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Support Info: If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419. Additional Health Support Information: Emotional, cultural, and professional support services are also available to Survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Services can be accessed on an individual, family, or group basis.” These & regional support phone numbers are found at . THANK YOU MEGWETCH for reading

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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Maui fire response turns to healing, rebuilding

 Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 56:02 — 38.5MB) | Embed

Maui community of Lahaina. (Courtesy State Farm via Flickr CC)

Native America Calling, September 20, 2023 

Neighbors are helping each other rebuild after the historic deadly fire on Maui. The community is in line for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and state funds, in addition to private donations from all over the world. More than a month after the blaze swept through the city of Lahaina and the surrounding area, officials are still sorting out the cause and the factors that contributed to its severity. And, while not as bad as originally feared, the death toll approaches 100 people. We’ll check back in with the rebuilding effort in Hawaii and what some of the major challenges are as residents look to the future.


Kaliko Kaauamo (Kanaka Maoli), taro farmer, musician, and Hawaiian language advocate  

Kyle Kawakami, chef and owner of Maui Fresh Streatery

Marlene Ricedevelopmental director for the Maui Food Bank

Dr. Lance D. Collinsprivate practice attorney in Maui  

Break 1 Music: Kaulana Na Pua (song) Marlene Sai (artist) Mele No Ka ‘Oe (Digital Only, Re-mastered) (song)

Break 2 Music: Blue Dream Wedding Cake (song) Def-I (artist) Blue Hour (album)

How to Enroll if You are Navajo

Are you Navajo? an adoptee? FIRST fill this out:


Liquidlibrary/Getty Images

(2017) According to the census, the Navajo Nation consists of over 330,000 enrolled tribal members across Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, making it the second-largest tribal population in the United States, after the Cherokee Nation. Because membership criteria varies from tribe to tribe, there are no hard-and-fast, uniform membership requirements, though generally a person must be at least 1/4 Navajo and able to provide proof of Navajo ancestry.

While the following steps come recommended by the Navajo Nation's Washington Office, contacting the office directly should be the first step on your journey.

Gather vital records about your family in order to conduct a trace of your Navajo ancestry. These records include the names of ancestors, their dates of birth, marriages and deaths, the places they lived, their brothers and sisters, and their tribal affiliation.

Reach out to the National Archives and Records Administration and the U.S. Department of the Interiors Division of Tribal Government Services to help locate documents and establish a line of Navajo ancestry.

A Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) from the Bureau of Indian Affairs may help expedite the process. To get one, fill out and send the BIA's request form along with a certified copy of your birth certificate and copies of your parents' and grandparents' birth or death certificates.

Determine whether your ancestors are on an official tribal roll or census (the original list of tribal members listed in the Navajo constitution) by contacting the National Archives and Records Administration or the Tribal Enrollment branch of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Contact the tribe directly once you have acquired the proper documents in order to find out if they have records of your ancestors. Likewise, membership will only be given by contacting the Navajo Nation as detailed membership criteria are set forth in the Navajo tribal constitution. 

You can find contact information at, or reach the Navajo Nation's Washington Office at (928) 871-6386 or at

How to Find a Roll Number on the Dawes Roll


If you are an adoptee, let them know when you call. Give them all the information you have available, like your birthdate and state where you were born, and the state where you were adopted. Let them help you with a court order to unseal your records using ICWA. - Trace 


Ohcîwin the Origins


Powwow! Ohcîwin the Origins 3D Interactive Online Exhibition

Interactive Self-Guided Tour

Powwow! Ohcîwin* The Origins features 7 powwow dance styles, with full Regalia and craft work.  Curators and creators, Patrick Mitsuing and Marrisa Mitsuing, have gathered the stories, worked with the Artisans, and carefully built the Regalia for this exhibition organized by the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery.  Working with a diverse team of Indigenous Artists from Western Canada and the US they assembled each of the individual dance regalia on display.  During the 2019 and 2020 Powwow season, they met with knowledge keepers across North America to record the origin stories of the dances they perform.

The dances on display are : Men’s Traditional, Men’s Fancy, Men’s Chicken, Men’s Grass, Women’s Traditional, Women’s Fancy and Women’s Jingle.

Guest curator of the exhibition, Fran- Rogers Chowace, focus is to create visual space for the local powwow dancers and Woodland Cree history and people of this region to shine; featuring the Traditional Paths’ Society dancers and local elders/knowledge keepers.

Exhibition organized and toured by the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery (MAG, Red Deer, AB). The MAG acknowledges the generous funding support provided by the City of Red Deer, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Alberta Museums Association, Waskasoo Museum Foundation and Marguerite Lerouge Watson.

 * Ohcîwin is a Cree word meaning “The Origin” or telling of a story where something originated. has listed Powwow! Ohcîwin the Origins one of 10 Exhibitions to Visit in Alberta this Summer.



Dark Winds will continue, Season Three

final scene in Season 2

TVLine readers gave Season 2 a rare average grade of “A+.” 

Dark Winds EP Says We Haven’t ‘Hit Our Stride’ Yet

By Matt Webb Mitovich |

Dark Winds wrapped up its six-episode sophomore run, with a finale now streaming on AMC+ and airing Sunday night on AMC proper.

Should fans of the period crime drama look forward to a Season 3?

We won’t get into specific Season 2 finale spoilers here, but the episode “Hózhó náhásdlii (Beauty Is Restored)” left viewers with a good amount of closure.  There was resolution to the Blond Man/B.J. Vines arc, Joe and Emma sought much-needed “balance” for their household, and at least three characters made career decisions.

Executive producer Chris Eyre, who directed this season’s first two episodes and then the finale, believes there many more tales to tell — and hopes Dark Winds gets to tell them.

“I don’t feel like we’ve hit our stride with this series,” Eyre told TVLine when asked about Dark Winds‘ future. (Dark Winds scored its Season 2 renewal just two weeks into its freshman run; AMC has no Season 3 updates at this time.)

