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Monday, April 30, 2018

The Navajo Nation is committed to the protection of all its children #ICWA

Texas Attorney General Kenneth Paxton – NPR Photo

Navajo Nation Seeks to Dismiss Texas’ Challenge to Indian Child Welfare Act

Published April 30, 2018
WINDOW ROCK – On April 26, 2018 the Navajo Nation filed its Motion to Intervene and Dismiss with the federal district court in Texas v. Zinke. The case is a constitutional challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by the states of Texas, Indiana, and Louisiana. It relies on a Texas state ICWA case concerning the placement of a Navajo child with a non-native family. In its motions the Nation argues that a decision for Texas would negatively affect the Nation’s relationship with this child and numerous Navajo children throughout the country. The Nation asks the court to dismiss the case because it is not a party, and it cannot be made a party, due to its sovereign immunity.
ICWA was passed by Congress in 1978 to stop the mass removal of Indian children from Native families and facilitated placement of those children with non-Natives. Congress found ICWA to be necessary because Indian children are the future of their tribes, and so their removal threatens the very existence of tribes. ICWA provides tribes and tribal members rights to protect their interests in their children.
In the Texas case the Nation located a Navajo family to adopt the Navajo child. However, the non-Native foster parents refused to allow the removal of the child, filing multiple court challenges to the placement of the Navajo child with the Navajo family, including the Texas v. Zinke challenge. The actions by the foster parents have prevented the Navajo child from growing up in his Navajo culture, language and community, and has prevented the Nation from maintaining a vital connection to one of its members.
“The Navajo Nation is committed to the protection of all its children, wherever they may live” commented Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. “We want all Navajo children to have the opportunity to know their people, their traditions, and their language. As this lawsuit shows, we will continue to fight for them. We want them to know they are not forgotten, no matter where they may live.”
“Our children are the future of the Navajo Nation,” noted Vice-President Jonathan Nez. “They are the ones who will take our elders teachings and pass them down for generations to come. I am disappointed by the actions of the plaintiffs in this case who are attempting to sever the connection between Navajo children and our way of life teachings.”
“Keeping our children with Diné families keeps our language and culture with our most valuable children” stated Navajo Nation Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown. “The future of our Nation depends on our children. They are the ones who will carry on our traditions and our ways. The actions taken by the foster parents and the State of Texas have deprived this precious Navajo child of a connection to his Navajo culture and tribe.”
“ICWA was meant to prevent the exact situation in this case: the wresting of an Indian child from his people” noted Attorney General Branch. “ICWA’s entire purpose is to maintain and preserve the connection between an Indian child and her tribe. This year is ICWA’s 40th anniversary; we should be celebrating the success of ICWA, not having to defend ICWA and the basic human right of Navajo families and communities to remain intact.  There should be no question to our right to remain distinctly Navajo through the passage of our culture, language, and treaty and sovereign rights to our children.”
CLICK HERE to read court filing.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Dawnland documentary premier #TRC

We mention this important documentary in the anthology STOLEN GENERATIONS (book 3 in the Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects book series)...

“They tried to kill the Penobscot part of us,’’ Dawn Neptune said. It didn’t work.

BANGOR — She was a 4-year-old kid named Dawn Neptune, who lived not far from here in a place called Indian Island, a reservation of the Penobscot Nation, a cultural touchstone that shaped — still shapes — who she is.
Her mother, then still a teenager, drank too much in those early days. It was an open family secret, part of an intergenerational trauma that, like her Penobscot heritage, was a critical and governing rhythm to her young life.
And then Dawn Neptune was gone. A baby sitter took her and a younger brother to a grocery store a half-hour away from the reservation. And then abruptly drove away, a cruel abandonment that served as the little girl’s entry into life in foster care, where she promptly learned a hard lesson no kid should be forced to absorb: Forget about your mom. Forget about Indian Island. Forget about being Penobscot.
And then one day she spoke briefly in her native tongue and suffered swift and ugly punishment she has never — can never — forget.
It also echoes through a riveting new documentary film, “Dawnland,’’ which makes its East Coast premiere on April 28 at Independent Film Festival Boston at the Somerville Theatre.
It’s an 86-minute journey of raw and recent history told through the eyes of those who have lived through it. Who have survived it. Who are determined to bear unstinting witness to it.

