As the country marks 150 years of Confederation, five of Canada's most distinguished filmmakers respond to (First Nations Cree adoptee) Buffy Sainte-Marie's call to "Keep Calm and Decolonize" and offer an alternative vision.Earlier this year, during a panel discussion, Buffy Sainte-Marie urged the audience to remain calm and decolonize — marching orders from the iconic activist and artist, echoing a call that has been loud in Indian country for years and is now being heard more widely, thanks to the increased presence of First Nations, Métis and Inuit voices across Turtle Island. That Sainte-Marie would signal boost this message now, as Canada celebrates 150 years of its colonial state, is certainly no coincidence. For nations that have been present on this land for millennia, the number of candles on this cake seem quaint and come soaked in a history of violent assimilation and oppression.
- How to Open Closed Adoption Records for Native American Children (updated 2020)
- NEW! Help for First Nations Adoptees (Canada)
- LOST CHILDREN BOOK SERIES
- Split Feathers Study
- About Trace
- Karen Vigneault - Helping Native Adoptees Search
- The reunification of First Nations adoptees (2016)
- You're Breaking Up: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl #ICWA
- FAQ ICWA 2016
- Indian Child Welfare Act organizations
- About the Indian Adoption Projects
- How to Search (adoptees)
- Soaring Angels (UPDATE 2020)
- THE PLACEMENT OF AMERICAN INDIAN CHILDREN - THE NEED FOR CHANGE (1974)
- NEW: Study by Jeannine Carriere (First Nations) (2007)
- NEW STUDY: Post Adoption (Australia)
- Oklahoma Supreme Court RULING: Brown v.Delapp (9-2...
- Dr. Raven Sinclair
- Laura Briggs: Feminists and the Baby Veronica Case...
- Bibliography (updated)
- Adopt an Elder: Ellowyn Locke (Oglala Lakota)
- TWO NATIONS: Navajo (Boarding School)
- #MMIWG MAY 2019
- Survivor Not Victim (my interview with Von)
- Adoption History
- Native American News Outlets
- First Nations Repatriation Institute
- Adoptee Citizen Act of 2019
- Reuters Investigates THE CHILD EXCHANGE (re-homing...
- FREE REGISTRY (sign up at ISRR)
- Genealogy\Indian Affairs 2020
How to Use this Blog
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Thursday, December 14, 2017
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GREENFIELD, MA (2017) Tragic, true, heartbreaking, astonishing... those words have been used to describe the anthology Two Worlds, the first book to expose in first-person detail the adoption practices that have been going on for years under the guise of caring for destitute Indigenous children in North America.
What really happened and where are these Native children now?
The new updated Second Edition of TWO WORLDS (Vol. 1), with narratives from Native American and First Nations adoptees, covers the history of Indian child removals in North America, the adoption projects, their impact on Indian Country, the 60s Scoop in Canada and how it impacts the adoptee and their families.
"This book changed history," say editor Trace Hentz. "There is no doubt in my mind the adoption projects were buried and hidden... we adoptees are the living proof."
The Lost Children Book Series includes: Two Worlds, Called Home: The Roadmap, Stolen Generations, and In The Veins: Poetry. The book series is an important contribution to American Indian history.
Trace Hentz (formerly DeMeyer) located other Native adult survivors of adoption and asked them to write a narrative for the first anthology. The adoptees share their unique experience of living in Two Worlds, surviving assimilation via adoption, opening sealed adoption records, and in most cases, a reunion with their tribal relatives. Indigenous identity and historical trauma takes on a whole new meaning in this adoption book series.
Since 2004, award winning journalist Hentz was writing her historical biography “One Small Sacrifice: A Memoir.” She was contacted by many adoptees after stories were published about her work. More adoptees were found after “One Small Sacrifice” had its own Facebook page and the American Indian Adoptees blog started in 2009. In 2011, Trace was introduced to Patricia Busbee and asked her to co-edit the first edition of Two Worlds.
As Hentz writes in the Preface, "The only way we change history is to write it ourselves." This book is a must read for all that want the truth, since very little is known or published on this history.
