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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Ned Blackhawk on How Native People shaped U.S. History (podcast)

 Ned Blackhawk on How Native People shaped U.S. History 

 July 5, 2023, CT WNPR 

This podcast, we are exploring the central role that Native peoples have played in the development of the United States, while facing legal discrimination that goes all the way back to the country's founding documents.  Professor of Law Matthew L.M. Fletcher gives us the context around the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Indian Child Welfare Act.  And Ned Blackhawk discusses his new book, The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History, which tells the history of the United States, emphasizing how Native Americans have been essential to determining that history.


BOOK: Until I Find You


Disappeared Children and Coercive Adoptions in Guatemala

The poignant saga of Guatemala’s adoption industry: an international marketplace for children, built on a foundation of inequality, war, and Indigenous dispossession.

In 2009 Dolores Preat went to a small Maya town in Guatemala to find her birth mother. At the address retrieved from her adoption file, she was told that her supposed mother, one Rosario Colop Chim, never gave up a child for adoption—but in 1984 a girl across the street was abducted. At that house, Preat met a woman who strongly resembled her. Colop Chim, it turned out, was not Preat’s mother at all, but a jaladora—a baby broker.

Some 40,000 children, many Indigenous, were kidnapped or otherwise coercively parted from families scarred by Guatemala’s civil war or made desperate by unrelenting poverty. Amid the US-backed army’s genocide against Indigenous Maya, children were wrested from their villages and put up for adoption illegally, mostly in the United States. During the war’s second decade, adoption was privatized, overseen by lawyers who made good money matching children to overseas families. Private adoptions skyrocketed to the point where tiny Guatemala overtook giants like China and Russia as a “sender” state. Drawing on government archives, oral histories, and a rare cache of adoption files opened briefly for war crimes investigations, Rachel Nolan explores the human toll of an international industry that thrives on exploitation.

Would-be parents in rich countries have fostered a commercial market for children from poor countries, with Guatemala becoming the most extreme case. Until I Find You reckons with the hard truths of a practice that builds loving families in the Global North out of economic exploitation, endemic violence, and dislocation in the Global South.

Important, compelling reading. Nolan has interviewed countless people, obtained access to adoption files, read the human rights reports, and sorted through the legal history. This will become a key, authoritative account of the deeply corrupt state of Guatemalan adoption from the 1970s to the 2000s.—Laura Briggs, author of Taking Children: A History of American Terror



My takeaway from this excellent podcast: The Supreme Court just makes up rules ... and it has all along...and IT'S CRAZY! And it's been going on since the invention of the DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY. - Trace, Blog Editor

MAPPING THE DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY: Johnson v. McIntosh and Federal Anti-Indian Law with Peter d’Errico

The goal of this Podcast is to help identify these systems of domination that have been sustained by greed and power, through the subjugation of human beings and the natural world.  

Philip P. Arnold and Sandra Bigtree, “S02E03 - Johnson v M’intosh and Federal Anti-Indian Law with Peter d’Errico,” Mapping the Doctrine of Discovery (Podcast), July 13, 2023.

⤓ Download a transcript of the Episode as a PDF // LISTEN

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Indigenous Human Remains, Mostly Boarding School Children, Reported In 3 States This Week

Please share this story... thanks, Trace, blog editor

Secretary of The Interior Deb Haaland listens to testimony from a boarding school survivor during the first stop on The Road to Healing tour at Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Oklahoma in July 2022. Photo by Nick Oxford.

Indigenous communities in three states this week are mourning the human remains discovered in their area.

Some have been waiting for confirmation that Native children were buried at the sites of local boarding schools, while other remains were discovered by sheer accident.

In southern Utah on July 11, twelve children’s bodies were found at a burial site at Panguitch Boarding School east of Highway 89 — becoming the only school among at least eight operated in Utah where student deaths and burials at the school have been verified.  The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah and its five sovereign bands are “devastated” by what was unearthed by Utah State University using ground-penetrating radar.

“Our hearts go out to the families of these children as we are left to consider how best to honor and memorialize their suffering,” said Ona Segundo, chairwoman of Arizona’s Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, in a statement provided to The Salt Lake Tribune.

