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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/ .
THANK YOU MEGWETCH for reading
KUED (now PBS Utah) takes a moving and insightful look into the dark chapter of American history, the federal Indian boarding school system. The goal was total assimilation into Anglo civilization at the cost of Native American culture, tradition, and language. The film story starts with pre-history and comes full circle to modern day. Much of the film is told in first person Native American voice by the people who continue to live it.
👇Based on David Grann’s broadly lauded best-selling book, Killers of the Flower Moon is set in 1920s Oklahoma and depicts the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror.
Directed by Martin Scorsese and Screenplay by Eric Roth and Scorsese, the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, and Jillian Dion.
Hailing from Apple Studios, Killers of the Flower Moon was produced alongside Imperative Entertainment, Sikelia Productions and Appian Way. Producers are Scorsese, Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas and Daniel Lupi, with DiCaprio, Rick Yorn, Adam Somner, Marianne Bower, Lisa Frechette, John Atwood, Shea Kammer and Niels Juul serving as executive producers.
"...I’ve been thinking about this concept for a long time. Adopters,
when it comes right down to it, count on Stockholm Syndrome. Children
who don’t succumb are labelled RAD.
Whenever I encounter an
infertile woman so desperate to be a mother that she’ll bring home a
stranger’s baby and force it to live in her fantasy, I always secretly
wonder what she would do if she were single and desperate to be
married. Would she drag some strange man home and force him to
watch the Notebook and cuddle? And if she did, would society think it
was beautiful and precious? Or would they think she was delusional and
dangerous? Rhetorical question, of course. But why? Why is what is
clearly a crime between adults viewed in such an overwhelmingly positive
way when one of the parties is a child?..." - Renee Musgrove
This comment by Renee has been in my head for over a year and I finally did research on Stockholm Syndrome! KEEP READING
by a group of archivists, historians, and concerned Catholics, the List
of Catholic-operated Native Boarding Schools in the United States,
pre-1978, represents the first and most comprehensive source for
information on Native boarding schools that were overseen or staffed by
the Catholic Church before 1978. Our motivation for assembling this data
was to provide a resource to help boarding school survivors, their
descendants, Tribal Nations, and the Church itself navigate the history
of Catholic involvement with Native boarding schools.
list has two primary objectives: first, to identify all
Catholic-operated boarding schools designated specifically to educate
Native American and Alaska Native children in the United States, and
second, to identify all Catholic entities that were involved in the
operation of each school. We are under no pretense that our list is
complete. We have done our best to offer the most accurate information
possible, but we also anticipate future revisions as additional
information is obtained.
bringing together basic information about Catholic-run Native boarding
schools and the various Catholic institutions involved in their
operation, the list responds to the clear request from Tribal Nations
for access to archival records in Catholic repositories. Families and
communities of boarding school survivors and their descendants deserve
prioritized access to information regarding their own histories. The
Catholic Church also has an obligation to understand the scope of its
own role in this history. Making basic facts about the history of
Catholic institutional involvement in the boarding schools more
transparent aids in that understanding and facilitates identification of
possible sources of archival records as one preliminary step to support
goal is for Tribal Nations, families, and individuals to be able to use
the list to locate records for schools that members of their
communities attended. Our hope is that Catholic institutional archives
and Tribal Nations will build relationships to increase understanding
about records for Catholic-operated Native boarding schools and further
develop the historical record.
In 1958, the Indian Adoption Project(s) were created “to stimulate
adoption of American Indian children by Caucasian families on a
See a 1967 portrait of a Long Island family,
the Zuckermans, who took part in the project. The program was immensely popular in New York, which was already
the center of a robust and lucrative adoption marketplace.
entire argument for eradicating the Indian Child Welfare Act was
expressed in a white supremacist poem by Robert Louis Stevenson that I
expect Samuel Alito to quote in the opinion, with zero sense of irony:
Little Indian, Sioux, or Crow,
Little frosty Eskimo,
Little Turk or Japanee,
Oh! don't you wish that you were me?
You have seen the scarlet trees
And the lions over seas;
You have eaten ostrich eggs,
And turned the turtle off their legs.
Such a life is very fine,
But it's not so nice as mine:
You must often as you trod,
Have wearied NOT to be abroad.
You have curious things to eat,
I am fed on proper meat;
You must dwell upon the foam,
But I am safe and live at home.
Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,
Little frosty Eskimo,
Little Turk or Japanee,
Not Feeling “American Enough”: The Mental Impact of Cross-Cultural Adoption.
