Get new posts by email:

How to Use this Blog

BOOZHOO! We've amassed tons of information and important history on this blog since 2010. If you have a keyword, use the search box below. Also check out the reference section above. If you have a question or need help searching, use the contact form at the bottom of the blog.

We want you to use BOOKSHOP! (the editor will earn a small amount of money or commission. (we thank you) (that is our disclaimer statement)

This is a blog. It is not a peer-reviewed journal, not a sponsored publication... WE DO NOT HAVE ADS or earn MONEY from this website. The ideas, news and thoughts posted are sourced… or written by the editor or contributors.

EMAIL ME: (outlook email is gone)


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lawsuit Shines Spotlight on Sexual Abuse of Navajo Children within the Lamanite Placement Program

PRESS CONFERENCE: Lawsuit Shines Spotlight on Sexual Abuse of Navajo Children within the Lamanite Placement Program

Two enrolled members of the Navajo Nation filed suit against LDS Family Services and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the “Mormon” or “LDS” Church, stemming from child sexual abuse that occurred during the Church’s “Lamanite Placement Program” in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Complex PTSD as an official diagnosis

CLICK: Complex PTSD as an official diagnosis

For many of us adoptees, this PTSD diagnosis is reason enough to seek immediate help... Trace

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How do we heal trauma suffered by Native communities?

It is not enough that the Attawapiskat First Nation has declared a state of emergency over the epidemic of suicides and suicide attempts among its youth. Our entire country should declare a state of emergency about the appalling health status, physical and mental, of First Nations and Inuit communities. Would we not have already if, instead of Nunavut or Attawapiskat, it was, say, the teens of Westmount, Forest Hill or Kitsilano who were killing themselves at 10 times the national rate?

I am often asked to visit First Nations communities across Canada to speak about addiction, stress-related illness and child development. The ordinary Canadian citizen simply has no idea, cannot even begin to imagine, what misfortunes, tragedies and other kinds of adversity many native young people experience by the time they reach adolescence – how many deaths of loved ones they witness, what abuse they endure, what despair they feel, what self-loathing plagues them, what barriers to a life of freedom and meaning they face.

At the core of the suicide pandemic is unresolved trauma, passed almost inexorably from one generation to the next, along with social conditions that induce further hopelessness. The source of that multi-generational trauma is this country’s colonial past and its residue in the present. The march of the history and progress Canada celebrates, from which we derive much pride and national identity, meant catastrophe for natives: the loss of lands and livelihood and of freedom of movement, the mockery and invalidation of their spiritual ways, the near-extirpation of their culture, the corruption of their intra-familial and intra-communal relationships, and finally, for nearly a hundred years, the state-sanctioned abduction, rape, physical abuse and mental torture of their children.

The questions we must ask ourselves nationally are very simple. How do we as a country move to heal the trauma that drives the misery of many native communities? What can be done to undo the dynamics our past has dictated? Some may balk at such inquiry, fearing the discomfort that comes with guilt. However, this is not a matter of communal guilt, but of communal responsibility. It is not about the past. It is about the present. And it is about all of us: When some among us suffer, ultimately we all do.

To begin, native history must be taught fully and in unsparing detail in our schools. All Canadians should know, for example, that 50 years ago it was not unheard of for a four-year-old girl to have a pin stuck in her tongue for the crime of speaking her mother language and later endure serial rape by teachers, religious mentors. Such were the antecedents of today’s drug use and suicidal anguish. The resonant values, brilliant art, stories and wisdom culture of First Nations people should be introduced in Canadian schools. Canadians must be helped to see their First Nations peers in their fullness, which includes their humanity, grandeur, unspeakable suffering and strength.

We must renounce any political, economic or social policy that reinforces the colonial trauma of disempowerment, loss and dispossession. Not another square centimetre of native land must be disturbed, not a blade of grass cut, not one more drop of water diverted, not a millimetre of pipeline laid without First Nations agreement.

Institutions and individuals interacting with native people must become deeply trauma-informed. Judges, teachers, law-enforcement personnel, nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, public employees, policy-makers all must understand what trauma is, its multiple impacts on human mentality and behavior, and how to address it. Without such information, as I have witnessed repeatedly, the best-meaning people can unwittingly re-traumatize those who can least bear further pain and loss. Practices that devastate families must be stopped, such as the frequent apprehension of children without restorative and compassionate family-building support.

Alternative forms of justice must be developed, aligned with native traditions and in consultation with First Nations. The implicit racism in our law-enforcement institutions must be openly acknowledged and cleansed. Powerfully beneficial traditional healing practices must be researched, taught, encouraged. We need to celebrate the First Nations cultural renaissance, a tribute to human resilience, now taking place.

Economic and social conditions that engender despair must be addressed, with the utmost urgency. If we could spend more than $15-billion on our self-declared mission to help the people of Afghanistan, surely we can find the resources in our rich land to help redeem people whom our history continues to victimize.

