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Support Info: If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419. Additional Health Support Information: Emotional, cultural, and professional support services are also available to Survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Services can be accessed on an individual, family, or group basis.” These & regional support phone numbers are found at https://nctr.ca/contact/survivors/ .
THANK YOU MEGWETCH for reading
woke up with two thoughts: there are two victims of adoption who need
help and not necessarily from each other: the adoptee and the first
mother. Each has its own burden and neither can heal the other.
“I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile I keep dancing.” That is a line in the book “Bird by Bird” by Ann Lamott. Her comical book offers instructions on writing and life and so far -- I’ve had good belly laughs. Yep, Ann made a funny book!
part two, Ann was fighting herself over jealousy of another writer
friend. She wrote, “Sometimes this human stuff is slimy and pathetic -
jealousy especially so - but better to feel it and talk about it and
walk through it than to spend a lifetime poisoned by it."
Poison is nothing to mess with. I
spoke with an adoptee friend last night and Levi is sure we adoptees
need to create new ceremonies, even some just for us adoptees. I was
nodding at every word Levi said. A
lifetime of isolation from what we know to be ours, our blood rights as
Indigenous People, our language and culture and the healing offered by
participating in ceremony, it was not ours growing up white and adopted
But we adoptees are not victims, Levi said. No, we are changed by adoption but not its victims.
thought about ceremony, what ceremony I missed growing up, and what
other Indian people probably took for granted growing up. That does make
me jealous. I didn’t get to meet my grandmothers in flesh, only in
am sad I do not how to make my own regalia. I see others dance at
powwow and wish someone had time to teach me what I need to know.
I can think of a million things I’d like to know. When I met relatives in Illinois last year, I was over the moon happy.My Harlow cousins filled many holes in my heart.
I am in reunion. Jealousy is not my poison.
For those not in reunion, their hearts ache. We need to find a way to heal them.
REUNION DAY AT 43: NAVAJO NATIVE FINALLY HOME Author: Royal Ford, Globe Staff
TOLANI LAKE, Ariz. -- She stood in brilliant white sunlight,
scuffed the cracked skin of the vast, parched land and stared down
at the very spot where the old woman told her she had been born,
right there, in a hogan that is gone, beside a field where corn
once grew.The woman her family called
"the old aunt" reached up with a warm, dark hand and touched her
high cheekbone. "You are so like your mother," Besbah Yazzie told
her. Weeping in the baked expanse of the Navajo Reservation, they
hugged. Yvette Silverman
Melanson, stolen along with a twin brother from her Navajo family
43 years ago, raised rich, white and Jewish in Brooklyn, was
finally home. "One more of us is still out
there and a whole lot more of the others," Melanson said in
reference to her missing brother and thousands of other Native
American children stolen from their families over the years and put
on the black market for adoption. "This is not right. We have to
find them. We have to find the boy."
Navajo natives had come from across the reservation to welcome her home. In a hot gymnasium here, 60
miles northeast of Flagstaff, the Tolani Roadman -- Medicine Man --
had wept as he told her tale in the native tongue. Behind him,
Yazzie Monroe, her father, brushed tears from his weathered cheeks. The old women of the tribe wore their finest
turquoise and silver in her honor. Children danced in a colorful
whirl of beads and feathers. "I don't know my own culture," Melanson told the gathering. "I am going to need your help in understanding. I am humbled.
"Teach me, teach my children" she said. She stood amid the swirling
talc-like dust of the reservation, a long way from the cloying
green spring back in her Maine home and further still from the life
she has lived thus far. As a child, there had been winters at a fine Miami hotel, summer camp in Pennsylvania. Later came
long trips to Israel where she marched the length of that land and
stood military guard at her kibbutz. After her adoptive parents had
both died, there were two stints in the Navy and, later, marriage
to a retired scallop diver named
Dickie, with whom she now lives in Palmyra, Maine. But forever there had been the question, "Who am I?" She had always known she was
adopted, but until three months ago that was all she knew. Then one
night while exploring on her computer, she found out. On a
national website, she saw that a Navajo family was looking for its
lost twins. The trails of her search and theirs crossed in the
Southwest. A piece of tattered and fading paper she possessed, bearing
the names Yazzie Monroe and Betty Jackson, solved the puzzle. They
were the mother and father of the large family that was looking for
her. It was an unlikely trinity,
ancient and new, that brought her home: the Internet, that scrap of
paper, and the mysterious works of the Holy People on her
reservation who had held ceremonies to help find her. This weekend, that family
welcomes her home. She will stay here for two weeks along with her
husband and daughters, Lori and Heather. Her mother died years ago,
but her father was there to take her, looking almost fragile, into his great brown arms. Her seven brothers and sisters
were there, as were numerous nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles,
cousins and members of her clan. "We have always known she was
around somewhere," said Nettie Rogers, her sister.
