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Friday, July 29, 2022

Susan Harness: We were not supposed to ‘be’ Indian (UPDATED)

(reblog) AMERICAN INDIAN ADOPTEES: We were not supposed to ‘be’ Indian

Adoptee Susan Harness with her younger brother James Allen in 2012. An anthropological search for belonging and identity ...

"We were not supposed to ‘be’ Indian, we were supposed to become members of the dominant society, with full and complete access to the American Dream."
– Susan Harness ( Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption, University of Nebraska Press.)

 keep reading




ARCHIBALD PROJECT (Podcast interview)

The sad, surreal visit of an apologetic Pope (UPDATED)

QUEBEC, CANADA - JULY 27: One-year-old Yonnan Flamand is lifted into the air by his father Alland Flamand of Manawan as Pope Francis delivers remarks at the Citadelle of Quebec on the Plains of Abraham on July 27, 2022 in Quebec, Canada. Pope Francis is traveling across Canada for a “pilgrimage of penance,” to meet with and apologize to Indigenous communities for the abuse at Catholic-run residential schools. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Canadian Indigenous peoples face a reckoning after being granted an audience with a major symbol of their oppression.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Proud to Protect ICWA



If you wish to follow this news, please subscribe to this website. TLH, blog editor

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

You are loved by the stars above, the soil underfoot, and countless ancestors who prayed you into existence.


Monday, July 25, 2022

Do the children in unmarked graves know you are sorry?


Papal Visit: Apology at last in Canada

By Miles Morrisseau
MASKWACIS, Alberta, Canada – Saying it is time to find a pathway forward for healing, Pope Francis issued a long-awaited apology to the Indigenous people of Canada for the Catholic Church’s role in the brutal residential school system that separated children from their families, culture and language. ... continue reading

...But it also brought tears – tears for the children who never came home, whose remains were dumped in unmarked graves.

Do those children who died hear your apology? Who will pay for their murders? We don't want an apology, do we? How about arrests?... TLH, blog editor

Thursday, July 21, 2022

We know their spirits are still here

 'Their spirits are still here': Tribe, state to search for remains at North Dakota boarding school

The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and the State Historical Society of North Dakota recently agreed to partner in a search for the remains of children around the former Fort Totten Indian Industrial School, which lies on the Spirit Lake Reservation in the northeastern part of the state.

Denise Lajimodiere, author of a leading book on Native American boarding schools, uses old photos possibly depicting the graves of soldiers to orient herself in a forested area near the Fort Totten State Historic Site, which formerly served as a boarding school for Native American youth. Lajimodiere believes the bodies of former students may be buried near the former school on the Spirit Lake Reservation in northeast North Dakota.
Dave Samson / The Forum
Editor's note: This is the fifth story in an occasional series on Native American boarding schools and their impact on the region's tribes.

FORT TOTTEN, N.D. — On a cloudy October morning, Denise Lajimodiere walked through brambles and tall grass with her eyes to the ground.

Consulting a photo from the 1980s, the scholar scanned the prairie terrain near the Fort Totten State Historic Site for small, tan boulders that could mark graves long hidden from view.

After stumbling across one, she grabbed a plastic baggie of tobacco from her coat pocket, held a pinch tight in her left fist and said a prayer for the bodies that may have been buried under her feet more than a century ago.

Historic site employees believe the boulders could be the vestiges of a cemetery for U.S. soldiers buried in the mid-1800s. Lajimodiere thinks the gravesite may also contain the remains of Native American children who died while attending a boarding school at the former military post.

We know their spirits are still here,” Lajimodiere said solemnly while walking the site on the Spirit Lake Reservation in northeast North Dakota.

Lajimodiere, an enrolled Turtle Mountain citizen whose father and grandfather attended Fort Totten, found evidence that at least 13 Native American boarding schools existed in North Dakota.

The reservation’s federal Indian agent, William Forbes, recruited the Grey Nuns, an order of Catholic sisters from Montreal, to run a “manual labor school,” historian James Carroll writes in the book “Fort Totten Military Post and Indian School.”



Despite successfully turning in the necessary paperwork this spring to have the former boarding school students' remains exhumed, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and Spirit Lake tribes will likely have to wait another year before they can bring the boys home.