In Nebraska, archaeologists began digging at the site of the long-shuttered Genoa Indian Industrial School 90 miles west of Omaha, hoping to uncover the location of the school’s cemetery.  Though the school closed in 1931 and most of its buildings were demolished, the dig is an attempt to locate children who never came home from the school and whose bodies were never uncovered. 

The process is expected to take several days, after months of trial and error to determine the exact location of the graves, The Washington Post reported July 11. 

Last summer, dogs trained to find decaying remains signaled to archaeologists that they had found a burial site in a piece of land bordered by railroad tracks, a canal and an agricultural field.

Then in November, ground-penetrating radar was again used and detected an area that was consistent with burials, but nothing could be confirmed until archaeologists broke ground. 

Researchers found that 86 children — described in a student’s letter, newspaper clippings and school records — had perished at the school, mostly because of disease. At least one death was caused by an accidental shooting.  The researchers have not yet identified 37 of the children.  Some of the bodies had been returned to their families, while others were buried at the school in a forgotten location.

In Pennsylvania, officials confirmed on July 9 that the human remains discovered during construction work by a gas crew late last month were Indigenous people.

On June 21, workers and contractors excavating on Short Canal Street in Sharpsburg unearthed human remains four to five feet underground while attempting to install a piece of equipment. Sharpsburg’s police and Allegheny County forensics consulted with anthropologists and archaeologists to confirm the remains belonged to Native Americans. 

The anthropologist from the Seneca Iroquois National Museum in upstate New York said the remains are specifically from an Iroquois group, according to Melanie Linn Gutowski, chair of the Sharpsburg Historical Commission.



Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Looking Beyond Haaland v. Brackeen


The ACLU submitted an amicus brief in the case, and has been following the issue closely because of the profound threat it poses to Indigenous communities, particularly federally recognized tribes in the United States. In light of this victory at the Supreme Court, we are now urging states to take action and introduce or strengthen existing state-level ICWA protections.


STOLEN (podcast)


About Stolen: Surviving St. Michael's (Season 2)

Last May, investigative journalist Connie Walker came upon a story about her late father she'd never heard before. One night back in the late 1970s while he was working as an officer in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, he pulled over a suspected drunk driver. He walked up to the vehicle and came face-to-face with a ghost from his past—a residential school priest. What happened on the road that night set in motion an investigation that would send Connie deep into her own past, trying to uncover the secrets of her family and the legacy of trauma passed down through the generations.

In Stolen: Surviving St. Michael's, Connie unearths how her family's story fits into one of Canada's darkest chapters: the residential school system.


About Stolen: The Search for Jermain (Season 1)

In 2018, a young Indigenous mother named Jermain Charlo left a bar in Missoula, Montana, and was never seen again.  After two years and thousands of hours of investigative work, police believe they are close to solving the mystery of what happened to her.  We go inside the investigation, tracking down leads and joining search parties through the dense mountains of the Flathead Reservation.  As we unravel this mystery, the show examines what it means to be an Indigenous woman in America.

Stolen is hosted by Connie Walker.


Tuesday, July 11, 2023

#60sScoop Survivors gather in Winnipeg for conference


Survivors of the Sixties Scoop gathered in Winnipeg on Saturday for the Manitoba Sixties Scoop Conference and share their stories and experiences of being taken from their families.  

“Since the apology of 2015, there really hasn’t been a bigger gathering of Sixties Scoop Survivors to talk about some of the issues that we’re still working our way through,” said 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada Director and spokesperson Katherine Strongwind. “We’ve had about 23 smaller healing gatherings, mostly in Winnipeg and some across western Canada and we thought it was really important to pull everybody together today to say, ‘You know, we are still here, we’re still healing ourselves.’  The province really needs to step up their game in terms of really how they’re going to be helping us.”

The “Sixties Scoop” refers to the large-scale forced removal or “scooping” of Indigenous children from their homes, communities and families of birth through the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and the subsequent adoption into predominantly Caucasian, Christian, middle-class families across Canada, the United States and overseas.

Many adoptees and Survivors were left with a lack of or poor sense of cultural identity. The forced physical and emotional separation from their birth families by the government’s assimilationist policies continues to affect adult adoptees and Indigenous communities to this day.  Many Survivors had parents, grandparents, and extended families who were forced to attend Indian Residential Schools.

