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Saturday, May 8, 2021

A path to getting Native lands back

 

Mary Big Bull-Lewis is taking a creative approach to returning ownership of the land and its stories to Native people.

...

“This is a way of reaching more than just a single group of people — it can be a community education,” she says. “There’s not as many of us here on the homelands, but we need to change that conversation about talking about us in the past. We haven’t gone anywhere.”

“We haven’t gone anywhere.”

All around her, Big Bull-Lewis sees similar stories of a Native history covered up by settler transfiguration. Her hometown itself, Wenatchee, takes its namesake from the Wenatchi people, tweaking only a few letters. Yet it’s not unusual for non-Native locals to have never heard of the Wenatchi people at all. Therein lies the problem:
Their stories aren’t told. 

GREAT READ: A path to getting Native lands back

Friday, May 7, 2021

How Native Americans find healthy ways to deal with trauma passed down through the generations

 

 

To survive, previous generations often denied the emotional hurt they suffered and refused to acknowledge the pain caused by the extreme oppression of Native Americans.

Editor's note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's On the Ground Calhoun County series.

Fred Jacko has chosen not to incorporate his Native American upbringing and culture into the lives of his own children.

“My children will have the choice when they’re adults,” he says.

His decision is in stark contrast to his job as the Culture and Historic Preservation Office Manager for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, which has its offices on the Pine Creek Indian Reservation in Athens. But, he says, it’s necessary to stop the cycle of historical trauma that continues to have lasting impacts on his generation and generations before him.

A multitude of atrocities done to Native Americans that began in the early 1800s at the hands of government officials who enacted legislation that took away their land, their rights to live their lives as a free people, their culture, heritage, and in too many instances their family structure has caused lasting trauma.

GOOD READ: How Native Americans find healthy ways to deal with trauma passed down through the generations

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The foster child, sexual allegations and fashion mogul Peter Nygard #60s Scoop #CANADA

We are sharing this from APTN: https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/former-foster-child-peter-nygard-lawsuit-united-states-allegations/

Former foster child in U.S. class action comes out from the shadows to talk about allegations against Peter Nygard


A former foster child who is a part of the 2020 U.S class action lawsuit against former fashion mogul Peter Nygard is coming forward publicly for the first time.

Identified in the court document up to this point only as “Jane Doe No. 44,” Nadine Moostoos tells APTN Investigates that despite a traumatic childhood, she is beginning her healing journey after coming to terms with her past.

Moostoos spent most of her childhood in foster care after she was apprehended at 18 months of age with her brother and taken into foster care.

“I got scooped because my mom was a chronic alcoholic and somebody had called CFS,” she said. “She went on a binge and then they came and picked me and my brother up.”

At age 11, she was sent to live at  Seven Oaks Youth Centre in Winnipeg after she said she was abused in her previous foster homes.

“I was mute. I wasn’t talking. I wouldn’t talk because of the abuse,” she said. “I couldn’t talk. It was so internalized.”

Former foster child
Nadine Moostoos at 12 years old. Submitted photo.

Two years later, she was sent to Marymound, a school for troubled girls where she turned to her peers and the street for support.

“I would just run to the streets,” she said. “A lot of those girls I was in jail with, out on the street with, carried through addiction with and some aren’t even here anymore.”

According to the allegations in a  U.S. class action lawsuit filed in 2020, Moostoos met Peter Nygard when she was 14 years old.

The allegations in the complaint (as statements of claim are called in the American justice system) have not been proven in court. But they are disturbing.

“Nygard coerced Jane Doe No. 44 to perform oral sex on him in his car, while parked behind the Nygard Companies’ (sic) warehouse,” the court documents state. “Nygard would become very aggressive during Jane Doe 44’s sexual encounters with him.”

The documents also state that Nygard made Moostoos promises.

“Nygard would pay Jane Doe No. 44 after each occasion in U.S. currency and would continue to promise her that he could take her to California.”

Moostoos said she believed she had a modelling opportunity and told her mother, who offered to take photographs of her.

Moostoos said she called the Nygard headquarters to follow up.

Former foster child
Nadine Moostoos was 14 when her mother took this photo. Submitted photo.

“I ended up phoning there and I didn’t know what to say,” she said. “ I was so young and I didn’t have anyone speaking for me so I didn’t follow through with it, which I am thankful for. “

Moostoos filed a complaint with the Winnipeg police in 2020 and she said she believes there may be other Indigenous women with stories like hers in Canada but they are not likely to come forward.