THE TIME IS NOW: NABS Healing Coalition


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Award Season!


SOS Villages: Keeping Kids Together | Historic Healing Tour

We have posted about SOS Villages... you can search for it on this blog. - TLH, Blog Editor


New Homes in Southern California Will Keep Siblings in Foster Care Together

New Homes in Southern California Will Keep Siblings in Foster Care Together
The city of Palmdale, California is moving forward on a housing project that keeps siblings in foster care housed together. Photo by Annie Spratt via

If children must enter foster care while their parents sort out mental health crises, violent relationships or addiction, the trauma of abuse and neglect, and the pain of separation can be long-lasting. But there’s one clear way to minimize the impact: keeping siblings together.

Public officials in a high-desert bedroom community north of downtown Los Angeles have committed to building housing that facilitates those critical family ties. Within a year, according to local and county officials, the city of Palmdale will be the first site in California to begin construction of a development built specifically for sibling groups in foster care. 

The aim of these temporary homes and the staff who will oversee them, said Mike Miller, director of neighborhood services for the city of Palmdale, is to get the children safely back to their families once problems at home have been sorted out. 

“They’re helping the children, but they’re also working with the parents because ultimately I think our wish for all foster kids and parents is that this family stays together,” he said. “These aren’t kids just getting thrown into a home somewhere,” he added. “This is also about valuing the family, and keeping the kids together. That’s transformational.”

The $19 million project will include a dozen three-bedroom townhomes.  Up to six siblings will live in each home, together with a specially trained professional caregiver. The housing project will also include two units for young adults transitioning out of foster care, and offices for case managers and support staff.

Last week, in accordance with its goal of creating “quality affordable housing” for “low, very low and extremely low-income” residents, the Palmdale City Council and Housing Authority authorized a $1.2 million “acquisition and pre-development” loan for the project. The Los Angeles County Development Authority has also committed to a $500,000 loan, with the remaining costs covered by private financing, according to a city staff report.

The project, which will be constructed on the north side of McAdam Park on 30th St. East in Palmdale, is being developed by SOS Children’s Villages. The more than 70-year-old agency describes its aim as building families for orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children in 135 countries, including the United States.

SOS Children’s Villages is now a global organization, but it began humbly, its first “village” built in 1949 in Imst, Austria to house children left behind during World War II. The group now operates more than 550 “villages” serving approximately 13 million children, youth and families. 

New Homes in Southern California Will Keep Siblings in Foster Care Together
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger

Palmdale will be the first location of its type to open in California, but the developer of the site runs three similar housing projects in Illinois, and one in Florida.

“I’m a proud supporter and funder of the SOS Children’s Villages project in Palmdale,” L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in an email to The Imprint, adding that she met with the project’s leadership at length. “I’m impressed by their long-standing commitment to family reunification efforts, and to providing compassionate care to foster youth and those at risk of entering the system.” 

Keeping siblings together

The hazards of failing to keep siblings in foster care are widely acknowledged, and “placing siblings in the same home should always be the priority,” states a 2019 federal Children’s Bureau bulletin.

Although the relationships can be expansive in definition — biological siblings, step siblings, foster siblings, or other close relatives or nonrelatives with whom they have lived, even siblings they’ve never met — maintaining an attachment is essential to the children’s well-being.

“For some siblings in care,” the bulletin says, “their separation or infrequent visiting can cause those relationships to wither, sometimes to the point of permanent estrangement.”

When foster children stay close to their siblings, they are more likely to remain in stable homes, and more likely to “achieve permanency” through family reunification, adoption or legal guardianship. The pairing of siblings helps them adapt to new living situations, whatever they may be, in part because they are less worried about where their other family members are and how they are doing.

Researchers have also found that contact with brothers and sisters soothes the trauma of childhood abuse and neglect, as well as the traumatic experience of being separated from parents and the only home a child has ever known. Children who have positive relationships with siblings are less likely to suffer behavioral problems, such as anxiety and depression.

For siblings who can’t be housed together, child welfare experts encourage close placement, frequent visits and ongoing contact through letters, email, social media, cards and phone calls.

Numerous federal laws aim to promote sibling connections.

