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Tuesday, February 28, 2023

SOUTH DAKOTA tweets - Adoptees OBC + more


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

StrongHearts Responds To Gun Violence

(EAGAN, Minn., February 2023)
– Less than two full months into 2023, our country has already experienced more than 70 incidences of gun violence.  Michigan State University is the latest to experience a mass shooting in a school setting. StrongHearts Native Helpline stands with the victims and survivors of gun violence, their family and friends, as they process their horrific experience. 

“When we think about survivors of trauma from the standpoint of domestic and sexual violence, we know that these experiences take time and effort to heal.” said CEO Lori Jump, StrongHearts Native Helpline adding, “Likewise, gun violence has become a constant source of trauma in America turning our schools, shopping centers and our homes into a battleground.”

Jump explained survivors of trauma need mental health services for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that is more often than not unavailable in poor communities where gun violence is prevalent.

“There is a dire need for health professionals to mobilize and respond to the increasing number of gun violence cases that plagues our country,” concluded Jump. StrongHearts Native Helpline supports common sense legislation to ensure the safety of all citizens in the United States. We understand that gun violence is not a stand alone issue. America’s mental health system is broken and fails to meet the most basic needs of its citizens.   

StrongHearts Native Helpline supports the Strengthening Protections for Domestic Violence and Stalking Survivors Act, recently introduced by Senator Klobuchar (MN) and Representatives Dingell (MI) and Fitzpatrick (PA) and implore our elected representatives to take swift action to improve the safety of our citizens.

 StrongHearts Native Helpline is a 24/7 culturally-appropriate helpline for Native Americans impacted by domestic and sexual violence. For support and advocacy, call or text: 1-844-762-8483 or chat online at




Friday, February 10, 2023

Adoptees United (Access to our sealed adoption records and OBC) UPDATE


Our bill watchlist lists all the pending bills that impact adoption or adoptee rights work, whether state or federal. We update the list during legislative sessions, in addition to our core work of tracking priority adoptee rights legislation.

One Gone, Eleven Still Kicking

Virginia’s equal right bill seemed well on the road to House passage and then—poof—it went down, the victim of tight legislative deadlines and a last minute “re-referral” to where it started: in committee. Advocates are working to determine what happened (aides who worked closely on the bill don’t yet seem to know) and how it can be addressed next session. Plans are already underway for 2024—as are plans next year for next-door neighbor Maryland.

That means it’s one state gone with eleven states still kicking, including Texas, which saw a bill filed yesterday, quickly celebrated by the Texas Adoptee Rights Coalition.

New Bills. Minnesota now has an active equal rights bill in the Senate, with a companion bill likely introduced toward the end of the week. It is probably the best opportunity to pass an equal rights bill in Minnesota in at least two decades, led primarily by the Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform.

AB13 in Wisconsin has been filed. It is the companion bill to SB15, which was introduced last week and assigned to a relatively friendly committee.

South Dakota has a bill that would eliminate the court process that is used today to obtain an original birth certificate , and Georgia’s SB64 is awaiting hearing in a committee that is stacked with prominent supporters.

Adoptees United is a national nonprofit organization with an unwavering commitment to equality for all adopted people. More information, including our board, position statements, and programming are on our website at


Racism is 'embedded in American archaeology': Q&A with Cree-Métis archaeologist Paulette Steeves

Archaeologist Paulette Steeves is working to rewrite global human history for Indigenous people | Walking with Ancients 

Recently discovered evidence is changing the story of when humans arrived in the Americas.  Steeves isn’t surprised: she believes Indigenous people have been here for more than 100,000 years.

Most archaeologists in North America have spent the last several decades believing that humans arrived in the Americas around 12,000 - 14,000 years ago by crossing the Bering Land Bridge from Siberia to Alaska.

But Paulette Steeves isn't most archaeologists. 

Steeves is a professor at Algoma University and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous History, Healing and Reconciliation, and her work focuses on the Pleistocene history of the Western Hemisphere. 

She believes that Indigenous people were present in the Americas far earlier, and has created a database of North and South American archaeological sites that are thought to date from 250,000 to 12,000 years before present day.

Steeves is featured in Walking with Ancients, a documentary from The Nature of Things that explores how new archaeological discoveries are challenging our understanding of when the first people arrived in North America, featuring findings from dig sites from the Yukon to Mexico.