(Gabor Maté is a retired B.C. physician who specializes in addiction.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Missing Threads Best Documentary award! #WICWA

Adoptee Loa Porter (HoChunk)
One Native film, Missing Threads, was selected as the festival’s Best Documentary. The film chronicles the creation and passing of the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act (WICWA). This important piece of state legislation has far-reaching implications, and sets an important precedent for all tribes as they navigate the sensitive subject of the foster care system and its impacts on Native children. According to the ABQfilmx website the film reinforces the significance of the "thread that connects a child to their culture, to their sense of self, home and belonging. When that thread is broken or missing, the individual and the culture suffer. Can the thread be mended? Can connection be restored? This documentary explores the pivotal influence of tribal culture and connection for Native children, and the negative impacts for the child, the family and tribal culture when that connection is missing." 

More about this film is in the new anthology STOLEN GENERATIONS!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Adoption Trauma, Adaptation & Addiction

By Trace Hentz (American Indian Adoptees editor)

I freely admit I am an adoptee with trauma, a trauma that happened when I was a tiny baby (pre-language).  Doctors might classify this as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Today there are many other terms: Reactive Attachment Disorder, Severe Narcissistic Injury, the Primal Wound, or perhaps the Adoptee Syndrome.

Today I was explaining to a friend on the phone I was trying to find an analogy for her high stress (distress).  I told her: Imagine you are a rabbit raised in a den of snakes. That rabbit would never feel comfortable and you'd be on high alert, as in adrenal overload - "fight or flight." That stress on you the rabbit would not go away: You are not home. The mother snake is not your mother. You want your own mother. You don't feel safe. These snakes are not your people. They literally scare you.

The trauma can add up: being abandoned-relinquished-separated from your source/mother, foster care before adoption, or an orphanage, not bonding to anyone: all these add up to more trauma and being afraid.

Now I know this will upset people who adopted a baby. Some are very nice people. They don't want to be called snakes or scary.

But the bottom line for the adoptee: The strangers are not your parents. They adopted you. They are substitutes.  What happened as a baby affects us as adults.

And as this short video (above) by Paul Sunderland suggests: it's not adoption, it's adaptation. We adoptees do adapt.  Some of us go insane. And we get scarred. And the stress of that is not good for any child. And it follows you into adulthood. (And as the video suggests, some of us fall into addictions and self-medicating behavior and suicide.) Some of us get very sick.  Full Video

No matter how well meaning our adoptive parents are, they must understand how we view this situation, what we take from it and understand, and what we feel deeply in our soul.

Watch Part One: Primal Wound with Nancy Verrier...

This loss we experience is a soul injury.  And it lasts our entire life.

Friday, May 20, 2016

#60s Scoop Unbelievable Journey

Heather Sararas, local crisis counsellor at Maggie’s, has found her birth mother 47 years after she was removed from her home at the age of four during the “Sixties Scoop” of aboriginal children in Canada. Here she visits with her mother, who is now living in Kingston.


Heather Sararas is one of the crisis counsellors at Maggie’s Resource Centre of North Hastings, and for many years has been working to help women and children in North Hastings change their lives for the better. She is a mother, wife, and now grandmother; a hard worker devoted to her family and herself, and her community.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Language has power: “Education is the means whereby a culture perpetuates itself and transfers itself to the young"

This is first time UAS has had graduates with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Alaska Native Languages and Studies. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)
The University of Alaska Southeast graduated its first Alaska Native Languages and Studies majors in 2014. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Many of Alaska’s rural schools are not working. Low student performance and high teacher turnover are just two of more obvious indicators of problems in these mostly Native school districts. Those working in the schools say it’s time for radical changes.

Paul Berg has taught in Alaska for more than 40 years — 10 of them in villages.

“You want to see racism go to a village school,” said Berg. “You’ll see Outside, usually Anglo teachers have the best jobs, the most pay. Vast majority of administrators will be Anglo. It is not working. The statistics and the data are very clear. ”

Berg, now 70, teaches high school students during the summer and works as a cross-cultural specialist for the Goldbelt Heritage Foundation. He, among other educators meeting this month at the University of Alaska’s Natives Studies Conference, describes schools as colonial forces not that much different from the boarding schools of years ago that punished Native children for speaking their languages.

“Education is the means whereby a culture perpetuates itself and transfers itself to the young. Public education has taken this away from the Yupik, the Inupiat, the Aleut and others and given basically middle-class America to these people,” said Berg. “As to the degree that they wish that… that should be their choice but they should have the inalienable undeniable right to transfer the culture and the language to their children. It’s called the right of culture sovereignty and English-speaking nations are among the last on earth to recognize it.
Xh'unei Lance Twitchell addresses the crowd that had gathered for the signing of HB 216, a bill making Alaska's Native languages official state languages. (Photo by Jennifer Canfield/KTOO)
Xh’unei Lance Twitchell addresses a crowd at the 2014 Alaska Federation of Natives Convention. At the event, Gov. Sean Parnell signed HB 216, a bill making Alaska’s Native languages official state languages. (Photo by Jennifer Canfield/KTOO)

“My prayer is that Tlingit is going to live forever because we want our little babies to be talking,” said Xh’unei Lance Twitchell.