“For adoptees in the adoptee community, to move forward is to have
allies,” she explains. “The narrative [around cross-cultural adoption
tends to] lie with adoptive parents, and so we need them to elevate our
stories, to elevate us in order for people to know that there is another
narrative out there. It's not this fairy tale.”
👀Let's celebrate - over TWO MILLION VIEWS on our little website! THANK YOU! -TLH
A report released Monday by a northern California
civil grand jury finds that the local child welfare system routinely
misses court deadlines, creating “an unnecessary amount of stress” for
children and families — particularly members of tribal communities who
are overrepresented in the foster care system.
By Leland P Morrill (Navajo adoptee and contributor to the book series Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects) posted in 2013
"Today's Child" started in June 1964 when Helen Allen - a veteran reporter for the Toronto Telegram - was questioned at the time by a skeptical Children's Aid Societies, but supported by Ontario's provincial government.
During its first few years, about 80% of the children featured in the column were adopted.
Helen Allen in this National Television show states that she personally adopted 10,000 to 11,000 children. Who knows how many native and aboriginal children were adopted through her in Ontario, Canada?
Featured on this video are seven Ojibwe children, my adopted brothers and sisters, to a Mormon family who adopted 10 children.
I was a Navajo "undocumented adoptee" before we moved to Ontario, Canada.
Note on the video how many of my brothers and sisters are not white like our adopted parents.
What is Genocide? What constitutes Human Trafficking?
Native Children who are deemed adoptable because of the 3rd world conditions forced on them through the Reservation system (Concentration Camps) may be labelled under "neglect", by Departments of Social Services that blur the lines between neglect and impoverishment; thus creating the definition of "abused or neglected" to encompass those "whose environment is injurious to the child's welfare."
Genocide is the worst crime possible, undoubtedly the most serious crime that can be
committed under international law.
The 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
(hereinafter the Statute) testifies to the fact that this is the most serious of the crimes
within its jurisdiction.
It places Genocide first, followed by Crimes against Humanity,
War Crimes and the Crime of Aggression.
The crime of genocide is defined in Article 6
of the Statute in the following terms:
[A]ny of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part,
a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
United Nations defined genocide as the intentional "destruction of racial,
national, linguistic, religious or political groups," "with the purpose of destroying it in
whole or in part or of preventing its preservation or development,"either "causing the
death of members of a group or injuring their health or physical integrity" or interfering
with their biological reproduction or also "destroying the specific characteristics of the
group" through the "transfer of children."
This video is evidence. This is why ICWA and history matters. - Trace
WASHINGTON — In preparation for a fast-approaching U.S. Supreme Court decision on the fate of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Democratic minority members are holding a roundtable discussion this morning regarding the longstanding law that affirms tribal sovereignty in Indian child adoption cases.
Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)
will host a virtual roundtable to discuss the history and significance
of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA),” according to a statement from
is a more than 40-year-old law that protects the well-being and best
interests of Native children and families in state child welfare
systems. In the past several years, ICWA has faced a series of legal
challenges, the most prominent being the Brackeen v. Haaland Supreme Court case.
virtual roundtable will feature expert panelists to discuss the history
of ICWA and the role Congress can play to strengthen ICWA and protect
Native children and families.”
note, according to Grijalva: “This is the first congressional convening
to examine ICWA since the onset of recent litigation efforts.”
would like to invite you to the film screen of ‘On Sacred Ground’
(2023) at 18:00 on next Wednesday May 3rd in Room SG2, Alison Richard
Building. The film is based on the true events during the 2016
construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that runs through the
Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The film follows Daniel (William
Mapother), a journalist and military veteran, and Elliot (David
Arquette), an oil company executive, who find themselves on opposite
sides of the fight during the construction of the contentious pipeline.
As the story unfolds, the two characters go down separate paths during
one of the most heated protests and confrontation with Native American
tribes in modern US history. You can watch film trailer here: https://youtu.be/F64dUVAaQV8. We look forward to seeing many of you there!
ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.
Stepping into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Shyanne Beatty was eager to view the Native American works that art collectors Charles and Valerie Diker had been accumulating for nearly half a century. But as she entered the museum’s American Wing that day in 2018, her excitement turned to shock as two wooden masks came into view.
Beatty, an Alaska Native, had worked on a radio documentary about the two Alutiiq objects and how they and others like them had been plundered from tribal land about 150 years ago. Now, the masks were on display in the biggest and most esteemed art museum in the Western Hemisphere. “It was super shocking to me,” she said.