In an interview with documentary director Robin Bicknell, Steeves shares her story, and explains how conversations about colonialism and racism have largely been absent from archaeological research, impacting the way it's been funded, presented and taught.


Jawbone found in possible unmarked residential school grave | "Six years old, I was imprisoned here"

 The landmark Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, released in 2015, identified 3,200 confirmed deaths of children at residential schools but the number is believed to be higher. Not all deaths were properly recorded and the bodies of some of the children were never sent home. In some cases, grave markers were lost to time or removed.

Children's shoes adorn a memorial for Saint-Marc-de-Figuery residential school student at the site of the former school near Amos, Canada, November 17, 2021Getty Images:  Children's shoes have come to be a symbol for the estimated thousands of children who died while attending residential school.

An indigenous nation in Canada said it has discovered evidence of possible unmarked graves on the grounds of a former residential school.

Star Blanket Cree Nation said a ground-penetrating radar had revealed the jawbone fragment of a small child and more than 2,000 "areas of interest".

Those are not yet confirmed to be evidence of human remains.

But the fragment "is physical proof of an unmarked grave", project lead Sheldon Poitras said on Thursday.

The discovery from the Star Blanket Cree Nation in Saskatchewan follows a wave of investigations into possible unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools in Canada. Ground searches starting in the spring of 2021 have uncovered evidence of more than 1,100 such graves across the country.

Areas for this most recent search were identified after testimonials from elders and former students of the former Qu'Appelle Indian Residential School.

"It was unthinkable. It was profound. It was sad. It was hurtful," Star Blanket Chief Michael Starr said on Thursday of the discovery. "It made us very angry what had happened to our young people here."

These government-funded compulsory boarding schools were part of a policy meant to assimilate indigenous children and destroy indigenous cultures and languages.  Some 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were taken from their families placed in these schools from the 19th Century into the 1970s.

Survivors had long testified about children who died at the schools, where students were often housed in poorly built, poorly heated, and unsanitary facilities.

The landmark Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, released in 2015, identified 3,200 confirmed deaths of children at residential schools but the number is believed to be higher. Not all deaths were properly recorded and the bodies of some of the children were never sent home. In some cases, grave markers were lost to time or removed.

Investigators said they were considering options, including DNA testing, to confirm the findings of the radar at Qu'Appelle Indian Residential School. Some of the anomalies picked up by the search could be innocuous, things like stones or pieces of wood.

The jawbone was analysed by the Saskatchewan Coroners Services, who said it belonged to a child aged four to six and is approximately 125 years old - around the time the school was founded.

The Qu'Appelle Indian Residential School, in southern Saskatchewan, was one of the first residential schools to open in Canada and was run by the Roman Catholic Church from 1884 to 1973.  It was eventually closed in 1998.

Noel Starblanket, a former student at Qu'Appelle Indian Residential School wrote in a testimonial for the University of Regina that he was constantly "slapped on the side of the head" at the school. One teacher struck him in the face and broke his nose.

"My parents never hit me, my grandparents," he wrote. Before going to school "I didn't know what it meant to be hit, physically abused".

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

More on this story


Thursday, February 9, 2023

60s Scoop, #TRC, Racism Apology, Day Scholars and more (Canada)


Residential school, day school and Sixties Scoop survivors gather at conference

There were many emotional moments as residential school survivors gathered in Winnipeg this week.  Around 1,700 people took part in Wa-Say Healing Centre’s conference. 

The Physicians College of Manitoba apologizes for current and past racism against Indigenous peoples

 It also said that pledging to end racism would not be enough.

“Recognizing racism in itself will neither be spontaneous nor easy. We are committed to working with Indigenous healers, scholars, elders and knowledge bearers, as well as the legal and ethical requirements to provide respect, dignity and equitable health care for Indigenous Will ask and intend to guide you along.” 

Four months after the apology, Indigenous leaders and politicians signed a declaration calling for an end to anti-Indigenous racism in northern Manitoba’s health care system.

The College of Practitioners Regulating Manitoba begins work in 2021 to address the call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The apology is one action the college is taking as a result of those discussions, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said in a statement released late Tuesday.


In photos: Pow Wows across Treaty #3 and Treaty #1 territories

“The pow wow is a living cultural expression of song, dance, and art which brings people together, and through the drum, reminds us of our connection to Mother Earth. […] pow wows are a time to put differences aside and to celebrate traditions, mostly it is the time to celebrate life. A pow wow strengthens an entire race of people. To be Anishinabe is to be proud, to know who you are, and where you came from.” – Harold Flett


Only 13 T&R Calls to Action achieved over seven years: report -

2023 marks the eighth year since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a list of 94 Calls to Action.

