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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Fostering Native children in Native homes imperative to preserving culture, preventing erasure

Left to right: Jeff Sarro and Victor Walter (Bois Forte Ojibwe) are foster parents to Native children. Photo courtesy of The Circle.
Although the Indian Child Welfare Act requires the state to place Native children with family or kin when possible, there is a severe shortage of Native foster homes to accommodate this need. Staff in the Native foster care network stress the importance of giving Native children homes that can address their culture, teach traditions and help them learn to navigate the world as a Native person. Placing children in Native homes will also serve to prevent cultural erasure.
“It’s really a difficult task to figure out what they know and how you can support it,” said Victor Walter (Bois Fort Ojibwe), foster parent. “Whether it’s going to powwows, putting out a spirit plate at meals, smudging or sweat lodges…you really have to find out what the kids are used to and at least support that. If you can, surpass it.”
Read more at The Circle.

Native parents vote on efficacy of American Indian Education in schools
In 2015, the state of Minnesota established an American Indian Education Aid program in order to provide more culturally informed teaching to Native students. The program includes an American Indian Parent Advisory Committee in each district comprised of Native parents and students who cast a yearly vote on whether or not the program is meeting cultural needs. Many Native parents have expressed enthusiasm for having a vote on the educational programming for their children, especially around Native representation in American history and sufficient cultural trainings for teachers.
“What it amounts to is there’s a mistrust of the education system by Native Americans because it’s been used as a weapon of assimilation. So when parents are distrustful of a system that in the past has not treated their students well, it’s hard for them to advocate and be proponents of educational change,” said Jane Harstad, director of the Office of Indian Education at the state Department of Education.
Read more on this story at MinnPost.

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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.

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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.

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The procedure is simple: Just fill out the form HERE.

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ADOPTION TRUTH

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.

Dawnland 2018