“It’s highly unlikely. It took me a lot of balls and a lot of courage to do that, coming from the streets,” she said. “I did it because it needed to be done. And I knew I was not the only one.”

Former foster child
Crystal Brown is the Community Justice Development Coordinator for the Southern Chiefs Organization.

“It takes a lot for someone to speak up and specifically for Indigenous women whose voices have been continually silenced throughout history,” said Crystal Brown, who is the Community Justice Development Coordinator for the Southern Chiefs Organization.

She said the Indigenous alleged victims of Nygard are especially vulnerable because of their past traumas.

“To disconnect from your family creates trauma such as violence, various abuses, mental health issues and it should be addressed through our culture, through our ceremonies and our language,” she said, adding that the impact of colonization continues to reverberate throughout Canada.

Moostoos said she worked in the survival sex trade for decades and is just now facing the trauma of her past.

“I left that life when I got pregnant with my son,” she said. “I quit the lifestyle. I got pregnant and that little boy changed my life. I call him my gift from God that is what his name means.”


Read More:

Indigenous women say Canadian police aren’t taking their Nygard allegations seriously 

The foster child, sexual allegations and fashion mogul Peter Nygard


Moostoos added the stigma attached to Indigenous women and girls is very real but she urged other women to come forward.

“The more people that come forward the more of a chance that you’ll get to heal,” she said. “That’s the start of healing.”

“Nobody wants to face their demons, face their past, face the abuses or social injustices that are predatory like sexual assault, rape and stuff like that,” she said. “I was just a little girl. I never got a chance to be a little girl.”

Nygard’s lawyers Jay Prober and Brian Greenspan have not responded to interview requests.

The 79-year-old was arrested in December last year in Winnipeg under the Extradition Act. An extradition hearing is set for Nov. 15 to 19 at the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. Nygard was denied bail and an appeal to that decision was turned down in spring 2020.

Nygard remains in custody at the Headingly Correctional Centre west of Winnipeg.


The Hope for Wellness Help Line is available to all Indigenous people across Canada who need immediate crisis intervention. Services are available in Cree, Ojibwe, Inuktitut, English and French. Call 1-855-242-3310 (toll-free).

2020:

Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard arrested in 2020 on federal sex trafficking charges


 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls #MMIWG

 

PLEASE READ AND SHARE: Addressing the Epidemic of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls | Cultural Survival

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In the middle of Canadian government’s inquiry, #MMIW and #MMIWG tweets produced 55,400 unique users and 156.1 million impressions.  Now, according to a Union Metrics Twitter Snapshot Report, #MMIW tweets can generate several hundred thousand impressions every 4 hours. Most of these tweets use the hashtag to call attention to their own missing loved one, to blanket local and regional networks with time-sensitive information; to share information about police and FBI response to family’s requests for help; or to respond to both specific MMIW cases and general MMIW education and awareness campaigns (e.g., Drag the Red and #NotInvisible). In short, the hashtag is mobilizing advocacy across Indian Country.

The new BIA partnership with DOJ’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) went live with its new data collection strategies in late February 2019. 


And if you're new to these ideas and hoping to learn more, a great place to start is the most recent Red Nation Podcast episode: What is Imperialism?

Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence and #MMIW

From StrongHearts Native Helpline

Centuries of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples

Native American cultures, languages, lands and lives were all systematically and forcibly taken through colonization. Our ancestors endured genocide and assimilation for more than five centuries. Today, there is ample evidence that genocide still occurs through the inhumane conditions on reservations, the jurisdictional issues that prevent the prosecution of non-Native perpetrators on tribal lands and ignoring the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) crisis.

The Connection to Domestic and Sexual Violence

Domestic violence isn’t a Native American tradition; it is a symptom of colonization that continues to this day.

Through colonization, Native women were devalued by non-Native people. They were degraded, they were attacked and raped. Acts that still continue today. Tribal communities still experience high rates of rape and sexual assault, largely committed by non-Native perpetrators. Native women are sexualized in the media--in costumes, in Native American imagery and caricatures, and in movies. Native women and men still struggle from the effects of colonization, marginalization and assimilation and our shared trauma. Over half of Native women, in particular, have been physically abused by an intimate partner.

StrongHearts Native Helpline understands the issues of MMIW are related to domestic, dating and sexual violence. We understand that missing and murdered victims can be children, elders, Two-Spirit, men and those with disabilities. This crisis affects all of our relatives. Survivors deserve justice.  

