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Howdy! We've amassed tons of information and important history on this blog since 2010. If you have a keyword, use the search box below. Also check out the reference section above. If you have a question or need help searching, use the contact form at the bottom of the blog.
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This is a blog. It is not a peer-reviewed journal, not a sponsored publication... The ideas, news and thoughts posted are sourced… or written by the editor or contributors.

2019: This blog was ranked #50 in top 100 blogs about adoption. Let's make it #1...

2019: WE NEED A TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION Commission in the US now for the Adoption Programs that stole generations of children... Goldwater Institute's work to dismantle ICWA is another glaring attempt at cultural genocide.


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Monday, April 29, 2019

The Traumatic Legacy of Indian Boarding Schools

Statutes of limitations for civil or criminal cases make any legal action impossible in the United States, according to the Native American Rights Fund attorney Donald Wharton. Lawsuits against Christian denominations would need to take place in individual state courts, and would likely be costly and burdensome. Attempts at gaining reparations at the state-legislature level have failed, too; in February, the South Dakota legislature killed a bill that would have extended the window for childhood survivors of boarding-school abuse to file suits against organizations such as the Catholic Church.

READ: The Traumatic Legacy of Indian Boarding Schools - The Atlantic

Has anyone read a book by Boarding School Survivors who were molested in the Catholic Churches? Please leave a comment.

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Brooklyn Diocese Ignored Protocol And Unwittingly Accepted Priest Accused Of Abuse

link

After the Boston Globe’s 2002 Spotlight investigation of sexual abuse, the USCCB created the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which called on church leaders to more thoroughly vet priests in order to prevent sexual abuse. In 2003, the USCCB published guidelines for vetting international priests, acknowledging the unique difficulties of conducting cross-border background checks. Despite the attention to more thorough vetting, a 2007 USCCB audit found that half of the credible sexual abuse allegations from children that year who were still minors were made against international priests.
Last year, the Diocese of Brooklyn posted names of 13 priests on its website who have been accused of sexually abusing minors and have been laicized, the most serious punishment in Catholicism. In the interview with W Radio earlier this year, Tobón said he referred the sexual abuse allegations against Cadavid to the Vatican after suspending him in 2012, and that he was no longer a priest. The 13 priests named on the diocese website are priests from the Diocese of Brooklyn, so Cadavid is not included.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Navajo Nation Wins Appeal in Indian Child Welfare Act Case #ICWA

The Arizona Court of Appeals decided the juvenile court did not meet the requirements of the act.
window rock navajo code talker hero Navajo Code Talker Memorial at Window Rock, Arizona.
Photo: Ron Cogswell/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Arizona Court of Appeals ordered a new hearing Thursday over the guardianship of a 6-year-old child who is subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act.
The Navajo Nation appealed the case, The Navajo Nation v. Department of Child Safety et al., in October 2018 after the juvenile court failed to hear the testimony of a qualified expert witness as required by the ICWA in the child's guardianship case.
The child, R.Y., falls under the act because his mother is a member of the Navajo Nation.
Tamara Shanker, the attorney who represented the Navajo Nation, said the act is an effort to rebuild indigenous culture after centuries of the removal of indigenous children from their families.
When an indigenous parent cannot care for his or her child, the ICWA prioritizes the placement of the child in the custody of a relative or someone from the same tribal nation.
Shanker said that since the juvenile court awarded permanent guardianship without the testimony of an expert witness, it opened the door for future courts to disregard other aspects of the act.
"A Diné individual is as different from a Pascua Yaqui, as an Italian is from a Dane," Shanker said. "Just because they may all just be European doesn't mean that they're the same individual and have the same child rearing practices."
She said cultural experts are necessary to accurately assess an adult's ability to care for a child by his or her cultural standards.
The act allows for three types of qualified experts to testify in its cases. One type of expert is a fellow tribal member who is a specialist in the culture's childrearing practices. The person could also be someone who provides child and family services to tribal members and is an expert on the tribe's familial organization. The court will also hear testimonies from a specialist with extensive experience and knowledge on a certain topic pertaining to the case.
The expert or experts testify as to whether the parents or an indigenous relative could raise the child without causing severe emotional or physical harm.
"We needed to have this decision, because to not get this would have set a very dangerous precedent. If you start chipping away at critical requirements under the ICWA or any law, it's like, 'If we can chip away that requirement, we can chip away this one next time,'" said Shanker.
She said that since the juvenile court did not follow all of the act's requirements, R.Y.'s custody was legally unstable. Someone could appeal the ruling and possibly remove him from his guardian's care. She said this was not the Navajo Nation's goal in pursuing the appeal.
Shaker said she hopes the new hearing solidifies the boy's custody and reinforces that even permanent guardianship cases must follow all aspects of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