"I was asked to update this book by one adoptee contributor and I added a new narrative by Levi Eagle Feather, and more information on the 60s Scoop. Please tell your friends and other adoptees," Trace Hentz says. "One day in America, we Lost Children will have our day in court."
Patricia Busbee is writing a new chapter on her adoptee reunion in the anthology CALLED Home in 2018.
READ A FREE PREVIEW
On Amazon, Kindle, Kobo... For links and more information, to order copies, bulk orders, etc: www.bluehandbooks.org
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Residential-school survivor must get permission from government, church to preserve her story: Ottawa /via @globeandmail https://t.co/FFJZ1y6qx3
— Connie Walker (@connie_walker) December 13, 2017
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
June 13, 2017
By Andrea Landry
“Indigenous based child-rearing in today’s generation resides in watching the restoration of unfaltering kinship in our Indigenous family systems unfold and allowing that to reside in the raising of our children with the knowing of who they are, and where they come from, wildly and unapologetically.”
Artwork by: Votan Henriquez
This reconciliation is for the colonizers.
This is a time of pseudo-reconciliation for continued colonization.
This reconciliation is colonization, disguised with dollar signs and white-skinned handshakes.
This reconciliation is not our reconciliation.
The only reconciliation that exists for us, as Indigenous nations, is the reconciliation we need to find within ourselves and our communities, for agreeing and complying to this madness for so long.
The only reconciliation that exists for us, is the reconciliation needed to forgive our families, our loved ones, for acting like the colonizer.
The only reconciliation we need. Is a reconciliation that doesn’t involve white skinned handshakes and five dollar handouts for our lands.
READ HER STATEMENT
Saturday, December 9, 2017
At eighteen months old, Susan Harness (M.A. cultural anthropology ’06, M.A. creative nonfiction ’16) was removed from her home because of neglect. Notes from the social worker document a hungry infant with infected and bleeding mosquito bites and a diaper that hadn’t been changed in days. Harness and two of her siblings had been left in the care of their six-year-old sister by a mother who regularly disappeared for extended periods of time.
Family and community members on Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana were unable to help since they did not have the economic resources. As a result, in 1960, like over 30 percent of American Indian children in that time period, Harness was adopted into a non-American Indian home.
“The primary purpose of placing over a third of American Indian children with white families was assimilation,” said Harness. “My adoption, like nearly every other transracial adoption, was a closed adoption. This means our names were changed; our families, our tribes and nation, erased. Our entire identity was kept locked away in files that could be opened only by court order, trusting you could find a sympathetic judge. Therefore, finding our way home would be almost impossible. That’s how it was meant to be. We were not supposed to ‘be’ Indian, we were supposed to become members of the dominant society, with full and complete access to the American Dream.”
"We were not supposed to ‘be’ Indian, we were supposed to become members of the dominant society, with full and complete access to the American Dream."
– Susan Harness (upcoming book Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption, out fall 2018 from University of Nebraska Press.)
Susan contributed a story to the anthology STOLEN GENERATIONS: SURVIVORS OF THE INDIAN ADOPTION PROJECTS AND 60S SCOOP
Thursday, December 7, 2017
in Ontario on June 1st, 2009.
See Guardianship and Adoption Records – Ontario Archives
Once you have obtained the names of your natural parents or the child you lost to adoption, some useful tools for your search include:
- Searching for names using Google or Facebook
- Looking in online phone directories including www.canada411.ca and www.pipl.ca
- Your original birth record indicates where your natural mother and father were born. You can use the phone directory for that city to contact them or other family members to find out where they might currently be living.
- Henderson Directories (“City Directories”) for the city you were born in, or in which your natural parent was born, and for occupations. They can also provide relevant older information on names, addresses, and occupations dating back to 1905. Many cities across Canada had these directories in addition to phone-books. Check local libraries and online sources (e.g., University of Alberta) for copies.
- Check adoption notices in the newspaper after date of completion of adoption. Also check birth notices that do not mention the time of birth or doctors involved, these are sometimes disguised adoption notices.