“The purpose this afternoon is to pull people together and get some feedback from them on some of the very specific issues that adoptees and folks who have been through child welfare have such as name changes, child welfare records, adoption records, all of those sorts of pieces,” said Strongwind.

Organizers plan to draft a report for the provincial government but also for Indigenous leaders.

“I’m not sure (Indigenous leaders) really know what to do with us,” said Strongwind. “We’re coming home and we’re trying to reconnect our families and our communities but they don’t always have the best understanding of how to support us.”

Some 120 Scoop Survivors attended the one-day gathering.  Half of the cost of the gathering was covered by the provincial government with the remainder covered by fundraising.  City of Winnipeg donated the space at Sergeant Tommy Prince Place in the North End for the gathering through the Indigenous Liaison Unit.

“We invited a couple of speakers to share part of their story this morning and there’s definitely some similarities among all of us but also we wanted to talk about inspiring stories and ‘What’s worked best for you on your healing journey and how can we support each other?’ because so far we don’t have any kind of healing program specifically for Sixties Scoop Survivors,” said Strongwind. “So we’re supporting each other.”

Katherine Strongwind
Katherine Strongwind. Photo by Chris Procaylo /Winnipeg Sun

In 2015, then-Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger apologized on behalf of the province. Six years later, the 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada and Manitoba Senator Murray Sinclair called for a federal inquiry.

“We still don’t know how many kids were taken, where they were taken to, where they are now, how many died in care and those kind of pieces,” said Strongwind on what an inquiry would uncover. “We also know that people want to share their stories and their testimonies before they pass away.  Over the next year or so, we’ll focus on that but also gatherings like this are really important to get people together and learn from each other on how we can support each other on some of these pieces when we’re not be recognized, we’re not being acknowledged.

“We’re really out here on our own it seems like.”

The provincial government needs to provide funding for these sorts of gatherings but also provide a unit or some sort of fund available for Survivors to be able to access some of the services that they offer such as the post-adoption registry and child welfare records, Strongwind said. Even something as seemingly simple as making it easier for Survivors to legally change back to their traditional names.

“The province did the dirty work of the Sixties Scoop,” said Strongwind, who legally changed her name in November. “They were given jurisdiction in 1951 from the federal government and they really took that and ran and decided they were going to scoop up entire families off reserves and they thought they were going to make us into upstanding Christian citizens. In some respects, they were successful but we know that many of us ending up leaving that lifestyle and our families and ended up coming home to our biological families and communities. Culture plays a huge role in our healing.

“There’s all of these sorts of pieces that the province could be helping with but really aren’t.”

City could participate by providing spaces for gatherings and a memorial of some sort.

“All levels of government I feel have a part to play in this,” Strongwind said.

With some 10,000 Indigenous children in care in Manitoba, Strongwind believes Sixties Scoop Survivors can have role in preventing a recurrence of what happened to them.

“We want to use our experience as best practices to prevent that from happening in the future,”Strongwind said. “That’s part of the purpose that the 60s Legacy of Canada works towards every day.”


Monday, July 10, 2023

60sScoop Survivor: ‘I basically rescued myself’

Guelph poet and ’60s Scoop survivor shares her personal journey through writing

How Cynthia (Wasizo kwe) Missabie became her own hero

Cynthia Missabie, a ’60s Scoop survivor, looks out at the Speed River in Guelph's Riverside Park. - Joy Struthers/Metroland

Local poet Cynthia Missabie took her name back when she was 40 years old, though she did not know how to pronounce it. 

Her adoptive parents had changed her name to Catherine Claire Cross, after their daughter who had died.

It was in the 1960s when she said she was three or four, when she was adopted by a “white, middle class” couple she still calls her mother and father. They were the parents of four boys and owned a Guelph bowling alley.

“I was part of the ’60s Scoop,” said Missabie.

Her birth mother and father were married but struggled with alcohol and illness. They had two little girls, and her birth mother also had four other children, who were all given up for adoption.

Missabie’s birth mother was from the Henvey Inlet First Nation located on the French River. She grew up living in a residential school and later lived in Toronto. Missabie’s birth father was from Newfoundland.

A very independent child, Missabie said she was happy with her new family at first.

“In the beginning, it was beautiful,” she said. “Then when I was about nine or 10, I was molested by my father, and he had it out for me, like he was attracted to me for years. I had to keep protecting myself.”