In "Bitterroot," a Native transracial adoptee explores identity, race, and belonging

Apr 23, 2019 

On this edition of Your Call, we’ll speak with oral historian Susan Devan Harness about her book Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption.
The memoir explores her search for answers to difficult questions about race, identity and family as an American Indian woman adopted by a white couple. She also chronicles her reconnection with her biological family and conversations with other transracial adoptees.

Guest:
Susan Devan Harness, writer, lecturer and oral historian, and author of Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption

Web Resources:
Hippocampus Magazine: Review: Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption (American Indian Lives) by Susan Devan Harness

Friday, April 19, 2019

Too Burdensome to report or keep data on #ICWA (really?)

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Notice of Proposed Rule Making. Again.

Here.

We cannot currently track on a national level in any way how ICWA works, where children who are involved in ICWA cases are placed, what their outcomes are, or how many cases are transferred to tribal court, as examples. There is barely statewide data available, and most of it is on a county-by-county level. As just one example, Michigan is in a federal lawsuit over its data collection system.

I am deeply tired of hearing that tracking this information is simply too burdensome for the states that are putting children in care, and then getting hit in lawsuit after lawsuit with claims that are not supported by any data, but also cannot be refuted by data we refuse to collect.

If your tribe wants to submit comments, there will be model comments available before the deadline of June 18.

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Consider this: The states pay foster parents - the bureaucracy secures money and keep those records, right?
Why not keep data on the kids they place? And did you know that once a child is adopted, no one from the state goes to check on the child(ren)?

read this:

Peter Lengkeek is one of 14 members of the Crow Creek Tribal Council. He said he is enraged by the number of children that the Department of Social Services has removed from his reservation. The Tribal Council recently passed a resolution saying that the state cannot remove children without the council's approval.
John Poole/NPR



 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Proposed California law would make it easier for Native Americans to argue their side in child custody cases

California lawmakers are considering a proposal to make it easier for Native American tribes to make their arguments in child custody cases.
Technically, the proposed legislation, AB 686, would let lawyers or other representatives of Native American tribes appear by phone or electronically in cases involving the possible removal of Native American children from their families and tribes.Such hearings are held as part of the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law enacted in 1978 to stem the systemic removal of tribal children from their families and cultures — a practice that at one time touched as many as one in three Native American children. But the problem AB 686 aims to fix is as much about geography as culture.
Often, the hearings that determine where Indian children are placed are held hundreds of miles from tribal lands, making it difficult for all sides to be well represented in court. And without tribal presence during those proceedings, judges are denied information that might make their decision more compliant with the federal law, according to a statement from the Juvenile Court Judges of California to the Judiciary Committee, which passed the bill April 2.

GREAT NEWS: Proposed California law would make it easier for Native Americans to argue their side in child custody cases

Monday, April 8, 2019

American Indian adoptees deal with painful past and family separations

Larry Brown, Navajo, prepares for the November powwow ceremony at the Minneapolis American Indian Center. The ceremony provides a space for American Indian families to heal after decades of family separation. (Photo: Camille Erickson. )
The Indian Child Welfare Act has faced numerous constitutional challenges in federal courts since its enactment in 1978, attempts to undermine tribal nations’ authority in child welfare matters
Jane Harstad gave birth in 1986 to her first child, a son. Soon after, a pediatrician asked for her family’s medical history. She didn’t have a clue. She didn’t know who her biological mother or father was, let alone what medical conditions they had.
Harstad, who is Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, was adopted shortly after birth through Catholic Charities adoption services in 1965. The agency placed her in a white, middle-class family living in St. Paul, Minn.
After obtaining her biological mother’s address through the adoption agency, Harstad sat down to write a letter. She felt immediately overwhelmed.
“It took me a long time, you know, days or weeks [to write]. Even the first word like, ‘Hello,’ or ‘Dear Mom,’” she said. “It took a long time to carefully choose my words.” Harstad provided her phone number in the letter and said she wanted to meet her mother.
Harstad, now 56, would later reflect on that moment: “I was searching for a part of myself that was missing, and I knew she was the answer whether it was good or bad or ugly. It was like a puzzle and you’re missing one piece. You’re just never going to be complete.”
KEEP READING

Announcing the first comprehensive study on child removal in Native communities

READ PRESS RELEASE

If you have any questions about the study, you can visit www.boardingschoolhealing.org or contact members of the research team at info@nabshc.org or liebler@umn.edu. You may also request a paper copy of the survey or the research report when the study is completed.  