- Check birthday wishes in the paper
- Peruse highschool and yearbooks for appropriate years
- Check Obituaries
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Friday, December 1, 2017
Earlier this week, Rep. Barry Russell, a Democrat from Broward County, filed a clean OBC access bill with a genuine contact preference form (HB821). We are obviously supportive of clean bills. We are, however, cautiously moving forward with support of HB821 at this time. It appears certain that the new bill was filed at the request or direction of Representative Richard Stark, the sponsor of the bill that we currently oppose. With the recent history of two widely different New York OBC access bills being simultaneously introduced and sponsored by the same legislator---with disastrous results for adoptees---we are concerned that the new bill in Florida is not genuine and is instead being used solely to obtain a hearing on Representative Stark’s bill. Representative Stark has represented that at least one committee assigned to his bill will not approve it without adding redaction provisions.
For this reason, we have expressed guarded support for the new bill. At the same time, we are working with Florida constituents to determine whether the current sponsor of the clean bill is committed to the bill and to adoptee rights generally. We will specifically ask him if he is willing to work with supporters in assuring passage of HB821 without discriminatory amendments.
The new bill, which does not have a required senate sponsor, can be found here. We will let you know more details once we talk with Representative Russell.
As always, thanks for your support!
Adoptee Rights Campaign
Adoption Rights Alliance (Ireland)/The Philomena Project
American Adoption Congress
Banished Babies of Ireland
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
Concerned United Birthparents
The Donaldson Adoption Institute
National Center on Adoption and Permanency
The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
Saving Our Sisters
Trace L. Hentz, author, Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects series
Access Rhode Island
Equal Access Oklahoma
Florida Adoption Initiative for Reform
Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform
New York State Adoptee Equality
Post-Adoption Center for Education and Resources (PACER)
Thursday, November 30, 2017
How did you feel…
I’m trying something new. New is scary for me, but, it’s something I thought of doing for a while on many different topics. I decided to start with adoptee rights which means that there are two different questions for adoptees, and a third question for other voices. Hopefully, hearing feelings of others may convince people to change their mind and support upcoming legislation.1. When you are denied the right to your factual original birth certificate, how does it make you feel?
2. For those who’ve finally gained the right to the original birth certificate, tell me how it felt when you held your original birth certificate in your hands.
3. Other voices in adoption, how does it makes you feel knowing your child either has the right to their original birth certificate upon request, just like non-adopted do, or doesn’t have the same right.
(If you want to answer on Tao’s post, here is the link)
I will answer number one. I can answer number one.
When I was 22, I called Catholic Charities in Minnesota who said to me, “Sorry we can’t help you. All our adoption records are sealed.” They had my adoption file since 1956 and they had my name. They had me in their system somewhere – this church who had sold me into this adoption, and a life of lies and fake documents. These social workers/nuns/priests had my identity locked up in a drawer somewhere and they weren’t going to tell me anything? Exactly. (I felt very angry and very desperate. What could I do?)
Have you imagined what it would be like to not know your own family? How you might meet someone and wonder “could we be cousins or siblings?” I was 22. I had questions about my health, my medical history, and nothing to write on the doctor’s office forms. Can you imagine this? People who are not adopted, can you?
At age 22, I was hurt. I was. After calling them, I was so hurt. Actually devastated. And to make matters worse, my adoptive parents would never be helpful. (They probably had my adoption file hidden away – they never showed it to me or offered me any help.) At that point I was a college graduate and living on my own. This phone call to Catholic Charities was my decision and I didn’t need anyone’s permission to search for my own adoption records. AND I wasn’t sharing anything important about my search since my adoptive parents had very little contact with me.
WOW – I do recall how I felt anger. How in the world can I live this way? I might be dating my own brother! I might be working with a cousin or my own parent? Fuming hostile anger!
There was nowhere to put this anger. I didn’t have a counselor to guide me. I had no one. (Yet I never felt sorry for myself.)
Then finally I had an idea. Go to the courthouse. I did. The rest is in my memoir (in greater detail.)
I found out my name. I had my mother’s name. I had a physical description of my father and his age.
