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Monday, January 13, 2014

MAKING CONTACT: My Interview with Native Genealogist Karen Vigeault-MLIS (updated)

By Trace A. DeMeyer

I was so surprised and happy to receive a gracious email from Karen as I do know many adoptees who get stuck on doing genealogy when they open their adoptions and have a name or family story that says there is INDIAN BLOOD. Once you have a name, you have to connect a parent or grandparent to a tribal roll. This has been a real problem for many adoptees.
The following interview is with Karen Vigneault-MLIS. She is an academic research librarian, genealogist and historical researcher. Karen is a member of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel. 
She has offered to help adoptees do family genealogy to be enrolled with their tribal nations. This offers hope for many of us! But remember that adoptees must do all the necessary steps to get their adoption records. She explains why this is so very important.

Karen, you have helped a few Native adoptees find their way back home. Can you share an example?
http://theacademy.sdsu.edu/TribalSTAR/services/EMailNewsletter/Archive/Sep_Oct2013/TS_Drumbeats_Sep_Oct_2013.html
Above is the link to pics and small article showing all that were involved in Patrick's aka Quinton's (his real name) story.  It was interesting because in his case his mom was adopted as well.. but she had passed.. so we had to get both cases opened. By opening his mothers we found more info on grandmothers last name. They spelled it wrong, which meant I had to try and decipher what it possibly matched on Aleutian records. I also called Alaska and spoke to people from villages in the area asking if they ever heard the name I thought it was.. In the end we found the enrollment documents on the tribal website.. He filled them out, sent out the adoption records as well.. and ultimately was enrolled..


Opening records seems to be the biggest roadblock for many adoptees.  How have you opened or accessed records?
I myself did not open the records. I had connections along the way and the ADOPTEE did their part in requesting info and documents... It starts with going to family court and requesting to get the records opened. Here in California we also have CILS (CA. Indian Legal Services.. which also has a form to petition to have your records opened.
http://www.calindian.org/about/cils-history

You work with another person that trains judges on these types of cases. You have opened records to get the adoptee enrolled. How did you do this? 
(see above) It is important that adoptees cultivate relationships with people connected to the court system. 

Have you used the Indian Child Welfare Act to petition the courts?
Yes

Do you recommend an adoptee use someone like you and could someone get in touch with you for your help?
Yes I think working with someone who already has the experience navigating through websites/ documents and Indian country would make the task a little easier. I can be reached at my email kumeyaayindian@hotmail.com
[I wish to thank Karen for this amazing offer to help adoptees in their search.]


Please click on the links above for photos and more information...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

Help in available!

Help in available!
1-844-7NATIVE (click photo)

click to listen

Diane Tells His Name

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.