Research shows that women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner (husband, boyfriend, same-sex partner, or ex) than by anyone else. Over 84% of Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime. Nationally, across all racial and ethnic groups, approximately two out of five female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner. Homicide is a leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native women. Many killings linked to domestic violence occur right after recent breakups or during separations. Leaving an abusive relationship is the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence.

Complicated legal systems, jurisdictional confusion, and lack of resources also leave many Native victims of violence and their families without support or justice. Whether the violence is coming from inside the home, or from strangers living near Tribal communities or in urban centers, meaningful action must be taken to prevent more Native women from going missing or being murdered.

Prevention

One way to address these issues is through culturally-appropriate domestic and sexual violence advocacy. We need services that approach healing from an indigenous perspective – where victims feel understood and where their unique needs as Native people can be met. 

Created by and built to serve Tribal communities across the United States, StrongHearts Native Helpline is here to answer that call. It is a culturally-appropriate, anonymous, confidential and free service dedicated to serving Native American and Alaska Native survivors and concerned family members and friends affected by domestic, dating and sexual violence.

Advocates are available 24/7 by texting or calling 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483) or via online chat at strongheartshelpline.org. Advocates can provide lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable survivors to find safety and live lives free of abuse. StrongHearts Native Helpline is a project of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

MMIW Resources

As a helpline dedicated to Native Americans and Alaska Natives impacted by domestic, dating and sexual violence, StrongHearts honors our relatives and communities impacted by MMIW and those working to end this crisis.

Check out these resources from the National Indigenous Women’s Resources Center (NIWRC).

      EXPLORE: MMIW Special Collections Resource Listing http://www.niwrc.org/resources/special-collection-missing-murdered-indigenous-women-girls

      DOWNLOAD: "Tribal Community Response When a Woman is Missing: A Toolkit for Action" in NIWRC’s Resource Library. http://www.niwrc.org/resources/tribal-community-response-when-woman-missing-toolkit-action

      MMIW DATABASE: The Sovereign Bodies Institute https://www.sovereign-bodies.org/mmiw-database?fbclid=IwAR15hpz2hfDmSFuqs0PZIvvH9e4VcGvdnk4aT0Cqhhua7DKRR5iPOv7nxag

      DOWNLOAD: Urban Indian Health Institute’s “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls: A Snapshot of data from 71 Urban Cities in the United States.” http://www.uihi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Missing-and-Murdered-Indigenous-Women-and-Girls-Report.pdf

      DATABASE: NamUS-National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

      EXPLORE: NIWRC’s Online Resource Library for past webinars, reports, and articles on MMIW.

 

Please share this post with your friends and family. Thank you! #MMIWG2S

 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

BIG FLAP: Santorum’s Native History on CNN


Don Lemon Wasn’t Having Any Of Rick Santorum’s Comments About Native History on CNN

“Did he actually think it was a good idea for him to come on television and whitewash the whitewash that he whitewashed?”

CNN anchor Don Lemon discusses his reaction to Rick Santorum's May 3, 2021, appearance on "Cuomo Prime Time." | CNN

CNN anchor Don Lemon apologized to viewers after former Republican lawmaker Rick Santorum discussed his recent controversial comments about the nation’s founding on Chris Cuomo’s show. Lemon called the appearance “horrible and insulting.”

“Europeans did not found this country,” Lemon said after Cuomo interviewed Santorum on Wednesday night. “It was here. The Native Americans had this country before the Europeans came.”

Santorum, a Republican politician and CNN commentator, made historically inaccurate and racist comments during a speech in April to Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth group. During his speech, Santorum said he doesn’t “know of any country in the world that was settled predominantly by people who are coming to practice their faith.”

“They came here mostly from Europe and they set up a country that was based on Judeo-Christian principles,” the former U.S. senator and Republican presidential candidate continued during the speech. He went on to say that European colonizers “birthed a nation from nothing,” and that even though Native Americans already inhabited the land,“there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

On May 3, during “Cuomo Prime Time,” the CNN anchor pressed Santorum about his comments. 

“This seemed like you were trying to erase diversity in the interest of some white Christian right,” Cuomo said. 

Santorum attempted to correct his statements but offered no apology. 

"Just to be clear, what I was not saying is that Native American culture — I misspoke,” Santorum said, stumbling over his words.

Santorum said he was trying to articulate that U.S. founding documents, including the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, were “created anew.” 

“I was not trying to dismiss Native Americans,” Santorum said to Cuomo. “The way we treated Native Americans was horrific. It goes against everything I ever fought for.”