Keep Reading

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Indian Child Welfare Act: The Real Tragedy Is That It’s Not Enforced

Casey Jo Caswell of Lansing, Mich. made a terrible mistake. Homeless and jobless, she turned to Michigan’s child welfare agency for help raising her son, Ricky.
But the agency offered no help with housing, no help with a job and no help with education. They told her to surrender the child to “temporary” foster care, and then rushed to terminate her parental rights.
Ricky was placed with middle class foster parents in a nice, big home. First it was as a foster child, then it became his adoptive home.
Once, during a counseling session, The Detroit News reported, the boy was playing with two plastic horses when he said: “This little horse is going to die if he can’t be with his mother.” That proved prophetic. Ricky Holland’s white adoptive parents murdered him. They stuffed his body in a trash bag and left it by the side of a road.
Yet in all the years since, no one has suggested that, because of this horror story, the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), the law that spurred the rush to place Ricky in the home where he was adopted to death, should be repealed or curbed. That’s understandable. There’s an excellent case for curbing ASFA, but it shouldn’t be built on horror stories that unfairly stigmatize entire groups.
Yet Marie Cohen offers a similar horror story involving a Native American home (recycled from the Goldwater Institute) as the only evidence in support of her claim that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) should be curbed. Or maybe should never have been passed at all; she’s not clear about that.
Cohen dismisses in a single sentence the horrors inflicted on Native American children that led to passage of ICWA. In fact, from the 19th century through the 1960s, American child welfare agencies tried to effectively eradicate Indian culture and, indeed, Indian tribes, by simply taking away children.
First, they were warehoused in hideous orphanages. Later, there was a campaign of mass adoptions. Melissa Harris Perry called the orphanages an “explicit cultural extermination mission.”

By the mid-20th century, people stopped actually saying “kill the Indian, save the child.” But it took ICWA to change practice, and it hasn’t changed nearly enough.


HELP us find Navajo adoptee Christopher Largo

We received this urgent message from Tina. If you know an adoptee born on Nov. 12. 1973/4 - or on January 12, 1974 -- please contact me immediately. []

His mom is very ill and just had cancer surgery. She has made a major effort to try and find her son (my brother) recently. She put him up for adoption through the Navajo Nation Social Service. 

My brother was adopted through the Navajo Nation Social Service. What information I received from my mom is as follows: He was born November 12, 1973/1974 at the Gallup Indian Hospital or on January 12, 1974 in Gallup, New Mexico.  My mom, Betty Jean Largo, named her son Christopher Largo. He was immediately adopted as soon as he was born.  Since he was adopted out through the Navajo Nation and in his 40's there was nothing Navajo Social Services office could do. 
My mom said she thought she gave birth on November 12, 1973/1974 but her aunt said she gave birth on January 12, 1974.  Anyway, my mom said everything was a blur. The days after she adopted, she tried to get her baby back but social service told her she couldn't do that.

If he has non-identifying information, his mother was born in 1949 and was age 24 when she had him. Both parents are Navajo.

Please share this message.

Monday, May 16, 2016

We Were Children

Josephine sent us this link from New Brunswick, Canada


In this 2012 feature film, the profound impact of the Canadian government’s residential school system is conveyed through the eyes of two children who were forced to face hardships beyond their years. A s young children, Lyna and Glen were taken from their homes and placed in church-run boarding schools, where they suffered years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, the effects of which persist in their adult lives. We Were Children gives voice to a national tragedy and demonstrates the incredible resilience of the human spirit.

Thank you Megwetch Josephine!

2-Year-Old Miles Stead’s Death #ICWA

ICWA Violations and Rampant Child Removals

Miles Stead died from
Miles Stead died from brain injury
Guest Commentary
Published May 15, 2016
Miles Stead, a two-year-old Lakota boy, was killed by his foster mother just months after being taken from his home on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. His story should be raising alarms about the rampant removal of Native American children from their families in violation of federal law, yet it has been largely ignored by the national media.
Stead’s foster mother, Mary Beth Jennewein, was arrested in March and charged with second degree murder and four counts of voluntary manslaughter. A hearing held May 11 denied Jennewein a reduced bond. Her conviction is anticipated in June.
Nina Stead, Miles’s biological mother, had no history of child abuse when her son was taken after she was found drinking a beer. If the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) were adhered to, Miles could have been saved, and this injustice could have been prevented.
ICWA is meant to address the widespread separation of Native American children from their families and tribes. Its purpose is to protect the rights of children to live with their families, and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families. The federal law dictates that placement preference for the child is to be given to extended family or tribal families, and that tribes be notified when their children are placed in the foster care system, which provides the tribes a chance to intervene in state proceedings.
However, ICWA is constantly violated. Why? It’s unfortunately simple. Native American children are seen as cash cows. The Department of Social Services (DSS) categorizes Native American children as “special needs,” which brings the state and adopting families extra cash.
South Dakota for example, which is notorious for its ICWA violations, reels in $79,000 per Native American child per year, and families who adopt can claim a tax credit of $13,400. Seven tribal governments endorsed a 2013 report concluding there is “a strong financial incentive for state officials to take high numbers of Native American foster children into custody.”
Native American children continue to be placed in foster care at an alarming rate. They constitute two percent of the total number of children in foster care, even though they only make up 1 percent of the United States child population. In South Dakota, more than 750 Native American children are placed in foster care per year, making up nearly one-third of the state’s foster care population, despite only making up 13 percent of the total child population.