“There are 18 [Leaphorn & Chee] books by Tony Hillerman and there are five by Anne Hillerman,” Eyre noted, “so there’s enough detective/Navajo police drama” to continue bringing to the small screen.

Of note, Eyre’s experience with the source material dates back to directing Skinwalkers: The Navajo Mysteries, a series of PBS Mystery movies based on Hillerman novels.

Executive Producer Chris Eyre (left) on set with Zahn McClarnon and Jessica Matten

“Somebody at my gym mentioned this to me, that ‘I just want to see what happens to the characters now,'” Eyre related.  Following a showrunner change for Season 2, “It feels like we’ve gotten the show on its feet.  And now that it’s on its feet I want to know what happens to the characters, too.

“I think that their evolution could be a long time coming — and a great journey,” the EP avowed.


Dark Winds has been renewed for a third season on AMC and AMC+, TVLine has learned. The good news comes just weeks after the acclaimed drama released its Season 2 finale.

Season 3 is targeting an “early 2025” premiere date, we hear.  A confirmed episode count was not yet available, though the first two seasons spanned six each.

Based on the Leaphorn & Chee series of novels by Tony Hillerman, Dark Winds was created for television by Graham Roland, with John Wirth (Hell of Wheels) serving as Season 2’s showrunner.  Other executive producers include star Zahn McClarnon, Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin, Anne Hillerman, Chris Eyre, Vince Gerardis and Tina Elmo.

Though the aforementioned finale, titled “Hózhó náhásdlii (Beauty Is Restored),” left viewers with a good amount of closure, EP Chris Eyre — who directed Season 2’s first two episodes and then the finale — believes there are many more tales to tell.

“I don’t feel like we’ve hit our stride with this series,” Eyre told TVLine. “There are 18 [Leaphorn & Chee] books by Tony Hillerman and there are five by Anne Hillerman, so there’s enough detective/Navajo police drama” to continue bringing to the small screen.

TVLine readers gave Season 2 a rare average grade of “A+.”

Dark Winds Season 2 was a Top 10 cable drama this season (averaging 1.7 million viewers in Live+3 ratings), and it also delivered significant acquisition gains vs. Season 1 on AMC+.

Also of note, more than 90% of the production team on both sides of the camera for Season 2 were Indigenous.

 ‘Leaphorn & Chee’ Novels

“We started this journey with very high hopes for this series, given the remarkable source material and extraordinary creative team behind it, and it has delivered on every level,” Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks, said in a statement. “From the beloved novels, to an incredibly collaborative producing team that includes Robert Redford, George R. R. Martin, showrunner John Wirth and star Zahn McClarnon, to the entire cast and crew, there is so much storytelling yet to come in this universe. Thanks to the fans for embracing this series and the critics for celebrating and shining a light on it.”



Show EP Chris Eyre is an adoptee like many of us... last I heard he is living in New Mexico.

Trace  (p.s. I REALLY LOVE THIS SHOW!!!!!!! See it!)


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Search for children's remains continues at former Native American boarding school in Nebraska

Volunteer Nancy Carlson sifts through dirt as workers dig for the suspected remains of children who once attended the Genoa Indian Industrial School, Monday, July 10, 2023, in Genoa, Neb. The mystery of where the bodies of more than 80 children are buried could be solved this week as archeologists dig in a Nebraska field that a century ago was part of a sprawling Native American boarding school. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

JULY 2023

GENOA, Neb. (AP) — Amid a renewed push for answers, archeologists planned to resume digging Tuesday at the remote site of a former Native American boarding school in central Nebraska, searching for the remains of children who died there decades ago.

The search for a hidden cemetery near the former Genoa Indian Industrial School in Nebraska gained renewed interest after the discovery of hundreds of children’s remains at Native American boarding school sites in the U.S. and Canada since 2021, said Dave Williams, the state's archeologist who's digging at the site with teammates this week.

The team hadn't found any remains by Monday afternoon, but the dig had only just begun.

“Where is the cemetery and how many people are buried there? It's the big question that's hanging in the air,” said Alyce Tejral, a board member of the nearby Genoa U.S. Indian School Foundation Museum.

Genoa was part of a national system of more than 400 Native American boarding schools that attempted to assimilate Indigenous people into white culture by separating children from their families, cutting them off from their heritage and inflicting physical and emotional abuse.

Judi gaiashkibos, the executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, whose mother attended the school in the late 1920s, has been involved in the cemetery effort for years. She said it’s difficult to spend time in the community where many Native Americans suffered, but the vital search can help with healing and bringing the children’s voices to the surface.

Williams, the archeologist, said finding the location of the cemetery and the burials contained within it may provide some peace and comfort to people who have suffered a long period of not knowing exactly what happened to their relatives who were sent to boarding schools and never came home.

The school, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Omaha, opened in 1884 and at its height was home to nearly 600 students from more than 40 tribes across the country. It closed in 1931 and most buildings were long ago demolished.

Newspaper clippings, records and a student’s letter indicate at least 86 students died at the school, usually due to diseases such as tuberculosis and typhoid, but at least one death was blamed on an accidental shooting.

Researchers identified 49 of the children killed but have not been able to find names for 37 students. The bodies of some of those children were returned to their homes but others are believed to have been buried on the school grounds at a location long forgotten.

As part of an effort to find the cemetery, last summer dogs trained to detect the faint odor of decaying remains searched the area and signaled they had found a burial site in a narrow piece of land bordered by a farm field, railroad tracks and a canal.

A team using ground-penetrating radar last November also showed an area that was consistent with graves, but there will be no guarantees until researchers finish digging into the ground, Williams said.

The process is expected to take several days.

If the dig reveals human remains, the State Archeology Office will continue to work with the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs in deciding what’s next. They could rebury the remains in the field and create a memorial or exhume and return the bodies to tribes.

