2-Year-Old Miles Stead’s Death #ICWA

ICWA Violations and Rampant Child Removals

Miles Stead died from
Miles Stead died from brain injury
Guest Commentary
Published May 15, 2016
Miles Stead, a two-year-old Lakota boy, was killed by his foster mother just months after being taken from his home on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. His story should be raising alarms about the rampant removal of Native American children from their families in violation of federal law, yet it has been largely ignored by the national media.
Stead’s foster mother, Mary Beth Jennewein, was arrested in March and charged with second degree murder and four counts of voluntary manslaughter. A hearing held May 11 denied Jennewein a reduced bond. Her conviction is anticipated in June.
Nina Stead, Miles’s biological mother, had no history of child abuse when her son was taken after she was found drinking a beer. If the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) were adhered to, Miles could have been saved, and this injustice could have been prevented.
ICWA is meant to address the widespread separation of Native American children from their families and tribes. Its purpose is to protect the rights of children to live with their families, and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families. The federal law dictates that placement preference for the child is to be given to extended family or tribal families, and that tribes be notified when their children are placed in the foster care system, which provides the tribes a chance to intervene in state proceedings.
However, ICWA is constantly violated. Why? It’s unfortunately simple. Native American children are seen as cash cows. The Department of Social Services (DSS) categorizes Native American children as “special needs,” which brings the state and adopting families extra cash.
South Dakota for example, which is notorious for its ICWA violations, reels in $79,000 per Native American child per year, and families who adopt can claim a tax credit of $13,400. Seven tribal governments endorsed a 2013 report concluding there is “a strong financial incentive for state officials to take high numbers of Native American foster children into custody.”
Native American children continue to be placed in foster care at an alarming rate. They constitute two percent of the total number of children in foster care, even though they only make up 1 percent of the United States child population. In South Dakota, more than 750 Native American children are placed in foster care per year, making up nearly one-third of the state’s foster care population, despite only making up 13 percent of the total child population.

ICWA violations have led to almost 90 percent of Native American children being placed in non-Native homes. These children hold the future of their tribe, they are the source of revitalization for tribal communities and their continued removal places tribes at risk of becoming extinct. If children continue to be taken at the current rate there may not be children to continue the tribe, and the cultural identity of the tribe can’t be passed down.

There have been developments in the past year however, suggesting that this trend of unbridled ICWA violations may finally begin slowing down. Last year, the Bureau of Indian Affairs published new ICWA guidelines to strengthen the law and ensure its compliance, and that same year the courts found that South Dakota willfully violated ICWA. Officials within the DSS, the state attorney and Judge Jeff Davis were found to have violated ICWA. Their actions resulted in thousands of children being placed with non-Native families.

What’s more, the Administration for Children and Families proposed in [month] to record ICWA-related data, which has never been done before and is expected to illuminate the extent of overrepresentation of Native American children in foster care. Last month, a Memorandum of Understanding was announced between the BIA, Department of Justice and Health and Human Services to ensure ICWA fulfills its intended purpose.

State ICWA noncompliance has spun out of control, and at long last U.S. government agencies have become aware of what Indian Country has known for decades — that children like Miles succeed better when raised by their families. For people like Susan Becker, a close family friend of Miles’ mother who is much too familiar with seeing Lakota youth taken from their families, this level of attention is long overdue.

“ICWA needs to step in earlier,” said Becker, a member of the Rosebud Reservation. “My nephew was murdered because a woman wanted to collect a paycheck.”
Becker had known Miles since he was born, and views his mother as family, she refers to Miles as her nephew and had temporary guardianship status prior to his removal. As soon as Miles was taken from his mother, Becker sprung into action and attempted to gain custody of him. However, since she is not a blood relative, the DSS said she’d have to take a foster parent class, which they only offered to her in March.

“Miles passed away before I could even start the classes,” Becker said, adding that the DSS agents made the process very difficult for her.