ICWA violations have led to almost 90 percent of Native American children being placed in non-Native homes. These children hold the future of their tribe, they are the source of revitalization for tribal communities and their continued removal places tribes at risk of becoming extinct. If children continue to be taken at the current rate there may not be children to continue the tribe, and the cultural identity of the tribe can’t be passed down.

There have been developments in the past year however, suggesting that this trend of unbridled ICWA violations may finally begin slowing down. Last year, the Bureau of Indian Affairs published new ICWA guidelines to strengthen the law and ensure its compliance, and that same year the courts found that South Dakota willfully violated ICWA. Officials within the DSS, the state attorney and Judge Jeff Davis were found to have violated ICWA. Their actions resulted in thousands of children being placed with non-Native families.

What’s more, the Administration for Children and Families proposed in [month] to record ICWA-related data, which has never been done before and is expected to illuminate the extent of overrepresentation of Native American children in foster care. Last month, a Memorandum of Understanding was announced between the BIA, Department of Justice and Health and Human Services to ensure ICWA fulfills its intended purpose.

State ICWA noncompliance has spun out of control, and at long last U.S. government agencies have become aware of what Indian Country has known for decades — that children like Miles succeed better when raised by their families. For people like Susan Becker, a close family friend of Miles’ mother who is much too familiar with seeing Lakota youth taken from their families, this level of attention is long overdue.

“ICWA needs to step in earlier,” said Becker, a member of the Rosebud Reservation. “My nephew was murdered because a woman wanted to collect a paycheck.”
Becker had known Miles since he was born, and views his mother as family, she refers to Miles as her nephew and had temporary guardianship status prior to his removal. As soon as Miles was taken from his mother, Becker sprung into action and attempted to gain custody of him. However, since she is not a blood relative, the DSS said she’d have to take a foster parent class, which they only offered to her in March.

“Miles passed away before I could even start the classes,” Becker said, adding that the DSS agents made the process very difficult for her.

As per ICWA’s guidelines, Miles should have had preferential placement with a tribal member or family member, but the DSS quickly placed him in a non-Native home.

Coroners found Miles with a fractured skull and internal bleeding. They ruled traumatic brain injury as the cause of death. Jennewein told law enforcement that Miles was “known to hit his head a lot,” suggesting that this happened while at daycare, but surveillance video from the daycare proved this was not the case.

Miles’ story is a testament that adherence to ICWA can literally be a matter of life and death. Children are being removed from their families for preposterous reasons that one could not imagine happening to a White family.

“I don’t know how to put this, but if you’re drinking one beer and someone calls the police you’ll get your kids taken,” Becker said. “The state’s making money off our children.”

This issue plaguing Indian Country demands the attention of the masses. Native American issues cannot continue to be placed on the backburner and ignored by popular media.

The Lakota People’s Law Project is calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to provide recommendations to Congress on how to develope child and family service programs that are run by tribal nations, for tribal nations. This commission would take testimony from boarding school survivors, identifying how the boarding school system impacted their lives so that their stories will not be lost in U.S. history.  It would also conduct comprehensive national studies focused on the past and ongoing effects of the boarding school policy, and advise Congress on ways to begin an official process of healing.

Acquiescing to the DSS’ widespread seizure of Native American children will lead to the eventual dissolution and destruction of tribes. Our children are our future. Our children are sacred.

Ardy Raghian is the press director for the Lakota People’s Law Project.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Big Surprise #1 (last week)

This is a reblog from June 2011.

I wish for every adoptee out there that they can find out how they arrived, who their parents are and what actually happened.

Can one day change your life?

Like so many adoptees out there, too many of us have blank pages in our Chapter One. Most adoptees don’t know much (if anything) about the year we were conceived or events leading up to our birth. Our parents might be mythical figures; so dreamlike, we create stories for them. We might make our parents into martyrs who were coerced into giving us up because they were too young or too poor or unmarried. We might imagine them as star-crossed lovers like Romeo and Juliet, better to think of them as two people who were in love.

All I knew: my parents lived together. Sadly because Earl and Helen have died, my beginning was lost and I never expected to know what happened 50+ years ago. Up until now, the only people I’d met on my adoptee journey did not recall my parents together. My parents did not get married in Chicago. After me, each made new babies they kept.

One of my cousins Buddy and I share the same great-grandma… Even though I’ve been to Illinois more than a few times to visit my siblings, Earl’s kids, I had not met this cousin. I wrote to Buddy a few years ago but never heard from him.

Buddy is the Harlow-Allen-Morris family historian in Illinois.

So last week we spoke for the first time. I heard the one thing I never expected to hear. Buddy knew my parents - Earl and Helen – when they were living together in Chicago in 1955/6.  He is the only person who remembers them as a couple.

Yes, it was a long time ago. Buddy was 12 and stayed at their apartment. Buddy said my mother was so nice, how he really liked her.  He thought Earl and Helen were married.  When he went back home to Pana, he didn’t know they broke up until Earl married his next wife Caroline.  Yes, my father had already been married before but not to Helen, my mother.

