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Friday, September 30, 2016
Thursday, September 29, 2016
This is the sixth full commentary on “The New Trail of Tears” (TNToT), a book written by Naomi Schaefer Riley (NSR or the author). The announcement post is here.
- The first commentary, “Framed by a Friend,” is here.
- The second commentary, “Turning Indian History against Indians,” is here.
- The third commentary, “Indians are Saudi Arabia, Not Israel (Oh, and Crying Toddlers)” is here.
- The fourth commentary, “”Indians as Unmotivated, Dependent Victims” is here.
- Monte Mills’ guest commentary is here.
- The fifth commentary: “Tearing Down American Indian Educators and Parents” is here.
- Commentary on NSR’s DAPL column is here.
ICWA (or, Indian Country is Hell)
TNToT tees up a series of anti-ICWA advocates here, but never really makes the argument for why ICWA is bad. NSR’s goal here is to try to show that Indian country is an unlivable hellhole. NSR believes that “for too many children the best option is be raised elsewhere” [at 146]. TNToT quotes Elizabeth Morris (a vociferous anti-ICWA voicebox for the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare), who hopes that her own children won’t grow up in Minnesota Indian country [at 145]. Morris blames the federal government’s “subsidies” for her perception that Indian families are disintegrating. [at 150] For Morris, the government has “replace[d] the father in the home. . . .” [at 150] Further, “A man does need to feel needed. But the government took care of all that.” [at 150]
Morris is an evangelical Christian who firmly preaches the “drunken Indian” stereotype as fact. She also believes that Indian children should be raised by white families: “If they seriously wanted to protect children, they would have to send them off the rez and give them to white foster homes.” Morris is affiliated with the “Citizens Equal Rights Alliance,” a white nationalist group. These are NSR’s people, leading her down the primrose path to conclude: “[T]he reservation [is] no place for . . . children.” [at 167]
NSR also relies upon Mark Fiddler (the man who wants as many Indian children in foster care as possible: “If anything, there should be more Indian children put into foster care.”). Like Morris, Fiddler condemns Indian parents and reservation homes, referring to a “cycle of dysfunctional parenting.” [at 152] Fiddler also alleges: “And a disproportionately high number of Indian children are in danger every day.” [at 149-50] Foster care in off-reservation homes as a solution to the real problems in Indian child welfare is a really bad idea. I addressed these claims here:
Studies show what should be inherently understood—plucking children out of a community they know and putting them in stranger foster care is actively harmful to kids (there’s a reason Casey Family Programs is putting a billion dollars into reducing the number of kids in foster care). Eighty percent of child welfare removals are due to neglect. Our children do deserve better: better services, better wrap around care, a better understanding of the mental health issues and chemical dependency that plagues their parents. They don’t deserve to be taken from everything familiar—their neighborhood, schools, and extended family—because of system failures in our society.Opposition to ICWA often comes from the private adoption market, as I wrote here:
Who benefits if ICWA tumbles? As usual, the answer can be found by following the money. Start with the beneficiaries of the $14 billion private adoption market. The adoption industry long has been a foe of ICWA. Conversely, Indian tribes do not profit from the termination of parents’ rights.There is a candid statement in TNToT about the origins of ICWA: before ICWA, states removed Indian kids because the families were poor: “These standards, of course, would be enough to remove plenty of white children from their homes as well.” [at 149] I’m not sure if NSR is advocating for more foster care for all poor families regardless of race, or if’s an admission that there’s a problem in child welfare more generally.
ICWA requires the state to seek an Indian family to adopt where possible, but private adoption agencies don’t get paid unless an adoption with a paying family goes through. In both direct placement adoptions and adoptions following failed reunifications with parents, money works against reunification with families and ICWA compliance. Some foster parents are encouraged by private agencies to become foster-to-adopt parents, altering the goal of foster care from reunification to termination for adoption. And being told they will be able to adopt their Indian foster children just as soon as the parents’ rights are terminated creates an adversarial relationship – not one that encourages the stated goal of reunification. In addition, fees charged by private and religious adoption agencies taint direct placement adoption petitions.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Indigenous children for sale: The money behind the Sixties Scoop
It left her feeling worthless.