As per ICWA’s guidelines, Miles should have had preferential placement with a tribal member or family member, but the DSS quickly placed him in a non-Native home.

Coroners found Miles with a fractured skull and internal bleeding. They ruled traumatic brain injury as the cause of death. Jennewein told law enforcement that Miles was “known to hit his head a lot,” suggesting that this happened while at daycare, but surveillance video from the daycare proved this was not the case.

Miles’ story is a testament that adherence to ICWA can literally be a matter of life and death. Children are being removed from their families for preposterous reasons that one could not imagine happening to a White family.

“I don’t know how to put this, but if you’re drinking one beer and someone calls the police you’ll get your kids taken,” Becker said. “The state’s making money off our children.”

This issue plaguing Indian Country demands the attention of the masses. Native American issues cannot continue to be placed on the backburner and ignored by popular media.

The Lakota People’s Law Project is calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to provide recommendations to Congress on how to develope child and family service programs that are run by tribal nations, for tribal nations. This commission would take testimony from boarding school survivors, identifying how the boarding school system impacted their lives so that their stories will not be lost in U.S. history.  It would also conduct comprehensive national studies focused on the past and ongoing effects of the boarding school policy, and advise Congress on ways to begin an official process of healing.

Acquiescing to the DSS’ widespread seizure of Native American children will lead to the eventual dissolution and destruction of tribes. Our children are our future. Our children are sacred.

Ardy Raghian is the press director for the Lakota People’s Law Project.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Big Surprise #1 (last week)

This is a reblog from June 2011.

I wish for every adoptee out there that they can find out how they arrived, who their parents are and what actually happened.

Can one day change your life?

Like so many adoptees out there, too many of us have blank pages in our Chapter One. Most adoptees don’t know much (if anything) about the year we were conceived or events leading up to our birth. Our parents might be mythical figures; so dreamlike, we create stories for them. We might make our parents into martyrs who were coerced into giving us up because they were too young or too poor or unmarried. We might imagine them as star-crossed lovers like Romeo and Juliet, better to think of them as two people who were in love.

All I knew: my parents lived together. Sadly because Earl and Helen have died, my beginning was lost and I never expected to know what happened 50+ years ago. Up until now, the only people I’d met on my adoptee journey did not recall my parents together. My parents did not get married in Chicago. After me, each made new babies they kept.

One of my cousins Buddy and I share the same great-grandma… Even though I’ve been to Illinois more than a few times to visit my siblings, Earl’s kids, I had not met this cousin. I wrote to Buddy a few years ago but never heard from him.

Buddy is the Harlow-Allen-Morris family historian in Illinois.

So last week we spoke for the first time. I heard the one thing I never expected to hear. Buddy knew my parents - Earl and Helen – when they were living together in Chicago in 1955/6.  He is the only person who remembers them as a couple.

Yes, it was a long time ago. Buddy was 12 and stayed at their apartment. Buddy said my mother was so nice, how he really liked her.  He thought Earl and Helen were married.  When he went back home to Pana, he didn’t know they broke up until Earl married his next wife Caroline.  Yes, my father had already been married before but not to Helen, my mother.

Adoptees like me have a hard time imagining our parents in their 20s. Fantasy seems better than the reality I had a dad who didn’t marry every woman he slept with and he decided to split with my mother because she got pregnant with me.

The new anthology Stolen Generations has stories just like mine, how they were able to find out where they fit in their parent's life story... READ MORE HERE

Taken 2017 #60sScoop

Public broadcasters from around the world hear how Canada became a leader in Indigenous TV at INPUT conference

Glen Gould as Smokey Stoney and Tantoo Cardinal as Wilma Stoney in Blackstone, a television series produced for APTN. HO / THE CANADIAN PRESS

When Lisa Meeches was pregnant with her daughter she read some statistics gathered by the United Nations about Indigenous women.

They revealed that by the time an indigenous woman came of age there was a high probability she would be murdered, abused or suffer from addiction issues. Her daughter had yet to be born, but the Ojibwe TV and film producer was struck by a sense of dread.