Her family had left Guelph, was moving around the United States, and even went to Puerto Rico.

“At first, it was an adventure, like, oh, I’m going to a new place, I’m going to meet new people,” Missabie said. “But then I got attached to those people.”

She would even change her name when she moved, from Catherine to Cathy, or Kate to Katie. Some people still call her by different names.

“I look back on that time and I think, wherever we lived, I tried to make some kind of friend, so I could escape,” Missabie said.

Finally, she admitted to her mother that she was abused by her father, and it split up the family temporarily.

“My mother moved everybody up to Canada for a year,” Missabie said. “At the end of the year, my parents got back together.”

She said her mother had been drinking for years, and “was a mess” without her father.

The children were all struggling, and Missabie said some of them still do.

“Not every story has a happy ending, and so many people lose themselves,” said Missabie.

For her, she said she loves the peaceful life she has created. She returned to Guelph in 1981 and has been here ever since.

Both her mother and father are now dead, but Missabie had tried to maintain relationships with her family, as well as learn about her birth relatives.

She has been in recovery for 34 years and runs a weekly meeting which incorporates both Alcoholics Anonymous and Indigenous teachings.

“Everything is a teaching, no matter how you go about your life. If this hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t be who I am,” she said. “And then there’s the idea of what I am leaving behind for other people.”

Missabie sings with the barbershop group, the Over Tones, and dotes on her dog, though she never had children of her own.

“I started writing because I was so depressed and lonely, I just had to do something,” she said.

One night she read a poem at an event and a man said to her, “You’re kind of angry, aren’t you?” And she thought, “well, if you had lived my life, you’d be a bit angry too.”

Truthfully, she said now she approaches things with a healthy sense of humour.

She is in a different place now emotionally then she was when she contributed poetry to “River Bundles, an Anthology of Original Peoples in the Waterloo-Wellington Area,” edited by Plume Writers Circle.

She was one of the original circle members in Guelph along with friends Hope Engel and Wendy Stewart. She also read her poetry with them at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival.

She plans to contribute to an upcoming compilation, called “Blood Memory, an Indigenous Poets Society Anthology.”

“One thing I got through my writing, and what I gained over that time, is that I basically rescued myself. So, I had become my own hero in a way,” she said.

She shared that her spirit name is Wasizo kwe, or Woman who Glitters.

“I always thought I was kind of different, and it wasn’t always great, but now it’s wonderful,” Missabie said.



The Unravelling of a Colonized Mind




By Jana-Rae Yerxa

Sure everybody struggles. But to be born an Indigenous person, you are born into struggle. My struggle. Your struggle. Our struggle. The colonial struggle. There are many layers to this struggle. For the longest time, I didn’t even know what the true struggle was about yet I couldn’t escape it. It consumed me. Colonialism, as I have been forced to discover, is like a cancer. But instead of the cells in your body betraying itself, the thoughts in your mind work against you and eat you up from the inside out. You’re like the walking dead and you don’t even know it because you are so blinded. You can’t see the truth.