Canada’s $2.8 billion settlement with Indigenous "Day Scholars" is a long time coming


Eleven years.  That’s how long it took the federal government to agree with 325 First Nations over the collective loss of language and culture suffered by Day Scholars in the Residential School system in Canada that existed between the mid 1800s until 1996.

Day scholars attended a Residential School during the day but didn’t sleep there overnight.

While Day Scholars settled an individual compensation package for just $10,000 each earlier in 2022, this new agreement is specifically aimed at rectifying the systematic and forced removal of language and culture through these institutions.

Left out of original agreement

In 2012, members of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc and shíshálh Nation led by Shane Gottfriedson and Garry Feschuk launched a national class-action lawsuit for Day Scholars who were left out of the original Indian Residential School (IRS) Settlement Agreement (2006).



Podcast: How an Adoption Case Could Unravel Tribal Sovereignty

 The Supreme Court is hearing a case that could dismantle the Indian Child Welfare Act, also known as ICWA.  The law was passed in 1978 to combat a history of forced family separation in the United States and prevent the removal of Native children from their communities. But now, in Haaland v. Brackeen, ICWA could be completely overturned. 

In the third episode of Dissent, host Jordan Smith is joined by Rebecca Nagle, a journalist, citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and host of the podcast “This Land.” Smith and Nagle break down the case and its broad implications for laws based on tribes’ political relationship with the U.S. government. INTERCEPT

MN Lawmakers Working to Codify Language from Indian Child Welfare Act

Minnesota lawmakers hope to codify Indian Child Welfare Act language into state law

By: - February 7, 2023 

Kevin DuPuis, chairmain of the Fon du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, spoke to senators on Monday, Feb.7, at the Minnesota Senate Building. Sen. Mary Kunesh (right), a Democrat from New Brighton, is the chief author of SF667. Photo by Michelle Griffith/Minnesota Reformer.

A bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers are backing a bill aimed at keeping Native American children within the foster care system in Native American homes, as the U.S. Supreme Court appears likely to overturn identical federal rules.

The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) established federal minimum standards for the removal of Native American children from their homes. The law also prioritized placing children into homes of extended family members and other tribal homes — places that could reflect the values of Native American culture.

ICWA was enacted following a century-long campaign by the federal government of forcibly removing Native children from their homes and placing them in boarding schools and white adoptive families. The mission was to assimilate Native children into the white American mainstream — or “kill the Indian in him, save the man,” as the founder of the first boarding school infamously said.

The U.S. Supreme Court in November heard a case, Brakeen v. Haaland, which argues ICWA discriminates against non-Native families because of their race. ICWA proponents argue tribal citizenship is a political — not racial — category.

The conservative justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett — who are both adoptive parents — appeared skeptical of the law. 

Social workers and tribal nations have long lauded ICWA, and Minnesota lawmakers are proposing bipartisan legislation to adopt ICWA-like language to continue prioritizing placing Native children with extended family, tribal members or other Native households.

“The effects of trauma, separation from family and disconnection from important cultural teachings caused by the boarding school and adoption era carries on today as families and tribes struggle to rebuild extended family and community relationships,” said Sen. Mary Kunesh, DFL-New Brighton, the bill’s chief author and whose mother is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “This proposal is the minimum necessary to ensure protection for our tribal children, families and tribes.”

The state already has the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, which was adopted in 1985 as a supplement to ICWA. Kunesh’s bill (SF667) would add language, like definitions and required processes, to strengthen the state law so it would include ICWA language. 

If the Supreme Court does overturn ICWA, the status of the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act would be up to a state court if someone were to challenge it.

At the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday, multiple tribal leaders and ICWA case workers testified in support of the bill.

Kevin DuPuis, chairman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, told lawmakers that passing this bill would be a step toward preserving the future for Native Americans and said that taking away Native children and assimilating them into white culture is a form of genocide.

“It’s my job as a tribal leader, and it’s my job as an Anishinaabe man to protect our children, to protect our future, to ensure there is a future,” DuPuis said. “(This bill) ensures that we get to determine what’s right for our children. That we get to determine what’s right for our people.”