It was the starting point for the documentary series, Taken, an Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and CBC documentary series that will look at stories of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“Taken was born out of fear,” Meeches told an audience Monday night at the the International Public Television Screening Conference (INPUT) in downtown Calgary. “You find those passion pieces and you are able to roll the dice and really believe in those projects.”

While the focus of INPUT is to watch, discuss and debate public television content from around the globe, Monday’s Canadian Indigenous Showcase shone a light on a distinctly Canadian phenomenon. Moderated by Calgary’s Michelle Thrush, a Calgary actress and activist who stars in Blackstone, and Tina Keeper, an activist, former MP for Churchill, Man. and star of the Alberta-shot CBC series North of 60, the panel celebrated Canada’s leadership in Indigenous television.

As Taken proves, Indigenous filmmakers and TV producers rarely shy away from the painful aspects of aboriginal life, both past and present, in Canada. But the panel discussion heard how Canada has been a leader in providing opportunities for these stories to be told. The rise of Internet and social media has only opened the doors wider and allowed more stories to be told as the audience continues to grow. Aboriginal youth are one of the largest growing demographics in Canada, with 40 per cent of all aboriginals 19-years-old or younger.

The international audience on Monday, which included delegates from around the world involved in public broadcasting, heard how Indigenous storytelling reached this point in Canada.
That included APTN’s origin story. Executive director Monika Ille and senior manager of programming Danielle Audette chronicled the network’s early days in the territories and rise to national broadcaster, the first of its kind in Canada.

Producers Bonnie Thompson and Tasha Hubbard spoke about the National Film Board’s evolving relationship with aboriginal filmmakers, including the establishment in 1968 of the Challenge for Change program, which allowed Indigenous filmmakers to tell their own stories and led to the cinematic careers of artists such as Gil Cardinal and Willie Dunn.

CBC reporter Duncan McCue spoke about the power of seeing aboriginal representation on television when he was growing up as a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation.

It was after seeing actor Pat John as Jesse on the CBC series The Beachcombers in the 1980s that McCue first realized aboriginal characters on TV could stray from the stereotype personified by the Lone Ranger’s stoic and loyal sidekick Tonto.

“Jesse wore plaid shirts and jeans, he worked hard and he had a big smile,” McCue said. “Jesse was a sidekick too (to Bruno Gerussi), but he looked like one of my relatives. To me, Jesse was a real Indian on TV. There’s something about seeing your own people on TV that makes you feel bigger.”
Taken is scheduled to run in 2017 on the CBC and APTN. The NFB’s Thompson and Hubbard will be producing the upcoming documentary Birth of a Family, which will follow the story of how Saskatoon Star Phoenix reporter Betty Ann Adam’s three siblings were reunited after being taken from their Dene mother during the “Sixties Scoop,” a mass removal of aboriginal children from their families and into the Canadian child welfare system starting in the mid-1960s.

Meanwhile, one of the most critically acclaimed series on APTN, Blackstone, could soon have much more of a global reach. While the Edmonton-shot series, which focused on the politics and drama on a First Nations reserve, ended after five seasons in December, creator Ron Scott said that the series has entered a deal with Netflix that will soon have Blackstone seen in more than 80 countries.

“For thousands and thousands of years we’ve been passing down stories through our elders to our children,” said Thrush, who won a Gemini in 2011 for her role as Grace Stoney in Blackstone. “This has been going on for a long time. We are seeing the modern way of using the oral tradition. That’s how we are telling our stories: Through filmmaking, through community news, through the media.”
INPUT continues until Thursday at the Telus Convention Centre. Visit

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Embracing the Past and the Present #Indigenous


Click links in tweets... have a good weekend... xox Trace

Friday, May 13, 2016

I got robbed of loving family #StolenGenerations #60sScoop

Thunder Bay man seeks accountability for lost childhood

Class action suit for children of the ‘Sixties Scoop’ stalled (in 2012)