Here are some of the perverted ways colonialism infects the mind:
• With a colonized mind, I hate being Indian.
• With a colonized mind, I accept that I am Indian because that’s who the colonizer told me I am.
• With a colonized mind, I don’t understand that I am Anishinaabe.
• With a colonized mind, I believe I am inferior to the white race.
• With a colonized mind, I wish I was white.
• With a colonized mind, I draw pictures of my family with peach coloured skin, blonde hair and blue eyes because I’ve internalized that this is the ideal, what looks good and what is beautiful.
• With a colonized mind, I keep my feelings of inferiority to white people a secret from others and even from myself.
• With a colonized mind, I try diligently to mirror white people as closely as I possibly can.
• With a colonized mind, I desperately want to be accepted by white people.
• With a colonized mind, to gain the acceptance of white people, I will detach myself from all that does not mirror acceptable “white” standards, whether it is how one dresses, one speaks, or one looks.
• With a colonized mind, I feel as though I am swearing when I say “white people” in front of white people.
• With a colonized mind, I believe there is no racism.
• With a colonized mind, I believe that racism does not impact me.
• With a colonized mind, I deny my heritage and proudly say, “We are all just people.”
• With a colonized mind, when discussing issues pertaining to race, I try desperately not to offend white people.
• With a colonized mind, I do not know who I am.
• With a colonized mind, I believe I know who I am and do not understand that this isn’t so because I’ve become the distorted image of who the colonizer wants me to be and remain unaware of this reality.
• With a colonized mind, I could care less about history and think that our history don’t matter.
• With a colonized mind, I do not understand how the history created the present.
• With a colonized mind, I do not see how I have been brainwashed to be an active participant in my own dehumanization and the dehumanization of my people.
• With a colonized mind, I do not recognize how others dehumanize me and my people.
• With a colonized mind, I devalue the ways of my people- their ways of seeing, their ways of knowing, their ways of living, their ways of being.
• With a colonized mind, I cannot speak the language of my ancestors and do not care that this is so.
• With a colonized mind, I am unaware of how colonization has impacted my ancestors, my community, my family, and myself.
• With a colonized mind, I think that my people are a bunch of lazy, drunk, stupid Indians.
• With a colonized mind, I discredit my own people.
• With a colonized mind, I think that I am better than ‘those Indians’.
• With a colonized mind, I will silently watch my people be victimized.
• With a colonized mind, I will victimize my own people.
• With a colonized mind, I will defend those that perpetrate against my people.
• With a colonized mind, I will hide behind false notions of tradition entrenched with Euro-western shame and shame my own people re-creating more barriers amongst us.
• With a colonized mind, I tolerate our women being raped and beaten.
• With a colonized mind, I tolerate our children being raised without their fathers.
• With a colonized mind, I feel threatened when someone else, who is Anishinaabe, achieves something great because I feel jealous and wish it was me.
• With a colonized mind, when I see an Anishinaabe person working towards bettering their life, because my of my own insecurities, I accuse them of thinking they are ‘so good now’.
• With a colonized mind, I am unaware that I was set up to hate myself.
• With a colonized mind, I do not think critically about the world.
• With a colonized mind, I believe in merit and do not recognize unearned colonial privilege.
• With a colonized mind, I ignorantly believe that my ways of seeing, living and believing were all decided by me when in reality everything was and is decided for me.
• With a colonized mind, I am lost.
• With a colonized mind, I do not care about the land.
• With a colonized mind, I believe that freedom is a gift that can be bestowed upon me by the colonizer.
• With a colonized mind, I believe that I am powerless and act accordingly.
• With a colonized mind, I do not have a true, authentic voice.
• With a colonized mind, I live defeat.
• With a colonized mind, I will remain a victim of history.
• With a colonized mind, I will pass self-hatred on to my children.
• With a colonized mind, I do not understand the term “self-responsibility.”
• With a colonized mind, I do not recognize that I have choice and do not have to fatalistically accept oppressive, colonial realities.
• With a colonized mind, I do not see that I am a person of worth.
• With a colonized mind, I do not know I am powerful.

The colonial struggle, as I said earlier, has many layers. I am no longer being eaten from the inside. Yet it is no less painful. What is different today is that I am connected to a true source of power that was always there. It’s like my friend once said, “I come from a distinguished people whose legacy shines on me like the sun.” I now understand this and it is because of this understanding that my mind and my soul are freer than they have ever been. It is because of that gift- that awakening which came through struggle- that I will proudly continue to struggle for freedom. 

My freedom. Your freedom. Our freedom.

Jana-Rae Yerxa, is Anishinaabe from Little Eagle and Couchiching First Nation and belongs to the Sturgeon clan. Activist. Social Worker. Former professor. Current student. She is committed to furthering her understanding of Anishinaabe identity and resurgence as well as deconstructing Indigenous/settler relations in the contexts of colonization and decolonization. Jana-Rae is currently enrolled in the Indigenous Governance Program at University of Victoria.



This post is from 2014 but is STILL TRUE for too many of us...But we have the POWER to change ourselves. We must!  Trace


Sunday, July 9, 2023

Cutting through the Brackeen v Haaland case


Was it a victory?

Read my friend Peter (law professor) on Substack.

Cutting Through the US Claim of a Right of Domination over Indigenous People: An Analysis of Haaland v. Brackeen


Tuesday, July 4, 2023

OBC Miracles - look at this MAP


On a scarier note: On a much scarier note:

Happy Visitors!

They Took Us Away

They Took Us Away
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Blog Archive

Most READ Posts


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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