READ: Reclaiming a culture, reclaiming a life - The Boston Globe


Thursday, April 26, 2018

When Terrorism is Personal #BabyVeronica

AMERICAN INDIAN ADOPTEES: When Terrorism is Personal #BabyVeronica #FlipThe...:

Guest Post by ellecuardaigh

This post needs to read again and again.

So now children are taken for these reasons:

  • Poverty, or, just not having as much money as the prospective adoptive family
  • Asking for a second opinion after a medical diagnosis is made regarding your child
  • Being Native American
  • Being short
  • Considering adoption then deciding against it
  • Going to the ER for any reason
  • Using medical marijuana
  • Being a single parent
  • Disagreeing with anything a teacher or other authority figure says about your child
  • Not adhering strictly to the recommended vaccine schedule
  • Being exceptionally attractive
  • Not putting your child into preschool
  • Allowing your child to play in your own yard
  • Having an unusual birthmark
  • Your neighbor or some awful relative just wants to hurt you
  • CPS meeting their “children in care” quotas
  • And I’ll say it again, because this is the #1 reason: You don’t have the money to fight back.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Stories for a Lost Child

Author's late discovery of Native heritage was a 'cosmic blessing'

Friday, April 20, 2018

'She died coming to try to find me' #60sScoop

'She died coming to try to find me:' Sixties Scoop adoptee pieces together tragic story of separation

Robert Kalkman was adopted at age 2, and his life shattered at 9 after discovering his true heritage

Robert Kalkman, aged about 3, in Fort Frances, Ont., after his adoption. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)

Robert Kalkman's memory of the woman standing outside the window is like the frame from a negative burned too hot by light.
Among the shapes of things in this memory is his adoptive father leaving the house in Fort Frances, Ont., to speak with this woman who kept coming back to stand outside the window.
"I remember as a child looking out the window and seeing this lady standing on the street and the commotion of my dad going out and begging her to leave," said Kalkman, 53.
"I was like three years old; it's the last thing I can remember."
Later in life, he would come to know the woman in the window was his biological mother, Kathleen McGinnis.
There is only one photograph of McGinnis that remains. It's from the 1952 edition of the magazine Northern Sportsman and published above an article headlined, I Write About Indians. The photograph is of an Anishinaabe family having a picnic. The caption does not identify anyone in the photograph, but Kalkman's biological family told him that it is her, as a baby, swaddled and fastened to a cradleboard.

This is the only surviving photograph of Kathleen McGinnis. She is the baby attached to the cradleboard in the upper right-hand side of the photograph. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)

There are other documents about Kalkman's biological mother — coroner and police reports from April 1978. There are witness statements about the accident, how she seemed dazed waving cars down on a highway near Calgary when she was suddenly struck and killed on April 3. The impact severed one of her legs and the circumstances that led to her death remain shrouded in mystery.
Kalkman was out in northern British Columbia a few years ago in a work camp when he came across a website listing missing and murdered Indigenous women. He first noticed the name of a woman he once went to school with and then he noticed his mother's name, along with that of her two sisters, Edith Quagon and Sarah Mason, who were both separately murdered by men plunging a knife through their hearts.
"I was like, 'wow.' I was just overwhelmed," he said.
"I wish whoever the police was, or whatever, spent a little more time investigating and looking into it. If it was a white person, they would be all over it."
Kalkman would later learn that his biological mother was hitchhiking to British Columbia from Thunder Bay, Ont. McGinnis had heard one of her two children — seized in 1966 from her father's house on the Manitou reserve portion of Rainy River First Nation while she shopped in Fort Frances, Ont. — had been adopted by a family that had moved from Fort Frances to B.C.
"She died coming to try to find me," said Kalkman.
"It's an identity you lose, the moment she is gone."