When William Campbell wanted to find his biological parents, he didn’t even know where to look. He knew he was born in Kirkland Lake, Ont. but didn’t know from which of the three First Nations in the area he’d been taken as a child.
Campbell is one of more than 5,000 people in northern Ontario (an estimated 16,000 across the province) who were scooped up by child welfare agencies in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. They were adopted out to non-Aboriginal homes across Canada, the United States and as far away as Europe.
William Campbell was adopted out to a non-Aboriginal home as part of a child welfare agency sweep between the 1950s and the 1970s. He said he suffered abuse in two adoptive homes. (Jody Porter)

"I got robbed of having a proper childhood," the 42-year-old said. "I got robbed of having a loving family."
Campbell said he suffered abuse in two adoptive homes. He said he remembers being locked in a room as a four-year-old and watching out the window as his adoptive parents drove away.
"My whole life I remember crying for my mom, growing up, many times, and wanting to see her again," he said.
Campbell’s parents both died before he even knew where to look for them. Finally, as an adult, he started making connections to First Nations people who led him to his home community of Beaver House First Nation.  He was the last of seven siblings, all taken by the Children’s Aid, to find his way home.

‘Right the wrongs’ of the past

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation estimates thousands of children from northern Ontario were part of the so-called Sixties Scoop. It’s supporting a lawsuit, hoping to see people compensated by the federal government for being stripped of their identity and culture.
"It’s a fundamental issue for us that we need to right the wrongs of what has happened to us in the past," said Terry Waboose, a Nishnawbe Aski Nation deputy grand chief.
But the law suit is still years from being heard. It faced a serious set-back in January 2012 when the federal government won an appeal, sending the case back to be re-certified as a class action.

Opponent has ‘unlimited resources’

Morris Cooper, a lawyer representing the First Nations people in the suit, said he expected a long battle, but is surprised that even the early court proceedings have been so fraught with delays.
"You're dealing with an opponent with effectively unlimited resources," Cooper said of the federal government. "They have our money to litigate with and can assign as many lawyers as they deem appropriate to present every procedural or legal obstacle available."
William Campbell says he wants to see government held accountable for his lost childhood, and his stolen identity. He hopes sharing his story publically will help move the case forward.
For now, Campbell seeks refuge as part of a drum circle at a First Nations healing lodge. He regrets not being able to sing the songs in his own language, but appreciates the healing beat of the drum.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Summary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

List of Children's Rights (2013)

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in history.

The complete text of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the Preamble, exceeds 7,400 words. Many online summaries are more than two thousand words long. This brief summary is less than 700 words. It provides a short outline of the 54 Articles.
Despite being the most widely adopted human rights treaty in history, it has encountered opposition from Christian conservatives in the USA.
They frequently misrepresent what the Convention says, so it's essential to double check any supposed 'quote' from the CRC by consulting the official document (PDF):

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has a
web page version.

List of Children's Rights:

Jump to: PART II (Committee) or PART III (Procedures)
  • Preamble - An overview of the treaty.

    PART I.