The Native American Journalists Association put out a statement following Rick Santorum’s initial speech, calling on CNN “to immediately dismiss” him. It also urged its members to “avoid working” with CNN and implored advertisers to stop supporting the network. 

Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians, echoed NAJA’s calls for Santorum’s dismissal and enumerated the reasons that Santorum’s comments were factually incorrect. 

"What European colonizers found in the Americas were thousands of complex, sophisticated, and sovereign Tribal Nations, each with millennia of distinct cultural, spiritual and technological development,” Sharp wrote in a piece for Native News Online.

The contributions of Native Americans are plenty and consequential, Sharp wrote. They cultivated plants, like cotton, rubber, and tobacco, and developed the concept of environmentalism. 

"No idea is more fundamentally Native American and more explicitly spread by Native American peoples,” Sharp wrote. “There would be no National Park system without Native American influence.”

via

Something to watch: Rutherford Falls (UPDATE)

 


'Rutherford Falls' is a Native American show: by, with and about us. But its humor is universal.

In over a century of filmmaking, most on-screen portrayals of indigenous people have been racist at best. That's changing, and this is but one example.
READ 
 


People used to say the TV series Northern Exposure was a first. THIS NEW SHOW IS a thousands times BETTER - Trace 
 

Indian Child Welfare Act in the News #WitnessBlanket

 (click on headlines)


Indian Child Welfare Act

NEWS


'Keep families together': Moving beyond racist notions of neglect in child welfare
APTN News
Together they looked at how Indigenous parents are assessed by child ... “There's a lot of variation, in terms of how the rules — how the laws are even ...





San Francisco Bay View
... of the premises behind the creation of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978, which gave tribal governments exclusive jurisdiction over Native ...





redlakenationnews.com
WASHINGTON – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland ... Tribal payments and direct service for Tribal Government, Social Services, Public ... o $30 million for law enforcement and detentions funding.

There are no rules. None! #AdopteeReunion


By Trace L Hentz, Blog Editor

 

Children would never choose to be adopted.  It was not our fault.  It happened.  As adults we have to be strong to go into reunion.  There are no rules – none.  You just go back and meet relatives.  You do risk losing your adoptive parents.  It’s like climbing a mountain on a tightrope.  It hurts me to think about this but I have to…

American, what have you done?  You really attempted to destroy Indian Country, didn’t you?  You attempted to eliminate every Indian, right?  If you couldn’t murder us all, you invented an adoption project to deal with us – to end our tribal heritage as small children, to assimilate us.

 

This was posted in 2013 on my LARA blog:

I am not myself.  I feel like I am transforming again, maybe like a part of me is dissolving, disappearing, no longer necessary.  I rarely feel like this and I don’t like it.  I can’t control it.  It won’t pass.

This time is different.  Really different.  It’s like a dark foreboding cloud.  Like I felt two days before 9-11.  It’s hard to put into words.  It’s bigger than I have words for.

I am not sure if this is/was triggered because I lost my friend Rocio very recently or how so many others (friends and family) have been dealing with major health issues, like my brother Danny who just had surgery and is going to start treatment soon. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about Veronica Brown who was placed with strangers in an adoption that her father did not agree to – and he fought hard for his daughter but lost.  This little girl didn’t deserve this upheaval – Ronnie was abandoned by her birthmother at birth and essentially sold to strangers.  Her father lost her in court after court.  How does this happen in America?

Very hard things are happening right how.  Not just to me but to my circle of friends.

Yesterday I spoke with my close friend who lost her job with her tribe.  She’s an adoptee like me.  She wants to be closer to her birthmother.  This is so important for adoptees to do this hard work and to go full circle and be in reunion.  Her job loss was pure politics, the dysfunction we know that exists is our tribal world.  This friend also had an autoimmune disease that is now in remission, completely.  This is a miracle.  A deeply spiritual transformation happened to her.  Despite the loss of her excellent job with her tribe, and with much work and prayer, she just received a fantastic job offer with a university.  She won’t have to move.  She will be able to stay in reunion with her mother.  She witnessed how bad things can happen to you, even a serious illness, and yet Great Spirit is often clearing the way for a bigger job and better health.

I do believe in miracles. I believe in hard work.  Prayer works.  I know that we work for Great Spirit.  I am simply a channel for work that needs to be done.  It’s not about ego or about me at all.

You see I want all adoptees to know they can return to their families.  They can work for their tribes, too.  They can get to know their birth parents as people.  We can eventually blend in with all the relatives – but it takes time and effort.  Doing this will not be easy.  I do know this!