Prior to ICWA’s adoption in 1978, as many as 35% of Native American children were placed in non-Native homes by state courts and adoption agencies, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Kunesh said they are working to quickly enact the bill, as the Supreme Court may release its decision any time in the first half of this year.

Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, one of the bill’s co-authors, said the Legislature also needs to take further steps to ensure the law is enforced. 

“I hope that … this year, next year, we can get to the heart of this and preserve these families to the best extent possible,” Abeler said. “I don’t live in this world, but I really care. For what part I can bring, I’m happy to be a part of the solution.”

The Supreme Court case, Brakeen v. Haaland, hinges on a Texas family, the Brakeens, who fostered a 10-month-old Navajo and Cherokee child. The couple was told from the beginning that they wouldn’t be able to adopt the child, but the Brakeens became attached and went to court. A judge ordered that the child be placed with a Navajo couple, but the tribe backed out, effectively giving the Brakeens custody. The Brakeens now want to adopt the child’s sibling.

The Supreme Court case includes three non-Native families who wanted to adopt Native American children — including one couple in Minnesota who went to court against the grandmother of a White Earth Nation child. The Minnesota couple, Danielle and Jason Clifford, argued in court that they could better provide for the child, but the White Earth Nation and the grandmother fought back and the grandmother won custody because of ICWA. 

The Brakeens and the other families who are challenging ICWA are bankrolled by multiple right-wing organizations, according to This Land, a podcast about Native American rights. 

Tribal advocates worry that if the Supreme Court overturns ICWA based on a racial discrimination argument, the decision could lead to a domino effect against other areas of tribal sovereignty, using the same legal rationale.

ICWA proponents argue tribal citizenship is a political — not racial — category and therefore shouldn’t be considered racial discrimination.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved the bill, which will now go to the Senate Judiciary Committee later this week.

Native Montana Lawmakers Call on State to Recognize Traumatic History of Indian Boarding Schools

A state senator with firsthand experience in American Indian boarding schools has introduced a joint resolution calling on the state legislature to recognize the history of these institutions and the trauma they caused generations of Indigenous people. 

Senate Joint Resolution 6 would also ask the federal government to create a national day of remembrance. 

Sen. Susan Webber, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, is carrying the bill in the state senate. She is joined by Reps. Marvin Weathermax, Jonathan Windy Boy, Tyson Running Wolf, Frank Smith, and Mike Fox. Webber attended Cut Bank boarding school from age 8 through junior high, the Idaho Capital Sun reports

“I wanted to bring this bill, because I, my generation, is the last generation that had to go to boarding school,” Webber said. “We had to go to boarding school. Now I’m not 150 years old. This was still going on in the ‘60s.”

Montana state Sen. Susan Webber

The federal government sent Native children en masse to boarding schools from the late nineteenth century until the late 1960s, in an effort to forcibly assimilate them to white American culture. This practice was one of several national policies that shattered countless Indigenous families for generations, along with taking Native children from their homes and adopting them out to white families. 

The children at these schools were cut off from their families, communities and cultures. Untold numbers of children were subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Many died in the schools and were buried in unmarked graves, their families never learning of their fate.  

The resolution, through the recognition of this history, encourages the people of Montana to “support and recognize the grief, pain, and hardship many Native American people suffered and still endure as a result of the assimilationist policies and practices carried out by the United States through Indian boarding school policies.” 

More than a dozen residents testified in support of the resolution at a recent hearing, where it went unopposed. 

The horrific history of Indian boarding schools is a current focus of the federal government, with the nation’s first Indigenous Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, leading the effort. 

Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe and a descendant of people impacted by the boarding schools, launched the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, described as “a comprehensive effort to recognize the troubled legacy of federal Indian boarding school policies with the goal of addressing their intergenerational impact and to shed light on the traumas of the past.”

The ongoing investigation has already discovered unmarked graves of children at the sites of nearly 20 schools and has accounted for the deaths of more than 500 children. 

Haaland kicked off a “healing tour” in July, traveling across the country to pray with and gather testimony from hundreds of boarding school survivors and their families.

Wilfred Buck Tells The Story Of Mista Muskwa

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You are not alone

You are not alone

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

Diane Tells His Name

click photo

60s Scoop Survivors Legal Support


Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines

Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines
click to read and listen about Trace, Diane, Julie and Suzie


As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.


Original Birth Certificate Map in the USA

Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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