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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 https://nctr.ca/contact/survivors/ .

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Studying history is vital for understanding and transforming the world

 Legacy of Native American Boarding Schools 

by David "Katya" Ketchum | LA Progressive

It’s not a secret that I love studying history; I believe it is a vital discipline for understanding and transforming the world. And as shocking and terrifying as human cruelty has been throughout recorded history, it’s also heartening to observe, time and time again, the movements opposing oppression that have always existed. This is also important to remember if you are tempted to excuse the complicity of people in the past by insisting that they were just products of their time. By studying history, we also become more aware of our own responsibilities and possibilities in the present.

A Legacy of Failure, Cruelty, and War

One of these important historical moments in US history, when there were multiple and large movements to either oppose or work for social justice, followed the American Civil War.

Optimism that Reconstruction would bring about true and lasting healing and change in a nation ravaged and traumatized by the horrors of slavery and war, were combined with optimism that there could be a change in the government’s policies regarding Native peoples.

President Ulysses S. Grant and the events that took place in his administration are a good example of these trends. The Enforcement Acts of 1870 and 1871, for example, were aimed at providing federal support to protect the rights of Black Americans and oppose the Ku Klux Klan. Under the direction of Attorney General Amos Ackerman, hundreds of Klansmen were tried, often by Black juries, and imprisoned. Thousands more received fines or warnings, or even fled to escape prosecution. As a result, the KKK as a formal organization was in wreckage by 1872.

Optimism that Reconstruction would bring about healing were combined with optimism that there could be a change in the government’s policies regarding Native peoples.

At the same time, Grant wanted to find a different approach to US relations with Native peoples. He worked closely with his longtime friend and colleague, Ely S. Parker, and made Parker his Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Parker, whose Native name was Donehogawa, was a member of the Seneca nation and the first Indigenous person to hold the post of Commissioner. Together, they developed policies that included providing federal troops to protect reservation borders from settlers and that ultimately would have provided a pathway to citizenship for Indigenous people.

These plans were vehemently opposed and undermined, and opponents eventually falsely accused Parker of embezzling money. He was exonerated, but Congress stripped power from the office of Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and Parker resigned in 1871.

Plans and relationships fell apart, and Grant ended up waging war against the very people he had thought he would protect, including “the Modoc War in 1873, the Red River War in 1874, and the Great Sioux War in 1876.”

By 1885, the year Grant died, Donehogawa, once Grant’s enthusiastic colleague, described the fate of Indigenous peoples in North America. Resisting the racist idea that blamed Indigenous people for their troubles, he wrote:

“The disabilities, disadvantages and wrongs do not result, however, either primarily, consequently or ultimately from their tribal condition and native inheritances, but solely, wholly and absolutely from the unchristian treatment they have always received from Christian white people … . The tenacity with which the remnants of this people have adhered to their tribal organizations and religious traditions is all that has saved them thus far from inevitable extinguishment.”

Grant’s campaign slogan had been “Let us have peace,” and he seemed sincere in his vision to reform federal Indian policies. So how did it happen that, as Alysa Landry pointed out, “some of the worst massacres and grossest injustices in history [occurred] while Ulysses S. Grant was in office”? This is an important question to ask, if we want to avoid the kind of pitfalls that kept others’ from true healing and change.

In Grant’s case, central to his failures was “the development of millions of acres of federal public lands” and “the private acquisition of land by pioneers, spectators and railroad and mining companies,” made possible by Grant’s approval of the Timber Culture, General Mining, and Desert Lands Acts, which all expanded the land available to homesteaders and settlers – at the expense of Native peoples. In the end, Grant’s hopeful slogan, “Let us have peace,” was no match for the reality of expansionism. In Landry’s words,

“Grant realized that his expansionist goals required the removal of Indians from desirable land. His Indian Peace Policy, designed to reform the Indian Bureau and remove corrupt agents, also called for rigorous agricultural training on reservations and established schools and churches that would transform Indians into Christian citizens.”