McGinnis's family, along with Kalkman's sister Diane Geissler, testified in Thunder Bay in early December during three days of hearings held by the national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. Kalkman didn't make the hearing.
Kalkman's story is also one among thousands of aftershocks still reverberating from the Sixties Scoop when child welfare agencies across the country would seize Indigenous children and quickly adopt them out into the care of non-Indigenous families.
His story also connects the Scoop with residential schools, which McGinnis attended, and reveals the systemic discrimination that led state agencies to repeatedly seize Indigenous children.
Robert Kalkman, aged 2, is held by the caretaker of the foster home where he was placed after he was taken by child welfare agents. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)

Ontario's child welfare agents determined the teenage mother — who had Geissler at 14 and Kalkman at 15 — didn't have the financial means to raise her children despite the fact she lived with her parents.
"It was because she was Native and lived a traditional lifestyle. She couldn't prove that she had an apartment or a house. It wasn't in her name, it was in her parents' name," said Geissler, who lives in Thunder Bay a few blocks away from where McGinnis lived before she left hitchhiking, looking for one of her children.
"She couldn't prove income because they hunted, trapped — they had a trapline — and fished for food. They grew their own vegetables, they picked berries, they picked herbs. They didn't have a nine-to-five job. They lived on the reserve."

Seized by child welfare

Kalkman and Geissler don't know the exact date or the details about the circumstances leading to the moment when they were seized. There is a story about a snowstorm stranding their mother in Fort Frances on the day they were taken. There is another about an uncle who hid them in a closet until a child's cry gave them away. Kalkman said one of his aunts confessed to him in 1991 that she had called child welfare because she was worried about the care the children were receiving.
Geissler was immediately adopted by a family that remained in the Fort Frances area. Kalkman remained in foster care for about a year until he was adopted at age two by a Fort Frances doctor who had treated him for various ailments.
"I think as a family we thought we were ... helping out someone who has a need," said Peter Kalkman, Robert Kalkman's adoptive brother.
"I think we did it for the right reason."
From left to right: Robert Kalkman with his adoptive family Klari Kalkman, Johannes Wilhelmus Kalkman and Peter Kalkman. (Submitted by Peter Kalkman)

Peter Kalkman remembers as an eight-year-old going to the courthouse with his parents to finalize the adoption on Feb. 24, 1967.
"It was very serious circumstances where the judge is saying you are taking on this person to be part of your family," said Kalkman, a radiologist who now lives in Abbotsford, B.C.
"It's a very large responsibility and commitment and we all felt that way."
Robert Gary Shebageget became Robert William Kalkman that day.
The family then moved to Vancouver.

'You're an Indian'

Throughout his early years, Robert Kalkman said he didn't contemplate differences with his adoptive home's older brother and sister, who were the biological children of his adoptive parents. He never noticed his darker skin or wondered where he came from. He liked to dress up like a cowboy.
Then, at the age of nine, he noticed one of his friends in the Vancouver neighbourhood where he lived had stopped playing with him. When he asked him why, the answer shattered his world.
"He said, 'Because you're an Indian. My dad said you are an Indian,'" said Kalkman.
Robert, aged 12, and his adoptive father Johannes Kalkman, when they lived in Vancouver. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)

When he got home, his adoptive mother Janet Kalkman was cooking.
"I asked her, 'Mom, am I an Indian?' She said, 'Don't talk to me right now, I'm cooking,'" said Robert Kalkman.
"I went to my room and looked in the mirror."
A little while later she came into his room and put down a book. Kalkman said the book had about 40 pages of black and white photographs depicting Ojibway people from Minnesota and Ontario.
"That is when I started rebelling," he said.
Robert Kalkman, around age 17, in Vancouver. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)

"I had an identity crisis."
His life became a series of conflicts with his family, with his school and with the law. Eventually his adoptive parents turned him over into the custody of the courts at age 13. He became a ward of the state, again, and bounced between foster homes and juvenile detention centres.
"I was so angry at the world because I didn't know who I was, where I came from or what was going on," he said.
"I despised the fact I was Native. I would fight every Indian I could fight."

