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Support Info: If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419. Additional Health Support Information: Emotional, cultural, and professional support services are also available to Survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Services can be accessed on an individual, family, or group basis.” These & regional support phone numbers are found at .

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Monday, September 26, 2022

stolen children: gimoodinaan binojiinhyan (+tweets) #LandBack


Thursday, September 22, 2022

How tribal placements benefit Native foster children’s health #PROTECTICWA


Allowing children from these communities to be placed through state foster care when there are family or tribal members to take them in dissociates children from their culture and perpetuates the harmful effects of decades of state and federal policies that enabled removal of Native children from their families and tribes.

Because evidence shows that children’s mental and physical health are best served when placed with a family or tribal member, the Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978.

The law—passed in response to decades of laws that took children away from their families and tribes and promoted forced assimilation—says that a child’s extended family is the first preference for adoption, followed by members of the child’s tribe. In the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Haaland et al. v. Brackeen et al., seven people, along with Texas, Louisiana and Indiana are challenging the ICWA’s provisions as race-based discrimination infringing on state sovereignty.

“Invalidating ICWA risks returning far too many children to the assimilationist realities of the past. The historical trauma that so many already suffer would be compounded and magnified with fresh loss. Preserving ICWA, however, protects the critical familial and tribal support networks” that American Indian and Alaska Native “children need to thrive,” says the amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court (PDF) by the AAP and AMA Litigation Center.

Find out more about the cases in which the AMA Litigation Center is providing assistance and learn about the Litigation Center’s case-selection criteria.



Monday, September 19, 2022

Tweets #Orange Shirt Day





Saturday, September 17, 2022

Margaret D. Jacobs — After One Hundred Winters - with Alaina E. Roberts


2021 BOOK: After One Hundred Winters confronts the harsh truth that the United States was founded on the violent dispossession of Indigenous people and asks what reconciliation might mean in light of this haunted history. In this timely and urgent book, settler historian Margaret Jacobs tells the stories of the individuals and communities who are working together to heal historical wounds--and reveals how much we have to gain by learning from our history instead of denying it. 

Purchase Book Here: 

Margaret D. Jacobs is professor of history and director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Her books include White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940


Jacobs will be in conversation with Alaina E. Roberts, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on the intersection of Black and Native American life from the nineteenth century to the modern day with particular attention to identity, settler colonialism, and anti-Blackness. In addition to her first book, I've Been Here All The While: Black Freedom on Native Land, and multiple academic articles, her writing has appeared in outlets like the Washington Post and TIME magazine and her work has been profiled by the likes of CNN and the Boston Globe. Find her on Twitter @allthewhile1.

A necessary reckoning with America's troubled history of injustice to Indigenous people

Jacobs traces the brutal legacy of systemic racial injustice to Indigenous people that has endured since the nation's founding. Explaining how early attempts at reconciliation succeeded only in robbing tribal nations of their land and forcing their children into abusive boarding schools, she shows that true reconciliation must emerge through Indigenous leadership and sustained relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people that are rooted in specific places and histories. 

In the absence of an official apology and a federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission, ordinary people are creating a movement for transformative reconciliation that puts Indigenous land rights, sovereignty, and values at the forefront. With historical sensitivity and an eye to the future, Jacobs urges us to face our past and learn from it, and once we have done so, to redress past abuses. Drawing on dozens of interviews, After One Hundred Winters reveals how Indigenous people and settlers in America today, despite their troubled history, are finding unexpected gifts in reconciliation.


Chilocco Through the Years (Broadcast Version)


Graphic Novel Developed for a classroom audience, this graphic novel is available for download, print-on-demand, and for a limited time - free on request. 

Jaya, ​a Native teen temporarily separated from her mom, accompanies her Grandmother and Aunt to a family reunion. Between chores and activities, the older women lead her through a story about Chilocco Indian Agricultural School, combining history and their own memories of attending the boarding school in northern Oklahoma. Their account arouses a range of emotions in the teen, from tears, to laughter, to anger, to compassion. The result: a new respect for her family and the resilience of Native peoples, along with insights into how Jaya might handle the changes in her own life. 