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Punishment and Abuse | Facing History and Ourselves

 November comes to an end but not us, we will continue telling our stories... TLH

Read recollections from former students about the frequent use of corporal punishment in Indian Residential Schools.

READ: Punishment and Abuse | Facing History and Ourselves

Friday, November 26, 2021

National Day of Mourning 2021

2021 National Day of Mourning 11.25.21 12 noon Cole's Hill, Plymouth, MA (hill above Plymouth Rock)

**Starts at 14:45**

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Twitter+ #NAAM2021

 

 

 

Ken Burns: “Being American means reckoning with our violent history”

Here.

Video here.

 

Truthsgiving Pledge | Tall Oak and fellow activists inaugurated in 1970 what Native Americans across the country now call the Day of Mourning


 LAST YEAR

As hundreds enjoyed Saturday's Thanksgiving parade in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a group of indigenous people protested the holiday celebration.

"Why do we gather here today? Four hundred years later, we join to raise our voices high that we are still here, we are not conquered and we are not defeated," said Brian Weeden, chair of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

"Plymouth is rich with history, but not the truth of the Indians," said Chief Ladybug of the Ponkapoag Praying Indians.

Since 1970, the Wampanoag Tribe has declared Thanksgiving a national day of mourning for the loss of indigenous people's lives, culture and land.

"Our presence here is a stark reminder of the true story of Thanksgiving that differs so much from the fabled stories shared in classrooms, history books and celebrations across this nation," Weeden said. "We will never forget the atrocities that fell upon our people as a result of their violent trespass."

To this day, the Wampanoag Tribe continues to fight with the federal government over land.

"Here we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the fact that our tribe is still fighting for what little bit of land we have — we own half of 1% of our ancestral territory — and 400 years later, we don't have much to be thankful for," Weeden said.

"Well, we can't change the past, but we can change the future," Chief Ladybug said. "And the way we change the future is to educate people and start understanding that this is not a day of celebration. This is a day of mourning." 

WATCH 


After helping Pilgrims, today's Wampanoag tribe fight for their ancestral lands.. November 22, 2021 - read this

Tall Oak and fellow activists inaugurated in 1970 what Native Americans across the country now call the Day of Mourning — held on Thanksgiving to counter narratives that many say downplay the massacre and subjugation of the Wampanoag and other Native Americans. Today the spirit of the Day of Mourning is observed across Native America.

 

Kamloops Indian Residential School: So why is it so hard to determine how many children died there?

With any genocide, the oppressor seeks to minimize their damage and atrocity... TLH

Lost children

 


The threat of death was part of life at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. So why is it so hard to determine how many children died there?

June 13, 2021

WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.

During a 1937 outbreak of measles at the Kamloops residential school, a nurse gave student Mary Francois some Aspirin, mustard plasters and brandy after the girl fell ill on May 3.

On May 10, Mary was taken by car to the nearby Royal Inland Hospital. She had been sick with pneumonia, two bacterial ear infections and inflamed kidneys. That day, the school principal sent a letter to her parents — but they never received it.

The local Indian agent phoned them on the morning of May 13. But when the parents arrived at the hospital that evening, it was too late.

Mary was dead from a blood clot in her brain.

Afterward, Mary's father, the chief of the Adams Lake Band, which sits about 60 kilometres to the east, wrote a letter to the Indian agent.

"In connection with the death of my daughter Mary, while attending Kamloops Indian Residential School," read the letter from Chief Francois, "I would request, as Chief of the Adams Lake Band, that in future, when a child of the school is taken sick and requires hospital attention, that the parents or guardian be notified at once."

The typewritten letter is signed with an "X."

The information about Mary Francois's case is found in a death memorandum from the Indian Affairs department (which does not, in fact, note her age). Mary's record now lies in the holdings of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation alongside 10 other death memorandums from 1935 to 1945, in a folder titled "Kamloops Residential School, Pupil Deaths." The folder is twice stamped with the word "dormant."

