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- About Trace
- Karen Vigneault - Helping Native Adoptees Search
- The reunification of First Nations adoptees (2016)
- You're Breaking Up: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl #ICWA
- FAQ ICWA 2016
- Indian Child Welfare Act organizations
- About the Indian Adoption Projects
- How to Search
- Soaring Angels (search help for adoptees)
- THE PLACEMENT OF AMERICAN INDIAN CHILDREN - THE NEED FOR CHANGE (1974)
- NEW: Study by Jeannine Carriere (First Nations) (2007)
- NEW STUDY: Post Adoption (Australia)
- Oklahoma Supreme Court RULING: Brown v.Delapp (9-2...
- Dr. Raven Sinclair
- Laura Briggs: Feminists and the Baby Veronica Case...
- Adopt an Elder: Ellowyn Locke (Oglala Lakota)
- TWO NATIONS: Navajo (Boarding School)
- #MMIWG MAY 2019
- Survivor Not Victim (my interview with Von)
- Adoption History
- Native American News Outlets
- First Nations Repatriation Institute
- Adoptee Citizen Act of 2019
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
- Tall Oak (Everett Weeden), Absentee Pequot/Narragansett, 500 Nations documentary
But long ago the colonizer used bad medicine to hasten treaties, to subdue warriors, to ensure internal conflict within tribes. Alcohol, the bad medicine, killed many prisoners, men, women, even children, on and off the reservation.
To add insult to injury, high-sugar, high-fat commodities and processed foods are boxed and delivered by truckloads to each reservation, compliments of the American government. This treaty diet causes obesity, bad skin, bad health and slow starvation.
For more than 100 years, Indian Country has been dealing with weakened immune systems, sugar diabetes, amputations and heart disease. Genes do remain a factor as an adult. Without medical records, every lost child-adoptee is like a time bomb. If we don’t know our medical history, we are at greater risk.
Tribal leaders do struggle to make things right or better, but it’s not easy in this “conquered” Third World, fighting for the scraps we call food, sovereignty and dignity.
After an avalanche of alcohol, then an ever-increasing supply of new (sometimes) illegal drugs, reservations are facing new epidemics: fetal-alcohol syndrome, high suicide rates, drug addictions, crack cocaine, arrests, high prison populations and more than their fair share of domestic violence.
This “image” tarnishes reservations when typically these stories and photographs fill American newspapers.
Despite all this, there is hope. Each child brings renewed hope.
I make no claim to be an expert on any culture but I have lived on and near reservations most of my adult life. I cover Indian Country as a journalist. I’m part of a world community, a part of this tribalism, no matter where I live.
Being a Native person means everything to me but my birthfather Earl did not live in ancestral territory or on the Cherokee reservations in Oklahoma or the Carolinas. He was assimilated into American culture, lived in Pana and Chicago, Illinois, and died an alcoholic.
In any tribal culture, my relatives would need to invite adoptees to ceremonies, to teach and offer friendship. I have not lived on the Cherokee reservation. To live there, I’d need to be invited by my relatives. I sent one Cherokee newspaper a letter looking for my relatives but no one wrote me or emailed.
It felt funny knowing that many people claim some Cherokee ancestry. I needed to be certain so I asked my father when we first met. He and my aunts are proud of our ancestors and explained after Cherokee removals, people scattered all over the Midwest and south, when my paternal great-grandmother Mary Francis Morris got married and moved from Missouri to Illinois.
Mary and her daughter Lona Dell Harlow lived our culture. Until relatives assimilate me back into my culture, I remain Tsalgi, Cherokee. It doesn’t take an ID card for me to be Indian.
It’s just as important to understand what these removals and adoptions accomplished in America and Canada as it is to see where Indians stand today.
Some American Indians say if we keep our languages strong and return to our ceremonies, our tribal nations and people will grow strong again. Reservations did change dramatically after treaties, when Indians were forced to buy food or rely heavily on Indian agents for rations and treaty commodities. For those living on their rez, they too have experienced upset and turmoil in ever-changing traditions, living in their two worlds.
Oppression creates new victims every day.