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 was the first federal law stressing the importance of sibling relationships in the foster care system. It requires that any child welfare agency relying on federal funding to seek placements that keep siblings in the same home or, if that’s not possible, provide ongoing contact and visits.

In 2014, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act required that the parents of siblings be included as people to be notified when a child needs placement, as a means to keep children within extended kin networks. 

Four years later, the Family First Prevention Services Act passed, allowing states to waive the number of children who can be placed in a single foster home, as a way to better accommodate sibling groups.

Changing the profile of Antelope Valley

The region known as the Antelope Valley — which includes the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster — has some of the highest poverty and child maltreatment rates in Los Angeles County. Three horrific and highly publicized child deaths in the area over a six-year period put the child welfare agency’s delayed response to household warning signs under a harsh spotlight. The area has also experienced a relatively high level of turnover among social workers and CPS line staff.

Referring to the torture and killing of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez in 2013 — crimes committed by his mother and her boyfriend — Miller said the tragedy also spurred action.

“It really heightened our community to tell us that we need to do more,” he said. “And the community’s really stuck to that promise of trying to do more for the kids. So this SOS project is just right on that path of commitment that came as a result of that tragedy.”

Miller said the sibling housing project will take some time to complete, given the complexity of the project’s funders, agencies involved and unique requirements. But he expects construction will begin within a year.

“These projects really do take time but this one just strikes to the heart and it has such momentum and support,” Miller said. “What we’re hoping is that this is a model that other government entities here in California will use to do the exact same thing up and down the state.”

Tim McCormick, CEO of the SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, got esoteric in describing the project. He said it’s meaningful that the site will be located in the high desert, and the architecture will be environmentally friendly and reflect the region’s natural colors and hues.

“There’s really an intrinsic beauty of life out there,” McCormick said. “It’s kind of a hidden gem.”

McCormick also noted that the sibling groups who will live at the site more than likely will have come from impoverished households. But once built, their temporary home will serve as a resource center for these low-income children and families. It will also nourish cultural life, with an outdoor theater for the arts, music and spoken word — “almost like a Greek auditorium,” McCormick described. “So that’s what we hope to do there, is to bring in resources that are outside Palmdale and inside Palmdale, to blend them together and create and strengthen a narrative of a child’s life and a family’s history.”




Opened in 1871 by Quaker missionaries, Riverside is the nation’s oldest boarding school operated by the federal government.  It is one of the 408 across the U.S. identified in Haaland’s recently launched Federal Boarding School Initiative — described by the Department of the Interior as the government’s first comprehensive attempt “to shed light on the troubled history of Federal Indian boarding school policies and their legacy for Indigenous Peoples.” 

Haaland has pledged to document the schools’ troubled pasts, address their intergenerational impact and fully account for the trauma they inflicted throughout Indian Country. 


Saturday, July 16, 2022

Indigenous Elders Predicted Climate Crisis. Will Native Voices Finally Be Heard?...

Indigenous communities are among the most vulnerable to climate change, yet they still struggle to be heard by governments around the world. Their spiritual teachings might help civilization to change course and prevent disaster. 

Learn more at

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

‘I see our last names’: Oneida Families Bury Children taken to Carlisle

 Indian Boarding Schools| URL

Pallbearers carry the casket of one of the children returned from the cemetery at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania up the stairs to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Hobart, Wisconsin. Photo by Andrew Kennard

“I feel like traveling home,” the Oneida singers sang, their voices filling the Church of the Holy Apostles in Hobart, Wisconsin. “My heavenly home is right ahead, I feel like traveling home.”

After a memorial service on June 27, the families of Paul Wheelock and Frank Green buried the remains of the two Oneida children in the church’s cemetery. Over 120 years ago, Wheelock and Green were buried at Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.

“Well, he always wanted to come home,” said Mary Jane Doxtator, Green’s niece. “He ran away [from the boarding school] about four or five times, maybe more.”

1. bringing the casket to the site 768x432
Pallbearers approach the grave sites of Frank Green and Paul Wheelock. Drummers and singers watch from close to the treeline. | Photo by Andrew Kennard

After a memorial service, the congregation gathered by two open graves. Drumming and singing rang out from a group of mourners standing deeper in the cemetery. After the caskets were lowered into the ground, mourners came forward with offerings of tobacco or earth for the graves. 