Adoptees like me have a hard time imagining our parents in their 20s. Fantasy seems better than the reality I had a dad who didn’t marry every woman he slept with and he decided to split with my mother because she got pregnant with me.

The new anthology Stolen Generations has stories just like mine, how they were able to find out where they fit in their parent's life story... READ MORE HERE

Taken 2017 #60sScoop

Public broadcasters from around the world hear how Canada became a leader in Indigenous TV at INPUT conference

Glen Gould as Smokey Stoney and Tantoo Cardinal as Wilma Stoney in Blackstone, a television series produced for APTN. HO / THE CANADIAN PRESS

When Lisa Meeches was pregnant with her daughter she read some statistics gathered by the United Nations about Indigenous women.

They revealed that by the time an indigenous woman came of age there was a high probability she would be murdered, abused or suffer from addiction issues. Her daughter had yet to be born, but the Ojibwe TV and film producer was struck by a sense of dread.

It was the starting point for the documentary series, Taken, an Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and CBC documentary series that will look at stories of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“Taken was born out of fear,” Meeches told an audience Monday night at the the International Public Television Screening Conference (INPUT) in downtown Calgary. “You find those passion pieces and you are able to roll the dice and really believe in those projects.”

While the focus of INPUT is to watch, discuss and debate public television content from around the globe, Monday’s Canadian Indigenous Showcase shone a light on a distinctly Canadian phenomenon. Moderated by Calgary’s Michelle Thrush, a Calgary actress and activist who stars in Blackstone, and Tina Keeper, an activist, former MP for Churchill, Man. and star of the Alberta-shot CBC series North of 60, the panel celebrated Canada’s leadership in Indigenous television.

As Taken proves, Indigenous filmmakers and TV producers rarely shy away from the painful aspects of aboriginal life, both past and present, in Canada. But the panel discussion heard how Canada has been a leader in providing opportunities for these stories to be told. The rise of Internet and social media has only opened the doors wider and allowed more stories to be told as the audience continues to grow. Aboriginal youth are one of the largest growing demographics in Canada, with 40 per cent of all aboriginals 19-years-old or younger.

The international audience on Monday, which included delegates from around the world involved in public broadcasting, heard how Indigenous storytelling reached this point in Canada.
That included APTN’s origin story. Executive director Monika Ille and senior manager of programming Danielle Audette chronicled the network’s early days in the territories and rise to national broadcaster, the first of its kind in Canada.

Producers Bonnie Thompson and Tasha Hubbard spoke about the National Film Board’s evolving relationship with aboriginal filmmakers, including the establishment in 1968 of the Challenge for Change program, which allowed Indigenous filmmakers to tell their own stories and led to the cinematic careers of artists such as Gil Cardinal and Willie Dunn.

CBC reporter Duncan McCue spoke about the power of seeing aboriginal representation on television when he was growing up as a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation.

It was after seeing actor Pat John as Jesse on the CBC series The Beachcombers in the 1980s that McCue first realized aboriginal characters on TV could stray from the stereotype personified by the Lone Ranger’s stoic and loyal sidekick Tonto.

“Jesse wore plaid shirts and jeans, he worked hard and he had a big smile,” McCue said. “Jesse was a sidekick too (to Bruno Gerussi), but he looked like one of my relatives. To me, Jesse was a real Indian on TV. There’s something about seeing your own people on TV that makes you feel bigger.”
Taken is scheduled to run in 2017 on the CBC and APTN. The NFB’s Thompson and Hubbard will be producing the upcoming documentary Birth of a Family, which will follow the story of how Saskatoon Star Phoenix reporter Betty Ann Adam’s three siblings were reunited after being taken from their Dene mother during the “Sixties Scoop,” a mass removal of aboriginal children from their families and into the Canadian child welfare system starting in the mid-1960s.

Meanwhile, one of the most critically acclaimed series on APTN, Blackstone, could soon have much more of a global reach. While the Edmonton-shot series, which focused on the politics and drama on a First Nations reserve, ended after five seasons in December, creator Ron Scott said that the series has entered a deal with Netflix that will soon have Blackstone seen in more than 80 countries.

“For thousands and thousands of years we’ve been passing down stories through our elders to our children,” said Thrush, who won a Gemini in 2011 for her role as Grace Stoney in Blackstone. “This has been going on for a long time. We are seeing the modern way of using the oral tradition. That’s how we are telling our stories: Through filmmaking, through community news, through the media.”
INPUT continues until Thursday at the Telus Convention Centre. Visit

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Embracing the Past and the Present #Indigenous


Click links in tweets... have a good weekend... xox Trace

Friday, May 13, 2016

I got robbed of loving family #StolenGenerations #60sScoop

Thunder Bay man seeks accountability for lost childhood

Class action suit for children of the ‘Sixties Scoop’ stalled (in 2012)


