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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.

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Monday, December 28, 2020

Truth & Healing Commission Conversation with Deb Haaland (updated)


kakichihiwewin project director S.A. sat down virtually with Congresswoman Deb Haaland (future Cabinet member) on November 24th to talk about the Truth & Healing Commission, her experiences and the importance of this telling our truths.


Native Issues Podcasts


From Indigenous feminism to the real story of Thanksgiving to a de-colonialist take on Star Trek, these podcasts show how the issues facing Native people affect all Americans.

READ: Seven Essential Listens From the Indigenous Podcasting Boom | Vanity Fair

Cindy Blackstock and The Spirit Bear Plan

The Spirit Bear Plan to End Inequalities in Public Services for First Nations Children, Youth and Families 

Lecturer: Cindy Blackstock Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada First Nations children and families living on reserve and in the Territories receive public services funded by the federal government, and since confederation, these services have fallen significantly short of what other Canadians receive. 

This injustice needs to end and Spirit Bear's Plan will do just that. 

A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Cindy Blackstock has 25 years of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights. Her promotion of culturally based and evidence informed solutions has been recognized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Frontline Defenders and many others. An author of over 50 publications and a widely sought after public speaker, Cindy has collaborated with other Indigenous leaders to assist the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in the development and adoption of a General Comment on the Rights of Indigenous children.

Canadian First Nations leads the way in healing our traumas. Cindy Blackstock is leading the way.

#Adoption is Trauma, Big Business


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Is Culture How You Think?


By Trace L Hentz (5/14/2015)

So much about adoption is complicated for the adoptee.  If you are like me, you may feel torn between who you think you are, who you are inside, versus how you were raised and who raised you.

I am an adoptee as readers know. What a great many adoptees have told me is they feel they lost culture when not raised in their tribe, losing parents, grandparents and the language. Even typing those words hurts. Loss is loss. Loss hurts.

This has bothered me. I think that the loss is true yet culture is not completely lost.

How? You still have the blood and that is built-in culture. (It's not erasable or removable.)

I think Native Adoptees have a different thought process that was not acknowledged or celebrated or honored when they were young. Non-Indian parents may not have appreciated how sensitive or funny or curious you were or if they did see it, they didn't say anything nice about it.

Girls who were strong tomboys like me were criticized and shy boys who were sensitive were bullied.

One thing to remember: non-Indians don't think Indian. You do. It's not their fault. We're very different in how we think.

Sit back and remember all the times as a child you made people laugh. Remember how much you loved animals. Remember what made you cry - like a sunset or sunrise. Remember how you gave thanks for life and all that is sacred, even if you were alone. Remember watching westerns on TV and rooting for the Indians?

We have a choice as an adoptee to return home and what I call "go full circle." It takes patience. It requires courage. It costs money. It demands you take time to learn and relearn and listen. This return to your culture may take years! (We still have the burden of closed adoption records in many states.)

Every culture will say it's people who carry the culture.

There is no culture better than another. That is true. But the culture of Indigenous People lives in your breath, bone and blood. If you exist, it exists.

Nothing, including adoption, can ever erase it.

Please read the entire book series... it has so much important information to help you...
Trace is the author of One Small Sacrifice, the book series Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects  and the creator of the blog American Indian Adoptees.

Monday, December 21, 2020

My adoptive parents tried to erase my Indigenous identity. They failed.

 Kim Wheeler was adopted during the Sixties Scoop and fought to find her way back to her culture

My name is Kim Wheeler but some know me as Kim Ziervogel. Others will remember me as Kim Bell, and to a small group of people I will always be Ruby Linda Bruyere. But the name game doesn't stop there. Why would someone have so many different names? Are they all aliases? Are they hiding from their past? From the law?

In my case, it's none of these. I'm a Sixties Scoop survivor and those names were given to me through birth, adoption and two marriages.

Dark painful secrets

A lot of things go unsaid because I've handled my trauma so well, I think. I've been told often I am a well-adjusted human. It comes from how I was raised and all the dirty secrets I had to keep in my childhood. Victims of sexual abuse are great at keeping secrets. At least I was.

My adopted father turned out to be a pedophile. It's something even until last year, my oldest adopted sibling and I argued about. That is, until I went into graphic detail about the abuse inflicted on me and then she seemed to accept it was the right term. 