“…I just wondered why I wasn’t told about him,” Doxtator said.

Carlisle was the first of a system of at least 408 government-run schools that abused and aimed to eliminate the languages and cultures of Native American students, who often lived in inhumane conditions. Carlisle’s founder, Richard Henry Pratt, advocated the idea that the U.S. should “kill the Indian in him, and save the man” in an 1892 speech.

An Interior department report released in May estimates that the “approximate number of Indian children who died at Federal Indian boarding schools to be in the thousands or tens of thousands,” and that many were buried in unmarked or poorly maintained graves far away from their communities and families. A bill introduced in Congress later that month aims to create a Truth and Healing Commission that would investigate the impacts and ongoing effects of the boarding school system.

“And when I think about these children, we all know the stories of the boarding schools,” Oneida councilman Kirby Metoxen said to the mourners assembled in Hobart, speaking on behalf of one of the families. “And I just can’t imagine being taken so far away from home and getting sick and knowing that you’re getting ready to go to that other side alone.” 

‘I see our last names’

4. gravesites 768x576Frank Green and Paul Wheelock were laid to rest in the church’s cemetery, near the graves of Ophelia Powless, David Doxtater and Jeffrey Parker.Wheelock and Green were buried next to Ophelia Powless, whose remains were reclaimed from Carlisle in 2019 along with the remains of two other teenage Oneida students. 

“We still have two up there,” Metoxen said. “Jemima John and Melissa Metoxen are still out there, and those families still have to decide what they want to do with the remains of those children.”

In a statement on Thursday, the Office of Army Cemeteries said that it has finalized its fifth disinterment project in returning seven Native American or Alaska Native children to their families, and that many have already been buried on their native lands. When an eighth grave was disinterred, the Army found remains that did not match the child that records said had been buried there.

“The combined Army team was privileged to support families and return seven more children this summer, totaling 28 over the past six years,” Renea Yates, director of the Office of Army Cemeteries, said in the statement. “We are committed to caring for the graves of children who remain buried at the Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery and will continue to support the disinterment of those requested to be returned.”

Over ten thousand children from about 50 tribes across the nation attended Carlisle, according to the Army; about 190 children were buried at the school, according to Dickinson College, which houses the Carlisle Indian School Digital Research Center.

Metoxen said that when he visited Carlisle, he was expecting to see the graves of children from tribes other than his own. 

“And as I’m walking through that cemetery, I see our last names,” Metoxen said. “Coulon. Powless. Green. Wheelock. John. And about the fourth or fifth headstone I came upon was a Melissa Metoxen. And I have a niece, Melissa Metoxen. It stopped me in my tracks. My thought immediately was, how come nobody came to get these kids?”

What happened to Frank Green and Paul Wheelock?

Paul Wheelock was ten months old when he died of a “severe cold,” according to a Carlisle school newspaper. During a brief sermon at the memorial service, the Rev. Rodger Patience said that Paul was the son of Dennison Wheelock, a band leader at Carlisle. Dennison, a former Carlisle student, had graduated from the school about ten years before his infant son’s death in 1900, the Carlisle Digital Research Center found. 

Frank Green was a teenager when he died on June 25, 1898. He was killed by a train while running away from the school a week before he was set to go home, according to documents from the time gathered by the Carlisle Digital Research Center. 

“The letters back from the hired hands at Carlisle only describe him as a juvenile delinquent,” Patience told the mourners. “They don’t describe him as a child who was traumatized. They don’t describe him as a child who was taken from his home by force and made to submit to an institution that he didn’t want to be part of.”

‘Welcoming that spirit back to this place called home’

6. loweringthecaskets 768x576Mourners watched the caskets sink into the ground. | Photo by Andrew KennardThe Oneida Nation said in 2019 that 109 community members had been identified as descendants of tribal members who passed away while attending Carlisle over 100 years ago. During the memorial service, Metoxen said that his grandparents could speak the Oneida language, but his parents could not. 

“So I heard my grandparents speaking the language, but none of my parents,” Metoxen told the mourners. “In that generation, I didn’t hear the language too much. Because of the boarding school era.”

