How to Use this Blog

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.

“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” If you buy any of the books at the links provided, the editor will earn a small amount of money or commission. (we thank you) (that is our disclaimer statement)

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.

Can you help us? Here is how:

WRITE AND POST A BOOK REVIEW ONLINE:
Please know that if you write an honest book review, we are very very appreciative. Amazon, Kobo, Good Reads, Apple Books, etc. - every opinion counts.

DONATE COPIES:
If you can, please donate a copy of our book titles to your local library, college or school.

Search This Blog

Friday, August 28, 2020

Cherokee Tribe sues

Tribe sues Trump HHS for tampering with ICWA on data in foster care cases

  • The Cherokee Nation is among a group that filed suit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration for Children and Families Thursday, in a federal district court in California, regarding data collected on children in foster care.
“The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System is used by HHS to track foster children through foster care,” said Cherokee Nation Attorney General Sara Hill in the tribe’s Rules committee meeting on August 27, 2020. “For decades, HHS did not track any statistics that relate to the Indian Child Welfare Act with Indian children. So if children were placed in non-ICWA compliant placements in the state, the proportion of children in foster care in the United States – none of that data was being tracked by HHS.”
In 2016, HHS changed it rules to mandate reporting of how child welfare agencies track American Indian children and included data related to the ICWA. The rule also required reporting the voluntary disclosure of the sexual orientation of foster youth ages 14 and older, and of foster and adoptive parents and legal guardians.
The plaintiffs argue President Donald Trump’s administration and the ACF violated the Administrative Procedure Act by revoking the 2016 rule. The group believes the data would assist welfare agencies and organizations serving foster children, and avoid bad outcomes for children and youth.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Lawsuit seeks more protections | Newsy Video on #ICWA and AFCARS



A lawsuit filed in federal court aims to stop the rollback of rules that monitor American Indian and Alaska Native children foster care.

"I was 12 years-old and there was reoccurring abuse in my house, as well as neglect that resulted in us being taken away," said 22-year-old Natilia Edwards of Anchorage, Alaska.
Edwards and her four sisters, all Alaskan Natives, were placed in foster care outside of their tribal community.

"So, I was in care for a total of seven years and then I was in a total of 14 different placements," said Edwards.

But a change in the way the federal government protects and tracks kids like Natilia and her sisters is worrying some. And there are special reasons why.

Despite making up just 1% of the U.S. juvenile population, American Indian/Alaska Native are disproportionately represented in the foster care system. They make up  2.6% of kids in foster care, according to the most recent government data.

"The institutional racism, some of the bias and also just some of the staff who are working with Native children and families, not having the kind of the relationships you need to have with tribal communities, it leads to children being removed in numbers that are much higher than they should be," said David Simmons, Government Affairs and Advocacy Director at National Indian Child Welfare Association.

For centuries, American Indian children were forcibly taken from their families and tribes; often placed in boarding schools and adopted by white families without consent.
In 1978 Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. It requires, in part, that states first identify family or tribal members who can take a child before placing them in a home outside of the tribal community. And they had to continue to keep track of Native children in their systems. However, that hasn't always happened.
"There has never been data, federally mandated data collected on all elements of the Indian Child Welfare Act," said Professor Kate Fort of the University of Michigan Law School. "So we actually don't have nationwide data at all on ICWA."
So, in 2016, the Obama administration worked to change that. It required states to use the federal, Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System, or AFCARS, to expand the amount of information states gather about American Indian and Alaska Native children.

This summer, the Trump Administration rolled back that expansion. States no longer needed to gather all the additional data related to American Indian and Alaskan Native children. Also, they will no longer collect information related to youth who identify as LGBTQ+.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, its "streamlined" version came after some states described the data collection as overly burdensome. The administration also said it would be too costly.

A lawsuit filed today in federal court aims to stop the rollback and maintain the 2016 data collection.
"The effect of this rollback, it's going to be to keep these issues in the dark, to keep up, to keep LGBTQ plus children and American Indian and Alaska native children essentially in the shadows so that we're not collecting data on them and thus not doing all that we can to address the problems," said Senior Attorney Jeffrey Dubner of Democracy Forward.

Supporters say it’s all to ensure every effort is made to keep American Indian and Native American foster children protected and connected to their tribes and culture. Something Natalia wishes she would have experienced.

"I mean, how cool could it be, you know. I wouldn't have to have all these thoughts and these wonders," said Edwards. "I would really know and be so secure within my culture, my sense of community."