This story, set in present-day Oklahoma, was compiled from the experiences of real students who attended Chilocco, and their recollections were shared through oral history interviews, photographs, letters, and other archival sources. It engages students and adults in an often overlooked part of U.S. history and pushes back against stereotypes of Native identity. 

Get the free digital download of the graphic novel! 

Want a physical printed copy of this book, you can order a printed copy from Literati Press for $5. Want a library or classroom copy of the printed book, contact us. Also see this related Project Based Learning module from Dr. Lisa Lynn Brooks. Project support from Oklahoma Humanities. 


Voices from Pezihutazizi Oyate: Boarding School Histories


Join NABS as we screen the short film “Voices from Pezihutazizi Oyate: Boarding School Histories” followed by a panel discussion. Over the past few years NABS has partnered with the Upper Sioux Community on a digitization and oral history project, one of the results of this partnership was a short film looking at the unique experiences of the Yellow Medicine Nation. 

The panel will be moderated by NABS Creative Director Kenrick Escalanti and will feature community members and experts.

Documentary description:
As hurtful truths come to light in the public eye regarding historically operated Federal Indian boarding schools in the United States, many Native Nations are reclaiming their voices regarding these assimilative educational institutions. For the Upper Sioux Community (“Yellow Medicine Nation”) living in Minnesota, these historical truths are known to have cast profound ripples that effect their present. This mini documentary explores community interpretations of this boarding school past and offers hope for justice and healing.

Register for our virtual event here:
Register Today

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Vermont hires ICWA Coordinator

 Building better relationships with Vermont’s Abenaki tribes

Building better relationships with Vermont’s Abenaki tribes-- that’s what the Vermont...
Building better relationships with Vermont’s Abenaki tribes-- that’s what the Vermont Department for Children and Families is hoping to achieve with the creation of their newest position. - File photo(FILE)
Published: Sep. 4, 2022

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Building better relationships with Vermont’s Abenaki tribes-- that’s what the Vermont Department for Children and Families is hoping to achieve with the creation of their newest position. The role is called the Indian Child Welfare Act coordinator. The title references the federal law that aims to keep Native American children under the care of relatives or tribe members whenever safe and possible. Because Abenaki tribes are recognized by the state but not by the federal government, that federal law doesn’t apply to them.

“Vermont is one of the few states that does not have any federally recognized tribes. But that doesn’t mean that we do not see these families,” said Lindsay Barron, the policy and planning manager for the Department for Children and Families.

When a child could have tribal affiliation or heritage, the coordinator will be responsible for verifying that information with the relevant tribes before a child is placed in another home. Advocates like Jeff Bena,y the director of Indian education for Franklin County public schools, say that placing an emphasis on the child’s culture could be a game changer.

“It breaks your heart when you see some of the stuff and some of the things that these kids go through. And it really is a traumatic experience. If we can reduce that level of trauma, for so many of the kids this would be amazing… If the state of Vermont can finally say that we want to work with you, and we understand that there’s a culture here and we understand that there’s this distinct community, what can we do to support kids? Well, this is going to go a long way,” said Benay.

Currently, a paralegal with the Vermont attorney general’s office conducts these tribal verifications after DCF workers speak with a child’s family member.

“It’s rethinking where it’s sitting within state government. And so, our intention first and foremost of this position is to continue to maintain compliance with an ICWA and all the notification work that we’re already doing that’s already happening. It’s not just about federal compliance, and it’s not just about the law, but it’s about doing what is right and doing what is best practice,” said Barron.

The Department for Children and Families hopes the coordinator will help build collaborative relationships with Vermont’s Abenaki communities, as well as strengthen existing partnerships.

Joanne Crawford, the chief of the Abenaki nation of Missisquoi, says she hopes the same.

“I think this is a great opportunity for there to be more communication and support and for us to work together and make sure that it’s happening in a very sensitive way to all that are involved because this is a very traumatic event for children and it’s traumatic for families. I would love to see us be part of creating policy around this,” said Crawford.

The application for the position has already closed and the person who is hired for the role is expected to begin in October.