"They told me I should feel grateful they paid anything for me at all," Orgeron said. "I felt so guilty."
It's the latest revelation in a story survivors say has haunted them for decades: the money behind the Sixties Scoop.
The scoop, as it is called, refers to the era from the 1960s to the 1980s, when child welfare authorities scooped up Indigenous children and adopted them out to non-Indigenous families.
Those placed in homes outside the country weren't just adopted out of their Indigenous homes and into mostly white American families. They were bought and paid for.
"It hurts so much, but I have waited so many years for someone to finally talk about this," said Dianne Fast, whose brother Willy was seized from their Eriksdale, Man., home and adopted by a couple in Indiana.
His value? Fast said her brother went for $10,000.
"His mother used to say she owned him."
Carla Williams, also from Manitoba, was adopted by a family in Holland for $6,400.
Manitoba twins Diane and Debra ended up in Pennsylvania. They said they were valued at $10,000 as a pair.
Wayne Snellgrove calls it human trafficking.
"[My adoptive parents] paid a lot of money for me," said Snellgrove, who started out in foster care.
"They farmed us out to an [American] adoption agency and then they sold me."
'It sickened me'Williams said the thought of the transactions is revolting.
"It sickened me," she said.
Barbara Tremitiere was surprised to hear this. Now retired, during the 1970s, she was an adoption worker with the Pennsylvania-based Tressler Lutheran Home for Children.
They worked hard to find homes for children with "special needs," she said. Canadian Indigenous children were deemed special needs.
"Because you didn't want them," Tremitiere said. "I was once told by a native person from [Manitoba], on one of the reservations ... 'we passed on to you what we didn't want.' And they were probably right."
The agency fees to adopt Indigenous kids from Manitoba weren't high — under $2,000, Tremitiere said.
The Children's Bureau of New Orleans charged close to $4,000. The executive director at the time called it a "great deal" for Manitoba taxpayers, who would no longer have to foot the bill for Indigenous kids in provincial care.
At the time, the U.S. also was promoting Indigenous adoptions, pulling children from their reservations and placing them in white families to assimilate them.
'Hands off our children'Ernie Daniels, then chief of Long Plain First Nation, called it genocide. He was stunned to see newspaper ads from U.S. adoption agencies recruiting "Indian" kids from Manitoba.
"I told them to keep their hands off our children," Daniels told CBC News.
His pleas fell on deaf ears south of the border, but they gained traction in Manitoba.
By1982, the province ordered a moratorium on out-of-province adoption of Indigenous children. Soon after, an inquiry was launched into the child welfare system and its effect on Indigenous families.
It's estimated more than 25 per cent of all Indigenous children placed for adoption were placed in homes outside the province. Hundreds ended up in the United States; many are still trying to find their way home.
"It doesn't even feel like this body belongs to me," said Williams. "I'm lost. I'm really lost."
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Monday, September 26, 2016
“I lost everything, including my name. I lost my family. I lost my language. I lost everything about my culture,” Martel told The Canadian Press. “This should never have happened. It was wrong.”
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
The B.C. Court of Appeal has dismissed two appeals launched by the Vancouver Island couple, who hoped to stop the Ministry of Children and Family Development from moving the little girl to Ontario to live with her biological siblings, who she has never met.
The foster mom is Metis while the adoptive parents in Ontario are not, and the B.C. couple had argued the girl’s aboriginal background should take precedence. The girl, who is nearly three, has been in the couple’s care since two days after birth.
But a five-judge panel ruled unanimously in a written decision released Tuesday that both the couple’s appeals of earlier B.C. Supreme Court decisions must be dismissed.
“(The foster parents) face an insurmountable hurdle to achieving the relief sought,” the ruling says. “The adoption scheme in British Columbia does not provide for adoption of a child by foster parents at the behest of a court….”
Sunday, September 11, 2016
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Listening to The Other Side of Adoption with Trace A DeMeyer by Fire Talk Production https://t.co/6SGuMcotmn— TraceLHentz (@StonePony33) January 17, 2019
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