An image of Mary Francois's death record, kept by the Indian Affairs department. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation)
 

These memorandums are a reminder that the threat of death was part of life at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The institution has become a household word since Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced the discovery of what are believed to be the unmarked burial sites of children's remains adjacent to the former school's grounds.

The death of students at Kamloops residential school was no secret among the First Nations whose children were forced to go there. Finding out how they died is a challenge, but the evidence that does exist reveals a record characterized by the indifference of authorities, who saw the children as a means to an end that had little to do with their well-being.

CBC News obtained historical records as well as an out-of-print book that, along with the oral history of survivors, sheds light on the lives and suffering of the students who attended the school.

 
An undated photo of the Kamloops residential school. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation)

Many causes of death

Survivor testimony and historical records reveal how children died at the institution throughout the years. Many fell to diseases like tuberculosis and measles. Others drowned in the Thompson River, which flowed nearby. Some, fleeing school, tried to hop trains and died. Others died of suicide.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the repository of residential school records gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, found evidence for 51 fatalities at the institution. There are likely more.

The federal government purged three volumes of funeral records from Kamloops residential school, according to listings of destroyed files held by the National Archives of Canada. The Indian Affairs department also destroyed three volumes of Indian agent reports, along with quarterly "returns" for 1956 to 1961 — student lists that would include deaths.

The memories of survivors fill in some of the gaps left by the reports.

Barbara McNab-Larson, who attended the school from 1948 to 1950, often goes down to a creek near her house in Skeetchestn First Nation. It's a place teeming with life and scents that bring her back to the place before her childhood was shattered.

"That was probably the safest time in my life," said McNab-Larson. 

When she was five, a cattle truck came to take her to Kamloops residential school. "The first thing they did was take us down to the cleansing room, where they cut off our hair," she said. "Then, they deloused us. Then, they scrubbed us down with disinfectant like we were diseased animals."

McNab-Larson returned home for the summer, but the next year, she said the school came to get her in an army truck.

WATCH | Barbara McNab-Larson talks about her time at the Kamloops residential school:

Remembering life in the Kamloops residential school

Not all were so lucky — to live and remember.

Seven years before McNab entered the doors of Kamloops residential school, a student named Florence Morgan became sick there. Her death memo notes that it was at 6:30 a.m. on June 26, 1941; by 6:50 a.m., she was taken to the Royal Inland Hospital. Florence died on June 28 from the viral infection encephalitis, the memo says.

The Indian agent reported that her body was returned by truck to her parents on the Bonaparte First Nation, which sits 90 kilometres to the east of the school.

The viral infection that killed Florence was a common after-effect of contracting measles. Outbreaks of measles coursed through the school during this era.

One of these outbreaks sickened nine-year-old Leslie Lewis. On Sept. 22, 1935, while Leslie was recovering, he suffered an epileptic attack. The nurse at the school gave him three grams of luminal, an anti-seizure medication. Leslie was put in a car and sent to the hospital at 9 a.m. the next day.

The doctor reported that Leslie seemed fine that morning, but the next day he was dead, his memo says. The doctor reported that the measles infection likely triggered the seizure.

An image of  Leslie Lewis's death memo. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation)
 

The Indian agent concluded the memo by commenting on the overcrowded conditions at Kamloops residential school, where five dormitories accommodated 285 students.

"During an epidemic it is impossible to properly isolate the patients and contacts," typed the Indian agent. "The need for separate quarters to house sick children is evident."

'They still get nightmares about it'

It wasn't just disease. Some students were also driven to suicide.

"This … young boy hung himself in the bathroom. You know, my brother's age group," said Gerry Oleman, who attended Kamloops residential school from about 1960 to 1968, in a recent interview with CBC. Oleman, who is from St'át'imc First Nation in B.C.'s Interior but now lives in Brandon, Man., said the students who witnessed it still can't shake the moment.