"We want to thank the Holy People for bringing back our child, our
daughter, to the center," Freddie Howard, a Tolani Lake official,
told a crowd that streamed into a gymnasium for ceremonies
welcoming Melanson and her family to her birthplace. She had come to the reservation
east from Flagstaff, crossing through the Coconino National Forest.
The Navajo lands began where the trees ended and a hot, dusty,
vastness sprawled ahead. To the South were towns that bespoke
stereotypical western violence: Two Guns, Two Arrows; and a place
of real cataclysm, a giant crater created when a meteor smashed into the
Earth 50,000 years ago. Across the reservation were
the four sacred mountains of her tribe, dark, bruised buttes and
colorful mesas that glimmered like poured sand art."I've never seen
mountains go straight up," she said as they shimmered in the white
light of afternoon. Her return came as efforts to
find the so-called "lost birds" of the Navajo and other tribes
across the country have intensified. After Melanson's story made
national headlines and television news last month, a website
previously set up by the Lost Bird Society, founded by a Lakota
woman named Marie Not Help Him, was peppered with inquiries. And it came as the tribes are
fighting a bill in Congress that would make the adoption of Indian
children by whites easier. It would weaken a federal law passed in
1978 that requires that Indian children removed from their homes be placed with relatives or other Native families. In welcoming Yvette home,
Navajo leaders rose to speak in defense of their children.
"We are more than dances, turquoise and rugs," Genevieve Jackson
said in a plea that the outside world understand what is happening
to Native children. "Yvette's story is the Navajo story," Delores Grey Eyes added. Melanson's father presented her
with a Navajo wedding basket symbolizing Mother Earth, Father Sky
and a Navajo people planted in harmony between.
He said, as another sister, Laura Chee, interpreted, that he was
"happy to have his daughter home, and now he wants to know if they
can get the boy back." "We must let people know what
has happened, what is happening through adoptions," Melanson said,
clutching the Navajo blanket the tribe had given her. "My family,
my friends back home, were outraged. They had no idea something
like this was happening." "The taking of the children has to be stopped,"
she said. Later, her family took her to
her birthsite and told her how she had been taken.
She'd been born in a hogan and was sickly. A public health nurse
came and took both her and her brother to the hospital at Winslow.
The family never saw them again. "Your mother would come to
the road here," Desbah Yazzie told her, "and she would hitchhike
into Winslow, looking for her children. She never found you, and
later all they told her was that the children had been adopted." Yvette Silverman Melanson,
born Minnie Bo Monroe, stood in a ceaseless expanse of her
birthplace and marveled."You can see forever," she said. "The sky is
endless, the land is so big. If someone disappeared, a baby, how
would you know which direction to go to even begin to look for them...
This story is old (1996) but the fact is she is still looking - there are no updates on her lost twin brother....Trace
Recently, I was interviewed for a radio program in Missoula, Montana
regarding my research on American Indian transracial adoption. It
originally aired on Montana Public Radio (MTPR.org) Tuesday, December
11th 2012, on the program In Other Words, which explores
experiences through a feminist perspective. The interview looks at
American Indian transracial adoption and its intersection with race,
history and class. If you weren’t able to catch it live, click on the
link below to listen now.
Below is our friend Sandy White Hawk’s response to the podcast we did with our friend Susan Harness. Enjoy.
Dear Kevin, (Land of Gazillion Adoptees)
I wanted to respond to Susan Harness’ reference to the Southeast
Asian tradition the Gifting of a child as an alternative to standard
In Indian Country a traditional alternative to standard adoption
practice is now developing. It is called Customary Adoption or Custom
Adoption. Long before first European contact Indian nations had a custom
that kept and maintained balance with their communities; adoption was
one of those customs.
Tribes are beginning to reclaim their traditional ways of maintaining
family connections for those who would otherwise be separated from
their families and communities if the family was struggling in taking
care of their children.
The White Earth Tribe Band of Ojibwe of Minnesota has been the leader
in developing this practice in its tribal court. Adoption money, SSI
and other benefits follow the child in the process just as in a standard
adoption. The major difference is parental rights are not terminated.
In White Earth they use the term “suspended.”