Carlisle isn’t the only boarding school that Oneida students attended. Doxtator said that her parents and aunt attended the Tomah Indian School, and that students at a boarding school located in Oneida were not allowed to speak their native language. 

5. honor song for the children 768x576The Oneida Nation Pow Wow landed on the same weekend as the memorial service, and the community recognized the two children with an honor song. | Photo by Andrew Kennard“One day, [a relative] was in the dining room and everyone was visiting,” Doxtator said. “And he started speaking Oneida and they made him stand on a chair all during the meal.”

Later, “when they started the Oneida language program to teach Oneida to the Oneidas, he was one of the teachers,” she added.

The day before the memorial service, community members marched around the Oneida Nation’s powwow grounds for an honor song that recognized Green and Wheelock. 

“But today is really a day of celebration,” the powwow’s announcer said before the dance began. “And when we start out this song, this is a song of welcoming that spirit back to this place called home. Our elders always had a story that wherever we travel, we’ll always come home.”

This story originally appeared in the Wisconsin Examiner.

Impacts of the Roe v. Wade Decision on Native American and Alaska Native Women Sexual Violence Victim-Survivors

— StrongHearts Native Helpline Statement —

The June 24 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the constitutional right to an abortion will adversely impact Native American and Alaska Native victim-survivors of sexual violence in several ways. The ruling paves the way for national criminalization of abortion. A number of states, including Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, already have existing trigger laws that allow those states to ban abortion now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.

“Native women and girls suffer the highest rates of stalking, rape and femicide in the nation,” said Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), chief executive officer, StrongHearts Native Helpline. “Abortion is not offered at the Indian Health Service (IHS) and having planned parenthood clinics is essential to the health and well-being of sexual assault victims. It’s a breach of trust responsibility and body sovereignty that goes back to colonization.”

In fact, the IHS (which provides health care on reservations) is prohibited under the 1976 Hyde Amendment from using federal monies for abortion services, except when the mother’s life is endangered and in instances of incest and rape.

Making it difficult for any woman to obtain an abortion or by criminalizing it in some, or even all, states won’t make abortions disappear. It makes them unsafe and potentially fatal. Those at most risk will be poor women and women of color, especially Native women who reside on tribal lands or in remote areas where abortion services are difficult to access.

Making abortion services inaccessible to Native women whether they live in an urban or rural area further exacerbates the enormous socio-economic and health disparities. For example, the poverty rate among Native women is the highest among racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. at 28.1 percent. Overall, one in three Native Americans live in poverty with an annual median income of $23,000. Complications during pregnancy or childbirth (or both) are three to four times more likely for Native women.

There are also barriers to acquiring emergency contraception outside of reservation communities and travel to obtain abortion services can require exorbitant travel and other expenses that Native women simply cannot afford.  Financial abuse — a form of relationship abuse where one partner controls their partner’s financial situation — also can figure into the picture. An intimate partner who takes control of their partner’s finances ultimately has control over making financial decisions that undermine their partner’s well-being and, in cases such as these, make it difficult or even impossible for that partner to seek abortion services.

Native women in the United States suffer from the highest rates of sexual violence.  

In Indigenous communities, more than half of American Indian and Alaska Native women (56.1%) have experienced sexual violence in their lives and the vast majority (96%) are victimized by a non-Native perpetrator. Sexual violence is based on power and control and an abuser may see the unpredictability of pregnancy as an opportunity to increase power and control. Sexual violence robs Native women of the right to body sovereignty and the choice of reproductive autonomy.

Sexual violence is a tool and result of colonization, which has been responsible for the enslavement and genocide of Native peoples and the theft, occupation, resource extraction and exploitation of Native lands that began at contact. The same government infrastructure and its federal laws, policies and institutions has targeted and permitted sexual violence, abuse and harassment of Native women for centuries. The legacy of colonialism continues to exist in 2022 through this most recent action by the U.S. Supreme Court to deny Native — and all — women the right to body sovereignty. 

About StrongHearts Native Helpline

StrongHearts Native Helpline is a 24/7/365 culturally-appropriate domestic, dating and sexual violence helpline for Native Americans, available by calling or texting 1-844-762-8483 or clicking on the chat icon at

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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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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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