I was 22 and NAIVE so this adoption file was a thick legal file. I had no idea what I was reading but this court proceeding was about ME. I took notes. I kept two scraps of paper like they were my most important possession. (In 2010 I petitioned the state of Wisconsin where I was adopted and paid for my own adoption file, not the same thick file I read in the courthouse at age 22.)
I wanted and still want my REAL birth certificate. Many times, many letters I mailed to the state of Minnesota. I asked them for a copy of my original birth certificate (OBC). They always refuse. I talk to a judge friend and she made inquiries for me – nothing. I asked again last year and nothing.
A simple piece of paper – a copy of my own birth certificate – is not mine to have? Apparently not in Minnesota. If I lived in Alaska or Maine, I’d have it by now.
How do I feel about this, my fake birth certificate that lists two people as my biological parents when they are not? I am much older now… Now I feel this is an grave injustice, a human rights violation, a travesty. I didn’t agree to these conditions. I didn’t ask to be adopted. I DID find my biological family after I read my adoption file but I still want that simple piece of paper. I deserve it.
Anger is one thing. Feeling outrage is another.
I wrote a letter (in 2015) to the ACLU in Minnesota and asked for their help. I wanted their help to sue Catholic Charities for stealing my identity and holding my adoption file and identity hostage. (ACLU turned me down.)
This is war. I am still fighting.
(A few years back, a member of CUB (Concerned United Birthparents) sent me a file. It’s a copy of my original baptismal record from Catholic Charities in Minnesota. On a single piece of paper is my mothers name and my name Laura Jean Thrall crossed out and replaced with new parents and my new name.)
How would you feel?
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
|Beginning in 1916, the U.S. Children's Bureau brought its baby-week campaign to thousands of cities, towns, and rural communities across the United States. The photograph above was taken during a baby-week celebration on an Indian reservation.|
|Child Welfare League of America published Standards of Adoption Service (revised in 1968, 1973, 1978, 1988, 2000); Indian Adoption Project began.|
|1966||The National Adoption Resource Exchange, later renamed the Adoption Resource Exchange of North America (ARENA), was established as an outgrowth of the Indian Adoption Project.|
This post is about the government sanctioned Indian Adoption Project when adoptive parents were questioned over a period of years. It was a study. Who did they ask? Not the adoptee. But there were many projects and many churches who ran adoption programs... More than just this Indian Adoption Project... Trace
Sunday, November 26, 2017
In his apology, Trudeau admits in residential schools that "many former students were sorely neglected, while others were subjected to tragic physical and sexual abuse."
For all of you – we are sincerely sorry – pijâgingilagut – apu ushtutatat.
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,
Prime Minister of Canada
Saturday, November 25, 2017
By Suzanne Gilbert
...Years later I would learn that his son, my half-brother, applied to and attended Princeton University as a native American, drawing on our Cherokee paternal great grandmother having grown up on the reservation in Oklahoma. We are also of slight Iroquois descent.
Among other provisions, the ICWA returns to Indian adoptees access to their original birth certificates with their first parents’ names on them. Despite that, I was imperiously scolded by someone who answered the phone at the Indian Museum in Manhattan that I had no right to search because I, apparently as an infant, had “legally agreed to protect” my first mother’s confidentiality.
After that, another adoptee, adoption reform activist Barbara Cohen, put me in touch with the attorney who helped draft the ICWA. He in turn put me in touch with a tribal historian on the Iroquois reservation in upstate New York.
Monday, November 20, 2017
Bartlette, author of “Macaroni at Midnight,” spoke in his autobiography about his childhood being a Native American living off the reservation in poverty. Bartlette suffered from school and family violence, racism, child abuse and living in an environment of alcoholism.
He was able to overcome his disadvantages with the help of someone in his community who showed him unconditional love, acceptance and compassion to become a success in life.
“These events will provide opportunities to learn about our indigenous people, their lives and how they got to where they are today – successful,” Annette Mennem, MSU’s Native American Center director, said.
When asked why November, Mennem said that in the 1990s, then President George H. W. Bush declared the month of November the National American Indian Heritage month, which Minot State now calls the Native American Celebration.
“I celebrate daily being indigenous and being Ojibway or Anishnaabe (the original people),” Mennem said.