The Met’s ownership history for the masks, also known as provenance, omits more than a century of their whereabouts. Historians say the masks were taken in 1871. But the museum’s timeline doesn’t start until 2003, when the Dikers bought them from a collector. Ownership was transferred to the Met in 2017.
The Dikers, who have amassed one of the most significant private collections of Native American works, have been donating or lending objects to the Met since 1993. In 2017, as other institutions grappled with returning colonial-era spoils, the Met announced the Dikers’ gift of another 91 Native American works.
A ProPublica review of records the museum has posted online found that only 15% of the 139 works donated or loaned by the Dikers over the years have solid or complete ownership histories, with some lacking any provenance at all. Most either have no histories listed, leave gaps in ownership ranging from 200 to 2,000 years or identify previous owners in such vague terms as an “English gentleman” and “a family in Scotland.”
Experts say a lack of documented histories is a red flag that objects could have been stolen or may be fake.
“That’s a lot of missing documentation, which is a problem,” said Kelley Hays-Gilpin, a curator at the Museum of Northern Arizona. The Arizona museum has documented about 80% of its collection, as has the Brooklyn Museum and other institutions that are considered less prestigious than the Met but that have substantial Native American collections. Some museums, such as one at the University of Denver, decline gifts that have poor provenance.
For centuries, Native Americans have decried the looting of the graves of their ancestors by pothunters and scientists and the display of their remains and belongings in museums. In 1990, Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to facilitate the return of such items and human remains to the appropriate tribes, which the law declares are their rightful owners.
NAGPRA requires federally funded museums to notify a tribe within six months of receiving their holdings by contacting and consulting with that tribe’s chosen representative, often known as a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, and giving them an opportunity to reclaim their objects. The law also mandates that museums file a copy of those notices with the National Park Service.
These interactions provide an opportunity for institutions to learn more about the history of objects, whether they are authentic or might have been stolen and if it’s appropriate to display them. But as ProPublica has reported this year, museums have often delayed such discussions while keeping human remains and objects that the law says should be returned.
Some pieces in the Diker Collection are sacred, such as a shaman’s rattle made of human or horse hair; some are funereal and were buried with the dead. (The Met recently returned the rattle to the Dikers, and there are “ongoing consultations” related to some other items, according to the museum.)
“Most of these items could only have ended up in private hands through trafficking and looting,” said Shannon O’Loughlin, director of the Association on American Indian Affairs, which advocates for tribal sovereignty and the protection of Native American cultures.
“The way that so many of these things wound up in museums is horrible,” said Rosita Worl, president of Sealaska Heritage and a Tlingit citizen. New York law goes by the principle of once stolen, always stolen, and she said the pieces are tainted. “The rightful thing is for these things to be returned home.”
Initially, many of the objects were loans; due to a loophole in NAGPRA, this meant the museum did not have to report them to tribes or to the NPS. To date, the museum has accepted the transfer of 77 of the promised gifts from the Diker Collection, according to the Met.
But ProPublica found that after assuming ownership the Met for years failed to consult the necessary tribal officials in a timely and consistent manner about objects in its collections. A year passed before the museum contacted someone at the Alutiiq tribe to inform them that it had their masks. (The Met declined to name the person it contacted.) Four years later, the NPS posted summaries that the Met had sent in September 2022 to 63 tribes connected to objects in the Diker Collection. The Met did so after ProPublica asked the museum about the masks and other sacred and culturally sensitive items.
All the while, the museum displayed some items with incorrect descriptions and omitted or minimized the wars, occupations, massacres and exploitation that dominated the tribes’ past.
The Met’s descriptions in its displays “are in the land of make-believe,” said Wendy Teeter, the former curator at the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The public won’t have a clue as to what a piece really is or how it got there.” This, Teeter said, “perpetuates stereotypes and bias against Native people.”
2023: The states of Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut,Colorado, Kansas,
Louisiana,Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode
Island, and Vermont (July 1, 2023) are the only U.S. states where adult
adoptees have unrestricted access to their own original birth records! Check out Bastard Nation
The late Karen Vigneault always told adoptees to not be afraid of using the courts to open your adoption records. And she used NARA, a federal program that has files on everyone. Read more below: Trace
Petitioning the Court to Open Your Adoption
File (for adoptees adopted in the United States)
Why you should consider a petition:
Petitioning the court to open your records is something every
adoptee should try. Even the most restrictive states allow the
sealed adoption file to be open via court order, and petitioning
the court is usually not a difficult nor terribly expensive
proposition, and your odds are slightly better than winning the
As is detailed in my search series article, "Documents",
the court file contains a variety of documents related to one's
adoption, often including the original birth certificate. The
most likely occurrence is that when petitioned, the judge will
instruct that only non- or de-identified information be compiled
from the file and given to you, but in a few instances, judges
have been known to open the entire file. A very few judges will
open files to every adoptee who asks, regardless of the reason.