Supreme Court anti-Native decision sets stage for Tribal-State conflict

September 8, 2022 | By Albert Bender People's World

“States have no criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country over crimes by Indians against anyone or crimes by non-Indians against Indians. Crimes by Indians are punishable either by the tribe or the federal government, and crimes by non-Indians against Indians are punishable exclusively by the federal government.” Williams v. United States (1946)

The above passage is from the much-esteemed book, American Indian Law, by William C. Canby Jr., Senior Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Canby was a former Director of the Office of Indian Law of the Arizona State College of Law and a foremost authority on Federal Indian law. The ruling cited by Judge Canby is quite clear— and on point—in reference to states and criminal jurisdiction regarding crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians in Indian Country.

On June 29 of this year, the Supreme Court issued a decision striking an unprecedented body blow against the Tribal sovereignty of Indigenous nations. The retrograde Court ruled in the case of Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, that states have concurrent jurisdiction with the federal government in crimes of non-Indians against Indians on Tribal lands.

The Court stated in its inflammatory decision that Indian Country is part of state territory. This is incredibly shocking and betrays an apparent complete ignorance of Federal Indian law.
As an attorney whose specialty is federal Indian law, and having practiced on a number of reservations, I shall review the recent Supreme Court decision from the standpoint of its most basic egregious errors, while also scrutinizing the ruling from the perspective of the scathing dissent issued by Supreme Court Justice—and Indian law authority—Neil Gorsuch.

The general foundational rule is that state jurisdiction is limited to those crimes that do not concern Indians or Indian interests. Hence, state jurisdiction is limited to crimes committed by non-Indians against non-Indians in Indian Country. Otherwise, the state has no authority on Tribal lands absent Congressional authorization. This is clear and unambiguous.

But it must also be kept in mind that Federal Indian law is filled with ambiguities, uncertainties, inconsistencies, and nuances, more so than any other body of law in the entire United States. However, this discourse addresses the more salient errors and lack of knowledge, history, and law embodied in the Court’s latest excursion into Indigenous jurisprudence.

As Long as the Waters Flow by Allan C. Houser
As Long as the Waters Flow by Allan C. Houser (Apache) stands outside the Oklahoma State Capitol Building in Oklahoma City. Photo: Ann W

Supreme Court decision foreshadows Tribal-State conflict

The decision written by Justice Kavanaugh, who has no Indian law background, is an engagement into the most labyrinthine twists and turns of Byzantine sophistry in a sordid, awkward attempt to pull the proverbial “rabbit out of the hat.” It is a clear violation of long established Federal Indian law.

The granting of states the right to intrude on Native lands in this respect has no basis in case law, or in the enshrined tenets of statutes and case law, beginning with the Indian Trade and Intercourse Act of 1790, to the much heralded decision of Worcester v. Georgia issued by the John Marshall Court in 1832. This set the standard of a nation-to-nation relationship between the Tribal nations and the United States. The Marshall Court stated that the “treaties and laws of the United States contemplate the Indian territory as completely separated from that of the states.”

The ruling rendered in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta purports to give the states a foothold in Indian Country. The legal reasoning asserted in this decision is stunningly faulty; indeed, one has to strain to try to make sense of it, and still to no avail.

I shall begin with an issue that is a supporting core of Kavanaugh’s ruling that is curiously not directly addressed by Justice Gorsuch. Justice Kavanaugh asserts as one of the foundations of his errant opinion, that Indian Country is part of and not separate from state territory. That would be equivalent to saying that New York is part of Pennsylvania, or Ohio is part of Indiana. Both are, of course, separate political entities. A state is defined as a territory with its own government and borders within a larger country.

Justice Kavanaugh’s assertion that a reservation is part of state territory lowers Tribal land to a subordinate status and takes away the nation-to-nation status vis-à-vis the federal government proclaimed in Worcester. Federal Indian law has held for over 200 years that reservations are separate from the states. This is founded on treaties, statutes, and case law that the Tribes are sovereign nations with only Congressional limitations.
In reference to the Worcester decision, that states have no jurisdiction in Indian Country, Kavanaugh’s retort is that at the time of the ruling territorial separation was the reason that state authority did not extend to Tribal lands. He advances that in the early 1800s Indian Country was separate from the states, therefore state law did not apply. Kavanaugh has no idea of what he is talking about, as he has no knowledge or grasp of history.