"Still today they remember that. They still get nightmares about it," he said. Oleman also mentioned other distraught students: "the runaways and people jumping trains, getting killed jumping a train, you know, freezing to death."

Suicide also haunts the stories of survivors gathered in the book Behind Closed Doors: Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School, which was published by the Secwepemc Cultural Society in 2001.

James Charles, who attended from 1964 to 1978 and is featured in the book, knew of three boys who died of suicide. "One suicide was over on the swings beside the brown building," Charles says in Behind Closed Doors. "No one could figure out how that really took place, because it happened in broad daylight, blue sky out, sun was shining."

Charles said there was another child who died on the bell rope and a third found in the orchard. "I think remembering these suicides played a big role in a lot of my anger that I had bottled up inside," Charles says.

According to the book, some of the children who died attempting to escape on a nearby train came from the Lillooet district, about 170 km west of the school.

One anecdote in the book, told by a survivor who signed their story "Anonymous," said their older sister Nellie died at the school. She was sick for months with hepatitis and yellow jaundice. No doctor came to treat her and no one told her parents of her illness until after her death.

"When my father came to the school after hearing of the sad news, he beat the principal and punched him down the stairs," says the survivor in the book. "As much as I want the memories of my education years to be positive, it just can't be."

 
A photo from April 4, 1937, of students, administration and teaching staff at Kamloops residential school. The photo is from the Quebec archives of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation)

Another survivor in the book, Eddy Jules, spoke of abortions and a furnace.

"All of us that were going to school would hear the clang, and we would say, 'Oh, that's so and so's friend, and they gave her an abortion,'" said Jules, noting the strangeness of "fire in September or October or November when it's not cold."

Retired senator Murray Sinclair, who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said in a recent video statement that he also heard testimony from survivors about this use for a furnace in residential schools.

"Some survivors talked about infants who were born to young girls at the residential schools, infants who had been fathered by priests, were taken away from them and deliberately killed — sometimes thrown into furnaces, we were told," said Sinclair.

'We mourned these children'

Despite all this evidence of death at the school, no record has yet surfaced of a graveyard at the institution — no shred of paper, cross or stone marks conveying who might lie beneath the earth.

Sister Marie Zarowny, chair of the board for the Order of St. Anne's, which provided teachers and nurses to the school, told CBC News a fire destroyed the first 30 years of records from the institution. She said that to her knowledge, no students were ever buried on the school grounds.

She said that if a child died at the Royal Inland Hospital, the body would not be returned to the school. If a student did die at the school, the body would be sent back to their home community for burial.

"We mourned these children at the school. We had a ceremony for them, but they were ... returned to their parents," said Zarowny.

She said that students from Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc who died at the school were buried in the community's cemetery. There are hints of another, now-forgotten graveyard in the records, she said, but couldn't confirm any aspect of this.

"I actually don't know if that reference comes from that school or from another school," she said.

As a result of destroyed records, the true number of students who died at residential school may never be known. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was created to delve into the long history of the schools, concluded that at least 4,100 children died in these institutions.

The same uncertainty shadows the location of graveyards. Many children were buried in unmarked graves, some of which are now lost to time.

One institution that holds large pieces of this history in its archives is the Catholic Church. Catholic entities ran roughly 75 per cent of residential schools.

The church has faced widespread calls, from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on down, to release all records related to residential schools, to augment the incomplete government record.

Zarowny said her order is sharing any relevant records with Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc that could help aid in the quest to identify the suspected remains on the Kamloops residential school grounds.

She said the Sisters of St. Anne's turned over what they viewed as records related to residential schools to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

 
A photo from 1931, taken at the Kamloops residential school. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation)

But the order has yet to sign off on the transfer of its records to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, said Stephanie Scott, executive director of the institute.

"The [Sisters of St. Anne's] remain unwilling to authorize disclosure of [its] records currently in the possession of the government of Canada," said Scott, in a statement to CBC News.

Several Catholic entities never turned over any records to the TRC. According to an internal TRC document obtained by CBC News, 17 Catholic entities failed to hand over any archival material to the commission.