It pays to research how the particular judge you will be
appearing in front of usually responds to petitions to open the
file. Local search groups often have this information, or you can
post an inquiry on an email list or Usenet newsgroup, as
discussed in previous parts of this Search
The details of petitioning:
Petitioning the court does not require the services of a
lawyer although it can help your chances of success to use one.
The first step will be determining what court has your file. You
probably have already obtained this information if you followed
the steps detailed in the other documents of this series. The court that has your file will
be the court that finalized the adoption. In the States, this is
usually a county Family court, located in the county where your
adoptive parents resided at the time of your adoption. Most
courts will have the proper forms for petitioning available to
you on request, and you do not need to be physically present at a
hearing date in order for the judge to read and respond to your
petition, although appearing in person can greatly enhance your
chances of success. Along with the petition, you should include
the reason for your request. You may simply believe the
information belongs to you, and you can state this, but the sad
truth is that you are more likely to be successful if there are
extenuating circumstances. If you have a medical condition that
could be eased with the information or with finding your
birthparents, proof and explanation of that condition should be
included in your petition. If there were unusual circumstances
involved in your adoption, if you know your birthparents are
deceased, if you already know the identity of your birthfamily,
or if your adoptive parents are deceased, you should include a
statement to that effect, along with proof of your claims.
However, even if you do not have any unusual circumstances, and
simply want the information, you should still try a petition. As
stated above, some judges will release the file to adoptees just
for the asking.
Using The Indian Child Welfare Act in a petition:
The Indian Child Welfare Act is little-used, but it can be the
key to a successful petition to open a sealed file if you are
adopted, and are some or all Native American. The ICWA was passed
in 1978 to address congressional findings that "an
alarmingly high percentage of Indian families are broken up by
the removal, often unwarranted, of their children from them by
nontribal public and private agencies and that an alarmingly high
percentage of such children are placed in non-Indian foster and
adoptive homes and institutions; and..... that the States,
exercising their recognized jurisdiction over Indian child
custody proceedings through administrative and judicial bodies,
have often failed to recognize the essential tribal relations of
Indian people and the cultural and social standards prevailing in
Indian communities and families."
One section of the ICWA is of particular interest to adoptees.
Section 1951b states "Upon the request of the adopted Indian
child over the age of eighteen, the adoptive or foster parents of
an Indian child, or an Indian tribe, the Secretary shall disclose
such information as may be necessary for the enrollment of an
Indian child in the tribe in which the child may be eligible for
enrollment or for determining any rights or benefits associated
with that membership. Where the documents relating to such child
contain an affidavit from the biological parent or parents
requesting anonymity, the Secretary shall certify to the Indian
child's tribe, where the information warrants, that the child's
parentage and other circumstances of birth entitle the child to
enrollment under the criteria established by such tribe."
Essentially this section directs the State to give adult
adoptees of Native American heritage who request it, their birth
information, so that they may enroll in their tribes. The section
does allow for birthparents to file a veto, but even then the
adoptee is entitled to tribal notification so that they may
process their tribal rights and privileges. You can read the entire ICWA on
There are a few problem areas with using the ICWA. Many
adoptees are of enough Native American blood to qualify for
enrollment in their tribes, but there is nothing documented that
verifies that information. Before a judge will open a file under
ICWA s/he will often demand some sort of proof that the adoptee
is NA at all, proof that most adoptees will simply not have. But
in other instances, the agency that handled the adoption, or the
court file itself, will contain notations that you, the adoptee,
do have NA ancestry. If you have received non-ID from a source
that states this, include a copy with your court petition. You
will also need to include a copy of the ICWA in order to make the
judge's work easier and predispose him/her to wanting to help
you. If you have any information at all that you are even the
smallest bit Native American, you should use the ICWA in your
petition. Include affidavits from family members (adoptive and
birth) who have told you that you have Native American blood, as
well as any 'official' agency or other documents to support your
claims. Remember that most tribes have small blood quantum
requirements, and you should not feel guilty about using the
ICWA. The intent of this law is to ensure that those of us who
are entitled to tribal membership by birthright, have the
*choice* to join our Native American communities.