My adoptive mother was a different case. She was psychologically abusive. She wore me down until all I could be was a "yes" person to everyone I met. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I started to stand up for myself and began to say "no" to people. To this day, I still struggle with saying no, although some people wouldn't believe that. It's an internal process that unfolds in milliseconds.  

My brother, who is also First Nations, was adopted as well. Our adoptive parents would drive us down to Logan Ave. and Main Street in Winnipeg and point out the Indigenous people who were homeless or living marginally.

READ: My adoptive parents tried to erase my Indigenous identity. They failed. | CBC Radio


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Trump's Impact on Indian Country

 “The total onslaught of federal rule rollbacks under environmental laws was like nothing we’ve ever seen. It was dizzying.”

Over the span of his administration, many leadership positions in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Interior Department were left empty or filled by appointees never vetted by Congress. The annual White House Tribal Nations Conference, held by President Barack Obama for eight years, ceased. Trump’s three Supreme Court justices include one with a solid understanding of federal Indian law and the U.S government’s responsibility to tribes, as well as one whose judicial perspectives are actively harmful.

GOOD READ: Trump’s impact on Indian Country over four years — High Country News – Know the West

Thursday, December 17, 2020

500 Years of Giving


Dear Mr. Prime Minister: This poet has something to say to you about Indigenous rights

You may have heard of Helen Knott — she's a driven poet and strong activist who's used her words to focus attention on Indigenous land and water rights and violence against the land and Indigenous women.

If you haven't heard of Knott, you won't soon forget her after this video directed by filmmaker Coty Savard. Standing proudly in the vast Peace River landscape, Knott is directly addressing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: challenging him to remember his promises and pay attention to the Indigenous population, their land, their water, their history and the number of times they have seen promises broken.

Keep up with Helen Knott's blog here

Coty Savard is an emerging Dene, Cree and Métis filmmaker/producer. Her films and projects often concentrate on the varied, complex and sometimes uncomfortable reality of Indigenous experiences in Canada.



Friday, December 11, 2020

The DNA Guide for Adoptees

 How to Use Genealogy and Genetics to Uncover Your Roots, Connect with Your Biological Family, and Better Understand Your Medical History by Brianne Kirkpatrick and Shannon Combs-Bennett

This book is for you if you have hope that DNA testing might open up the search for information about yourself, your origins, and your future. We’ve worked hard to compile the resources in this book and explain in plain English how DNA and genealogical records fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. In the chapters that follow, we’ve created a place for you to turn as you come face-to-face with questions about health, ancestry, biological family, and DNA.

Why DNA testing, and why now?

DNA testing is a game-changer for people researching family connections. Many recent advances have made it possible for adoptees to search for answers more easily than they could have done even a few years ago. Consider the following changes:

  • At-home DNA tests have grown in number and dropped in price.
  • Millions of people use software to build and track their family trees and share results online.
  • Billions of vital records, legal files, and other documents are available online.
  • Social networks and search engines make it easy to find and connect to people all over the world.
  • Adoptees are sharing their DNA stories publicly, through television shows and other media.

You may have already started down the path of DNA testing, or it may be entirely new to you. No matter where you are starting, we have worked to make the information in this book interesting, useful, and easy to understand. We include real-life examples, fictionalized scenarios, and advice we’ve gathered from adoptees to make this book relevant no matter your prior experience with DNA.

Why this book?

Information can be a powerful thing. As mothers, daughters, sisters, spouses, and friends, we have seen how the discovery of new information can impact relationships. As writers and professionals with unique and diverse experiences in genetics, genealogy, and counseling support, we also know the journey through DNA and a search for family can be emotional for many people. We have worked professionally and personally with adoptees, and we understand some of the unique challenges you face. We’ve done our best to present material to you from a place of understanding and compassion.

This book will provide you with practical advice on topics such as medical and genealogical DNA testing, handling emotional aspects of the search, and recommended resources to help take your research efforts to the next level. What helps one person may not be relevant for others, so we cover different approaches suitable for different situations.

Authors: Shannon Combs-Bennett, Brianne Kirkpatrick

Publication Year: 2019

We’re happy to share that Adoptee Reading now has a storefront on For those unfamiliar, Bookshop is a website launched earlier this year that exclusively sells books and shares all profits with independent bookstores throughout the United States.

Go to Adoptee Reading for lots of great book:

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Indigenous-led survey centers boarding school, adoption experiences (VIDEO)

The Child Removal Survey looks at how the federal government upended Native American communities and how they have sought healing.