In contrast to the biblical book of Genesis, in which God creates man in his own image and gives him dominion over all other creatures, the Native American legends reflect the view that human beings are no more important than any other thing, whether alive or inanimate. In the eye of the Creator, they believe, man and woman, plant and animal, water and stone, are all equal, and they share the earth as partners — even as family. Recurring themes include the idea of Mother Earth as life host, the relationship of reciprocity that exists between human beings and animals, and the Indians' dependence on animals as teachers. The plots are often complex, take numerous twists and turns, and commonly include humor. But any comic elements never detract from the story's sacred purpose.
-The Spirit World, Time-Life Books
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Beginning in 1887, the federal government attempted to “Americanize” Native Americans, largely through educating young Native boys and girls. By 1900, thousands of Native Americans were studying at almost 150 boarding schools around the United States. Schools called Carlisle, Flandreau, Hampton, Haskell Institute and others were built. The U.S. Training and Industrial School founded in 1879 at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, was the model for most of these schools. Carlisle provided vocational and manual training and sought to systematically strip away tribal culture.
Schools insisted students drop their Indian names, forbade the speaking of their languages, and cut off long hair. Cutting off the hair was done in many tribes when a relative died, otherwise you wore it long. For these children, cutting hair meant cutting off contact.
Not surprising, some schools met fierce resistance from Native parents and youth. But some young people like athlete Jim Thorpe, responded positively, or at least ambivalently, to the boarding schools. Some students said the schools fostered a sense of shared Indian identity that transcended tribal boundaries.
Carlisle’s founder Captain Pratt, said the following to an 1892 convention, and spotlights his pragmatic, frequently brutal methods for “civilizing” the “savages.” A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one, and that high sanction of his destruction has been an enormous factor in promoting Indian massacres. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man. Again, Pratt implies Native traditions are wrong. Using God to defend the willful destruction of families in any culture is reprehensible to me, as I’m sure it is to God. Didn’t God create all nations and all skin colors?
Tribes strongly disagreed with the American/Canadian government’s system of boarding schools, removals and adoptions. The tribes felt their placement and enforcement are always best for their children. Tribal leaders took action and fought for the Indian Welfare Act which was passed in 1978. (It seems so recent.)
Our culture is our tribal family.
Yet in the past 100 years, tribes lost two or three generations to the government’s system of removals and adoption.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
In 2010, finally, more and more adoptive families are becoming more sensitive to the children of "mixed race" they adopt. This example of HANAI was particularly striking to me, since I was in a closed adoption and knew nothing about my birthfamily or their names or tribal origins. I wish I had known something and had been given respect for my Cherokee-Shawnee-Delaware ancestry.
It took me many years to know my own name and the names of my grandparents and their parents...
One blogger wrote this review of The Family of Adoption* by Joyce Maguire Pavao
This book is a bit more academic than Birthmother, but still an important read. It examines the adoption experience from all three perspectives, giving special attention to the children. It devotes a chapter to each important developmental stage in the adopted child’s life – exploring common issues and conversations they will have as they grow up. Pavao’s years of psychological training and experience have given her some powerful insights into what makes adoption a successful, enriching experience. Once particular passage in the Epilogue really stuck with me – it was upon reading this that I really became convinced of the beauty of adoption:
Many years ago in Hawaii, I was one of two keynote speakers at a conference, both of us adopted. The gentleman went first. He was native Hawaiian, and in Hawaii there is an ancient custom of adoption called hanai. In a Hawaiian marriage, when you become “related” to the in-law family, you are then considered one family, and you would not “war” against each other. The same is true in hanai — if you place your child with another family, the two families become connected, and are considered one large extended family. This Hawaiian adopted person opened the conference with loud drums and chanting. It was beautiful—stunning—and it went on for quite a while. The entire audience sat very still and listened, mesmerized.
When he had finished, he stated that he had just recited the names of his ancestors. He had chanted the lineage of both his family by birth and his family by adoption. He said that it is a great honor to be a hanai person, as you are the reservoir that holds the lineage of two great families; you are the place and the person where they connect and become one extended family. It is a prestigious position to be the connector of two families.
~~ If adoptive parents read this, please show this respect to the blood and origin of your adopted child. Give them all the information you can to spare them the trauma of not knowing....
Trace, author of ONE SMALL SACRIFICE: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects (2009)
(birthdaughter of Earl Bland and Helen Thrall)
(adopted by Sev and Edie DeMeyer)
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.
click to listen
Listening to The Other Side of Adoption with Trace A DeMeyer by Fire Talk Production https://t.co/6SGuMcotmn— TraceLHentz (@StonePony33) January 17, 2019