What to Expect:
Your petition will have several possible outcomes. It can be
denied outright, and you will receive nothing. Or, you might be
denied identifying information, but receive censored copies of
documents, or merely a summary of non-ID compiled from the
documents themselves. The judge might also choose to appoint an
intermediary. The intermediary will be given the file, and will
conduct a search for your birthparents, usually the birthmother
if you have not already found her. She will then be asked for
permission to release identifying information to you. The irony
is that in many cases, you still will not be given the court file
or the documents contained within it, even if your birthparent(s)
agrees to exchange identifying information. You will usually be
required to pay for the intermediary service. In the case of the
ICWA, sometimes the Court will appoint a tribal intermediary who
will process your tribal enrollment in addition to seeking
permission from your birthparent(s) to exchange identifying
information. This is in contravention of the mandates of the
Federal Act, but that does not seem to have stopped judges from
doing it. Lastly, copies of parts of or your entire file might be
turned over to you, unaltered.
This is a work in progress. Adoptees with experience in
petitioning the court for their adoption file are encouraged to
email me with the details of their experiences for use in this
This post was authored by Shea Grimm, email@example.com, except
where otherwise indicated. It may be copied and distributed
freely, in whole or in part, as long as it is not sold, and as
long as this notice is kept intact.
Editor Note: The government has files on everyone, going way back. My sister Teresa and I found a marriage license from 1901 and got copies. If you do have a name of an ancestor who was adopted, try using the NARA.
If you have a name, and an indication from your non-ID or
other sources that members of your birthfamily served in the
military, there are sources on and offline that can provide you
with other crucial bits of information. The Freedom of
Information Act allows individuals to request certain records on
both living and decased military personnel regardless of their
relationship to the individual, or reason for the request.
Information obtainable under the FOIA includes Name, Service
Number, Rank, Dates of Service, Awards and decorations and City/town
and state of last known address including date of the address. If
the veteran is deceased you are entitled to Place of birth,
Geographical location of death, and Place of burial. To find out
where to write for records, visit the National Archives
and Records Administration site dealing with military
For those searching in Canada, The National
Archives of Canada has personnel files of over 5,500,000
former military and civilian employees of the Canadian Armed
Forces and the Federal Public Service. Documents in these records
contain information about the individual's employment history
with Federal Departments, the military units with which he or she
served, pension details, and more.
of Hiawatha First Nation have been working for several years on the
repatriation of about 200 ancestral remains and ancestral artifacts
removed from the Serpent Mounds national historic site, about 150km
northeast of Toronto.
The park is home to ancient burial mounds
that date back about 2,000 years. There are 10 mounds in total. The
largest is 60 metres long and 8 metres wide, shaped like a snake, that
contains the remains of 150-200 individuals. It's surrounded by eight
smaller round mounds, each containing the remains of between 50 and 80
The site was excavated in the late 1950s by an
archeologist affiliated with the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Hiawatha
First Nation has been wanting the ancestral remains and artifacts that
are at the ROM repatriated for decades, although the formal process was
only started a few years ago.
the First Nation received approval to have the remains and items from
the mounds returned, not everything from the park is included.
the mounds, three burial pits were also excavated. The Huron-Wendat
nation has made a claim to the remains and artifacts removed from the
Chief Laurie Carr of Hiawatha First Nation says this has stalled the repatriation process.
very frustrating that our ancestors are still sitting at the ROM
because Huron-Wendat believe that they have claims to them and there's
no archeological proof of any Huron-Wendat villages in our area," said
"There are a few sites around Rice Lake that are said to be Huron-Wendat, however they need to be substantiated."
Carr said the Huron Wendat haven't come forward to meet with them, "which leaves us stuck."
"If they really cared about the ancestors they should be having discussions with us and they're not."
The Conseil de la Nation Huronne-Wendat did not respond to a request for comment.
The Royal Ontario Museum declined to comment.
ROM's board policy regarding repatriation of Indigenous human
remains says "The ROM will not arbitrarily decide contested cases, i.e.,
cases in which more than one Indigenous group claim the same
The plaintiffs, Brackeens, assert ICWA is an unconstitutional law
PART 5: Haaland v. Brackeen
By Trace L Hentz, blog editor and adoptee
Am I worried about the ICWA case? Yes. Very.
I am worried that the "Supreme" Court has shown no respect for our inherent sovereign rights. Just look at history. This case could rescind the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. I worry the impact on adoptees now and future Native adoptees. (ICWA allows adoptees to open their adoption records.) We are called The Stolen Generation and Sixties Scoop for good reason.