In the Veins poetry anthology editor Patricia Busbee (adoptee, Cherokee mix) spoke with Dr. Dawn Karima (who also contributed stunning poetry to this book) about Native poetry and our history recently:
As always, documents in the case will be housed here.
***LOST CHILDREN BOOK SERIES
This highly-anticipated collection is part of a history-making
book series Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.This series includes TWO WORLDS (Vol. 1),
CALLED HOME: The Road Map (Vol. 2), and STOLEN GENERATIONS: Survivors of the
Indian Adoption Projects and 60s Scoop (Vol. 3). IN THE VEINS (Vol. 4)ISBN: 978-0692832646 $9.99, will share part of its proceeds with Standing Rock Water Protectors. Paperback $9.99Kindle ebook $3.96
When most people hear about children ripped
from their families, they think of faraway places or of centuries past.
The reality is it's been happening in the U.S. for centuries—and is
still happening today. Native American children are more than twice as likely as non-Native children to be taken from their families and put into foster care, according to a 2013 study.
Americans should know that these atrocities are not history.
Connecticut is the home to many Native adoptees who were transferred and adopted there from Washington state - yes, all the way across the country! That is the Indian Adoption Projects and ARENA in action.
Older birth parents and relatives are dying off, so are some of the
adoptees leaving their children and grandchildren with big holes in
their personal family health histories. Adds Caffery, “We feel strongly
that time is of the essence. It’s time to end this failed social
experiment of secrecy and shame. It’s time to threat us as full citizens
of our country and our state.”
by Pam Palmater. Canada’s numbers of Native children in care may
be currently worse than pre-ICWA numbers in the United States (Task Force Four Report).
The increasing number of First Nations children being
placed into foster care in Canada is nothing short of a crisis. Although
Indigenous children make up only seven per cent of the population in
Canada, they represent 48 per cent of all children in foster care. It
is an astounding number until one examines these rates on a
province-by-province basis. In Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan,
Indigenous children represent a shocking 73 per cent, 85 per cent and 87
per cent of all children in care respectively, according to the most
recent Statistics Canada report. However, Manitoba reports that their
numbers of Indigenous children in care are increasing and currently
stands at 90 per cent, which represents one of the highest rates in the
world. This isn’t much of a surprise given that one newborn is taken away from his or her mother every day in Manitoba
as a matter of course—the vast majority being Indigenous. They are not
the only provinces implicated as Indigenous children in Ontario are 168 per cent more likely to be taken into care than white children.
MONTREAL – Celebrated global music artist and
activist Alicia Keys and the inspirational movement of Indigenous
Peoples fighting for their rights in Canada have been honored with
Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2017, the
human rights organization announced today. The award will be officially presented at a ceremony in Montréal, Canada, on May 27. Accepting the award recognizing the Indigenous rights movement of Canada
will be six individuals representing the strength and diversity of the
movement, which has bravely fought to end discrimination and ensure the
safety and well-being of Indigenous families and communities. They are
Cindy Blackstock, Delilah Saunders, Melanie Morrison, Senator Murray
Sinclair, Melissa Mollen Dupuis and Widia Larivière.
Cindy Blackstock hopes that the award will help to focus global attention on the injustices still prevalent in Canada today. As head of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, she led
a decade-long legal battle against the underfunding of social services
for First Nations children. In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
issued a landmark ruling calling on the federal government to take
immediate action to end its discriminatory practices. However, the Canadian government has continued to drag its feet in
fully complying with the ruling, meaning that First Nations children are
still suffering discrimination. “The conscience of the people is awakening to the Canadian
government’s ongoing racial discrimination towards First Nations
children and their families,” said Cindy Blackstock. “Now the question
is: What are we going to do about it? Are we going to allow Canada to
celebrate its 150th birthday while it bathes in racism, or will we speak
up and demand the discrimination stops?”
The tribe I worked for decided to “bring the children
home” through a focus on children in their community and ensuring
resources to support that work. Many strategies were employed, depending
on case specifics. Ensuring the tribal children were closer to home,
both in proximity and culturally, was the goal. Some cases achieved the
goal through reunification with the natural parents, others by placement
within kinship care from stranger foster care. One of the primary
practices was the transfer of cases to tribal court when the parents
were amenable. In the end we brought all but one child back into tribal
custody with an over 75 percent kinship placement rate.
ruling in Goldwater’s favor, according to Fort and other legal experts,
could undermine the authority of tribal courts, shutter tribal casinos,
and open up reservations to privatization, something that could benefit
oil and gas developers like the Koch brothers.