"There are a lot of records in church archives that we never got to go through," Tom McMahon, the former general counsel for the TRC, told CBC.

The Oblates of Mary Immaculata, which ran Kamloops residential school, turned over what it deemed to be relevant records to the TRC, according to the internal TRC document.

McMahon said the Catholic entities that did provide files made their own determinations about what was deemed to be a "relevant" document. He said the Catholic entities held onto records connected to church functions and personnel files.

"When you start talking about personnel records, they did not see that as relevant to the children and education of the children," said McMahon.

"When we talk about deaths of children, you want to think about the church records, the baptism records, death records held by the church. The church told us those records pertain to church activities and were not relevant."

McMahon said one of the potentially richest sources of survivor testimony is held by the federal Justice Department in documents relating to roughly 4,000 civil actions filed by survivors against Canada and the various churches that ran residential schools. He said most of those files were never turned over to the TRC.

Survivors and descendants have long spoken about unmarked graves and children who never came home. Their calls made it to the House of Commons in 2007 and then-Indian Affairs minister Jim Prentice, who asked the interim executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to begin working on the issue.

According to a 2008 memo obtained by CBC News, the TRC asked the research branch of Indian Residential Schools Resolutions Canada, a federal agency created to deal with a multitude of civil claims filed by survivors, to conduct an internal records search for cemeteries.

Numerous schools came back with no records of cemeteries, including Kamloops residential school, according to a preliminary report.

John Milloy, one of the country's leading historians and author of A National Crime, perhaps the seminal book on residential schools, said that may be because Indian Affairs never prioritized residential school files.

When government edicts forced the department to destroy records through recycling — for example, as a result of a paper shortage during the Second World War — such files were seen as expendable.

"An awful lot of information which one could have had, to describe the nature of the system, the treatment of the children… a lot of that information was simply lost," said Milloy, who was involved with the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Milloy said the Indian Affairs department, which is now known as Indigenous and Northern Affairs, is really a large real estate company, holding in trust reserve lands across the country. It also determines who has the right to live on this property, holding registries with status records and band membership lists.

"So those are the records which are most critical to the department," said Milloy.

He also said that the Canadian public has not properly understood the rationale for the evolution of a residential school system under the country's first prime minister, John A. Macdonald. The schools were a means of nation-building and achieving state-security ends, he said.

"It becomes pretty obvious that, as far as Macdonald and other senior members of the Indian Affairs department [were concerned]… one of the purposes of the schools was to hold the children hostage against the good behaviour of their parents," said Milloy.

He said the officials used children as bargaining chips to counter any attempts by Indigenous nations from raising arms against the still-fledgling state.

John Milloy, one of the country's leading historians and author of A National Crime, considered one of the seminal books on residential schools. (CBC News)

Milloy provided CBC News with a pre-print academic paper he wrote that details the strategy. The draft title is "Sir John A.'s Hostages." It states that government and North-West Mounted Police officials were increasingly concerned about a breakout in hostilities between the state and armed Indigenous nations such as the Blackfoot in the Prairies, just as Canada was building a railway to deliver goods and people — as well as establish control over territory.

The use of the schools to neutralize Indigenous resistance was put bluntly by school inspector J. A. Mcrea in a 1886 letter to the Indian commissioner: "It is unlikely that any Tribe or tribes would give trouble of a serious nature to the Government whose members had children completely under Government control."

At the time, Canada wanted to avoid a repeat of the wars in the U.S. and feared any new conflicts would eclipse the violence from the rebellion led by Louis Riel in 1885, Milloy's research showed.

A 1879 report by Nicolas Flood Davin, which recommended the creation of residential schools, followed a fact-finding mission to explore how the Americans used similar institutions, the paper said.

"Davin would have discovered this covert purpose for residential schools in his conversations with Carl Schurtz, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and Ezra Hayt, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs," said the paper. "Certainly, for the Department, the resolution of the 'Indian problem,' characterized so often as carrying the white man's burden of Christian duty was, in fact, countering the perceived threat to state security and social purity."