(left) Photo Courtesy of Christine Diindiisi McCleave, CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

Lydia Morrell, City Reporter, Minnesota Daily

For more than a century, Native American children were forcibly removed from their families and driven into boarding schools where their hair was cut, and they were stripped of their culture.

Now, Indigenous community members and University of Minnesota researchers are looking at the trauma caused by this practice.

The Child Removal in Native Communities Survey centers the experiences of American Indian and Alaskan Native people who were forced into boarding schools and the foster care system, focusing on the generational impact of these practices. Led by Native researchers, it is meant to study the trauma inflicted on Indigenous communities and subsequent healing.

In April 2019, two Indigenous community-based researchers opened the survey with a ceremony, establishing that their academic research would be “guided by spirit, not just by the intellect,” said Sandy White Hawk, a Sicangu Lakota tribal citizen and founder of the First Nations Repatriation Institute.

Christine Diindiisi McCleave, an enrolled citizen of the Turtle Mountain Ojibwe Nation and CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, co-led the study and said academic research of Native communities historically has been extractive and privileges the voices of researchers who are not Indigenous.

This research is different.

Diindiisi McCleave said that her and White Hawk’s leadership in the project has been critical because they had direct experience with boarding school survivors and Native American adoptees.

“We Indigenous peoples, we don’t want to be studied from the outside,” Diindiisi McCleave said. “We have a lot to say about our own histories, about our own experience and about our experience with American history.”

A survey and a ceremony

The approximately 30-minute survey looks at three different experiences: if the respondent went to boarding school, if their family went to boarding school, or if they were adopted or put into foster care. Participants could fill out one or all segments, depending on which fit their experiences.

Because of COVID-19, the researchers have stopped recruiting participants for the survey, though it is still open online. Diindiisi McCleave said the survey addresses difficult experiences, so the team did not want to push the survey on people who were already under pandemic-related stress.

Carolyn Liebler, a University of Minnesota sociologist who is helping to lead the research alongside White Hawk and Diindiisi McCleave, said their approach is “totally different” from other research.

“We have ceremonies and prayers as part of the research process … talking about things holistically, recognizing that just because time passes doesn’t mean things change,” Liebler said.

Until the pandemic is over, the team will not close the survey or move on to analysis. The researchers are aiming for 1,000 participants and currently have about 600, Liebler said.

She added that they plan to attend in-person events once the pandemic is over to meet with the tribes in large groups and provide paper copies of the survey while offering support for participants who are sharing traumatic experiences.

“And then we will have a ceremony when the survey closes to thank the community for allowing this to exist,” Liebler said.

Generations of trauma, and the path to healing

The research unearths a painful era of federally mandated Indian boarding schools that were enforced from 1860 to around 1980.

At this time, government officials forced many Indigenous children to leave their families to attend boarding schools and assimilate to white, Christian culture. Eventually, the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 gave jurisdiction of children to tribal governments, enabling tribes and families to be involved in child welfare cases.

White Hawk previously conducted research on Native American adoptees and served as an honorary witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada, which addressed a similar era of boarding schools and aimed to facilitate reconciliation between former students and their communities.

“I listened to three days of testimony from former boarding school attendees,” White Hawk said. “And nearly every single individual said, ‘I did not know how to express love to my child [because of the boarding schools].’”

White Hawk said boarding schools led to the “breakdown of the family,” which continued into the adoption era where many Native children were adopted into white families. This resulted in further assimilation and loss of Indigenous culture — which included assigning children “white” names, forbidding them from speaking their Native language, cutting their traditionally long hair and converting them to Christianity.

Today, these effects are still apparent as American Indian children are 18 times more likely to experience out-of-home care than white children, according to a 2019 survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

“The result is: You were disconnected, you were removed. You lost that connection to your family, your language and culture, your community, your homelands,” Diindiisi McCleave said. “If the harms and impacts are the same or similar, then the healing path is also similar, where the healing comes from reconnecting with language and culture, returning home.”

The researchers said they hope gathering data will help provide a legal basis for experiences they have known for decades.

“That’s part of why we need empirical data, right? It’s part of the westernized system,” Diindiisi McCleave said. “It’s something that people will believe and rely upon.”


NEW IN 2020

kakichihiwewin project director S.A. hosts as Christine Diindiisi tells her story, and elaborates on her experiences that led her to becoming the Chief Executive Officer for the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.


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They Took Us Away

They Took Us Away
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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.

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