  • Article 1: Definition of a child.
  • Article 2: Children must be protected from discrimination.
  • Article 3: The best interests of the child
    (taking into account the rights and duties of parents).
  • Article 4: Legislative measures to implement the treaty.
  • Article 5: The rights of parents.
  • Article 6: The right to life.
  • Article 7: The child's right to birth registration.
  • Article 8: The child's right to a name, nationality and family relations.
  • Article 9: The child's right not be separated from his or her parents against the child's will.
  • Article 10: The child's right to maintain contact with both parents if they separate.
  • Article 11: Measures against the illicit transfer of children abroad.
  • Article 12: The child's right to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings.
  • Article 13: The child's right to freedom of expression.
  • Article 14: The child's right to freedom of thought.
  • Article 15: The child's right to freedom of association.
  • Article 16: The child's right to privacy.
  • Article 17: The child's right to information from national and international mass media.
  • Article 18: Parents or legal guardians have the primary responsibility for the child's upbringing.
  • Article 19: State obligations to protect children against maltreatment and abuse.
  • Article 20: State obligations to children temporarily or permanently deprived of their family environment.
  • Article 21: State obligations to children with regard to adoption.
  • Article 22: State obligations to children who are classed as refugees.
  • Article 23: State obligations to children who are mentally or physically disabled.
  • Article 24: State obligations to provide child health care services.
  • Article 25: Children placed in physical or mental health care settings have the right to a periodic review of their circumstances and treatment.
  • Article 26: The child's right to social security insurance and benefits.
  • Article 27: The child's right to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.
  • Article 28: The child's right to education.
  • Article 29: The goals to which a child's education should be directed, and the right of individual adults to establish and direct educational institutions.
  • Article 30: The rights of children belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic minority groups.
  • Article 31: The child's right to rest, leisure and recreational activities.
  • Article 32: The child's right to be protected from economic exploitation.
  • Article 33: State obligations to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic and psychotropic drugs.
  • Article 34: State obligations to protect children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.
  • Article 35: State obligations to prevent the abduction or trafficing of children.
  • Article 36: State obligations to protect children from all other forms of exploitation prejudicial to the child's welfare.
  • Article 37: State obligations to ensure that children are not subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishments, including capital punishment or life imprisonment without the possibility of release.
  • Article 38: State obligations to ensure that children under fifteen years do not take a direct part in wars or other hostilites, and to protect and care for children affected by armed conflict.
  • Article 39: State obligations to promote physical and psychological recovery of child victims of torture, degrading treatment or armed conflict.
  • Article 40: State obligations concerning children who infringe penal laws.
  • Article 41: No part of the Convention shall override provisions contained in State laws which are more conducive to children's rights.

    PART II - Committee on the Rights of the Child

  • Article 42: State obligations to make the provisions of the Convention widely known.
  • Article 43: Description of the role of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
  • Article 44: Reports to the Committee.
  • Article 45: The process by which the Committee evaluates reports.

    PART III - Procedures for ratification, amendments, etc.

  • Article 46: The Convention shall be open for signature by all States.
  • Article 47: The Convention is subject to ratification.
  • Article 48: The Convention can be adopted by accession (same as ratification but not preceded by signature).
  • Article 49: The Convention enters into force on the 30th day after the 20th ratification/accession.
  • Article 50: A State Party may propose an amendment.
  • Article 51: A State Party may file reservations.
  • Article 52: A State Party may denounce the Convention
    (i.e. announce termination of the State's participation).
  • Article 53: The Secretary-General of the United Nations is designated as the depositary of the Convention.
  • Article 54: The original of the present Convention resides with the Secretary-General of the UN.
Article 30
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of Indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language. 

[The government's Indian Adoption Projects and 60s Scoop completely violated our rights... Trace]

[UNICEF News note: Children are still being trafficked 200 years after the abolition of the slave trade]

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Native Solidarity Interview with Trace Hentz #StolenGenerations

Listen to an interview about the new book STOLEN GENERATIONS

Canada to reposition itself on UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Chief Bruce Shisheesh, left, Minister of Indigenous Affairs Carolyn Bennett, centre, and Federal NDP MPP Charlie Angus, right, meet in the northern Ontario First Nations reserve of Attawapiskat, Ont., in an April 16, 2016, file photo. Two cabinet ministers will speak at the United Nations in New York City today about the government's approach to indigenous affairs, but grave conditions on a northern Ontario reserve have prompted the NDP's indigenous affairs critic to cancel his attendance as part of the Canadian delegation.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said Monday that Canada will be changing its position on the declaration, removing its status as a permanent objector and becoming a full supporter of the document. Keep Reading 

60s Scoop Resources

If you have links that you’d like to share or suggestions for more information please send us a message at

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)

click to listen

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.