Georgia was already a state in the Worcester case of 1832 and had been for decades. There was no territorial separation between it and the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Nation was geographically within the boundaries of the states of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama. Since there was no territory separating those states from the Cherokee Nation, such an argument is absurd. There was a national boundary between those states and the Cherokee Nation based upon treaties with the federal government of the United States.

Keep in mind that Kavanaugh, throughout his bumbling opinion, never explains what he means by “territorial separation.” We are left to draw our own reasonable, logical conclusion.

Moreover, the case of Organized Village of Kake v. Egan (1962)—which Kavanaugh professes as supporting his argument that reservations are part of states—is inapplicable because the language in regard to state authority is dicta and, therefore, non-binding. Further, it is irrelevant because the land involved in that case was neither a reservation nor under a treaty.

Kavanaugh further states that the Worcester ruling of Indian Country as separate from the state was abandoned in the 1800s. He says “that after that change, Indian Country in each state became part of the state’s territory.” What change is he referring to? Again, Kavanaugh provides no answer and makes no sense.

He continues to prattle on, throughout his opinion, that a reservation is part of a state while citing Kake, which again is pure dicta no matter how many times it is repeated, and cannot rise to the level of binding precedent.

In reference to legitimate state authority, a state has general criminal jurisdiction over all persons including Indians, outside Indian Country. Inside Indian Country, the state’s jurisdiction is generally limited to those crimes that do not affect Indians or Indian interests. That has been the long-standing rule. However, it can be clearly seen that non-Indian crimes against Indians affect and concern Indians and Indian interests. Hence, the long-standing prohibition against state involvement, in accordance with Federal Indian law, has to be maintained. It is also good to keep in mind another general rule: The state has exclusive jurisdiction over crimes committed by non-Indians against non-Indians in Indian Country, as these are the only crimes that normally do not concern Indians or Indian interests. This is as simple as it should get and as simple as it should stay.

Gorsuch points out in his dissent that the Castro-Huerta decision is Oklahoma’s effort to exercise jurisdiction over crimes involving Tribal members on Tribal lands in violation of the decision of its own Court of Criminal Appeals. The Justice asserts that this has been an attempt to portray reservations as “lawless dystopias.” He also expounds that “the decision is unattached to any colorable legal authority.”

His dissent maintains that the Court has committed “astonishing errors”’ that are violations of clear principles of precedent, and argues that only Congress can make a change of the type and magnitude conferred on Oklahoma by the errant ruling. The majority opinion, propounds Gorsuch, is a ”string of carefully curated snippets—a clause here, a sentence there—from six decisions from a galaxy of the Court’s Indian law cases.” Gorsuch is unrelenting in his scorching criticism of this outlier ruling. The Court’s reasoning is “mistaken root and branch” he continued.

The Justice also delves into Oklahoma Indian history. He cites the famous groundbreaking volume by famed Oklahoma historian, Angie Debo, entitled And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes, to illustrate that state officials and state courts defrauded the exiled Tribes of land and resources guaranteed by federal treaties. Gorsuch also cites the “deadliest of enemies” description from United States v. Kagama (1886) to further indicate traditional state enmity toward Tribal nations.
The dissent notes that “in the decades following statehood, many settlers engaged in schemes to seize Indian lands and mineral rights by subterfuge.” Gorsuch explains that these schemes resulted in the bulk of the landed wealth of the Indians ending up in the hands of the new settlers, and that state officials and courts “were sometimes complicit in the process.” I would add that this happened more than “sometimes” considering that the vast amount of Oklahoma Indian land was taken in stolen allotments.

For Kavanaugh to continue claiming that Indian Country is part of the state is inflammatory and provocative language that will foster further conflict and confrontation in Tribal-State relations. Some tribal communities are already pondering whether the decision means that state police will enter reservations patrolling and policing for non-Indian law violators. Will the ruling foster state jurisdictional intrusions into Indian land and interests?