When William Campbell wanted to find his biological parents, he didn’t even know where to look. He knew he was born in Kirkland Lake, Ont. but didn’t know from which of the three First Nations in the area he’d been taken as a child.
Campbell is one of more than 5,000 people in northern Ontario (an estimated 16,000 across the province) who were scooped up by child welfare agencies in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. They were adopted out to non-Aboriginal homes across Canada, the United States and as far away as Europe.
William Campbell was adopted out to a non-Aboriginal home as part of a child welfare agency sweep between the 1950s and the 1970s. He said he suffered abuse in two adoptive homes. (Jody Porter)

"I got robbed of having a proper childhood," the 42-year-old said. "I got robbed of having a loving family."
Campbell said he suffered abuse in two adoptive homes. He said he remembers being locked in a room as a four-year-old and watching out the window as his adoptive parents drove away.
"My whole life I remember crying for my mom, growing up, many times, and wanting to see her again," he said.
Campbell’s parents both died before he even knew where to look for them. Finally, as an adult, he started making connections to First Nations people who led him to his home community of Beaver House First Nation.  He was the last of seven siblings, all taken by the Children’s Aid, to find his way home.

‘Right the wrongs’ of the past

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation estimates thousands of children from northern Ontario were part of the so-called Sixties Scoop. It’s supporting a lawsuit, hoping to see people compensated by the federal government for being stripped of their identity and culture.
"It’s a fundamental issue for us that we need to right the wrongs of what has happened to us in the past," said Terry Waboose, a Nishnawbe Aski Nation deputy grand chief.
But the law suit is still years from being heard. It faced a serious set-back in January 2012 when the federal government won an appeal, sending the case back to be re-certified as a class action.

Opponent has ‘unlimited resources’

Morris Cooper, a lawyer representing the First Nations people in the suit, said he expected a long battle, but is surprised that even the early court proceedings have been so fraught with delays.
"You're dealing with an opponent with effectively unlimited resources," Cooper said of the federal government. "They have our money to litigate with and can assign as many lawyers as they deem appropriate to present every procedural or legal obstacle available."
William Campbell says he wants to see government held accountable for his lost childhood, and his stolen identity. He hopes sharing his story publically will help move the case forward.
For now, Campbell seeks refuge as part of a drum circle at a First Nations healing lodge. He regrets not being able to sing the songs in his own language, but appreciates the healing beat of the drum.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Summary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

List of Children's Rights (2013)

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in history.

The complete text of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the Preamble, exceeds 7,400 words. Many online summaries are more than two thousand words long. This brief summary is less than 700 words. It provides a short outline of the 54 Articles.
Despite being the most widely adopted human rights treaty in history, it has encountered opposition from Christian conservatives in the USA.
They frequently misrepresent what the Convention says, so it's essential to double check any supposed 'quote' from the CRC by consulting the official document (PDF):

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has a
web page version.

List of Children's Rights:

Jump to: PART II (Committee) or PART III (Procedures)
  • Preamble - An overview of the treaty.

    PART I.

  • Article 1: Definition of a child.
  • Article 2: Children must be protected from discrimination.
  • Article 3: The best interests of the child
    (taking into account the rights and duties of parents).
  • Article 4: Legislative measures to implement the treaty.
  • Article 5: The rights of parents.
  • Article 6: The right to life.
  • Article 7: The child's right to birth registration.
  • Article 8: The child's right to a name, nationality and family relations.
  • Article 9: The child's right not be separated from his or her parents against the child's will.
  • Article 10: The child's right to maintain contact with both parents if they separate.
  • Article 11: Measures against the illicit transfer of children abroad.
  • Article 12: The child's right to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings.
  • Article 13: The child's right to freedom of expression.
  • Article 14: The child's right to freedom of thought.
  • Article 15: The child's right to freedom of association.
  • Article 16: The child's right to privacy.
  • Article 17: The child's right to information from national and international mass media.
  • Article 18: Parents or legal guardians have the primary responsibility for the child's upbringing.
  • Article 19: State obligations to protect children against maltreatment and abuse.
  • Article 20: State obligations to children temporarily or permanently deprived of their family environment.
  • Article 21: State obligations to children with regard to adoption.
  • Article 22: State obligations to children who are classed as refugees.
  • Article 23: State obligations to children who are mentally or physically disabled.
  • Article 24: State obligations to provide child health care services.
  • Article 25: Children placed in physical or mental health care settings have the right to a periodic review of their circumstances and treatment.
  • Article 26: The child's right to social security insurance and benefits.
  • Article 27: The child's right to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.
  • Article 28: The child's right to education.
  • Article 29: The goals to which a child's education should be directed, and the right of individual adults to establish and direct educational institutions.
  • Article 30: The rights of children belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic minority groups.
  • Article 31: The child's right to rest, leisure and recreational activities.
  • Article 32: The child's right to be protected from economic exploitation.
  • Article 33: State obligations to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic and psychotropic drugs.
  • Article 34: State obligations to protect children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.
  • Article 35: State obligations to prevent the abduction or trafficing of children.
  • Article 36: State obligations to protect children from all other forms of exploitation prejudicial to the child's welfare.
  • Article 37: State obligations to ensure that children are not subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishments, including capital punishment or life imprisonment without the possibility of release.
  • Article 38: State obligations to ensure that children under fifteen years do not take a direct part in wars or other hostilites, and to protect and care for children affected by armed conflict.
  • Article 39: State obligations to promote physical and psychological recovery of child victims of torture, degrading treatment or armed conflict.
  • Article 40: State obligations concerning children who infringe penal laws.
  • Article 41: No part of the Convention shall override provisions contained in State laws which are more conducive to children's rights.