While November isn’t exactly symbolic to Native American culture, Mennem said the Ojibway call the month “gashkadino-giizis” or “Ice is Forming Moon.” November is also a time where they say “Happy Harvest” and give thanks for blessings from Mother Earth, Sister and Brother Moon, and Father Sky. These are Ojibway tradition and may differ for other tribes, according to Mennem.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Melanie Sage will study states’ compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act and develop materials to improve communication among all stakeholders
By Bert Gambini | November 14, 2017
“There are no measures to ensure the courts and child welfare systems abide by the law, which says that we should take extra steps to make sure indigenous children remain with their families because of a history of government interventions that have broken up Native families.”Melanie Sage, assistant professor of social work, University at Buffalo in New York
BUFFALO, N.Y. – A University at Buffalo social work researcher will use a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to gather evidence and produce resources to improve the services state agencies offer to Native American families involved in child welfare cases.
The HHS’s Administration for Children and Families originally awarded the funding to Melanie Sage, an assistant professor in UB’s School of Social Work, when she was a faculty member at the University of North Dakota. She has received permission to formally transfer the grant to UB.
“This continues to be a close collaboration with University of North Dakota, but I’ll be supervising the project from UB,” she says.
As principal investigator of the five-year project, she says the goal of her team’s work is to increase how well states comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), legislation enacted in 1978 that set federal guidelines for child custody proceedings involving Native American children.
“This law [ICWA] has been around for nearly 40 years and it isn’t upheld well,” says Sage, one of the few social workers in the country studying ICWA implementation and compliance.
“There are no measures to ensure the courts and child welfare systems abide by the law, which says that we should take extra steps to make sure indigenous children remain with their families because of a history of government interventions that have broken up Native families.”
ICWA is a controversial law that private adoption attorneys have challenged, arguing that the legislation is race-based. But Sage clarifies that it’s a child’s membership in a tribal nation that determines protection in ICWA cases, similar to procedures used when U.S. families adopt children from countries.
But unlike working relationships with other countries, a history of mistrust and the strain of poor communication weakens dealings between social service agencies and tribal governments.
“It’s states and court systems that have not done well in this area,” says Sage. “We’ve identified many of the roadblocks to successful implementation of ICWA, things like child welfare workers who don’t understand what must be done on a case in order to abide by the law. Or courts that don’t know who to notify within tribes to help reunify families.”
When Sage originally moved to North Dakota it was clear that one of the state’s top child welfare concerns was that Native American children represented 40 percent of the children in foster care, while comprising only 10 percent of the population.
Those alarming statistics led the North Dakota Supreme Court to issue a call for proposals to help the justices understand what might be responsible for the disproportionality and the associated poor compliance with ICWA.
That experience improving internal court processes, a three-year undertaking from 2011 to 2014, is the foundation for the current grant. But the previous North Dakota research involved a single system, in this instance, the court’s interest in how it might be falling short of its own requirements.
When federal funding became available, Sage saw the chance to work toward full ICWA compliance by pulling many parties together and taking an interdisciplinary approach to improving communication between systems.
“We have Tribal government partners; Tribal social service partners; state-level child welfare partners; and partners in North Dakota at the child welfare training center,” says Sage. “We’re all working to try to improve relationships among those entities because we recognize that policy and practice fall apart because people are not talking to one another about what they’re doing.”
A curriculum to better educate case workers is ready for testing in North Dakota and is will be shared with other states by the end of next year, according to Sage.
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Arts and Humanities, Economics, Social Sciences, Social Work
Imagine a life filled with blanks. Most #Adoptees live that experience. Adoptees United Inc. works to eliminate the inequality of denying adult adoptees their own truths and identities. Support that work by purchasing a pack of “Intentionally Blank” cards. https://t.co/Ar1bgecYB5— Adoptees United (@AdopteesUnited) March 4, 2020
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.
click to listen
Listening to The Other Side of Adoption with Trace A DeMeyer by Fire Talk Production https://t.co/6SGuMcotmn— TraceLHentz (@StonePony33) January 17, 2019