Last year, the U.S. Interior Department — led by Secretary Deb Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico and the first Native American Cabinet secretary — released a first-of-its-kind report that named hundreds of schools the federal government supported to strip Native Americans of their cultures and identities.

At least 500 children died at some of the schools, but that number is expected to reach into the thousands or tens of thousands as research continues.


Ahmed reported from Minneapolis. Scott McFetridge contributed from Des Moines, Iowa.


No children's remains found in Nebraska dig near former Native American boarding school

Nebraska State Archeologist Dave Williams looks at layers of soil as workers dig for the suspected remains of children who once attended the Genoa Indian Industrial School, Tuesday, July 11, 2023, in Genoa, Neb. The mystery of where the bodies of more than 80 children are buried could be solved this week as archeologists dig in a Nebraska field that a century ago was part of a sprawling Native American boarding school. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

An archeological dig for a lost children's cemetery near the Nebraska site of a former Native American boarding school has ended after two weeks — and no remains were found.

Dave Williams, the state's archeologist, said the team searching near the former Genoa Indian Industrial School plans to meet on Zoom with representatives of 40 tribes across the U.S. next week to determine next steps.

"I would have preferred that we found the children," said Judi gaiashkibos, a member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and the executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs. "But we have to remain hopeful. They've been gone more than 90 years. I feel like I have to remain steadfast and committed."

The search for gained renewed interest after hundreds of children's remains were discovered at other Native American boarding school sites across the U.S. and Canada in recent years.

Dogs trained to detect the odor of decaying remains searched the area last summer and indicated there could be a burial site in a strip of land bordered by a farm field, railroad tracks and a canal. In November, ground-penetrating radar identified four anomalies — or areas of disturbed soil beneath the ground surface — in the shapes of graves.

Williams and his team spent the last two weeks excavating, but didn't find the first anomaly they were seeking, which could've contained children's remains.

"That's one of the challenges of archaeology," Williams said. "We can have a lot of evidence that something should be where we think it's going to be. And then once we actually get in and open up the ground and take a look, it's not what we expected."

They'll spend the next few weeks reevaluating the data and everything that led them to that location, Williams said, and figure out a new plan in consultation with the dozens of tribes that lost their children to the school.

There are three other anomalies nearby. Crews could search for those, pursue other leads or stop the search entirely if the tribes collectively decide that's what they want, Williams said, but he hopes the team can still help the tribes, find the children and "bring them to rest in a satisfactory way."

Sunshine Thomas-Bear, a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and the cultural preservation director for the tribe, said she wishes there had been more consultation with all 40 tribes — and not just the tribes in Nebraska — before now. She's looking forward to that happening more in this next phase.

"Nothing was found this time. But perhaps that was because we weren't all ready yet," Thomas-Bear said. "There were tribes that weren't notified, there were tribes that weren't there. We believe that everything happens for a reason. I think that if we get on the right track together, perhaps we'll be more successful."

The Genoa Indian Industrial School was part of a national system of more than 400 Native American boarding schools that attempted to assimilate Indigenous people into white culture by separating children from their families, prohibiting them from speaking their Native languages, cutting them off from their heritage and inflicting abuse.

The school, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Omaha, opened in 1884 and at its height was home to nearly 600 students. It closed in the 1930s and most buildings were demolished long ago.

The U.S. Interior Department — led by Secretary Deb Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico and the first Native American Cabinet secretary — released a first-of-its-kind report last year that named hundreds of schools the federal government supported to strip Native Americans of their cultures and identities.

At least 500 children died at some of the schools, but that number is expected to reach into the thousands or tens of thousands as efforts like the Nebraska dig continue.


Monday, September 18, 2023

BOOK: These are the Stories

These are the Stories: Memories of a 60s Scoop Survivor was published by Kegedonce Press in December 2021. It is available through the publisher, Amazon, Indigo and local bookstores.

Free literary festival draws Indigenous writers of all genres

In a one-on-one session, Adler will be leading Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith, who will be video conferenced in from Toronto, in conversation about the writing life and how “she’s really getting important stories out there.” Smith is a journalist and memoir and fiction writer. She is the author of These are the Stories: Memories of a 60s Scoop Survivor and editor of Silence to Strength: Writings and Reflections of a Sixties Scoop Survivor.

Indigenous writers will be featured prominently on Saturday at Word Vancouver’s Reading & Writing Festival.

And guest Indigenous curator Nathan Adler is hoping that writers and audiences form a new bond at western Canada’s largest free literary festival which runs until Sept. 23.  See website here: WV/23 (


Miskonoodinkwe Smith’s life has also been a journey, one that saw her decide to undertake higher education in her 30s, graduating from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Aboriginal Studies in 2011. She earned her Master’s in Education in Social Justice in 2017.

Today she lives in Toronto and works as a data coordinator for the Miziwe Biik, an Aboriginal employment and training centre.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was. I’m more confident than I was. I’m successful. I have a hard time talking about myself in a positive way that way, but that’s just residual negative thinking that I had in the past,” said Miskonoodinkwe Smith.

She has triumphed over those who thought she would never live past her 25th birthday.

“I think that’s the fighter in me,” she said.

Writing her story is not only about letting other Sixties Scoop survivors know they’re not alone.

“In order for the government and mainstream public to understand the impact of how the Sixties Scoop affected Indigenous children, and still has an impact to this day, I find it important to tell our stories, because then it will be hopefully understood that there are many children who were impacted in one way or another,” she said.


Saturday, September 16, 2023

Seven Generations Haunted by Île-à-la-Crosse School


Pauly Denetclaw

This story is published as part of the Global Indigenous Affairs Desk, an Indigenous-led collaboration between Grist, High Country News, ICT, Mongabay, and Native News Online.

