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Monday, June 29, 2020

Indian Lives Matter | The "Indian Problem"

Stanford Law Review Online Publishes “Indian Lives Matter — Pandemics and Inherent Tribal Powers”

by Matthew L.M. Fletcher

Fletcher's paper, "Indian Lives Matter -- Pandemics and Inherent Tribal Powers," is now available online (PDF).

The1918 and 1919 influenza pandemicdevastated American Indian communities.In several states in the west and southwestArizona, Colorado, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Utah4%to 6%of American Indian people died.35“Among Alaskan Natives, entire communities were stricken, and some towns were abandoned.”36Nearly 3,400 Diné (Navajo) people walked on during this time.37Overall,2%of American Indian people walked on because of the pandemic.3

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Remembering Von Hughes #adopteerights

Von and her daughter
Lost Daughters is sad to announce the passing of one of our long-time members, Von Coates. Von was one of Australia’s stolen babies during an era which mirrored that of the “Baby Scoop Era” in the United States (and worldwide). She was instrumental in the official apology issued by the WA government. She stood unapologetically by the wronged mothers as they refused to accept. She was a pioneer in establishing Post-Adoption support in WA. She was also a tireless advocate for bird populations of her homeland and for justice everywhere. She lived a long, fulfilling life. She will be missed.

ETA: Von’s family has asked for donations for a mental health fundraiser in Von’s honor:

Her death on May 17, 2020 has been devastating to family, friends and the online community


By Trace Hentz, Blog Editor

Every adoptee I know wants to understand why we feel the way we do, and that we are not alone. Von Coates Hughes in Australia was one of my best teachers and she was an outspoken adoptee. She gave in-depth, easy-to-read insight and had the words when I would struggle with how to explain how I felt about being adopted.
Von had a blog on blogger (Once was Von) and someone reported it was not good so it was taken down. What the HELL??? Criticizing the adoption industry and propaganda was dangerous, we soon discovered - and Von and I discussed it via email.  She came to my defense many times. She would openly argue with first mothers/birthmothers and adoptive parents on Facebook - battling as if there was only one victim in the adoption game.
She made many comments on this blog and interviewed me for her blog. Von was also a contributor to LOST DAUGHTERS blog.

Out of necessity, Von moved her blog to wordpress. Below: this was her first post in 2012.

It’s Just A Stage I’m Going Through!

I’m a cat person, a Greyhound person, a goose person – well, let’s just say an animal person or an ‘everything that lives and moves person’ and then some. I love fossils, rocks, gemstones, crystals, mushrooms, toadstools, lichens and all the non-green plants. Yes, I even love spiders and have a large Huntsman named Mathilda living in close proximity. Freaky!  It’s not normal in the eyes of some, but then I’ve got adoption to thank for that. My beloved maternal aGrandfather was the same. He loved and was fascinated by everything that moved, didn’t move, lived or had lived. He was born in Victorian times, so was also a collector, kept a pair of chimpanzees and a Cassowary in the garden.
Every Summer he camped out with his geologist mates from the city museum so that they could collect fossils and set up the collection which is still on show today, still neatly labelled with the source, which reminds me of him every time I visit!  I have photos of those times, taken long before I was born, when my amother was a child raised to a life of respect for living creatures and a love of the area I took my family to live in decades and decades later, long after she had died.
Continuity happens in families, whether they are biological families or adoptive families. Adoptees if they are lucky enough to experience reunion can connect with the bits they wish to, not the bits they don’t. Sometimes, just sometimes, we have choices others do not. Does it make up for not having a choice about losing our mothers, the trauma of adoption?  Of course not, nothing ever does. It can’t even be viewed as compensation; often too complicated or fraught for that, but at least it is choice of a sort. Mainly of the “I choose not to take any more of your shit” variety or “I choose not to go to this funeral” or take on a poisonous sister-in-law who hates our guts for being born and then turning up late to the party. At least we can choose not to let these people and situations abuse us, make us victims and categorise us.
In four lifetimes I’ve seen a lot of that!  Each part of my life as been so very different, it feels as if I have had four lifetimes so far, with another yet to come; not completely coinciding with Brodzinsky’s five stages of the adopted life, but fairly close, with some overlaps. I have no anger about my adoption, I don’t hate anyone, although I believe some of them could have behaved much, much better. I’m not bitter. I refuse to let anyone define my life, what it has been, what it is now and what it will be. I do not believe adoption is ethical or the best we humans can do for children and families, for those living in the poverty others created, manipulated or unsupported for the gains of others. I will not ever allow a group of damaged mothers to define what adoption is to me or stand by while they tell other adoptees what adoption is or is not for adult adoptees. Not in a million years. That is abusive, unacceptable and these days very ill-advised.
Adoption and the adoption industry needs to clean up it’s act, get real and begin to be about finding the very best families for the children who have to become adoptees because their parents cannot, should not or will not raise them. It needs to stop being about baby selling, commodification of human lives and filling orders, greed, profit and lies. Easy?? It could be with the right commitment, intentions and goals and a true belief that is is about the best interests of children and not adults.

