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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Zebras and Giraffes: Finding where we fit in

By Trace L Hentz

I am now collecting stories by adoptees for a new book STOLEN GENERATIONS. It will be the third in a series of anthologies written by First Nations and Native American adoptees. Some were placed in non-Indian homes because of The Indian Adoption Projects (New York state had its own Indian Program) and the other larger project called ARENA.

These projects include adopting out Native children from Canada and the USA. 

First Nations Adoptees 60s Scoop

By the numbers


Estimated number of aboriginal children taken from their families during the Sixties Scoop in Canada

Source: Canadian government/National Household Survey
Canadian adoptees in the 60s Scoop have had more press coverage than here in the US and class action lawsuits have done much to promote the cultural genocide that adoption caused in Canada.

Peter d'Errico wrote a review of our first book TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects for Indian Country Today newspaper... He gets it. He knows what happened in the US.  His book review is very good, so I am sharing the review again. LINK

As I read adoptee stories, I get it. I am an adoptee, too. I think of how hard it is to fit in a family that is not your own so I wrote this down today:

I want you to image a little baby zebra is adopted by a family of giraffes. The giraffe family care for him as he grows up. The zebra felt loved by his new family, but as he grew bigger, he noticed he wasn't in the right place. These were not his people. And he wondered what happened to his own zebra family.

No matter how much love we were given, or not given as young adoptees, we figure out eventually we are not "home" and we wish to know where home is, and where our family is? and what happened?... No matter what our adoptive parents tell us or not tell us, we deserve to know the truth and we need to meet relatives and our first families to help us feel better and heal.

And adoptees need answers.  No one knows how many Native adoptees there are in the US. The governments of Canada and the US sought to destroy our connection to our tribes and families with these projects by adopting out babies and young children to non-Indians. The governments sought to erase us from tribal rolls. Our birth certificate was amended and lists our parents as the ones who adopted us.

How do we find a way to feel "home" again? We Search! We go into Reunion! Reunification means finding out who we truly are...

Sharing Stories helps adoptees to go full circle.  Sharing Stories help adoptees know they are not alone.

If you are interested in writing a story about your adoptee journey and reunion, please email me:  If you need help searching, email me too!

In case you missed this news article about the 60s Scoop, read HERE.  

This is one of the amazing 60s Scoop Adoptees!

Cole Burston/Toronto Star

Colleen Cardinal

Colleen Cardinal still remembers her first emotion at her last foster home: Fear. Now 42, Cardinal is Plains Cree from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alberta, but grew up in a non-indigenous home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., along with her two sisters. All three girls endured physical and sexual abuse and were treated like “second-class citizens” in their own home, Cardinal says.
The family’s biological children were given butter and white bread, while Cardinal and her sisters were given margarine and brown bread. The family used a bathroom indoors while the three aboriginal girls used an outhouse. “I remember waking my sisters up in the middle of the nighttime because I had to go pee, and I was scared to go outside by myself — in my flimsy little nightie, putting on my winter jacket and freezing,” Cardinal recalls.

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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.

Diane Tells His Name

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60s Scoop Survivors Legal Support


Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines

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.

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