Will the Court’s decision “that Indian Country is part of a state and not separate from it” be tested by an overzealous state to further this intrusion into Indigenous sovereignty?

Supreme Court decision is part of a conservative political agenda
The Supreme Court ruling has less to do with law, than with the conservative majority’s pursuit of an energized right-wing political agenda. Its anti-Indian sovereignty ruling will join a conservative cavalcade of other regressive decisions seen previously with abortion rights, the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to control carbon emissions, the separation between church and state, and restricting Miranda rights.

The potential ramifications are huge and far-reaching. It shall remain, for the time being, a decision issued in infamy and best described by Gorsuch as “an embarrassing new entry into the anticanon of Indian law.” Tribal nations must be prepared to combat this judicial onslaught—and any more to come—from this Court’s conservative anti-Native agenda.

As with all op-eds published by People’s World, this article reflects the opinions of its author.

U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta
Syllabus | Opinion [Kavanaugh] | Dissent [Gorsuch] | Complete Document

U.S. Supreme Court Documents in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta
Questions Presented | Docket Sheet: No. 21-429 | Oral Argument Transcript | Day Call

Albert Bender is a Cherokee activist, historian, political columnist, and freelance reporter for Native and Non-Native publications. He is currently writing a legal treatise on Native American sovereignty and working on a book on the war crimes committed by the U.S. against the Maya people in the Guatemalan civil war He is a consulting attorney on Indigenous sovereignty, land restoration, and Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) issues and a former staff attorney with Legal Services of Eastern Oklahoma (LSEO) in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

This article originally appeared on People's World. It is published under a Creative Commons license.

Indigenous leaders call on King Charles III to renounce Doctrine of Discovery


Alexandra Mae Jones

Alexandra Mae Jones | September 11, 2022

For many Indigenous people across Canada, the death of Queen Elizabeth II isn’t an occasion to mourn, but a chance to re-examine the monarchy’s legacy of subjugation as colonizers, with leaders calling on the new King to denounce the Doctrine of Discovery.

Queen Elizabeth II, the U.K.’s longest serving monarch, passed away at the age of 96 on Thursday, sparking off official mourning periods in both the U.K. and Canada.

But reflecting on her 70 year legacy can bring up painful memories and anger for those who had their land and culture stolen from them in the name of the Crown.


The Wind & the Reckoning | Official Trailer

Monday, September 5, 2022

“He didn’t want revenge; he wanted justice, you know”

Son of ’60s Scoop survivor fighting for father’s status under Indian Act

Aaron GreyCloud hopes to raise awareness about the challenge of seeking status after being placed in care decades ago.

Aaron GreyCloud II holds a black and white photo of his grandparents, Barbara and David Flamming, and declares they are Cree First Nations people from Saskatchewan.

He can see it in their faces. But that’s not what the federal government says.

Three years after his father, Aaron GreyCloud, died in 2016, Aaron II applied for compensation on his behalf from the $875-million Sixties Scoop Settlement agreement.

His father was one of 25,000 to 35,000 First Nations, Inuit, Métis and non-status First Nations children “scooped” from their families and communities between Jan. 1, 1951 and Dec. 31, 1991, and placed with non-Indigenous caregivers. The bulk of the apprehensions occurred in the 1960s.

A group of survivors filed a class-action lawsuit for the loss of cultural identities, and the government settled in 2018 agreeing to pay eligible survivors $25,000 each, and put up $50 million for a ’60s Scoop healing foundation.

Aaron GreyCloud II holds a photo of his paternal grandparents. 
Photo: Lee Wilson/APTN News

“I was looking at the lawsuit they had – the ’60s scoop lawsuit – and I was like, ‘Man, my dad wanted that, but he died before he got that,’ so I was like, ‘I’m going to do that for him’,” Aaron II said.

But Aaron II said the application was rejected because his father was not registered with the government as a First Nations person, also known as being recognized as having status under the Indian Act.

And Métis and non-status First Nations survivors are excluded from the settlement agreement.

