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Friday, June 3, 2011

Our Children are Sacred by Judge Tim Connors


Seven generations ago someone was praying for us. We are the answer to their prayers. We take this responsibility seriously. When you are working with our children, it is sacred work.  Our children are sacred.

My mother Donna Lou was born in 1939. She and her family lived on Beaver Island in Michigan. After my grandmother died, my mother was separated from her brother and sent to be a domestic servant for a Mennonite minister and his wife in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This happened despite the fact that we had literally dozens of tribal family members who could have cared for her. Her Uncle Leo and his wife, for example, always wanted a daughter and would have loved to raise my mother. Unfortunately, she was sent away without any notice to her Indian family. While she was living with the Mennonites, she was forced to cut her hair outside of her Native tradition, prohibited from practicing Native
American traditions, and prohibited from any contact with her Native American family and tribe. When she turned 17, she was forced into a loveless, arranged marriage. The marriage didn’t last very long and she was on her own, alone in the world. She never had the courage to return home to her tribe because she felt so different and damaged. With her dark skin, black hair, and brown eyes she stood
out as different from the majority of her peers in the 1950s and beyond. She never felt like she belonged anywhere. Without good examples of parenting, raising her children was a struggle for her. If my mother had been born after the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and ICWA had been followed, she would’ve had a very different life and I would’ve had a very different mother.

Our Children Are Sacred
Why the Indian Child Welfare Act Matters
By Judge Tim Connors

http://turtletalk.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/jj_spr11_connors.pdf

[Please read this powerful paper by Judge Connors.. I am amazed at his eloquence on this topic. We need more judges like him  ...Trace]

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Takeaway Podcast ICWA

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!
Survivors, write your stories. Write your parents stories. Write the elders stories. Do not be swayed by the colonizers to keep quiet. Tribal Nations have their own way of keeping stories alive.... Trace

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Please support NARF

Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?

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.