We lost our sovereignty when we were adopted out to white families. We lost everything - language, culture, land, family, ceremonies and our tribal stories. (Some of us lost our sanity too!) Swimming pools, college degrees, and white families in fancy houses, cannot replace this.
Sadly, I do not think these Justices actually know what our loss means!
Many years ago in Wisconsin, two tribal chiefs gave talks to new congresspeople on Sovereignty 101- I interviewed them about it and then wrote an article in News from Indian Country. They explained it used to be feds (the federal government) that dealt with tribes and the feds were keenly aware of sovereign tribal rights and history. Both chiefs said state lawmakers were not as understanding. There was also high turn-over in states and many new congressmen don't know state or federal history, even how tribes signed numerous treaties.
The Department of WAR (who authorized killing Indians) morphed eventually into the Department of the Interior.
I looked back at my blog posts: Sovereignty and how it applies to Haaland vs. Brackeen.
As Rebecca Nagle explained: "A host of federal statutes—including on land rights, water rights,
health care, gaming, criminal and civil jurisdiction, and tribal
self-governance—treat Native Americans differently based on this
political classification. In this light, I fear that the Brackeen lawsuit is the first in a row of dominoes—if the Court strikes down ICWA, everything else could soon go with it."
"Under federal law, tribes and tribal citizens are
not a racial group, but a political one. Accordingly, ICWA applies only
to Native children who either are enrolled in a federally recognized
tribe or are eligible based on a given tribe’s citizenship requirements," Nagle said.
This cultural difference — that a
family’s fitness is determined by its wealth, and that those concerns
should outweigh a child’s connection to their family and heritage — is
essentially why the Indian Child Welfare Act was created in 1978. The
law recognizes the history of federal policy aimed at breaking up Native
families and mandates that, whenever possible, Native families should
remain together. Sarah Kastelic, the executive director
of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, said that ICWA
acknowledges important familial and tribal bonds that have long been
disregarded, and that Native ways — such as extended families living
under the same roof — have often been used to show unfitness in child
welfare proceedings. “No matter the picket fences and swimming pools and
things, most of the time, kids want to be with their families,” she
I was chatting with Prof. Lorianne Updike Toler
(Northern Illinois), and she mentioned some thoughts of hers on this
subject, based on her recent University of Chicago Law Review article, The Missing Indian Affairs Clause. I encouraged her to write up a blog post, and she kindly passed along the following:
In the November 9th oral argument for Haaland v. Brackeen,
which challenges the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act,
Justice Amy Coney Barret's question about the impact of overruling
Congress' plenary power over tribes underscores a centuries-old
confusion about federal Indian Affairs.
It's not just the Court that is confused. Former Volokh Conspiracy posts on point
reveal the deep academic fissures over the historical context of the
Indian Commerce Clause. Unknown to the Court and most of academe is the
root cause of all the confusion: that the Constitutional Convention
initially forgot (and then later intentionally excluded) the Articles of
Confederation's Indian Affairs Clause in the Constitution.
As I detail in this University of Chicago Law Review article,
Pennsylvanian comparative constitutionalist James Wilson, tasked by the
five-member Committee of Detail to draft the Constitution, initially
checked off "Indian Affairs" to include as a Congressional power, but
then failed to get the power into his final draft. He was not the only
one to forget. Although the Convention had commissioned the Committee to
include all the Congressional powers in the Articles of
Confederation (where Indian Affairs featured), Edmund Randolph also
forgot to include the power in his initial sketch of the Constitution. Odd, considering a Cherokee chief had met with him that summer in
Philadelphia and he was then directly concerned with settler-tribe
disputes on Virginia's frontier as the state's governor. It was John
Rutledge, the South Carolinian chair of the committee, who remembered,
scrawling the power in the margin of Randolph's sketch. Yet he later
forgot this power in combing through Wilson's final draft, and it was
reported out of the Committee sans (without mentioning) Indian Affairs.
But James Madison remembered. It was he who suggested Indian Affairs
be inserted back into the Constitution. This time, the Committee of
Detail intentionally excluded the Clause, instead inserting "Tribes"
into the Commerce Clause. No one objected. This despite that at least
three Convention members had just spent their ten-day break (for the
Committee of Detail to meet) fulfilling their congressional duties in
New York. There, impending tribal wars in Virginia and Georgia's Creek
disputes were discussed. Presumably, the Convention thought Congress'
previous powers under the Article's Indian Affairs were addressed by the
Indian Commerce Clause and other provisions of the Constitution—such as
the power to declare war and peace and the president's shared Treaty
What does this mean for the Constitution? Put simply, Congress has no
Indian Affairs power, and therefore no plenary power. Early assertion
of this power was justified under the tripartite powers of Indian
Commerce, War and Treaty Powers. But Congress halted tribal
treaty-making long ago. If it wants to re-assert power over tribes
beyond the Commerce Clause, the President needs to begin treating with
And what of any residual power? As I propose in my article linked
above, the residue reverts to the sovereign tribes. Tribal sovereignty
is to tribes what federalism is to the states. Powers not reserved by
the Constitution to Congress and the President revert to the tribes.