Go read her blog - from the beginning. Von made us smart. I will miss her so much. My heart is broken.

This is the bio on Lost Daughters:
Von --Life &Wisdom Columnist
Von is an Australian adoptee of the forced adoption era and has lived the adopted life for 66 years. She is known by her family and dearest friends as someone who takes no prisoners and has a horror of bigotry and injustice.She is a strong believer in the rights of children, the power of love and the medicinal powers of chocolate. She speaks her truth and often describes herself as an adoptee who is 'out, proud and loud". She had the benefit of Yorkshire genes for direct speaking and Somerset genes for perseverance. The Grandmother in her avatar she never knew but has taken as a role model and an inspiration. She is still waiting to be told she is not the oldest blogger on adoption in the blogosphere. Von blogs regularly at her personal blog The Life of Von.

She was also known as Elizabeth Ann Hughes. 

For adoptees, the right to know, the belief in the fundamental human right of knowing who we are, where we came from and who our people are, keeps many of us moving forward, steadily, sometimes haltingly, sometimes fearfully and in trepidation and sometimes with confidence and always with the knowledge that we are right to want the truth, to clear away the lies and to hold liars and abusers accountable.  Adult adoptees won’t be going away any time soon, nor will they be keeping quiet or allowing gains to be lost. We have everything to gain – we already lost everything when we lost our mothers,our identity, our history and our names. 
Another post about Von

Friday, June 26, 2020

Friday, June 5, 2020

Sense of Place - Indigenous Perspectives on Earth and Sky, with Leroy Little Bear..

Go here for more information:

The Indigenous Education Institute is honored to announce a collaboration BLM called “A Sense of Place: Indigenous Perspectives on Land and Sky” and the first speaker is Dr. Leroy Little Bear.

READ Listening to Stones

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

I Can't Breathe

 Charles (left) and an actor playing Abe Lincoln.
By Trace L Hentz (taking a break/blog hiatus)
I can't breathe. That is the way I feel.

JUNE 2020: We have multiple pandemics: The 2020 Depression, Covid-19 and the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed man, shown on live TV.
Then I find out my cousin has died.  Dr. Charles Bland, a film scholar historian and genealogist, was almost 80 and he and I had been working on a Native history project for the better part of seven years. I have mentioned him many times on my wordpress blog.

For over a year Charles was suffering with Myasthenia Gravis.  The day before he died (on April 25), I texted and said I wanted to kidnap him and bring him here to western MA and break him out of that New York nursing home. (There were Covid-19 cases but he never caught the virus.)

He texted back, calling me Bonnie and my husband Clyde.
Sadly our rescue didn't succeed. Charlie stopped breathing.
I am raw. I can't breathe.

Everything we are seeing globally is seeding a new future. What kind of future? My husband is African-American and he is dealing with the murder of George Floyd in ways I am not. The violence, injustice, racism, what has been happening with the protests, has filled my husband's reality his entire life.  He can't breathe.
The scene in Minneapolis, where I lived for years, is beyond words.  I lived on James Avenue South near Lake Calhoun, or Bde Maka Ska, off West Lake St. I don't think I'd recognize it anymore.
James Avenue
I walked around the lake daily in good weather.  Recently the MN Supreme Court ruled that "Lake Calhoun" in Minneapolis will officially now be known as "Bde Maka Ska." Lake Calhoun was named after John C. Calhoun, the South Carolina senator who became vice president in 1825. Supporters of the change wanted to distance the lake from Calhoun, a documented supporter of slavery.  In 1837, Calhoun gave a speech on "the positive good" of slavery.   He also authored the Indian Removal Act
Bde Maka Ska is pronounced "b-day ma-kha skah" (translates to "White Earth Lake" in Dakota)

Mourning takes time. Protests take time. Changing the world takes time.


Migizi Communication burns in Minneapolis protests

NBC News| 5 days ago
Democrats on Friday slammed President Donald Trump for what they said was inciting violence against protesters who were demonstrating in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody.

Riots, arson leave Minnesota communities of color devastated

StarTribune|10 hours ago
When the nonprofit's executive director, Kelly Drummer, returned to the scene a few hours later and saw the destruction, she said, "I knelt down and I just cried." The riots and arson that followed protests of George Floyd's death have devastated organizations and businesses that serve communities of color.

The anger behind the protests, explained in 4 charts

murder vs riot

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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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