The rejection letter gave Aaron II, who lives in Kitimat, B.C., 45 days to provide more information.

“It was so easy for them to write him down as Caucasian and whitewash him,” Aaron II said, “yet it is difficult to undo what they have done.”

Grandparents Barbara and David Flamming in an undated family photo. Courtesy Aaron GreyCloud II

Aaron II said he filed a Freedom of Information request for his father’s adoption records in the province of B.C. The records he shared with APTN News show his father listed as “Indian” and “caucasian”.

The son sent the documents to Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) in Ottawa.

The department confirmed it is working on the file, but it’s not looking good.

Based on a search using the records provided, ISC said it was not possible to identify his father as a person who had ever been registered as an Indian.

Aaron was placed in foster care in Vancouver in the mid-1950s, his son said.

Aaron GreyCloud died in 2016, before he could prove he was 
a status First Nations person in the eyes of the government. 
Photo courtesy Aaron GreyCloud II

But it was another policy that eliminated Aaron’s lack of status.

His mother lost her status rights when she married someone without status.

It wasn’t until 2017 when that inequality was corrected in the Indian Act through Bill S-3.

But Barbara Flamming had already died.

Then Bill C31 in 2019 allowed women who had previously lost their status to regain it, as well as their children’s status.

Aaron GreyCloud holds his son, Aaron GreyCloud II, in this 
undated family photo. Courtesy Aaron GreyCloud II

ISC said restored status applies to everyone, including those in foster care in Canada.

“Bill S-3 addresses the known sex-based inequities in the registration provisions of the Indian Act and it applies to individuals in every province, regardless of whether they are in care,” ISC said in a statement.

“Bill S-3 also addressed cases of unknown or unstated paternity, allowing the Registrar to assess all forms of evidence for a child’s ancestry and to make every reasonable inference in favour of the applicant.”

Aaron II said the fight was a significant frustration for his father before he passed away.

He said it will be sad to see his father regain his status without being here to witness it.

“Even if they do accept his application, I regret he is not here to accept it, to be able to revel in it a bit, to be able to feel the victory.”

Aaron II said he is just hoping to get justice for his father and other ’60 Scoop survivors facing similar circumstances.

“He didn’t want revenge; he wanted justice, you know,” the son said. “That echoed through my life.

“At times, I was so frustrated with this process at having my history taken from me. As a young man, I do remember wanting revenge and my dad sitting me down and telling me that’s not the path. ‘You know that’s not going to bring the change we need’.”

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for ISC said the department is working with the settlement claims administrator to improve the process.

“Canada worked closely with the third-party administrator Collectiva to support the administration of the Sixties Scoop Settlement Agreement,” said an emailed statement.

“A key part of this support was to update protocols, processes and systems related to the registration process, with the understanding that these improvements would benefit all individuals seeking registration under the Indian Act, including those impacted by the Sixties Scoop.”

The spokesperson encouraged anyone who thinks they are eligible for status to apply.

50+ Years Later, A Daughter And Birth Mother Reunite With Help From DNA ...

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Native American DNA with Roberta Estes


Research Like a Pro Podcast

I love to see families working together. Nicole Dyer and Diana Elder are a lovely mother-daughter genealogy team and hostesses of Research Like a Pro, a podcast through their genealogy research company, Family Locket. Their Research Like a Pro podcasts help genealogists “take your research to the next level.”

I was so pleased to be invited to join them for a discussion about my book, DNA for Native American Genealogy.

For those of you who don’t normally listen to podcasts and don’t have a podcast app, you don’t need one. You can just click to listen online, or they have kindly transcribed the session. The transcription is automated, so not exact, but still a great tool.

Interviews are interesting because the back and forth is so revealing and includes information not found in the book. As it turns out, their family had a Native American story too – and it was very similar to mine. That oral history which was accepted as fact in my family is what launched my search many years ago.

They “cheated” and opened by asking me about what drives and inspires me. I’m not interviewed live very often, and don’t think I’ve ever been asked this question before. If you’d like to hear me talk about what motivates me and gets me out of bed every morning, aka, “life’s pennies,” click here.