This would mean that Congress lacked constitutional power to pass
ICWA, however well-intentioned. ICWA was adopted in an attempt to
prevent Native American erasure by allowing the community to intervene
in adoption and foster cases to ensure tribal children are raised in
Native American families. ICWA grants the child's tribe exclusive
jurisdiction over custody proceedings and other intervention privileges. Further, it establishes placement preferences first in favor of any
family members, then the tribe, and then any Native American families
regardless of tribal membership.
Unless related to its Indian Commerce power (and heaven forbid if we
have arrived at treating adoption of babies and children as commerce),
Congress has no power over Native American adoptions. On this basis,
ICWA might be unconstitutional wholesale. However, to the extent ICWA
respects tribal sovereignty and refers cases to the child's tribe, it
may be constitutional under a structural reading of the Constitution: The combined intratextual references to tribes as the constitutional
unit of recognition— "tribes" under the Commerce Clause and the
presumption that Indians are not taxed under Art I. sec. 2 of the
Constitution—together with the parallel analog of federalism vis-à-vis
states may permit Congress to proactively proscribe federal and state
deference to tribal power. But as Congress has no plenary power over
tribes and Native Americans as a people, it cannot specify adoption
placement or other preferences. The Court should so rule in Brackeen.
Looting - that is just one of the topics I research beyond adoption. It's a pattern really: Looting, Mass Murder, Theft, Mining, Profits, Taking Land, Taking Kids... all of it. It combines into colonization and all the other terms they use to describe the "making of America" and Canada.
It is very interesting that we are finding out through press
releases what was actually looted. I am still disturbed it took so long.
What did we lose? Pretty much everything: tribes were herded onto reservations, kids taken by gunpoint to residential schools, lands were seized, graves robbed, burial mounds looted and destroyed, and on and on.
WHAT IS NAGPRA? NAGPRA is the Native America Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Since 1990, Federal law has provided
for the repatriation and disposition of certain Native American human
remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural
patrimony. By enacting NAGPRA, Congress recognized that human remains of
any ancestry "must at all times be treated with dignity and respect."
Congress also acknowledged that human remains and other cultural items
removed from Federal or tribal lands belong, in the first
instance, to lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, and Native Hawaiian
organizations. With this law, Congress sought to encourage a continuing
dialogue between museums and Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian
organizations and to promote a greater understanding between the groups
while at the same time recognizing the important function museums serve
in society by preserving the past. (US Senate Report 101-473).
A museum can fail to comply with the requirements of NAGPRA and may be
assessed a civil penalty by the Department of the Interior.
But there are problems, of course, explained on Native American Calling, when a Lakota elder said their tribal members cannot touch the remains - and the TVA needs to rebury them. Listen
More than three decades ago, Congress passed a law calling for
museums and other groups to return the human remains of Native Americans
in their possession. For years, two major East Tennessee institutions
reflected the failure of that law, according to a joint investigation published in March by ProPublica and NBC News.
The investigation found that institutions were failing on a massive
scale to return remains to tribes — and that half of the
still-unreturned remains are held by a small minority of these
institutions. This list is populated in part by prestigious universities like Berkeley and Harvard. But Tennessee
was the only state for which multiple institutions — the University of
Tennessee in Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley Authority — ranked among
the top 10.
Both have, however, made recent progress, well after the law in question was passed.
After years in which it returned only a small fraction of the Native
American remains in its possession, University of Tennessee (UT) has, like many other
institutions, lately returned remains at a far faster pace.
In 2019, for example, it made nearly 2,000 Native American remains
taken from what is now South Dakota available to tribal descendants,
according to data maintained by the National Park Service.
Still, these and other remains the university has made available to
tribes account for just 34% of the 6,000-plus Native American human
remains the university reported to be in its possession, according to
The university is committed to fulfilling its obligations under the
law, spokeswoman Kerry Gardner said by email, adding that it
cannot file a notice with the government listing a set of remains as
available to be returned until a tribe files claims for them.