    PART II - Committee on the Rights of the Child

  • Article 42: State obligations to make the provisions of the Convention widely known.
  • Article 43: Description of the role of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
  • Article 44: Reports to the Committee.
  • Article 45: The process by which the Committee evaluates reports.

    PART III - Procedures for ratification, amendments, etc.

  • Article 46: The Convention shall be open for signature by all States.
  • Article 47: The Convention is subject to ratification.
  • Article 48: The Convention can be adopted by accession (same as ratification but not preceded by signature).
  • Article 49: The Convention enters into force on the 30th day after the 20th ratification/accession.
  • Article 50: A State Party may propose an amendment.
  • Article 51: A State Party may file reservations.
  • Article 52: A State Party may denounce the Convention
    (i.e. announce termination of the State's participation).
  • Article 53: The Secretary-General of the United Nations is designated as the depositary of the Convention.
  • Article 54: The original of the present Convention resides with the Secretary-General of the UN.
Article 30
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of Indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language. 

[The government's Indian Adoption Projects and 60s Scoop completely violated our rights... Trace]

[UNICEF News note: Children are still being trafficked 200 years after the abolition of the slave trade]

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Native Solidarity Interview with Trace Hentz #StolenGenerations

Listen to an interview about the new book STOLEN GENERATIONS

Canada to reposition itself on UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Chief Bruce Shisheesh, left, Minister of Indigenous Affairs Carolyn Bennett, centre, and Federal NDP MPP Charlie Angus, right, meet in the northern Ontario First Nations reserve of Attawapiskat, Ont., in an April 16, 2016, file photo. Two cabinet ministers will speak at the United Nations in New York City today about the government's approach to indigenous affairs, but grave conditions on a northern Ontario reserve have prompted the NDP's indigenous affairs critic to cancel his attendance as part of the Canadian delegation.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said Monday that Canada will be changing its position on the declaration, removing its status as a permanent objector and becoming a full supporter of the document. Keep Reading 

60s Scoop Resources

If you have links that you’d like to share or suggestions for more information please send us a message at

Monday, May 9, 2016

First Nations Canada: Eugenics


Seven facts about eugenics in Canada

  • Of the more than 3000 eugenic sterilizations in Canada, the vast majority were performed in Alberta under the direction of a Eugenics Board.
  • While eugenic sterilization waned across the world following the end of the Second World War in 1945, Alberta’s sterilization program continued until the repeal of the Sexual Sterilization Act of Alberta in 1972.
  • Leilani Muir won a landmark lawsuit against the province of Alberta in 1996 for wrongful confinement and sterilization; two documentaries, The Sterilization of Leilani Muir (1996) and Surviving Eugenics (2015) engage general audiences with issues that the case and its aftermath raise, and their significance for Canadians today.
  • The explicit or implicit grounds for eugenic sterilization were typically that a person’s undesirable mental or physical disabilities were thought to be heritable, and that such a person was thus unsuitable to parent.
  • Although central amongst those targeted by eugenic practices were people with a variety of disabilities, many children institutionalized, sterilized, and otherwise subject to eugenic practices in Canada did not in fact have disabilities.
  • Members of other marginalized groups–single mothers, First Nations and Métis people, eastern Europeans, and poor people—were disproportionately represented amongst those subjected to eugenic ideas and practices, such as sterilization.
  • The legacy of eugenics, expressed in sterilization laws and in social policies concerning immigration, schooling, and prenatal screening, remains with us today.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Many American Indians view what took place at Carlisle as genocide, 186 graves

US Army is open to returning Remains of American Indian Children buried in Carlisle 

Buildings at the Carlisle War College that once were the Carlisle Indian School, March 22, 2016. James Robinson,
Buildings at the Carlisle War College that once were the Carlisle Indian School, March 22, 2016. James Robinson,