Visit us online to learn how you can join the Coalition. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Mountain West Tribes And States Join #ICWA lawsuit

Apr 4, 2019
So far, 325 tribes and states, including Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado, have joined forces to preserve a law that gives Native families preference in adoption of Native children.
Texas, Indiana and Louisiana argue the Indian Child Welfare Act creates a special and unequal status for Native children that's unconstitutional. A Texas judge sided with them last December, but a federal appeals court is keeping the law in place while it considers.
Eastern Shoshone councilman Leslie Shakespeare from the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming said, before the 1978 law was adopted, there was a long history of removing Native children from the reservation. Even after the boarding school era, there was the Indian Adoption Project of the 1950's and 60's.
"It was actually a term, Indian extraction, where they took Indian children," said Shakespeare. "They adopted them primarily to non-Indian families in order to reduce reservation populations and to reduce spending time at boarding schools."
Back then, almost a third of all Native children were removed from tribal communities through boarding schools and adoption.
"I think that is the very heart of the Indian Child Welfare Act is children losing their identity and then further, because they're our next generation, the tribe losing our identity through that process."
Shakespeare said almost 40 percent of his tribe lives somewhere other than the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming and half of those members are children. He said if they came up for adoption, it's critical to the survival of the tribe they maintain their identity as Shoshones.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Fate of Native Children May Hinge on U.S. Adoption Case

Stateline: Indian Child Welfare Act likely headed to Supreme Court


Fate of Native Children May Hinge on U.S. Adoption Case

By Teresa Wiltz
Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts
pewtrusts.org/Stateline

A case before a federal appeals court could upend an historic adoption law meant to combat centuries of brutal discrimination against American Indians and keep their children with families and tribal communities. For the first time, a few states have sued to overturn the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which Congress enacted in 1978 as an antidote to entrenched policies of uprooting Native children and assimilating them into mainstream white culture. Now, in a country roiled by debates over race and racial identity, there’s a chance the 41-year-old law could be overturned by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, considered the country’s most conservative court. (The law applies to federally recognized tribes.) Overturning the law, its proponents say, could significantly increase the number of American Indian children adopted into non-Native families.
Hundreds of tribal nations vehemently oppose the lawsuit. They say it threatens the sovereignty of Indian Country and seeks to “return Indian children to the arbitrary and discriminatory whims of state courts and state agencies, unfettered by the centuries-old trust obligations this nation owes to Indian tribes and Indian peoples.” Meanwhile, some states and private adoption attorneys pushing for change argue the Indian Child Welfare Act interferes in state affairs and “requires them to place Indian children in accordance with statutory requirements based on race, rather than the children’s best interests.” Oral arguments in the case were heard last Wednesday in New Orleans. Whatever the outcome, the case is likely headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.


Graphic © The Pew Charitable Trusts
 
Brackeen v. Bernhardt pits Texas, Indiana, Louisiana and a coalition of conservative legal groups, including the Goldwater Institute, against the federal government, hundreds of tribal nations, 21 state attorneys general, Native American civil rights groups and child welfare organizations, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Children’s Defense Fund. The plaintiffs, who include several families interested in adopting Native American children and a non-Native biological parent who wants her American Indian child to be adopted by a non-Native family, argue that the law, often called ICWA (pronounced ICK-wah), is race-based and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Tribal nations counter that “Indian” is a political, rather than a racial, designation. The Supreme Court agrees with that classification. In 1974, it said that with federal hiring preferences for American Indians in federally recognized tribes, “preference is political, rather than racial in nature.” The plaintiffs also charge that in enacting the law, Congress exceeded its authority over federal affairs with tribal nations. “I want to see ICWA overturned completely,” said Mark Fiddler, co-counsel on the Brackeen case representing adoptive families, and an enrolled member of the Chippewa Nation. “ICWA has been a miserable failure.” 

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Takeaway Podcast ICWA

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!
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

Help in available!

Help in available!
1-844-7NATIVE (click photo)

click to listen

Diane Tells His Name

Please support NARF

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.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

where were you adopted?

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.