NEW YORK — Seven generations of Métis, Dene and Cree children were taken from their communities and placed into a Catholic-run, government-funded residential school in Île-à-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan that is located in northern Canada. However, the survivors were left out of the country's reckoning with residential schools known globally as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 

Métis elder, Antoinette LaFleur, 80, is haunted by the 10 years she spent at Île-à-la-Crosse.  She was taken to the school at five-years-old and left as a teenager. During those years, LaFleaur didn’t leave the residential school to visit home.  As her siblings started getting sent to the residential school she didn’t even recognize them.

“I never used to go home. Ten years I was in there, 10 years,” LaFleur said during a side event at the United Nations headquarters in April.

LaFleur is part of a class action lawsuit against Canada and Saskatchewan. During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s investigations, the criteria for which institutions qualified was narrow, leaving out schools like Île-à-la-Crosse, said vice-president of Métis Nation Saskatchewan, Michelle LeClair, that represents some 80,000. This is because the school was supposedly run by Saskatchewan, not the federal government. Although Saskatewan officials deny the school was owned or funded by the provincial government. 


Friday, September 15, 2023

Healing Through the Drums


At the Nipissing First Nation’s 35th Traditional Powwow in Garden Village, Talon Beaucage dances in the chicken style.

Healing through the drums at the Nipissing First Nation’s 35th Traditional Pow Wow

By Kelly Anne Smith

NIPISSING FIRST NATION — Nipissing First Nation’s 35th Traditional Pow Wow took place September 3-4 in Garden Village attracting a bigger crowd with more vendors.

MC Bob Goulais entertained while informing the dancers of upcoming songs and pow wow protocol for the growing crowd as the Ottawa River Singers and Eagle Flight sang to the beat of the big drums. Sunrise ceremonies started the day Thursday to Sunday.

Jingle dancer Ava Couchie looks forward to the two-day Nbisiing Nation Dewegigewaad.

“It’s a really nice community and I am grateful to call this home.”

2023-2024 Miss Nipissing First Nation Sassa Linklater was also feeling grateful at the sunny, popular pow wow.

“I feel very welcomed, and cared for by the pow wow committee and the community of Nipissing.”

Head dancer Samantha Mianskum talked about community in the Nipissing First Nation powwow.

“It’s all about unity. It’s all about truth and reconciliation and us healing as a whole nation from all the trauma.”

Then Samantha spoke of a big event in her life early this summer, meeting her sister Cynthia. Samantha’s son Tayton Mianscum acts in the mini-series, Little Bird, a Crave drama about the Sixties Scoop that released in Canada late May.

“I met my sister in June, a Sixties Scoop survivor. I didn’t know. We didn’t know about her, nothing. We met her in June when that Little Bird started to air. She came here today. She is in the ribbon skirt right here. She would be the eldest of all of us. She’s here with us today, visiting and getting to know our family and our culture.”

Cultural and Heritage Manager Mindy Lariviere called the Nipissing Traditional Pow Wow extra busy compared to last year.

“We have double the vendors this year than we did last year — it’s a great turnout. Last year, we had about 1,500 come through; we are anticipating between 2,000 and 2,500 people come through.”

Mindy explained the Nbisiing Nation Dewegigewaad theme is Trying to live a balanced life.

“We are trying to help our community to see that we don’t need to be perfect, but we need to live good. A lot of our families in the community are seeing a lot of trauma in alcoholism and drug abuse and even excessive food eating. Our theme is really wrapped around just people trying to live a healthy life, a balanced life; not perfect, but a good life.”

Tory Fisher was asked by the pow wow committee to be arena director.

“My spirit name is Waswaabik and I am from the Oojiik (fisher) Clan. Our pow wows are a time of celebration coming together in song and dance. Also, it is a time of healing for our people through the drums, songs, the dance and being together as a pow wow community. It is showing our community a place to be safe and welcomed into the circle and visit with family. A place to ask for help and healing through the drums or Jingle Dress dancers. They will sing for us and dance for us. It is part of our beautiful Anishinaabe way of life to look after each other through our shared gifts.”


Sixties Scoop survivor creates an interactive map for fellow Indigenous adoptees

Colleen Hele-Cardinal co-founded the Sixties Scoop Network, which launched an online map in 2019 to let survivors plot their own stories. (Photo: Ashley Fraser/Ottawa Citizen)


Topics: Justice | Interview

Colleen Hele-Cardinal, herself a survivor, hopes the project will bring more awareness to the controversial policy

Colleen Hele-Cardinal wants to set the record straight on one of Canada’s most destructive chapters. In 1972, she and her two sisters were put into foster care and later adopted by a white family. While in post-secondary school, she realized she was part of the Sixties Scoop, in which Indigenous children were removed from their families and placed into the child welfare system. Now, Hele-Cardinal, who is Plains Cree and lives in Ottawa, is raising awareness. The Sixties Scoop Network, which she co-founded, launched an online map in 2019 that allows survivors to plot their own stories.


When I moved to Ottawa, I was volunteering with a group of folks called No One Is Illegal. I went to one of their conferences and they had a big white sheet up on the wall and people were documenting their stories with brightly coloured yarn, as if to say, “This is where I came from, this is where I’ve been and this is where I am now.” I was like, “We need that.” Survivors need to show what that displacement looks like too. We were literally trafficked through child welfare policies across borders, overseas and inter-provincially. People needed to see that displacement.


I wanted the map to be sophisticated enough to show where a survivor says they came from — for instance, I was from Edmonton and was taken to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. I wanted our map to show that distance. Each province represents a different colour, and it shows the displacement across the world. It’s pretty striking to see. At the last update, we had about 112 interactions with the map.


 People were just blown away that this was allowed to happen. We’ve had folks who have been taken to New Zealand and Australia, or overseas to England. They didn’t know anything about being Indigenous. I’m still struggling with my identity. I don’t know where I fit in. I don’t feel like I fit in. That’s one of the reasons why we created the Sixties Scoop Network. Sometimes we hear from survivors who didn’t even know there was a Sixties Scoop; they just know they were adopted. They don’t know that it was part of a larger systemic initiative to assimilate us. It can be difficult to realize that you are part of something that was meant to erase you.