What America did to adoptees like me and my friend caused enormous pain and upheaval.  America removed children from our Indian families as part of a plan.  It was meant to destroy our connection to our tribes and families.  The result of a closed adoption was to alienate us from each other.  American Indians are unique and culturally rich and diverse.  Adoptees who are raised away from this culture must be allowed to step back in the circle and relearn what we missed growing up in non-Indian families.

2013 is when I wrote this... and it is still true... TLH 


 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Practice Babies?

 


In 1919, Cornell pioneered the first degree-granting program in the country for women called “Domestic Economics.” Its aim was to apply scientific principles to domestic tasks deemed “Mothercraft” — such as making meals, cleaning and ironing, household budgeting, and raising children. Female coeds — five or six at a time — lived together in on-campus “Homemaking Apartments” and collectively mothered the practice babies.

Ranging in age from three weeks to a few months old, babies were loaned to the college for a year. The contracts between the orphanages and Cornell stated the babies “could be returned at any time if there was dissatisfaction on the part of the college.”

Their birth names and identities were erased, and they were fatted and raised by a rotating lineup of up to six practice mothers at a time. The co-eds’ work was divided into six parts, including the job of mother and assistant mother.

Domecon babies were highly sought-after for adoption. Adoptive parents were convinced that because the babies were being raised in ideal conditions and by scientific methods it would ensure a smooth family transition. A 1923 newspaper article titled “Coeds at Cornell Mother Real, Live Practice Babies” referred to the babies as “super children.”

The program ran through 1954. In all, 119 children were raised in this manner and adopted, and Dickie Domecon was the first. Most grew up with no knowledge of having been abandoned or surrendered, or having been a Domecon baby.

All identifying records were destroyed.

READ THIS 

**

This essay is excerpted from Megan Culhane Galbraith’s The Guild of the Infant Saviour: An Adopted Child’s Memory Book, published by Mad Creek Books, an imprint of the Ohio State University Press.

 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Federal ICWA lawsuit remains a case to watch despite split decision in 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

 LISTEN

 

A lawsuit challenging the Indian Child Welfare Act received a split decision in federal appeals court on April 6, 2021. The law, the lawsuit and the split resulted in a 300-plus-page decision that confounded experts and lay people alike. The decision won’t impact Alaska directly. But legal experts  say Alaska should still keep an eye on the case.

The Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, basically provides Tribes with an opportunity to intervene when state child welfare and adoption agencies consider whether or not to remove a Native child from a home. The children can be enrolled citizens of the Tribe or be eligible for membership status. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

How Alaska OCS Stole Millions from Alaska Native Foster Kids


Marshall Project and NPR on How Alaska OCS Stole Millions from Alaska Native Foster Kids

If you, like me, enjoy starting your day with the clarifying anger of a thousand white hot fires, may I recommend this article on how various state agencies rerouted foster children’s SSI benefits to pay for their own foster care–especially impacting Alaska Native children. 

A few of those children are highlighted in this article:

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2021/04/22/foster-care-agencies-take-thousands-of-dollars-owed-to-kids-most-children-have-no-idea

The Marshall Project and NPR have found that in at least 36 states and Washington, D.C., state foster care agencies comb through their case files to find kids entitled to these benefits, then apply to Social Security to become each child’s financial representative, a process permitted by federal regulations. Once approved, the agencies take the money, almost always without notifying the children, their loved ones or lawyers.

At least 10 state foster care agencies hire for-profit companies to obtain millions of dollars in Social Security benefits intended for the most vulnerable children in their care each year, according to a review of hundreds of pages of contract documents. A private firm that Alaska used while Hunter was in state care referred to acquiring benefits from people with disabilities as “a major line of business” in company records.

Some states also take veterans’ benefits from children with a parent who died in the military, though this has become less common as casualties have declined since the Iraq War.

In Alaska, more than 250 current and former foster children — many of them Alaska Native — are part of the class-action lawsuit demanding that the state pay their Social Security money back. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Bone Rooms

 

 

In the 2016 book ‘Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums’, Samuel J Redman notes: “The campaign to preserve and collect was viewed as a race against time; bone empires benefited from this powerful sentiment by conceptualising indigenous and ancient bodies as a limited and scientifically valuable resource.”

READ: Native Americans and the dehumanising force of the photograph | Wellcome Collection

 

In the 2005 book Beyond the Reach of Time and Change: Native American Reflections on the Frank A Rinehart Photograph Collection’, Simon Ortiz writes:

“Whether he wanted to or not, the real and actual Indian vanished into the image contrived by non-Indian interests, since he became, in some sense, acceptable then ‘as an Indian’, albeit an Indian fashioned, styled and – even literally – costumed (for example, photographic studio props were used by photographers such as Rinehart and Edward Curtis) so that he could be identified as nothing but an Indian.”

