I have a simple request for adoptees who read this blog.
Starting now and THIS FALL I think we need to use our experience as adoptees and contact MEDIA (GOOGLE: newspapers in your city, state or town) regarding the 1978 federal law Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and why it is needed. And we need to do this BEFORE the Supreme Court hearing in November.
I think it would be a good idea to GET OUR STORIES out there.
EMAIL or PHONE newspaper and radio stations and say: I'd like to tell you my story and WHY ICWA MATTERS:, mention the year you were born and explain if you are in reunion with your tribal relatives.
Even if you have done this before, please consider updating your story in a newspaper (including tribal newspapers). I will also post your story on this website if you email me.
We adoptees know how we were affected. YES, we are called a STOLEN GENERATION for a reason! Maybe the scars are internal but they are still scars. We know they exist, even if we were adopted by decent white people.
If anyone wishes to read TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, I will send you the pdf. Read the testimony of other survivors and let that help you tell your own story. You can tell the media how you searched and how you went into reunion or not. This website has lots of adoptee stories posted. [email: firstname.lastname@example.org]
If you contact a newspaper, for example, you can inform them you are an adoptee pre-ICWA. You may have to send them to this website for background information.
USE YOUR VOICE to educate others. WE NEED YOU! You can use your own experience to explain why the INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT matters.
It does matter.
Entire generations of First Nations people have been separated from their birth families and tribes by historical acts of relocation, boarding schools, and the adoption era. Reunification is an essential component to rebuilding the First Nations population. It is echoed across tribes captured by the phrase, “generation after generation we are coming home” (White Hawk, 2014). The purpose of this study was to investigate personal and social identity indicators that contribute to a satisfactory reunification for 95 First Nations adult adoptees who were separated from their birth families during childhood by foster-care and/or adoption. First Nations adoptees have not only a biological/birth family to return to, but also a tribe, and ancestral land.
REFER to THIS: Finding their way home: The reunification of First Nations adoptees by Ashley L. Landers, Sharon M. Danes, and Sandy White Hawk.
YOU can also refer them to me (Trace Hentz) or other adoptees, by all means do that... Send reporters to the National Indian Child Welfare Association: Terry L. Cross (Seneca) Senior Advisor (503) 222-4044, Ext. 150 EMAIL: email@example.com
NICWA: NICWA is a nonprofit, membership organization based in Portland, Oregon. Our members include tribes, individuals—both Native and non-Native—and private organizations from around the United States concerned with Native child and family issues. Together, our partners, board, and staff work to protect Native children and keep them connected to their family, community, and culture.
"...There is an ICWA because of us, all the American Indian Adoptees, Lost Birds, Stolen Children, 60s Scoop, and Indian Adoption Project adoptees. WE are the reason there is a law. We are still called the Stolen Generations. We are the second phase of atrocities committed against Indian People before during and after the boarding schools. (WE were supposed to permanently disappear in closed adoptions with sealed records, living "happily ever after" with our white parents.) There is a federal law ICWA because of us, because adoption trafficking in Native babies and children was clearly genocide. With ICWA, there will be many less adoptees... We get that; in Indian Country we know this." - Trace Hentz
Adoption was set up so they had an excuse to take children because of the (poor) conditions we had to live in...— Denise Altvater
The forced removal of children to non-Native homes and boarding schools was central to the government’s failed attempts to strip Indigenous people of their culture and languages, in order to indoctrinate them with Western ideals. - IMPRINT NEWS 2022
Before ICWA became federal law, between 75% and 85% of Indigenous families who lived on a reservation had at least one of their children taken into foster care, according to Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services.
“Protecting children in state courts is a fundamental act of external sovereignty for tribes. Active efforts and qualified expert witnesses are core vehicles to do that,” Grinnell-Davis told The Imprint. “If tribes no longer have the right to protect their citizens, or have the tools taken away that are important in that protection, other acts of external sovereignty such as environmental and cultural protections, mineral rights and gaming contracts will be challenged next, and sovereignty will be sovereignty in name only.”
"When laws restrict opening adoption records, these policymakers make us victims. There are many adoptees ready to know their family name, meet relatives and have reunions, but cannot because of adoption laws. Other adoptees, lulled by gratitude, may fear upsetting their adoptive family, and may not see themselves as victims of a corrupt unjust system.
"The adoptee moves from victim to survivor when they decide to break the law, when they decide to regain and restore their own identity, and get their name. That’s a giant leap forward."