The biggest problem is not enough exposure, or maybe a lack of interest. Even with this mapping project, it doesn’t get enough attention, it doesn’t get enough conversation. We’re not part of the national conversation. The challenge is staying on the radar and in the hearts and minds of Canadians.

More on Broadview:


We want to find all the survivors. That’s always why I wanted to do this work because when I found out that my sisters and I were Sixties Scoop survivors, adoptees, honestly, my sisters and I, we thought we were pretty unique. And when I found out there was 30,000 of us out there … Where are they all? You know, I want to know where they all are. And I want to hear their stories. And I want to know if they’re okay, and if they’re not okay, can we provide support?


Charlotte Alden is a journalist working in Bellingham, Wash. and was a 2023 summer intern at Broadview.

This interview first appeared in Broadview’s October/November 2023 issue with the title “Colleen Hele-Cardinal.”

Thursday, September 14, 2023

National Native News: Alaska mourns death of Gene "Buzzy" Peltola, 57 | Suicide Rate SKYHIGH



Thursday, September 14, 2023

Alaska mourns death of Gene "Buzzy" Peltola, 57

The husband of U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola (Yup'ik/D-AK) died after a plane crash on Tuesday. He was 57. As KNBA’s Rhonda McBride reports, Gene "Buzzy" Peltola is being remembered as both a supportive husband and a leader in his own right.

WATCH: LaMont Albertson shares memories about his longtime friend Buzzy Peltola on Native America Calling with Shawn Spruce.

Suicide rate 2000-2020: Up 130% for Native women, 90% for Native men

It’s National Suicide Prevention Week, and new data shows that the suicide rate in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the past 20 years.

As the Mountain West News Bureau’s Kaleb Roedel reports, that’s especially true for Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

The analysis was done by Pew Charitable Trusts.

It found that from 2000 to 2020, the national suicide rate grew 30%.

For Native American and Alaska Native women, the rate spiked more than 130%. For men, it jumped over 90%.

Emily Edmunds Haroz is with the Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health.

She says a major factor is the historical trauma caused by colonization and the boarding school era.

“If a parent is traumatized because of these experiences and experiences those things and are not allowed to talk about it, and not allowed to cope with it, they then pass along that trauma to their children and sort of this cycle perpetuates itself.”

She says there’s also a lack of funding for mental healthcare services in tribal communities.

If you or someone you know needs help, call or text the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. Or contact them via live chat.





The Last of the Fighters: Lakota Nation vs. United States


‘Lakota Nation vs. United States’: Acclaimed Indigenous film screened at Nashville’s Belcourt Theater
Courtesy IFC Films

In the United States government’s long record of broken treaties, land theft, and genocide, the taking of the Black Hills ranks as perhaps one of the most disgraceful examples of imperial aggression against an Indigenous people.

This is not just a historical episode; it is ongoing to this very day.  The magnificently illuminated and stunningly stellar documentary film Lakota Nation vs. United States tells the story.  It was screened at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville from Sept. 1 to 6.

The film was picked up for the Belcourt by Allison Inman, Director of Education and Engagements at the theater, who saw it at the Milwaukee Film Festival in April of this year.

Some information on the theater is in order first of all.  The Belcourt is a unique Nashville institution with a historic past and deep community ties.  It is a non-profit cultural facility dedicated to presenting the most notable of independent, documentary, world, repertory, and classic cinema.  The Belcourt believes in “the power of film.”

The opening night program for this documentary began with a land acknowledgment given by Annabelle Littlejohn-Bailey, American Samoan and President of the Indigenous Scholars Organization of Vanderbilt University.

Lakota Nation vs. United States kicked off the Doc Spotlight Series for the fall at the Belcourt.  The two-hour documentary chronicled the perfidious treatment of the Lakota people by the federal government.  Underlying the brazen theft of the sacred Black Hills was the drive of imperial greed for the resources, primarily gold, beneath the hallowed earth there, which is regarded with reverence by the Lakota people.

The documentary, written and directed by celebrated Lakota poet Layli Long Soldier and co-directed by Jesse Short Bull, is a resounding herald to the never-ending resistance of the Native people who hold the Black Hills as a source of resonating identity and existence.

A historical perspective will give the uninitiated viewer a greater appreciation of this heroic struggle by the Lakota over the decades in the face-off against the most powerful and predatory enemy ever to trod the earth, the United States government.

The background to the seizure of the Black Hills is the violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, which promised that the Great Sioux Reservation, including the Black Hills, would be “set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Indians,” meaning, of course, the Lakota. The treaty ended the conflict known as “Red Cloud’s War,” in which Indigenous forces defeated the U.S. military.

Following another U.S. defeat in June 1876 at the Battle of the Little Horn and the subsequent military reversal of the Lakota and their allies, the U.S. government imposed the Act of February 28, 1877, which stopped all food rations to the Lakota until they ceded the Black Hills to the United States.

This infamous legislation, also termed the “Sell or Starve Act,” was a direct breach of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty and became and remains the main focal point of legal contention over possession of the Black Hills. This is an ongoing and hideous cardinal treaty violation largely unparalleled in the odious U.S. history of treaty-breaking.

In June 1979, the U.S. Court of Claims ruled that the 1877 Act that seized the Black Hills was in violation of the Fifth Amendment prohibition on taking property without just compensation (which also implicitly meant that the taking was in violation of the Treaty of 1868). Money was awarded which the Lakota refused to accept because acceptance would mean termination of the claim that the Black Hills be returned to the Lakota. The United States appealed the Court of Claims decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In March 1980, the Supreme Court ruled, in United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, that just compensation had not been paid for the taking of the land and ordered that such compensation “be paid.” The Lakota again refused the money and uncompromisingly demanded the return of the Black Hills to tribal jurisdiction.