 

Friday, April 23, 2021

What Does The #ICWA Ruling Mean For The Mountain West? For Now, Not Much

Apr 20, 2021| The Mountain West News Bureau | Tribal News

The Indian Child Welfare Act still stands, with some of its key provisions weakened by a sharply divided U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this month. The 325-page opinion has no immediate impact on child welfare cases in the Mountain West, but it's likely to be challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Since 1978, ICWA has required that tribal nations have a voice in adoption, foster care and custody proceedings involving their youngest citizens. The federal law was intended to reverse a long legacy of federal and state agencies forcibly removing Indigenous children from their families and communities.

Initially filed in 2017, the lawsuit - Brackeen v. Bernhardt then, Brackeen v. Haaland now - took aim at ICWA's constitutionality, arguing that its preference for placing Indigenous children in Indigenous adoptive and foster homes violated the equal protection clause. Thirty tribal governments in the Mountain West and the states of Colorado, Utah, Montana and Idaho urged the court to reject that argument. Ultimately, the Fifth Circuit's en banc ruling did just that.

"After this decision, and even if this decision stands, most of ICWA is constitutional," said Dan Lewerenz, an attorney with the Native American Rights fund.

Lewerenz said the court upheld what tribes have always asserted, that ICWA is based not on race, but on a child's political status as a tribal citizen. But the court narrowly ruled that certain provisions of the law, including its mandate that Indigenous children be placed with Indigenous foster parents when possible, intrude on the authority of states.

"[The Native American Rights Fund] disagrees with those holdings," Lewerenz said. But he added that the ruling does not impart any "precedential value" requiring other courts to follow suit.

"It really only applies to the Brackeen case," he said. "Any other court, state or federal, is open to reject those holdings. It is of little significance outside of this specific litigation."
 

Still, if any of the lawsuit's plaintiffs succeed in appealing the case, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision will be binding for courts across the United States. And a Supreme Court rejection of ICWA's constitutionality would have ripple effects for other parts of federal Indian law.

For that reason, Governor Phillip Perez of the Nambe Pueblo, a tribe in northern New Mexico, called the Fifth Circuit's ruling "deeply concerning."

"The Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability of our tribes, our customs and traditions. This decision by the Fifth Circuit threatens who we are as tribal people and undermines our tribal sovereignty," Perez wrote in a statement.

New Mexico State Rep. Georgene Louis, who also serves as general counsel for the Pueblo of Tesuque, agrees.

"With all the challenges that have been made [to ICWA], it could be eroded. And some of the protections that ensure reunification with a child's tribe might not be there anymore," Louis said.

In New Mexico's recent state legislative session, Louis sponsored a state statute that would have ensured that many of ICWA's provisions were followed in state court proceedings regardless of the federal law's status. But that bill died in committee. In light of the Fifth Circuit ruling, Louis said codifying ICWA statutes at the state level should be a priority.

 

READ MORE:

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Trump Judges Cast Deciding Votes to Strike Down Important Parts of Indian Child Welfare Law: Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears

 Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” is a blog series documenting the harmful impact of President Trump’s judges on Americans’ rights and liberties. Cases in the series can be found by issue and by judge at this link.

Trump judges Duncan, Willett, Engelhardt, and Oldham cast deciding votes to invalidate important parts of the Indian Child Welfare Act and try to do even more damage to the important law.

MUST READ: Trump Judges Cast Deciding Votes to Strike Down Important Parts of Indian Child Welfare Law: Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears

 

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF), National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), and the Association on American Affairs (AAIA) have stated that they are “deeply concerned that aspects of this opinion misunderstand the unique relationship between the United States and tribal nations.”

 

Bad history is damaging to all tribes and our children. - Trace 

Recognizing Rape, Finding Bravery and Beginning Healing


*TRIGGER WARNING: This article includes graphic content that some readers may find distressing.

Names have been changed. 

 

 

GUEST POST By Cassie Roy 

College Trials and Tribulations

I was 22 years old and in college when I was raped by a mutual friend. I had sorority sisters and fraternity brothers. We all shared a common purpose — to get an education and to make memories to last a lifetime. Looking back, I see how toxic the environment truly was and that what happened to me wasn’t my fault.