The girl at the bus stop

The anger may have totally consumed and eventually destroyed Kalkman except for a girl he saw from a city bus window standing at a downtown Vancouver bus stop in 1987. He wouldn't see her again for several months. In that time he would end up serving 80 days in jail for failing to pay a $548 fine for drinking and driving in a car stolen from his adoptive parents.
Robert and Kathleen Kalkman on their wedding day, Aug. 3, 1991. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)

When he got out, he decided to try and make a go of it and enrolled in a college where the girl from the bus stop also attended. They fell in love and married on Aug. 3, 1991.
Robert and Kathleen Kalkman, who is from the Tahltan Nation, now live in Chetwynd, B.C., and they have four sons, aged 27, 25, 17 and 15, along with two grandchildren aged three and five.
Kalkman, a journeyman carpenter, made a career working in gold mines and oil fields throughout northern B.C..
Robert and Kathleen Kalkman, centre, with their children, from the left: Dakota Kalkman, Kross Kalkman, Trey Kalkman and Jeremy Kalkman. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)

Still there was a piece that remained lost.
His adoptive father, Johannes Wilhelmus Kalkman, who died from cancer about two years ago, "harboured quite a bit of anger for many years" over the adoption, said Peter Kalkman, 59.
And Janet Kalkman, who is 85 and living in an assisted care home, remains "a little bit ambivalent about the whole thing," said Peter.
"My wife, she has brothers and sisters, a mother and a father. My kids look at me and say where is your mom? Where is your dad? You got to look at them and say, 'All you got is me,'" said Robert Kalkman.
"Every time I wake up in the morning I tell them, 'I love you.' I tell them in their face, 'I love you.' That is the connection I have to have because this is all I have. I won't let anybody try to take what I have now."

Kids for Sale: Adoption Trafficking

A CNN exclusive investigation uncovers what could be a child trafficking scheme for adoptions after one mom blew the whistle.
By the time the call ends, Mata's radiant smile has turned to sobs. "My mom was tricked," she says. "My mom was tricked."
Her mother told her it was never her intent to give Mata up for good -- that she'd been deceived. She had been told that Mata would be given a great educational opportunity if she was sent away but that she would one day return. That Mom would always be a part of her daughter's life.
At the time of that call, the Davises now believe, Mata wasn't an orphan at all but was still living at home with a mother who loved her. They believe she was pulled from her home and placed in the orphanage after the adoption agency found an American couple -- buyers, in a sense -- with money to adopt a child.
An investigation by CNN into this alleged trafficking scheme found that children are being taken from their homes in Uganda on the promise of better schooling, placed into orphanages even though they aren't orphans, and sold for as much as $15,000 each to unsuspecting American families. CNN's investigation discovered that multiple families were duped this way.
WATCH: Kids for sale: 'My mom was tricked' - CNN

Thursday, April 19, 2018

An apology will not bring back the dead children

(Residential school survivor Evelyn Korkmaz, left, Senator Murray Sinclair, and NDP MP Romeo Saganash at a news conference in Ottawa)

Catholic bishops news conference only adds confusion around Pope’s apology to residential school survivors

A news conference to clear the air about the Pope’s apology to Indian residential school survivors only seemed to confuse things further.
Bishop Lionel Gendron told reporters in Ottawa Wednesday the Catholic church is a “decentralized” organization and Pope Francis can’t be held responsible for what others have done.
But Senator Murray Sinclair called that “a failure” and said the apology demanded by his Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is needed by survivors to heal.
Senior leaders of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops addressed the media in Ottawa in front of an NDP motion to be tabled in the House of Commons calling on Pope Francis to apologize for residential schools. The motion failed after one MP voted no. It’s not clear who voted against it, but in a scrum prior to Question Period, Conservative Indigenous Affairs Critic said it has no place in parliament.
“We like to keep a separation between church and state in terms of Parliament directing specific actions,” she said. “And I think we also believe that that’s an important distinction to keep, which the other parties don’t believe.”

The bishops said the Pope may apologize in person if he came to Canada and met with Indigenous peoples.
But according to Richard Gagnon, Archbishop of Winnipeg and vice-president of the CCCB, the church has already done so, said “The pope never said he wouldn’t apologize,” Gagnon said. “What the Holy Father did say was he would not personally respond to (TRC) call to Action 58.”