By Red Power Media, Staff | May 6, 2016
Nearly 200 American Indian children perished at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School
For more than 100 years, American Indian children have been buried at Carlisle, the school that sought to cleanse their “savage nature” by erasing their names, language, customs, religions, and family ties.
Between 1879 and 1918, more than 10,000 American Indian children were housed at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, the federal government’s flagship boarding school based on a strict military model.
The children were stripped of all tribal traditions. Their native names were changed to European names and they were forced to adopt the traditions of white America.
Nearly 200 of the children perished at the school, most from diseases like tuberculosis or consumption. Their remains were never returned to their families. The children’s final resting place is on the grounds of what used to be the boarding school and is now part of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle.
American Indian children who died while attending the Carlisle Indian School are buried at this site on the Carlisle Barracks.
Grave-sites at Carlisle cemetery are often decorated by visitors with small stuffed animals, dreamcatchers and toys.
Now there’s a chance that some will be sent home to their tribes.
Patrick Hallinan, the head of Army cemeteries said in an interview that he’s open to meeting American Indian demands to repatriate children’s remains, provided talks on the matter prove fruitful and all regulations are met.
This marks a reversal for the Army, which in winter denied a Rosebud Sioux request to return 10 tribal children to South Dakota.
Now the Army confirms it will send two officials to Rosebud on May 10, to begin formal government-to-government consultations with the Sioux, the Northern Arapaho of Wyoming, and a third tribe that now seeks the return of its people, the Northern Cheyenne of Montana.
“I think things are going to happen,” said Russell Eagle Bear, the Rosebud historic-preservation officer. “I’m hoping they’re going to tell us they’re ready to work with us and let our relatives go.”
If that occurs, he said, an intended summer tribal pilgrimage to Carlisle could become an advance party to plan the return of Sioux remains.
The nearly 200 children that lie in the Carlisle cemetery were among thousands taken from native families in the West, spirited a thousand miles to the East, and forced through a wrenching experiment in assimilation.
Today many American Indians view what took place at Carlisle as genocide.
Chiricahua Apache children upon arrival at Carlisle Indian Industrial School
American Indian children upon arrival at Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
American Indian children four months after their arrival at Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
American Indian children four months after their arrival at Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
Hallinan says, the decision to return remains from Carlisle to Rosebud or elsewhere, rests with him.
“If the tribes are interested and this is something they want to do, we would be supportive to see that accomplished,” Hallinan said. “We look forward to working with the tribes, and we think that once we sit down and consult with them, there should be a positive outcome for all involved.”
He plans to send staff to two American Indian conferences this year, to see if other tribes wish to discuss the status of their ancestors’ remains.
While the Army plans to send two people on May 10, dozens could attend from Indian nations. Leaders of the Rosebud Sioux, Northern Arapaho, Cheyenne River Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, Standing Rock Sioux and Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribes will meet on Tuesday, in Rosebud, South Dakota with representatives from the federal government and the U.S. Army to begin negotiations over the repatriation of the children’s remains.
All six tribes intend to have people there, and the Rosebud Sioux will bring lawyers, political leaders, and tribal staff. South Dakota’s senators and congresswoman will send representatives.
This month’s meeting in Rosebud could portend a major step forward on an issue that torments many native peoples. It comes amid an outpouring of interest and awareness that followed a March 20 story in the Inquirer.
Carlisle opened in 1879 as the first federal Indian boarding school, spawning a fleet of successors that embraced the motto, “Kill the Indian, save the man.”
At Carlisle, children who spoke their native language could be beaten, while overcrowding and malnourishment weakened students, making them vulnerable to epidemics that swept the school.
Today many Indian researchers and activists refer to those who attended Carlisle and similar institutions as “boarding school survivors.” They say collective trauma and grief contributes to the devastating social ills that plague tribal communities.
Carlisle Indian Industrial School
Carlisle cemetery grave marked “Unknown.”

Officially the Carlisle cemetery contains 186 graves. Thirteen are marked “Unknown.” Many of the headstones bear names but no birth or death dates.
For approximately three decades beginning in the latter part of the 19th century, the federal government, in an effort to “tame the savage” and assimilate them into the dominant white culture, uprooted close to a million American Indian children from their reservation tribal homes, transporting them thousands of miles across the country to boarding schools.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Murray Sinclair #TRC

Murray Sinclair on tragedy, respect and the lessons of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Link to CBC radio segment and article by Shelagh Rogers here.

Shelagh Rogers shares stories from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at TEDxGabriolaIsland

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

About the Film: Dawnland #MaineTRC

When most people hear about children ripped from their families, they think of faraway places or of centuries past. The reality is it's been happening in the U.S. for centuries—and is still happening today. Native American children are more than twice as likely as non-Native children to be taken from their families and put into foster care, according to a 2013 study.
In Maine, a group of Native and non-Native leaders came together to acknowledge and address the abuses suffered by Native children in the hands of the child welfare system. Thanks to their commitment, the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was formed in 2012 to seek the truth and bring healing to those affected.

Dawnland is the only feature-length documentary to tell the inside story of this historic, first of its kind commission and the individuals—both Native and non-Native—who boldly and publicly came forward to share their stories of survival, guilt and loss, in order to illuminate the ongoing crisis of indigenous child removal.
The film follows key participants through the truth and reconciliation process: a survivor of foster care, a child welfare worker, a TRC commissioner, and the co-founder of the commission. Their intersecting journeys reveal buried trauma and intergroup disagreements that threaten to derail the whole process. Dawnland also provides essential historical context showing how these present-day conflicts are the result of 500 years of colonial domination of Native peoples.

Co-director Ben at Split Rock in Sipayik, Maine
Co-director Ben at Split Rock in Sipayik, Maine
NOTE: We do have information about the MAINE TRC in the new anthology STOLEN GENERATIONS  - LINK

Wilfred Buck Tells The Story Of Mista Muskwa

Happy Visitors!

They Took Us Away

They Took Us Away
click image to see more and read more

Blog Archive

Most READ Posts


You are not alone

You are not alone

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

click photo

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.

Google Followers