I was in my second year in college and I had a lot going on in my life. My life was moving in the right direction and everything was going as planned. That is until both my best friend and my grandmother passed away. I was struggling to comprehend what my life would look like without them. I was devastated and sought therapy to help me deal with the unexpected loss of my closest friend and relative. My life was falling apart.

I don’t remember if it was a weekend or a weekday, our sorority always planned social events with the local fraternity. It was rare for me to miss a social function. On this particular night, I went to a well-known party house with my sisters. We knew to make sure we stayed together throughout the night. There were always fraternity brothers we would stay away from. To them, girls were nothing more than a challenge. I guess we thought boys chasing girls was just part of student life.

 

It Was No Big Deal

Bill was cute. In fact, I thought I might even like to date him because he was always so nice. As the night went on, I lost communication with my sorority sisters. Everyone was drunk. One of the fraternity brothers started to take some people home. I don't know why I stayed or why my sorority sisters left me behind. Maybe because we all just drank too much.

I remember the couches and chairs were all taken — people were passed out and I was ready to pass out. Bill offered me a place to sleep. I felt like I could trust him, besides there was nowhere else for me to go. He motioned for me to come over and lie next to him. “You might as well just sleep in my bed,” he said. “It’s not a big deal.” I did lie down because it was no big deal, just as he said.

From the moment I fell asleep to the moment I woke up everything was a blur. I knew that I had laid down with the intention to sleep but that’s not what happened. I remembered he was trying to kiss me and wondered if I was kissing him back. I couldn’t remember because I was in and out of consciousness.

The next morning I woke up next to Bill. He was still sleeping. I knew something was wrong. I could feel that something had happened to me. I felt sick in the pit of my stomach. When I realized that I was only partially clothed all I wanted to do was cry. I was so confused. Did I want him to kiss me? Did I kiss him back? I must have given him the idea I wanted him to kiss me… Right?

All I wanted to do was get out of that house as soon as I could. I got up and rushed to get out. I was so confused that I started to cry. One of his friends saw me rushing to get out of the house and saw that I was in tears. He didn’t ask and I didn’t stop to explain. I just kept running.

 

The Aftermath

Bill and I had mutual friends. His friend must have asked him what had happened because he saw that I had been crying. So later that day, he texted me to apologize. “I’m sorry if that is not what you wanted.”

I didn’t respond. I was still so confused. Did I give him the idea that’s what I wanted? Did I kiss him? What really happened? I couldn’t tell anyone because I felt responsible for what happened. It was my fault... right? I shouldn’t have drunk so much. I shouldn’t have gotten so drunk. I shouldn’t have got into bed with him and I shouldn't have passed out.

I didn’t tell my sorority sisters. I didn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t talk about it because I wasn’t sure what happened. I continued to see Bill because he and I were attending the same mixers and events. I tried to ignore him when he started to date one of the girls in my sorority. I was seeing him more than I wanted to and I just couldn’t handle it anymore.

At that time, I thought it was best for me to just leave college. My best friend had died. My grandmother passed away and then that happened. So, I literally just left and I didn’t tell anyone about my experience with Bill.

I didn’t know how significant that night would be in my life until three or four years later. It was life-changing. I was young and single. I used to want to have closer relationships with men, but now things are different. I tried to have relationships. I tried to trust again, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

There was a part of me that felt responsible. My body and brain were not in sync. I didn’t fight. I wasn’t pinned down. I wasn’t injured. I rationalized that if sex doesn’t leave bruising and it didn’t happen in the back alley it wasn’t rape. I didn’t accept that what had happened was an assault because he didn’t hurt me — or so I thought. 

 

Life Gets Better

I was already on a path in therapy and I don’t know if it was fate or I just got lucky. A domestic violence helpline for Native Americans was moving into the Minneapolis area. I applied for and secured a job with the helpline. My new job afforded me training in domestic and sexual violence. That’s when I started to unravel the confusion and pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place.

Later, after about two years of working and living in the city, I had a conversation with a friend. She and I had similar experiences, and I was able to open up and talk about it. Even though I knew what happened that night wasn’t my fault, I still felt responsible. I was still blaming myself. That’s when my friend helped me to see what my heart already knew — that I had been raped. 

 

Faces of Rape

Rape has many faces and it doesn’t always look big and scary or violent. Bill wasn’t a scary man coming out of the darkness. He didn’t attack me. He wasn’t a stranger. He wasn't even one of the brothers we all knew to stay away from. He was a friend of my friends. We were friends. In any other situation, I might have had sex with him willingly. But I didn’t consent because I wasn’t given the option.

