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Friday, June 30, 2023

(Almost) Dead Indian: Writing in 2008

By Trace L Hentz, blog editor
In 2008, this is what I wrote as an introduction to the memoir I was working on... (a draft)

… a memoir of brainwashing and life as a dead Indian…


I did have to pretend to be someone – and live a lie - because I’m adopted. Ask any adoptee who has Native American ancestry.  If you are not told any truth, you’re just another dead Indian, at least on paper or on tribal rolls.  Our papers are usually fake and we live with amended original birth certificates (OBC).  Our adoptive parents are listed as our biological parents, which is another lie we live with....        

            America is like that.  Adoptees seem invisible yet the number of adoptees in the United States is estimated to be between six and ten million.  They’d prefer every one of us to live as an American citizen as if none other were as good or as important.  America forgets it’s very new by all standards and just acts like its old.  America has its own amnesia.

I intended to write about adoption history and what I experienced opening my adoption many years ago.  America’s adoption files of my era (the 1950s) are still sealed by laws in most states, still shrouded in secrecy. I expected little help or new discoveries.  Never did I expect to find so many adoptees in the same boat from 2005 onward.  I didn’t know there were millions of us, some blazing new trails on the internet global highway. I found friends.
            In the last 20+ years, adoption’s gone global, widely publicized and still touted as noble, saving and particularly saintly of those men and women who adopt, who give so generously to orphans.  That’s about all we hear: how great it is to adopt.
            I asked myself, where is the missing piece …where is the voice of the adopted… what happens to the adoptee?  I decided to write about my experience (as an adoption survivor and journalist) and include other American Indians who experienced being adopted.  I found much more going on with the business of adoption, so I include it.  Certainly this will be the most controversial book on adoption since I was often in a state of shock and utter disbelief during my years of research on the adoption industry.
            Indian child removals by adoption set out to accomplish the break-up of Indian families and culture.  Once adopted, you’re erased, an outsider, a stranger to your own nation, lands and people.  I prefer to think of my younger self as brainwashed.  There was fear and emotional illness, which I explain. What is known about the Indian Adoption Projects (more than one) and the aftermath, few books actually acknowledge it happened here.
            There is persistent rampant poverty in Indian Country even now.  I found Indian people who were white-washed through strenuous puritanical forces using assimilation via adoption and residential boarding schools. 
            Adoptees with Indian blood find out soon enough their reservations are closed to strangers.  Without proof, you’re suspect.  You can’t always get the proof since laws prevent it.  Just one Minnesota tribe, White Earth, decided to call out to its lost children; this made news in the fall in 2007.  Going back takes a special kind of courage.
            One Native American adoptee I know was told – be happy, be white. Ask yourself, how would you react? Is Indian Country such a bad place to be from? How did this happen to us?
            Society determined long ago what was best for children.  Once adopted, society can let us go, write us off.
            Here in America, thousands of Indian children were taken from parents and given to non-Indian people.
            Survivors are here to tell you this was a genocidal act against our humanity. Some of us were abducted, abused, brainwashed and all of us erased.
            Adoption secrets are protected by laws.  Laws prevented me from ever knowing the truth of my true identity.  I still found a way. 
This edition is on amazon and in some bookstores

Wayne Carp, an adoption advocate and author who went “undercover” to compile his book on adoption industry history kept running into secrecy problems. Unlike Carp, I am the story.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

July 30, 2023 | World Day Against Trafficking in Persons | Pequot Slaves

The Origins of Human Trafficking


 Provided by StrongHearts Native Helpline


(EAGAN, MN. July 1, 2023) – If not for the journals of America’s first explorers, Indigenous people might not have an understanding of the overwhelming feeling of discomfort when in the presence of some non-Native people. As though, we do not matter, as though we are less than they, that they could do to us what they wanted as a person, a family, as a nation of people.

But, we do have those journals to reflect on as evidence of the day when Indigenous people became a commodity to be trafficked and enslaved for the purpose of sex and labor in both America and Europe.

October 11, 1492:

“They should be good servants and intelligent, for I observed that they quickly took in what was said to them, and I believe that they would easily be made Christians.”


October 14, 1492:

“These people are very simple [in] the use of arms …with fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them.”

American History vs Native History

More than five centuries later, school children learn about “Thanksgiving” and how Native and non-Natives feasted and thrived in friendship when nothing could be farther from the truth. Across the nation, elected state leaders are banning teaching the truth about our history, calling it “critical race theory.”