Milloy said that "this is one of the reasons why the Kamloops school is developed in the 1890s, because the situation in the area is tenuous for the government … The schools are also very much part of the colonial process … for the sake of the development of Canada."

The schools used fear and violence — and fear of violence — to bend generations of children under the cross and flag. Much remains hidden from the record about the fate of thousands of children who attended these institutions, but this history is carried by those who came home.

"'You better behave. Don't get out of line, because there's a graveyard and there's also the river.' Those were warnings that were given to us as little, tiny children — five, six years old," said Barbara McNab-Larson of her time at the Kamloops school.

"I don't think you really grasp it at the time, but when your friends disappear and they don't come back, even as a child, you know something's wrong."

Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools and those who are triggered by the latest reports.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.




Scalp "Bounty" in Maine


This is on my website Trace Hentz:

Neptune Adams: I lived on Indian Island until I was four when I was stolen and placed in non-native foster care in a white, upper-middle-class neighborhood. That’s where I now live, not in the foster home, but the same town, literally on the land that was stolen from my grandfather’s side of the family. It was very racist and very abusive in the foster home. It’s not necessarily the color of your skin. If someone knows you’re Penobscot, that can get you targeted. I never gave up my identity. People will say that we lost [our identity] in foster care, but you don’t lose things like that. It’s stolen.

The more people have tried to oppress us, the harder we fight back. And again, we’re still here. We Penobscot people are numbered at about 2,800, and we’re all across this nation. We are still practicing our culture. We are still defending our relatives, both human and non-human alike — the land, the water and all our relations.

I’ve sometimes heard Indigenous people described as being vulnerable, and that is not the case. We are targeted and marginalized. But we are very resilient.

Learn more about the film at bountyfilm.org.

KEEP READING 

FILM TRAILER 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Home From School: The Children of Carlisle (airs tomorrow)


 INDEPENDENT LENS on PBS

"Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.” This was the guiding principle that removed thousands of Native American children and placed them in Indian boarding schools. Among the many who died at Carlisle Indian Industrial School were three Northern Arapaho boys. Now, more than a century later, tribal members journey from Wyoming to Pennsylvania to help them finally come home.

Airing: 11/23/21

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Manitoba: Missing Indigenous tuberculosis patients

U of W researcher wants to empower families, communities to navigate records, government agencies

The Ninette Sanatorium opened in May 1909 and over the next several decades, the facility grew into the largest sanatorium in the province, comprising over a dozen buildings and taking in thousands of tuberculosis patients. With advances in medicine it was eventually not required and closed in 1972. (Gordon Goldsborough/Manitoba Historical Society)

A University of Winnipeg researcher is developing an online research tool to help Indigenous communities and families find missing tuberculosis patients who were sent to Manitoba hospitals and sanatoriums but never came home. 

Anne Lindsay is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Winnipeg and will be working with the university's Manitoba Indigenous Tuberculosis History Project on the initiative

Lindsay has spent several years working as an archivist and researcher. Her experience includes working with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Some of her work has involved helping families research connections to residential and Indian hospital schools, and find where missing residential school children may be buried. 

Due to privacy laws, the tool won't be a database of records of missing tuberculosis patients, but will instead empower families and communities to do their own research, Lindsay said. 

"I think it needs to be something that is not just a set of links, but that gives people some information about where to start looking and how to use the information from that to get other information, and sort of helps to give people a bit more of a step-by-step understanding of how to perform their own research," she said. 

KEEP READING

Remarks by President Biden at the Tribal Nations Summit


November 15, 2021 Speeches and Remarks

Via Teleconference | South Court Auditorium | 11:50 A.M. EST
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Madam Secretary.  And I say to the press, “Excuse my back.”  (The President turns to the video call screen behind him.)  Next time in Washington, okay?  I see you all up on the board behind me, and I hope we do this in person.  I hope, I hope, I hope.  That’s my — that’s my hope.  Thank you.
 