Of course, most of the hour was spent discussing Native American records and resources, including DNA evidence. We discussed ethnicity and how to actually USE it (yes, you can), vendors, their products and resources, Y and mitochondrial DNA, third-party tools, and how to integrate these resources successfully.

As a bonus, let me give you one of the tips I talked about that’s not in the book. Declined enrollment applications for the Five Civilized Tribes. If your family wasn’t enrolled, they might be found in the declined applications, which often provide a HUGE amount of family information. Here is a list of those resources at FamilySearch. Don’t miss the Cherokee by Blood book series by Jerry Wright Jordan and the Extract of Rejected Applications of the Guion Miller Roll of the Eastern Cherokee series by Jo Ann Curls Page.

Also, as an aside, in some cases, DNA testing has proven using Y or mitochondrial DNA that the declined enrollment was in error and the family did, in fact, have Native ancestors. That’s both heartbreaking and validating.

This was such a fun and informative hour. I swear, we talked about everything. While this podcast is focused on finding Native American ancestors, the DNA tools, tips, and research techniques are certainly relevant and useful for everyone, so please join us and enjoy!

If you don’t have my book yet, you can purchase it here:

History Lesson: The World We Used To Live In


This will blow your mind!

Enjoy! TLH, Blog Editor

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Still Adoption Warriors: Remember Von Hughes


Still #Adoption Warriors

Archive photo
By Trace Hentz  (Blog Editor)

Hi everyone. Huge thanks for visiting this blog and reading this blog.  In case you don't know, I started this blog back in Dec. 2009.  I didn't know what I was doing but I had the notion to find more adoptees like me. Well, well, well... it worked.

Even in 2005 when I was writing and doing research for my memoir ONE SMALL SACRIFICE, I had no idea how many adoptees there are or were... not exactly easy to find out.  There could be up to 7 million in the US right now, maybe even more.  That's not counting our relatives in Canada.

Along the way I found others who were blogging their experiences, like Von Coates in Australia.  She educated me, and helped me become a better adoptee-activist-blogger.  We became friends and Von and I emailed, and both of us contributed our writing to the LOST DAUGHTERS blog.

Read this latest update from Von HERE  (she started this blog in 2012)

From her blog:
In the world of adoption, there are many phrases and words for describing adoption, the process of adoption or parts of it, adoptees and other characters appearing with regularity. So called experts write books about acceptable adoption language and there are regularly arguments in various venues around social medias sites on correct useage, offensiveness, unacceptability and who is right/wrong/indifferent....

Von had her Blogger blog that was taken down. Someone complained about her posts and Google shut her down.  But she is a warrior and didn't stop. She moved her writing over to Wordpress.

After time and so much experience, the activism and blogging changed us.  We may not write as often.  We see the same battles, the same ignorance and we see the same propaganda.  We see over and over how the billion dollar adoption industry silences the adoptee.  In many ways we are seen as the commodity - the one they made their money on... today adoptees are still in the SILENT MAJORITY.

In many states in the United States, adoptees still cannot request their original birth certificate (OBC) or their sealed adoption files. See what states have access in 2016 HERE.

For the past 7+ years doing this blog, I saw that other adoptee blogs were firing up fighting this, as more and more adoptees found their voice. 

And they voiced their anger.  And their disappointment.

And they told their stories of reunions with their first families, or if they were not able to meet their mom or dad, because they were too late, because their parent had already died.

Why?  These adoption laws are archaic and ridiculous. They were written to protect the people who adopted us.

I have talked to adoptees about the anguish of not knowing who they are. And some tell me about reunions that started great and went silent.  (If you don't live close to your relatives, travel and jobs can make reunions very difficult to keep going.)

Adoptees know we have two families to find, our mother and our father's people. We may find one side and go into reunion, after we open our adoption records. The other side of our family might wait years to be found.

I was telling my friend Maggie yesterday (February 6, 2017) that I have not met my two half-sisters on my mother's side.  (2022 - still have not met them)

So I am still an adoption warrior but not as vocal as I had been when I started this blog.  It's time for others to FIND THEIR VOICE and write their truths and BLOG too.