**

Lawsuit Challenging the Administration’s Withdrawal of the 2016 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)

by Kate Fort

Here is the Complaint. Plaintiffs include California Tribal Family Coalition, Cherokee Nation, and Yurok Tribe along with a number of LGBTQ+ organizations. 
Similarly, Defendants eliminated most questions related to how child welfare agencies treat children to whom ICWA applies. Although ACF had in 2016 found these questions essential to guide its allocation of resources to help AI/AN youth, Defendants abandoned them without any discussion of the value of the information being lost for AI/AN youth and the tribes seeking to protect them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Mental Health Effects of Historical Trauma



From StrongHearts Native Helpline

The outbreak of coronavirus earlier this year left many mental health professionals concerned that stay-at-home orders and other safety measures designed to protect citizens from the pandemic could cause an increase in mental health issues. Unfortunately, mental health disorders and access to mental health care has been an ongoing struggle for Native Americans. With the additional mental drain resulting from the virus’ spread, it’s important now more than ever to support our relatives by understanding mental health and how it disproportionately impacts our communities.
Education
The first step in supporting people who struggle with their mental health is to educate yourself on how mental health disorders develop and how their development can impact every facet of a person’s life. Experts are not entirely sure what can cause mental health disorders. However, the consensus is that a mixture of genetics, environmental factors, and traumas like war, intimate partner violence, or child sexual abuse can result in lifelong mental health struggles. Native American communities specifically have to contend with historical trauma, which is defined as cumulative emotional and psychological wounding over one’s lifetime and from generation to generation following the loss of lives, land, and vital aspects of culture. According to Mental Health America, over 21% of Native Americans had a diagnosable mental health disorder in the past year, totaling over 830,000.
Effects
The effects of these mental health disorders can be devastating to individuals and the Native American community as a whole. Having a serious mental health disorder can reduce an individual's life expectancy by 10 to 20 years, as depression and high levels of psychological stress may result in increased rates of heart disease, diabetes, and even an increased risk of cancer. Difficulty regulating emotional health can also destroy a person’s ability to cope with the stresses of everyday life, including maintaining friendships and supporting a family.
Impact
The impact of fractured familial bonds on our communities has been and continues to be significant. For decades, our children were removed from their homes and stolen from their families to be re-educated at boarding schools. At these schools, many children were victims of institutional abuse, including regular beatings, sexual abuse, and punishment for practicing any kind of activities that contributed to the survival of their own culture. This complete disruption of Native American family life and culture fostered the same kind of historical trauma that mass violence and persecution caused earlier generations. The separation of children from their families and their culture has lasting effects on the mental health of Native Americans to this day.
Resources
Now in this time of national crisis, these mental health struggles are even more important to highlight. Everyone – including our peoples – should be especially mindful of how the stresses of the pandemic could affect their mental well-being and the well-being of their communities.
These resources are available for anyone struggling with their mental health:(click links)
The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 1-800-273-8255.
StrongHearts is a safe, anonymous and confidential domestic, dating and sexual violence helpline that offers culturally-appropriate support and advocacy for American Indians and Alaska Natives. If you or someone you love is experiencing domestic, dating or sexual violence or if you have questions about your behavior, help is available. 

For one-on-one advocacy, click on the Chat Now icon at https://www.strongheartshelpline.org/ or call 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483). Advocates are available daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT.

Primal Wound: Primary Maternal Preoccupation


1991.
THE PRIMAL WOUND.
Verrier Nancy, 1991, believes that during gestation a mother becomes uniquely sensitised to her baby. Donald Winnicot called this phenomenon, primary maternal preoccupation. He believed that toward the end of pregnancy, the mother develops a state of heightened sensitivity, which provides a setting for the infants constitution to begin to make itself evident, for the developmental tendencies to start to unfold and for the infant to experience spontaneous movement.
He stressed the mother alone knows what the baby could be feeling and what he needs, because everyone else is outside his experience.
The mothers hormonal, physiological, constitutional and emotional preparation provides the child with a security, which no one else can. There is a natural flow from the in-utro experience of the baby safely confined in the womb to that of the baby secure within the mothers arms, to the wanderings of the toddler who is secure in the mothers proximity to her. This security provides the child with a sense of rightness and wholeness of self.
For these babies and their mother, relinquishment and adoption are not concepts, they are experiences they can never fully recover from. A child can certainly attach to another care giver, but rather than a secure, serene feeling of oneness, the attachment is one in which the adoptive relationship may be what Bowlby has referred to as anxious attachment.
He noted that "provided there is one particular mother figure to who he can relate and who mothers him lovingly, he will in time take to and treat her as though she were almost his mother. That "almost" is the feeling expressed by the adoptive mothers who feel as if they had accepted the infant but the infant had not quite accepted them as mother.
 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