Good morning.  I want to thank you for joining us.  This is a big day.  I think, as my mother would say, former Senator Dan Inouye is looking down going, “Finally.  Finally.”  I was raised by Dan Inouye in the United States Senate.
 
And to President Fawn Sharp and Chairman Hill of the Oneida Nation, and our President Holsey: I thank you all for what you’re doing, and I want to recognize you.
 
And, Chairman Hill, I thought going — being from Upstate New York, in college, and my deceased wife is from Skaneateles Lake, not far from Oneida, New York — I thought that the Oneida Nation was all in Central New York, but obviously you’re up in Wisconsin.  Come down and see us in Oneida.  (Laughs.)
 
Anyway, I want to thank you, Madam Secretary, for your remarks.  But I also want to thank you, Deb, for being willing to join when I asked you to come along and to serve.  And as I said, I was confident, at the time, you would be incredibly important.
 

'Many pieces missing for survivors': Growing calls for a national inquiry into #60sScoop



TORONTO -- Warning: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some

There are growing calls for a national inquiry into the ‘60s Scoop, when Indigenous children were taken from their families in huge numbers to be placed in foster care.

An estimated 20,000 First Nations children were taken from their parents during that time, but survivors believe the numbers are much higher than that, and they want support to find lost loved ones.

Lidia Lorane Lagard is one of those who was taken as a young child.

Now, surrounded by binders documenting part of her early life, she is trying to piece her past together and find her family.

“I would really love to get connected with my brother again and find my sisters,” Lagard told CTV News.

Known by family and friends as Mama Crow, Lagard and her siblings from Longlac in Northern Ontario were part of the ‘60s Scoop.

It’s a cycle that still continues today — now known as the Millennium Scoop.

"Me and my sisters became a ward of the courts,” Lagard said.

But being taken from her family isn’t the only pain that has haunted her.

In 1965, a social worker dropped Lagard off at St. Mary’s Residential School, when she around five-years-old.

“She talked to a nun for a bit and then she — she left me there,” Lagard said. “When she left, they cut off all my hair, shaved it down to nothing, […] scrubbed me down with steel wool and put me in the shower. And as she was scrubbing me she was saying I was just a dirty little Indian and I was going to learn to be proper.”

She said that she wasn’t allowed to speak her own language, which her grandparents spoke.

“When we were little, we spoke Ojibwe, we spoke our language,” she said.

The name “Mama Crow” comes from her grandparents, who called her “Little Crow” when she was born.

The name Lidia was forced on her, she said.

“They kept throwing the Bible at me always and saying, ‘pick a name’. And I wouldn’t,” Lagard said. “And every time I said my language I got beat.”

She kept hoping for the social worker to return — but she didn’t. Lagard was in residential school for around three years.

“Those priests in there were so horrible,” Lagard said. “They would rape us, and they would beat us, and they would never stop. It was one child after another.”

She described how at night, sleeping in a room full of many other children, she would hear priests come in and take a child out with them.

“I still listen for footsteps coming towards my room,” she confessed. “I’m 60-years-old now.”

The foster system was no respite. Two weeks before her 13th birthday, Lagard ran away to Vancouver, where she struggled with drug and alcohol addiction until 2004, when she found the strength to get sober and begin searching for her siblings.

“The government is there to protect us. And they didn’t,” she said. "The priests and nuns were there to protect us. And they didn’t. So now we have to jump through hoops to have our truth known, and our truth seen, and our truth heard.”

Many other survivors are also struggling to trace what happened to them, according to Katherine Legrange, volunteer director for Legacy of Canada.

“We want to ensure that this piece of history is not lost,” she told CTV News. “As survivors, we want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to children going forward.”

Her organization, among others, is calling for the federal government to commission a national inquiry into the ‘60s Scoop, similar to the MMIWG inquiry.