But back to the film. It is filled with historical material, contemporary footage, and interviews with Indigenous leaders (some of whom I recalled from being at the Standing Rock protests in 2016). It is an inspiring reminder that the struggle for Indigenous liberation continues gloriously, courageously, and brilliantly.


New monument unveiled to honour MMIWG - CTV News Regina

 Tragedy bonds us...

Jennifer Podemski on Little Bird, the Firecracker Blaze Award, & Indigenous Storytelling


Photo by Doug Bedard
"Little Bird was devastating to tell and make but as I moved through it, it became the most healing and transformative thing I have ever made."

Jennifer Podemski on Little Bird, the Firecracker Blaze Award, & Indigenous Storytelling

Jennifer Podemski is an unstoppable force in Canadian film and TV. Over her 30+ year career, the Anishinaabe/Ashkenazi actor, writer, director and producer has broken barriers and pushed Indigenous storytelling and meaningful representation further, both on-screen and off.  

As well as starring in titles like Dance Me Outside, Degrassi TNG, Empire of Dirt, and Reservation Dogs, she’s led a variety of series through her production company Redcloud Studios Inc. Most recently, Jennifer blew us away with Little Bird, a breathtaking six-part series about the Sixties Scoop, that will soon be airing on PBS. 

Her commitment to uplifting Indigenous creatives led her to founding The Shine Network Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to dismantling systemic barriers Indigenous women face in film and TV, by providing training, mentorship and professional development. 

To honour her ground-breaking creative work across platforms, Jennifer will be awarded the Blaze Award this week, an annual award given out by The Firecracker Department, an empowering community of women and non-binary artists founded by Naomi Snieckus. “I was caught off guard when I got the call from Naomi,” says Jennifer. “She has built a beautiful and deeply meaningful platform and I was just so honoured to be recognized!” Jennifer joins a star-studded list of previous recipients, including Amanda Brugel, Jo Vannicola, Jann Arden and Michelle Buteau.

Ahead of her receiving the Blaze Award at the Firecracker Department TIFF Brunch on Saturday, we asked Jennifer some questions about Little Bird and her remarkable career.

Can you tell us about what making Little Bird meant to you?

In the long road of repairing the damage done since the beginning of screen stories, a story like Little Bird dismantles harmful narratives and introduces a truth never told before. For me, Little Bird was devastating to tell and make but as I moved through it, it became the most healing and transformative thing I have ever made. 

We heard the incredible news about Little Bird coming to PBS! What do you hope this wider audience takes away from the series? 

I hope it touches people so deeply that they stop themselves before they write us off. I hope it moves people to their core and reminds them of our humanity and sheds light on some of their own history that has been erased. People deserve to know the truth and we, Indigenous People, deserve to have the truth told. 

What needs to be done to ensure authentic Indigenous stories are being told on screen? 

Indigenous-led process and Indigenous-led storytelling combined with culturally informed non-Indigenous partners and teams. This is the only way.

What do you think is missing in Canadian TV & film right now? Which kinds of stories do we need to hear more of? 

Our screens are still dominated by white people and that simply doesn’t reflect our society. There is often a BIPOC character, usually supporting, but the way our screens look is not how our society looks. The industry as a whole is still largely focused on non-BIPOC people and stories and the centering of these perspectives is inauthentic and not reflective of who we are as a society.

Can you tell us more about your vision for the Shine Network Institute? 

I fought the urge to launch it for months, but after much consideration I just came to terms with the need. It was a massive undertaking and I wasn’t sure I had it in me but the Shine Network Institute is filling a very specific need that didn’t exist. It’s grown over the past three years and I am so blown away by what we have done but at its core, it is a solution-driven organization, dedicated to creating safer spaces, access to opportunity and training for Indigenous people within the sector with a special focus on women. 

What was the first film you saw that made you realize the power of film, or really made an impact on you? 

Wizard of Oz…that was the first movie I watched over and over and just sat there awestruck at how this thing could inspire me so much and make me feel things that I had never felt before. It definitely changed the way I watched movies. 

What is your best wisdom for someone new to the industry?

You must think about your career as a whole, from now for 30 + years. I realize now how important it is to play the long game. This business is not about instant gratification, it may look like that from the outside, and it may happen to a few but for the majority, it is all long game and big vision and sticktoitiveness and relationships. Everything in this business is built on relationships. 

What is a memorable moment from your career that will always stick with you?

I have so many!!! Recently, I got to be with both of my sisters on Reservation Dogs, that was epic because it had never happened before. When I got to train with Franco Dragone from Cirque Du Soleil for two weeks for a movie called Bogus, I was a clown and flew on airplane wire for ten days. It was amazing. When I was shooting my first drama series Moccasin Flats in Regina, the Chief of Police told me that crime in the neighborhood went down during shooting because of our presence and training program. There have been too many to count.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Woman uses truck to raise awareness for missing and murdered indigenous women

 Elizabeth Johnson used her roots as inspiration to bring attention to the high rate of violence toward native women.


Delays in 60s Scoop payment


A coyote would appear... Veronica Krupnick (Hopi)

There once was a girl who lived in Corrales and loved collecting butterflies. She would capture perhaps 20 or 30 of them at a time, take them inside, then set them free to fly around her bedroom. Another thing she noticed about herself: Whenever she happened to be on the verge of a big life change, a coyote would appear. “Not like one running across the road,” Veronica Krupnick, now 27 years old, recalled, “but like I’d be out on a walk with my family, and a coyote would follow along close behind us.” 

For years, these uncanny animal connections struck her as mysterious and sometimes unsettling. “I didn’t have anyone to teach me about them,” Krupnick said, until she was reintroduced to her Hopi grandparents when she was 19 or 20. It was then that she learned that the coyote and the butterfly are among her clan affiliations. Suddenly, these aspects of her life, along with others, began to make sense.