“Our nation was built upon the graves of Indigenous people and upon the backs of minorities,” said CEO Lori Jump, StrongHearts Native Helpline. “When state legislatures are denying and suppressing the truth about our history, we can not sufficiently address nor prevent human trafficking. In order to heal from the tragedies of our past, in order to understand the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence - we must face the truth about our nation’s history.”

Human Trafficking Worldwide

Human traffickers profit at the expense of their victims by forcing them to perform labor or to engage in commercial sex in every region of the United States and around the world. With an estimated 27.6 million victims worldwide at any given time, human traffickers prey on people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities, exploiting them for their own profit.

Studies on human trafficking are few and far between, especially those related to Native people. In a Minnesota based study on sex trafficking,“Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota,” 105 Native women who were trafficked participated in a survey about the tragedy of their own experiences. Native women, children and Two-spirit people were found to be victimized with more frequency - noting that most traffickers were non-Native who targeted those most vulnerable to being poverty stricken and homeless.

Normalization of Selling Sex

Jessica Smith, a victim-survivor turned advocate, knows what it means to be trafficked both as a child and as an adult. And, she knows that the only way to help these victims is to get them off the streets and into stable housing.

“As children, we see our Mothers being trafficked and we look up to them [as role models],” Smith said and explained that there is a connection between intergenerational trauma and human trafficking. “I saw generations of it and thought it was normal.”

Smith added, “It’s important for people to understand that sex trafficking is perpetrated by people outside of our [Native] communities. Whether it’s domestic violence, rape, murder, prostitution or sex trafficking, the vast majority of perpetrators against Native women and children are not Native men,” said Smith. “We found that to be true in the Garden of Truth.”

Perpetrators and Their Victims

Native victim survivors readily identified perpetrators as primarily white men followed by African American men and to a much lesser degree by Native men. Sex traffickers use common tactics that include: trickery and coercion as well as emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

Vulnerabilities to human trafficking include:

  • An unstable living situation

  • Previous experience with other forms of violence (sexual/domestic)

  • Identified as a runaway and/or involved in the juvenile justice or child welfare systems

  • Poverty and/or economic need

  • Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol (often introduced by traffickers)

  • Substance abuse by a caregiver or family member


Vulnerability among Native women surveyed:

  • 99 percent were currently or previously homeless.

  • 92 percent had been raped and wanted to escape prostitution

  • 84 percent had been physically assaulted in prostitution.

  • 79 percent had been sexually abused as children by an average of 4 perpetrators.

  • 72 percent suffered traumatic brain injuries in prostitution.

  • 71 percent had symptoms of dissociation.

  • 52 percent had post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a rate equal to combat veterans.

As a survivor and advocate,” Smith concluded that survivor led advocacy is key to prevention. “We need [advocates] to understand that we were raped, beaten, and made to sell our bodies. [That] we did not choose this life. It was chosen for us.”

StrongHearts Understands

At StrongHearts Native Helpline, we understand. We recognize the importance of education and we strive to identify and expose the roots of human trafficking. We acknowledge that it began with colonization and continues primarily at the hands of non-Natives. Ours is the story of all Indigenous peoples - a story about survival and resilience and a story that must conclude with truth, reparation and reconciliation.

StrongHearts advocates are available 24/7 and offer:

  • Information and education about domestic violence and sexual violence

  • Personalized safety planning

  • Crisis intervention

  • Referrals to Native-centered domestic violence and sexual violence service providers

  • Basic information about health options

  • Support locating health facilities or crisis centers trained in the care of sexual assault and forensic exams

  • General information about jurisdiction and legal advocacy referrals

Call or text 1-844-762-8483 or chat online at

Human Trafficking Hotline

Serving all individuals who reach out for their services regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or any other factor protected by local, state, or federal law, The National Human Trafficking Hotline can be reached at 1-888-373-7888, hearing impaired dial 711, text 233733 SMS text lines and live online chat available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.




The Pequot War officially lasted from 1636-1638


Depiction of Pequot War
Depiction of the Pequot War via NYPL Digital Collections

READ:  Karr, Ronald Dale. “‘Why Should You Be So Furious?’: The Violence of the Pequot War.” The Journal of American History, vol. 85, no. 3, [Oxford University Press, Organization of American Historians], 1998, pp. 876–909,

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

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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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