Does that mean Yes or No the Pope will apologize?

“Our concern is that it’s important to clear up any misconceptions that are out there and correct any inaccuracies,” Gagnon added.
The answer confused reporters who continued to yell questions as the black-robed religious figures left the room.

Sinclair was accompanied by NDP-MPs Charlie Angus and Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou), who bashed the bishops’ behaviour.
“I am disgusted,” said Saganash, a Cree politician from Quebec who survived 10 years in residential school.
“To state ‘the Catholic church as a whole in Canada was not associated with the residential schools’ pushes this church towards very irresponsible, historical, revisionism,” added Angus (Timmins-James Bay), a Catholic.
Sen. Murray Sinclair, who chaired the TRC, said it was sad to see the church try and distance itself from the issue now.
“They’re not taking responsibility and that’s a shame,” he said.
It took survivor Evelyn Korkmaz, who shared the stage with the politicians, to clarify the subject.
“The church has acknowledged wrongdoing,” she said. “So all we’re asking for is a verbal apology.”
Korkmaz attended notorious St. Anne’s residential school in Angus’s riding, whose survivors are battling Ottawa for the same compensation offered other survivors.
Angus, who has been championing their fight, said the church has to apologize and noted he was “distressed” Canadian bishops weren’t insisting he do that.
But Gagnon defended the head of the church.
“I agree with the way the Pope is handling this in waiting for an opportune time,” he said.
“He has been invited to Canada from the prime minister, from three of our presidents of the Catholic conference of bishops of Canada…His response had to do with Call to Action No. 58 and its rather strict confines.”
Pope Francis has apologized to Indigenous peoples in Bolivia for the impact of colonialism and said sorry to survivors of priestly sexual abuse in Ireland.
“We have a track record with this Pope who is not afraid to confront the hard issues,” Gagnon added.

Indian Lawsuits on School Abuse May Bankrupt Canada Churches ...

Indian Lawsuits on School Abuse May Bankrupt Canada Churches. By JAMES BROOKE NOV. 2, 2000. ...

A history of residential schools in Canada | CBC News

CBC News answers frequently asked questions about residential school abuse ...
An apology will not bring back the dead children or end the cycles of oppression we are still healing and dealing with... The Vatican still holds us apology will never do...  Trace

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Too many black, Indigenous kids in Ontario child-welfare system, report finds

Called Interrupted Childhoods: Over-representation of Indigenous and black children in Ontario child welfare, the report calls on child welfare authorities to examine whether they are engaging in practices that might violate human rights rules.The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies said it was undertaking initiatives to address the issues.
"Historical and current child welfare practices have resulted in over-representation of Indigenous children in child welfare," Mary Ballantyne, the association's CEO, said in a release. "Those practices have also led to cultural genocide for the Indigenous people of Ontario."Ballantyne also said the over-representation of African-Canadian children was unacceptable.
Source: Too many black, Indigenous kids in Ontario child-welfare system, report finds | CBC News

Thursday, April 12, 2018

‘Indian Horse’ tells painful story of Canada’s residential schools

Indian Horse Movie Trailer

Navajo Nation judge weighs jurisdiction of sexual abuse lawsuits against Mormon church

Gallup, N.M. • A Navajo Nation judge is weighing whether sexual abuse lawsuits against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should proceed and where the cases should be heard.

Judge Carol Perry heard arguments Monday after lawyers for the Utah-based LDS Church filed a motion to dismiss five lawsuits, the Gallup Independent reported Tuesday.

The suits filed in tribal courts allege Native American children were sexually abused while enrolled in the church’s Indian Student Placement Program. The first suit was filed in 2016 on behalf of two adults who said they were abused when they were students in the program.

Source: Navajo Nation judge weighs jurisdiction of sexual abuse lawsuits against Mormon church - The Salt Lake Tribune

Wilfred Buck Tells The Story Of Mista Muskwa

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They Took Us Away

They Took Us Away
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You are not alone

You are not alone

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.

Diane Tells His Name

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60s Scoop Survivors Legal Support


Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines

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.

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