Gardner said the school is working on the claims of several tribes.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, for its part, once reported
having the remains of more than 12,800 Native Americans — generally
found in modern day Alabama and Tennessee — in its possession.
This remained the case until recently, when TVA, like UT, made a
significant portion of these available for return: 72% in its case.
The utility said it will soon relinquish these possessions entirely. Agency spokesman Scott Fiedler said by email that TVA recently
determined that all Native American remains still in its possession
should be made available — and that they will be, whenever the Federal
Register publishes TVA’s public notice of this.
RESEARCH AND INFRASTRUCTURE
UT’s and TVA’s holdings of unrepatriated Native American
remains are uncommonly large. But they are just two among about 600
institutions that have reported possessing what still amount to well
over 100,000 unreturned Native American human remains.
In some cases, the excavated remains and other artifacts arrived via a
kind of sanctioned looting by researchers probing old burial sites. For
example, around the 1900s, archaeologists excavated burial mounds on a
widespread basis in the Southeast. As the ProPublica/NBC News
investigation noted, several of the institutions with the most
unrepatriated Native American remains in their possession — the
Universities of Alabama and Kentucky also made the top 10 list — are
based in the region.
Similar research took place in other parts of the nation as well.
“We never ceded or relinquished our dead,” one Arizona State
University professor, a member of the Pawnee Nation, told ProPublica/NBC
News reporters. “They were stolen.”
Other Native American remains, such as those generally in the
possession of TVA, were dug up amid massive infrastructure projects.
“When we constructed reservoirs in the ’30s and ’40s, a tremendous
amount of human remains and funerary objects were removed,” TVA has
quoted its archaeologist and tribal liaison, Marianne Shuler, as saying
on its website.
More than 20 federally recognized Indian tribes attach religious and cultural significance to land TVA manages, Fiedler said.
As a result of the 19th century Indian Removal Act, many — though not
all — of these tribes are now based far away. Efforts to reach
repatriation specialists at the Cherokee Nation, the Chickasaw Nation, the Muscogee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians by press time were unsuccessful.
Tribal activism paved the way for the Native American Graves
Protection and Repatriation Act passed by Congress in 1990. The law
sought to make universities, museums and other institutions inventory
their artifacts and human remains and consult with Native American
The basic premise was that institutions had to publicly report their
holdings and coordinate with tribes to determine to whom the remains
should be returned. If a connection was established between the remains
and the tribe, the institution would publish a notice on the Federal
Register, making the claims available to be repatriated.
Ultimately, few of the institutions with Native American remains in
their possession relinquished their holdings in the years following the
Some people resisted the law, sometimes arguing that the remains
should stay in museums and universities or that specific modern tribes
lack proof that they are the rightful stewards. UT was among those that
avoided the law in the 1990s by categorizing everything in its
collection as “culturally unidentifiable,” according to the
ProPublica/NBC News investigation.
Asked about this, Gardner, the university spokeswoman, focused on the
more recent past, in which the school hired anthropologist Ellen Lofaro
in part to spearhead its efforts, and the university’s repatriations
increased from 4% to 34% of its holdings.
“Over the last six years, the university has continued to build a
program that underscores our commitment,” Gardner said. “We are actively
building relationships with and consulting with tribal communities.
This work is important, and we are dedicated to continuing to make
The Tennessee Valley Authority, for its part, began actively consulting
with tribes in the 2000s, Fiedler said. He said tribes prioritized the
repatriation of ancestral remains — and that the TVA hired its first
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation specialist in 2009 to
focus on the matter.
Since then, the federally-owned utility has made remains available to 11 tribes.
There are thousands of remains left to be passed along. But
everything the utility has made available thus far, tribes have taken,
March 31, 2023
I was searching for a great great grandmother Sarah A Sparks
(on the Cherokee Baker Roll) and up pops Tennessee Valley Authority –
which got me very confused – why would they have her name?? – then I
googled TVA. I am SO ANGRY. I cannot find where she is buried. Maybe TVA dug her up?
She was married to CHRISTOPHER H HARLOW, a great-great granddad. TLH
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.
Almost 7000 bodies found and not one member of the church has been arrested. The names are out there. The church must be held accountable. #NeverForget#EveryChildMatters
The Justice Department is protecting the names of many perpetrators of abuse of Indigenous children. We need a special independent prosecutor who can force the government and church to turn over the documents. There can be no reconciliation without justice.@MumilaaqQaqqaqpic.twitter.com/5TL6OxKM5O
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?
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
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.