SCOTUS Affirms Reservation — Upholds Jurisdiction to Protect Native Women

from StrongHearts Native Helpline Staff

Supreme Court of the Land

Legal experts are calling McGirt v. Oklahoma (McGirt) the most significant Federal Indian Law case of the century. On July 9, the Supreme Court’s McGirt decision upheld the treaty affirmed reservation borders of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The ruling upended previously held legal opinions that jurisdiction over major crimes transferred from federal courts to state courts. Further, that jurisdiction in fact belongs to a federal or tribal court. 
“This ruling is critical in the prosecution of domestic violence crimes against Native women,” said StrongHearts Native Helpline Director, Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). “Jurisdiction or lack of jurisdiction is at the heart of why rates of violence are so high for Native Americans living on trust or reservation lands.”
The reservation boundaries of the Muscogee Creek Nation were at stake, but the ruling has a significant impact on who has jurisdiction over major crimes as they relate to both Native and non-Native perpetrators on tribal land. And, if the Supreme Court had decided to judicially disestablish the Creek Nation’s reservation, the majority of those lands within the Nation’s historical boundaries would no longer be considered “Indian country.”

Violence Against Women Act

Further, that disestablishment of an existing reservation would not only serve to diminish tribal land but also would eliminate the same tribal jurisdiction that Congress recently, and intentionally, reaffirmed with regard to crimes of domestic violence committed by non-Natives in the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Fortunately, this was not the court ruling.

Major Crimes Act

Previous actions by the federal government, such as the Major Crimes Act of 1855, created a legal framework that resulted in jurisdictional confusion when responding to and prosecuting crimes in Indian country. Through the Major Crimes Act of 1855, the U.S. government assumed concurrent jurisdiction over “serious crimes” committed by a Native American in Indian country. Even basic assistance such as officers responding to 911 calls, was impacted as it could be possible that the law enforcement responding to a call might not be the officer who had jurisdiction over that crime.
In the McGirt case, the State of Oklahoma wrongly assumed jurisdiction when it convicted Jimcy McGirt for violent sex crimes on the reservation of the Creek Nation’s reservation. McGirt appealed his case asserting that the State of Oklahoma didn’t have authority over a tribal member on tribal land.  

Deadlock Tie Breaker

There were two criminal cases brought before the SCOTUS, but in one instance there was a conflict of interest. Prior to his role on the SCOTUS, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch had presided over Sharp v. Murphy in a federal appellate court. The case involved a tribal member who had committed murder on the Creek reservation. He also contended that a state court didn’t have jurisdiction. In Murphy’s 2018 appeal to the SCOTUS, Gorsuch ultimately had to recuse himself; and without Gorsuch, the potential for deadlock on the SCOTUS prevented its natural conclusion. Thus, the Murphy case was hinged upon the outcome of McGirt. 
In the landmark ruling, Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, “Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law. Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.”

SCOTUS Upends Previously Held Legal Opinions

Although many experts agree that the SCOTUS opinion was accurate and reflected the original intent of the treaties in question, non-Native legislators argued that Native people left Indian territory of their own accord and as such forfeited title to the reservation. Further, that due to the lack of Native inhabitants, the reservation ceased to exist. In reality, Native people were continuously forced out of Indian Territory by white settlers and the U.S. government. Regardless, the crux of it all as pointed out by SCOTUS was that only an act of Congress could disestablish a tribal reservation, see Solem v. Bartlett (1984).

StrongHearts Stands with Survivors

StrongHearts Native Helpline recognizes the importance of the McGirt decision for victims and survivors of violence. Tribal nations are one step closer to holding all perpetrators accountable for committing crimes against Native people on tribal lands. StrongHearts’ mission is to restore power to Native Americans impacted by domestic, dating and sexual violence by providing a system of safety, sovereignty and support with a vision to return to our traditional lifeways where our relatives are safe, violence is eradicated and sacredness is restored.

To explore your options for safety and healing, visit strongheartshelpline.org for one-on-one chat advocacy or call 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) daily 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. 

As a collaborative effort of the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, after hours callers can connect with The Hotline by choosing option one. 









Support them!

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!

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.

Generation Removed

Did you know?

Did you know?
lakota.cc/16I9p4D

Dawnland

Help in available!

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

click to listen

Diane Tells His Name

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?