In Indian School Road, journalist Chris Benjamin tackles the
controversial and tragic history of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential
School, its predecessors, and its lasting effects, giving voice to
multiple perspectives for the first time. Benjamin integrates research,
interviews, and testimonies to guide readers through the varied
experiences of students, principals, and teachers over the school’s
nearly forty years of operation (1930–1967) and beyond. Exposing the raw
wounds of Truth and Reconciliation as well as the struggle for an
inclusive Mi’kmaw education system, Indian School Road is a
comprehensive and compassionate narrative history of the school that
uneducated hundreds of Aboriginal children.
Source: Indian School Road
Louise Bernice Halfe Sky Dancer has published a third volume of poetry, Burning In This Midnight Dream, and it is a burning indictment, a hushed prayer, an angry account. Burning In This Midnight Dream articulates
some of Canada's worst history from the inside looking out.
poems are an insider's nightmare memories of Canada's residential
Halfe/Sky Dancer is a quiet poet of considerable reserve yet these poems
rumble with thunderous revelations that reverberate off of the page,
run up your arms and attack your guilty heart.
nipin nikamowin - summer song
I listened to outrageous laughter
there by the stone-carving shelter
where children painted and listened
to Alex Janvier.
Year after year
on the grounds of Blue Quills
I shared a tent with a friend and we told stories
of those lonely nights and how we preserved
our broken Cree.
I walked, ran, skipped
swore and sang the fourteen miles
from that school all the way to Saddle Lake.
We were told by our guide to meditate, be silent
in our walk. How could we after our voices
where lost in the classrooms of that school?
When I reached my home reserve
the Old Ones received me
and danced me on my blistered feet.
Water, tea, fruit, bannock and deer stew.
What food would heal this wound
bundled against my back?
A child still crying in those long school nights.
I know of a man who still carries his suitcase,
began at six, now sixty years, carrying
those little treasures of home
that was forever gone.
Burning In This Midnight Dream is a peat fire of poetry. You
don't see any flames on the surface but you know for certain that you
are on hot footing and that all is ablaze underneath, smoldering and
Halfe/Sky Dancer has included several family photos along with the text
and this case is the exception that proves the rule about photos and
poetry. These photos are necessary. The poems work just fine on their
own, they are all strong, exude the strength of a brave survivor, but
these photos make the stories blood, flesh and bone. We see the young
children in a new and different context, we see them as clearly as the
"boy in the striped pajamas," the red-coated lost girl in the opening
frames of Steven Spielberg's Shindler's List. The fine and perfect
faces in these photos are calling out through these poems.
Residential School Alumni
An uncle shot his wife
left her lying behind the house
with the rifle at her side.
Their four children peered
behind the curtains.
He was never able to look at anyone.
A lake held him as he froze, standing,
clutching his traps.
One son joined the marines
a mosquito killed him in Vietnam.
In a police chase another son
hit a slough and drowned in his grave.
Their little brother slept in a flaming
house with needles, spoons, heroin and cocaine.
My cousin was left alone.
I remember them.
Our morning read here in the Today's book of poetry offices was a little
more sombre than usual but that's not to say we didn't enjoy the poems.
We certainly respected them.
Louise Bernice Halfe Sky Dancer wants the Truth and Reconciliation process to succeed. Burning In This Midnight Dream is an honourable attempt to plow as much truth into the open as the open can bear.
The religious organizations that operated the schools — the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Jesuits of English Canada and some Catholic groups — in 2015 expressed regret for the “well-documented” abuses. The Catholic Church has never offered an official apology, something that Trudeau and others have repeatedly called for.
Almost 7000 bodies found and not one member of the church has been arrested. The names are out there. The church must be held accountable. #NeverForget#EveryChildMatters
The Justice Department is protecting the names of many perpetrators of abuse of Indigenous children. We need a special independent prosecutor who can force the government and church to turn over the documents. There can be no reconciliation without justice.@MumilaaqQaqqaqpic.twitter.com/5TL6OxKM5O
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.
Did you know?
Did you know?
New York’s 40-year battle for OBC access ended when on January 15 2020, OBCs were opened to ALL New York adoptees upon request without restriction. In only three days, over 3,600 adoptees filed for their record of birth. The bill that unsealed records was passed 196-12.
According to the 2020 Census, 3.6% of Colorado's population is American Indian or Alaska Native, at least in part, with the descendants of at least 200 tribal nations living in the Denver metro area.
Diane Tells His Name
Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines
click to read and listen about Trace, Diane, Julie and Suzie
As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.” The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.
Original Birth Certificate Map in the USA
Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab
Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:
Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.