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Help for First Nations Adoptees (Canada)

Declaration of Kinship and Cooperation among the Indigenous Peoples and Nations of North America


First Nations
The term “First Nations” refers to one of three distinct groups recognized as “Aboriginal” in the Constitution Act of 1982.  The other two distinct groups characterized as “Aboriginal” are the M├ętis and the Inuit.
There are 634 First Nation communities (also known as reserves) in Canada, with First Nation governments.  First Nations are part of unique larger linguistic and cultural groups that vary across the country.  In fact, there are over 50 distinct nations and language groups across the country.
First Nations have a unique and special relationship with the Crown and the people of Canada as set out in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and manifested in Treaties, the Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982, Canadian common law and International law and as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
This special relationship between First Nations and the Crown is grounded in First Nation inherent and Aboriginal rights and title, Treaties and negotiated agreements with a view toward peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, recognition and the equitable sharing of lands and resources.  Many Treaties, reflected in written documents, wampum and oral understanding, were entered into between First Nations and the British Crown (the Government of Canada after Confederation) between 1701 and 1923.  Treaty promises and agreements included non-interference, protection of hunting and fishing rights, sharing of lands and resources, health and education benefits, economic tools and benefits for the duration of the Treaty relationship. (Assembly of Nations)

When adoptees reach the age of 18, they may apply to the Department of Indian Affairs who will verify their claim. The Registrar will provide them with a registry number and the name of the Indian band to which they may be registered*. An adopted child, registered as an Indian may then be eligible for benefits.
Indian Affairs investigates a claim by an adult adoptee or by the adoptive parents of a minor adoptee by contacting the social service agency where the adoption was completed. For example, the Children’s Aid Society would reveal the birth name to Indian Affairs who then checks their open or published Indian Registry. Once their Indian status is verified in the Open Indian Registry, the adoptee’s name is placed in the closed or unpublished Adoption Register which is part of the Indian Registry but no identifying information is given out.
Adoptees must write to Indian Affairs to request registration on the Indian Registry. There is approximately a 10-month waiting list for the process to begin and then there is an additional wait for the social service agency to respond to Indian Affairs with the necessary information.
Write to: Julien Gagnon
Adoption team

Indian Affairs will not help with searches; they will refer you to the provincial post-adoption agencies.

Birth parents will not be given the adoptive name of their child. They are referred to provincial post-adoption services.  Publication available from Indian Affairs:  “Adoption and the Indian Child”,  Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa, 1993

[please use the website links...Trace]

1 comment:

  1. Canadian government does nothing for the Indian adoptees who have no status. I am 60 years old. Old enough to be told the truth about my birth parents, but no I shall go to my grave officially not knowing, I have been seen as Indian by the whites and white by the Indians, having no place in either world. I simply want the dignity to have the all knowing officials acknowledge who I was born as, and what my background is. Seems a simple request to me........... L. Yule


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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.


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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.

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