An enrolled member of the Hopi tribe, Krupnick’s lineage also includes Jemez Pueblo and Navajo ancestry.  She was adopted by a white couple when she was 10 years old, after spending four years in seven different foster placements.  Though ultimately landing in a home where she was physically safe and materially secure, she struggled throughout her adolescence and was eventually admitted into a behavioral residential treatment facility, where she completed her last two years of high school.  Coyote companions were the least of the things that confused her. 

For some 45 years, adoptions like Krupnick’s have been governed by a landmark federal law, the Indian Child Welfare Act. Enacted in 1978, ICWA regulates adoption and foster placement for Native American children who don’t live on reservation lands — the vast majority, owing to the fact that some 87 percent of Native peoples have moved off those lands. The law was designed to end the long and terrible history of involuntarily separating Native children from their families and to do what’s in the best interest of each child.

Veronica Krupnick, outside the state capitol in Santa Fe, where she works today as a Leadership Analyst. Michael Benanav/Searchlight New Mexico

ICWA strives to keep children within their families, clans, and communities. Today, Native American tribes and child welfare organizations hail its success with near unanimity. It is widely regarded as the gold standard for child welfare regulations, and states have modeled their own laws for non-Native kids after it to one degree or another.

An upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision is casting a shadow on all that. The high court will soon rule in Brackeen v. Haaland, in which plaintiffs seek to strike down ICWA, alleging that it discriminates on the basis of race and violates the Constitution in other ways, as well. The case arose from the Texas court system, where Jennifer and Chad Brackeen, a white couple seeking to adopt a Navajo girl, sued to make it easier for non-Native families to adopt Native American children. A decision is expected by the end of June.

Much is at stake. In the big picture, some of the legal challenges to ICWA strike at the very foundation of Indian law, or Title 25 — a voluminous compilation of federal codes governing nearly every aspect of life on tribal lands. Many of these laws are rooted in centuries-old interpretations of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause that, among other things, give Congress the power to regulate and protect certain tribal activities. Lawyers for the Brackeens, along with conservative groups such as the Goldwater Institute, argue that Native American child custody issues are not among them.

Should the high court rule that it was indeed beyond the authority of Congress to enact ICWA in the first place — by narrowing the conventional understanding of the Commerce Clause — a swath of other laws could fall, too. 

A skeptical Justice Neil Gorsuch suggested during oral argument in November that these could include Native American health care provisions, religious liberties, rights to access sacred sites and tribal environmental regulations. “There would be a lot that would be bitten out of Title 25,” he said. “We’d be busy for the next many years striking things down.” 

The court could conclude that Congress didn’t violate the Commerce Clause, but overreached in more limited ways, overturning ICWA without the alarming ripple effects.

But if the justices rule that ICWA violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment — concluding that it is a “race-based law” — the consequences could be catastrophic, many Native American advocates fear.

“Indian law is based on the principle that tribes are sovereign nations that have a government-to-government relationship with the United States,” said Beth Wright, a staff attorney at the Native American Rights Fund and an enrolled member of Laguna Pueblo. “If this is reduced to a racial classification, all rights that tribes and tribal people enjoy are also subject to attack. They’re attacking tribal sovereignty at its core.”

Wright fears that this would spawn wholesale assaults on Indian Country, such as environmental and economic exploitation by corporations eager to tap into natural resources and casinos on Native land. She points out that the law firm representing the Brackeens pro bono also represents Chevron and some of the largest gaming companies in the world. 

Opponents of ICWA dismiss such concerns as exaggerated. Their only targets, they say, are Native child welfare regulations.

In New Mexico, Native American adoptions and foster care are regulated by an especially robust version of ICWA called the Indian Family Protection Act. As a state law, the Act will remain intact unless the Supreme Court strikes down ICWA as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause – in which case it too would likely be thrown out as race-based, according to attorneys on both sides of the debate.

“The separation of Indigenous people has been used as a tool of genocide, a form of violence against our community and our children,” said Angel Charley, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. Charley is pictured here outside the San José de la Laguna Mission Church, in Laguna Pueblo. Michael Benanav/Searchlight New Mexico

A complex welter of issues

Beyond the tangle of legal matters, the Supreme Court case delves into the evocative terrain of historical trauma, race, identity, cultural biases — and the very meaning of family. 

The moral heart of the Brackeens’ argument is that ICWA, despite its good intentions, actually discriminates against Native children by limiting their options for adoptive and foster families and making “genetics and ancestry” the key criteria for placement. The Brackeens themselves, who are evangelical Christians, fostered and ultimately adopted a boy of Navajo and Cherokee parentage in 2018, following what they described as a religious calling. They have been fighting to adopt his younger half-sister, who they have fostered for most of her four years, sharing custody with a great-aunt who lives on the Navajo Nation.

ICWA mandates that child welfare agencies should first try to settle Native children with other family members. If that’s not possible, they should next try to place children with another family from their tribe, then with a family from another tribe, and lastly in a non-Native household. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis, when in the best interest of the child. But the Brackeens contend that these preferences harm Native children by steering them away from adoptive families that might be optimal but are farther down the list.

Among the many who disagree are 497 tribes, dozens of children’s rights organizations, 87 members of Congress, the ACLU, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and other groups that have filed or joined amicus briefs in support of ICWA.

There is ample evidence dating back decades that removing Native children from Native society can cause “untold social and psychological consequences,” according to the brief filed by 180 tribes.  Another brief, filed by Casey Family Programs and 26 other child welfare and adoption organizations from around the country, highlights ICWA’s crucial benefits. 

Citing outcomes data, the brief points out that, by favoring placement with blood relatives, clan relations or close family friends, Native foster children are less likely than non-Native children to be shuffled around from one setting to another, resulting in “fewer mental health disorders, and better well-being, while minimizing trauma.” They also have a better chance than non-Native kids of landing a permanent home. 

A system “that does not prioritize family integrity and community ties, invites a return to the days when courts unthinkingly presumed that an Indian child’s best interests were served by placement with a middle-class, non-Indian family,” the brief adds. 