There’s been no government commitment to an inquiry, but Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Mark Miller’s office says the government is "committed to working with all ‘60s Scoop survivors, including Métis and non-Status First Nations to establish a path forward to mend past wrongs and ensure they have what need to heal.”

“There’s still many, many pieces missing for survivors, including where their parents and siblings may be, what community they come from in some cases,” Legrange said. “And lots of files have been misplaced or in some cases redacted so that we can’t trace back our family histories.”

That’s the case for Lagard, who hopes sharing her story will help find her brother Clifford and sister Isobelle.

“I just found my niece through Facebook,” she said.

But it’s a slow journey. Many of the documents relating to her early history have names and details blacked out, she said.

“The ones that are still out there, looking for Lidia Lorane Lagard — I’m here,” she said. “I’m looking, I’m reaching. I want my family home.”

And although she’s worked hard to heal, the combined trauma of being a ‘60s Scoop and residential school survivor runs deep.

“I still carry scars in my head,” Lagard said. “But the saddest part is nobody sees the scars that we carry within us.” 

Attacks on ICWA

 

Right-Wing Attacks on Native Child Welfare Law Should Frighten Us All

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https://megaphone.link/TRUO6414184424

Headlines (November 2021)

 


Indigenous delegates to have private meeting with Pope Francis during Vatican visit

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops says 25 to 30 Indigenous people are to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican in December.

The delegates are to include elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors and youth. A small group of Canadian bishops is also to attend from Dec. 17 to Dec. 20.

“The journey towards healing and reconciliation is a long one, but we believe this will be a significant milestone in the Catholic Church's commitment to renewing, strengthening and reconciling relationships with Indigenous Peoples across the land,” Raymond Poisson, president of the Canadian bishops, said in a news release Wednesday.

First Nations, Inuit and Metis delegates are to have private meetings with the Pope, during which they will tell personal stories about the legacy of residential schools.

KEEP READING

Murray Sinclair to chair negotiations on federal compensation for First Nations kids

 

 

Ontario to release death registrations of 1,800 Indigenous children

Releasing death records was one of the recommendations in the 2015 report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Ste. Anne's Residential School
St. Anne's residential school. (Supplied)

Ontario is in the process of releasing death records of approximately 1,800 Indigenous children to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

Releasing death records was one of the recommendations in the 2015 report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that documented abuse suffered by Indigenous children at residential schools.

A spokeswoman for the Office of Ontario’s Registrar General says the province began gathering and archiving the records after the report was released.

The province says Service Ontario has records of deaths that occurred over the past 70 years that were registered with the provincial government. 

It says the search to find death registrations of student-aged Indigenous children began at the end of 2016 and it was determined that the approximately 1,800 records should be released.

The province says digital copies of the records will be transferred to the centre once an agreement authorizing their release is finalized.

Earlier this year, the provincial government committed $10 million to search for burial sites at residential schools following news that the remains of hundreds of people had been found buried near other residential school facilities around Canada. 

The National Truth and Reconciliation Commission has identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario and the province has said there are likely more.

It reported the known deaths of 426 children who attended schools in Ontario and an unknown number of children still missing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2021.

First Nation leaders and 60s Scoop survivors press conference (Nov. 1, 2021)

++sorry to post this so late... TLH

Nov. 17, 2021

Canada's Crying Shame

The fields full of children’s bones

Indigenous survivors of Canada’s residential schools tell the stories of those who never made it out.

A teddy bear in a field in Saskatchewan where 751 unmarked graves were found [Brandi Morin/Al Jazeera]

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

50 Ways PTSD Undermines Intimate Relationships #NAAM2021


Grief may not be always considered in relation to PTSD. But what happens when you have PTSD and go to therapy? At a certain point, you come across a great loss that was sitting underneath the trauma all along. You lost someone you love. You lost your appearance due to injury. You lost an opportunity. You lost your innocence. You lost love. 

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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.

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Did you know?

New York’s 4o-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.

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ADOPTION TRUTH

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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