If you are an adoptee and you have a blog and you are writing about adoption, please leave a comment here (below.) Tell us the blog address so we can read you and support you.

We have a long way to go... The Indian Adoption Projects took thousands of us... and many adoptees still need to find our way home.

Monday, August 29, 2022

History Lesson: Blood Quantum | Minnesota Tribes

Determining citizenship: Minnesota Chippewa faced historic blood quantum vote

DULUTH, Minnesota — Should Native American blood continue to be a tribal citizenship requirement?

That's the question facing the 34,000 adult citizens of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT) who are being asked whether to amend a critical piece of the tribe's controversial Constitution. It's a document that dictates its citizenship, rights, elections and governing body that was forced upon them by the federal government more than 60 years ago.

The vote is decades in the making as tribal leaders studied the issue. Ballots are set to be mailed for what's known as a blood quantum vote on June 14. (see update below)

Since 1961, membership in the six-nation tribe requires a minimum of 25% Minnesota Chippewa Indian blood, or blood quantum, stemming back to 1941 membership rolls kept by the federal government. The requirement has had the effect of shrinking the tribe's enrollment, with many children not considered members despite parents who are.

"We need to do something soon, as the end of the line is very near," said Wayne Dupuis, a member of the Fond du Lac band who has worked on Constitution reform for more than 40 years. Dupuis' three children were denied Fond du Lac citizenship nearly two decades ago because of the blood quantum rule. Dupuis said membership to the tribe should reflect its values and customs, not a calculation "determined by a law of diminishing returns.

Not everyone agrees. Some worry already limited federal funds will have to be spread thinner or that more people taking advantage of treaty rights for wild ricing or hunting will make resources scarce.

When the blood rule was adopted in 1961, the Bureau of Indian Affairs equated Native Americans with "horses and dogs," said Melanie Benjamin, chief executive and chair of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

"We as tribal leaders have to make sure we correct all of these terrible policies that were intended to wipe us out as American Indian people," Benjamin said.

Today, just 15% of MCT membership — about 40,000 people — is under age 18, a low figure directly related to the blood quantum rule.

Talk of removing the blood quantum criteria, as the Cherokee, Seminole and many other tribes have done, has swirled for decades. In recent years Minnesota Chippewa Tribe leaders, comprised of those from its six reservations, convened a group of delegates to study constitutional reform. The group recommended an initial vote meant to guide tribal leaders in the reform members want related to blood quantum, its biggest issue. A binding vote could follow.

Another question is on the ballot: Should the six reservations be allowed to determine their own citizenship requirements?

For some, the questions are complicated and wrapped in a history of the federal government's quest to shrink the number of Native Americans while eradicating their cultures, issues of identity and inclusion, and practical matters like services and funding.

The vote signifies reclaiming control of what was "imposed on tribes by the federal government," said Karen Diver, former chair of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa who also worked for the Obama administration on Native American issues.

"The ultimate exercise in tribal sovereignty is how you determine citizenship," she said.


Minnesota Chippewa Tribe members vote to eliminate blood quantum...

Members of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe have voted in a historic advisory referendum to eliminate a requirement that enrolled members must have 25% tribal blood.

Out of nearly 7,800 ballots cast, 64% of voters said the “blood quantum” requirement should be removed from the tribe’s constitution, which was adopted under pressure from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs in the early 1960s.

In a second referendum question, 57% said individual bands or reservations should be able to determine their own membership requirements. The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe is made up of six Ojibwe or Chippewa bands in northern Minnesota, the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs and White Earth reservations. Red Lake Nation is not part of the MCT.  More👇

Canada's Residential Schools

The religious organizations that operated the schools — the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Jesuits of English Canada and some Catholic groups — in 2015 expressed regret for the “well-documented” abuses. The Catholic Church has never offered an official apology, something that Trudeau and others have repeatedly called for.

no arrests?

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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.

Did you know?

Did you know?

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New York’s 4o-year battle for OBC access ended when on January 15 2020, OBCs were opened to all New York adoptees upon request without restriction. In only three days, over 3,600 adoptees filed for their record of birth. The bill that unsealed records was passed 196-12.

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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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