Wright, the lawyer with the Native American Rights Fund, put it bluntly: “The other side doesn’t really care about Indian children.”

In the late 1960s and early ’70s, studies found that up to 35 percent of Native children were in Anglo foster homes, adoptive homes, or institutions — typically removed from their families without due process. Indigenous children were also forcibly placed in boarding schools, including one on the Navajo Nation that opened in 1883. Its stated goal: “To remove the Navajo child from the influence of his savage parents.” Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration

Who am I?

For Native child welfare advocates in New Mexico, the most important feature of ICWA’s placement preferences is its attempt to address the deep, existential questions faced by children who find themselves separated from their parents. 

“Where do I come from? Who are my people? Who am I? Anyone who has interacted with the foster care system can identify with wondering about these things,” said Angel Charley, of Laguna Pueblo. As executive director of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, Charley provided input into the drafting of New Mexico’s Indian Family Protection Act of 2022; she also works on improving communication between Native foster families and the Children, Youth and Families Department, the agency responsible for foster care in New Mexico.

“We need to insure ‘belonging’ for little ones who are removed from families for circumstances that are beyond their control,” Charley said in a phone interview. “Indigenous people have language, culture, ceremony. We’re so grounded in belonging and to our ancestors and the land. For a child not to have access to those ways of being is detrimental. 

“I know many adults who grew up with no connection to community and are struggling to figure out how to connect. Kinship and culture can’t be replicated outside of our communities. Belonging is more important than material wealth.”

Veronica Krupnik’s complex story bears this out, though parts of it, if taken in isolation, could bolster the argument against ICWA’s placement preferences: At age nine, she was being fostered by a family member, but the situation turned abusive. She was then placed with a white couple, on an emergency basis, and they eventually adopted her. 

Her adoptive parents were “wonderful providers,” sending her to top private schools, she said. “They wanted me to be educated and have every opportunity.” But she spiraled as she entered her teen years, rebelling against a restrictive household where she never felt entirely at home. “It wasn’t just their fault,” she reflected. “I was a traumatized kid.”

Exacerbating those traumas was her sense of being thrust into a world in which she didn’t belong. “It’s not just one thing. It’s how you speak, how you dress, how you wake up in the morning, how you eat dinner,” Krupnick said. “In Native cultures, ways of life are more abstract; in Western culture, everything needs to have an answer, everything happens on a timeline, there’s a lot less grey.” 

What’s more, leaving her community as a child, she didn’t know much about her own culture, leaving her ungrounded, unrooted.

Catherine Begaye, the ICWA court’s presiding judge, in New Mexico’s Second Judicial District.

State fails Indigenous children

Though New Mexico, with the passage of IFPA, has emerged as a leader in Native American child welfare, it hasn’t yet lived up to its aspirations. A 2021 survey by the Children, Youth and Families Department found that the state has fallen far short of meeting several of its obligations to Native kids in foster care. Only about a quarter of them found preferred placements with family or tribal members, the survey revealed.

The critical bottleneck is the shortage of licensed Native foster families. While efforts are now being made to increase Native participation — in part by employing more culturally sensitive ways of communicating with and evaluating households — raising these numbers will take time.

The major exception to these deficiencies is in Bernalillo County, where a special ICWA court was established in 2020. Headed by Judge Catherine Begaye, a member of the Navajo Nation, the court has seen more than 100 children come through its doors: 86 percent have gone into preferred placements; 60 percent have been reunified with their parents; none of the families that were reunified have come back before the court; and no parental rights have been terminated, court data show.

Judge Begaye chokes up with emotion when speaking of her hopes and dreams for the children she sees, and she uses the powers of the bench to support each one. This can include helping extended family members become licensed foster parents, working in tandem with tribes and ordering the Children, Youth and Families Department to ensure that kids have the opportunity to participate in dances and other ceremonies. Begaye calls doing what’s best for Native children simply “following the law.” 

If ICWA is overturned on equal protection grounds, this special court will likely cease to function, at least in its current form. Throughout New Mexico and the nation, protocols for handling Native child welfare cases will enter unknown territory. The state doesn’t have any backup plans to address this possibility. 

Krupnick hopes it won’t come to that. She knows the value of the very things that ICWA was designed to protect and believes other Native children do, too. “As a kid plopped from one community to another, that took away a really essential part of my identity. I couldn’t figure out where I was going until I found this core piece of myself.”

Reconnecting with her culture and her family of origin, and making Native friends, has helped Krupnick heal. “When I go back to Hopi, something in me knows I’m home. I have a physical response that I don’t have anywhere else, except maybe at my great-grandma’s house in Jemez. It’s like my body takes a great big sigh of relief,” she said. Being around other Native people, she added, means “not having to explain.” 

She now volunteers with and advocates for Native children who are in the child welfare system and serves on the board of directors of CASA First – which trains court-appointed advocates for foster children in the First Judicial District. Recently, she also took a new job in the New Mexico’s House Majority Office. 

And she still has close encounters with coyotes from time to time, she said. “But now I can lean on it, instead of it being weird and confusing.”


Michael Benanav is a writer, photographer and digital storyteller based in northern New Mexico.


Canada's Residential Schools

The religious organizations that operated the schools — the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Jesuits of English Canada and some Catholic groups — in 2015 expressed regret for the “well-documented” abuses. The Catholic Church has never offered an official apology, something that Trudeau and others have repeatedly called for.

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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.

Did you know?

Did you know?

Did you know?

New York’s 40-year battle for OBC access ended when on January 15 2020, OBCs were opened to ALL New York adoptees upon request without restriction. In only three days, over 3,600 adoptees filed for their record of birth. The bill that unsealed records was passed 196-12. According to the 2020 Census, 3.6% of Colorado's population is American Indian or Alaska Native, at least in part, with the descendants of at least 200 tribal nations living in the Denver metro area.

Diane Tells His Name

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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