When I think back to that night, I was so naive to think it wasn’t a big deal. He wasn’t an upstanding guy. He is a non-Native man who thinks he deserves to take whatever he wants whenever he wants. I’m not looking for and won’t ever look for justice. The rape happened to me but it does not define me. I take solace in the idea that education on the topic of sex is changing. Gender identity and sexual orient-ation are on the cusp of being old news and no longer considered abnormal. The world is changing. Education is changing. I’m changing. 

 

StrongHearts and Common Ties

Native American women are preyed upon by non-Native men in large part because of what history has set into motion. The trajectory of Native women and children being captured, bought and sold by colonizers had ramifications and consequences that Native women still experience in the present day. She was a beautiful young Native woman and he was a young non-Native man. The common thread is undeniably sexual assault and/or rape.

If you or a loved one has experienced sexual violence, StrongHearts Native Helpline can help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For one-on-one chat advocacy visit StrongHearts Native Helpline online or call/text 1-844-762-8483.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Caseworker’s path lined with desire for investigation, love of #ICWA families

 


Caseworker’s path lined with desire for investigation, love of families

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time when programs across the country like Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s FireLodge Children & Family Services bring awareness to child abuse and neglect and advocate for happy and healthy childhoods for all. CPN Indian Child Welfare Department caseworker Whitney Coots helps children of neglect and abuse improve their situation every day.

She sought a different career path while in college, but life events and interests opened doors for her to utilize her skills in an unexpected way. Coots graduated in 2015 from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond with a double major in forensic science and criminal justice and joined FireLodge’s workforce in 2019.

“I originally wanted to do crime scene investigation. I love it. I still do. My major was a blast, but it is really hard to find jobs in forensic science,” Coots said.

She perused work in criminal justice and spent four years as a probation supervisor before accepting her current role as an ICW caseworker in September 2019. The change reset her career goals, unveiling a desire to help Native children and families.

“I didn’t understand the depth of the (the Indian Child Welfare Act) whenever I started. I knew what it was, and I knew the basis of ICWA, but not truly what it stood for. And so now that I understand that … protecting ICWA and Native American children is what I feel I was called to do,” Coots said.

GOOD READ: Caseworker’s path lined with desire for investigation, love of families

 

For more information about FireLodge Children & Family Services, visit potawatomi.org/services/firelodge or find them on Facebook, @CPNFireLodge.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Up and Down, Back and Forth: Still Fighting over ICWA

The demand from white people (non-Indian PAPS - prospective adoptive parents) who want to freely adopt Native kids will NEVER stop apparently... and we know it's always about what THEY want... not what is best for us adoptees.

We have posted about Goldwater before and what their intent truly is...


Federal appeals court strikes key provision of Indian Child Welfare Act
Divided ruling seen as defeat for tribal leaders concerned about act
 

WASHINGTON — Legal experts are deeply concerned about an “incredibly divisive” ruling from a federal appeals court that struck down parts of a law giving Native American families preference in the adoption of Native American children.

The ruling by a sharply divided U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is seen as a defeat for tribal leaders who said the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act was important to protecting their families and culture.

Mary Kathryn Nagle, Cherokee, is a partner with the law firm Pipestem and Nagle, and specializes in federal Indian law.  She called the 5th Circuit ruling “incredibly divisive” and said “certain parts of this decision are incorrect.”

PLEASE READ: Federal appeals court strikes key provision of Indian Child Welfare Act | Navajo-Hopi Observer | Navajo & Hopi Nations, AZ

 

And those same adoptive parents might not want to hear from adoptees or accept how WE feel being adopted.

These words are, according to (adoptee) Eric Schweig, his "mission statement."
 

Firebar
"We can never go home because the concept of home is lost on us."
Firebar
 

Adoption of aboriginal children by Caucasian couples is to me, for lack of a better term 'State Sanctioned Kidnapping.'  Too often Euro-American couples are preoccupied with the romantic notion of having a "real live Indian baby" or a "real live Inuit baby" which instantly transforms the child into an object rather than a person.  For decades our communities' babies have been unceremoniously wrenched from the hands of their biological parents and subjected to a plethora of abuses.  Physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse and a host of others.   I have first-hand knowledge of this because I was one of those children.  For years my adoptive parents beat me bloody on a regular basis.  I've been trapped in rooms naked and beaten with belt buckles, hockey sticks, extension cords, and once with a horsewhip. His speech

 

GOLDWATER is behind the attacks on ICWA:

WHAT DO THEY WANT? What is Goldwater doing?


 

 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Promoting Indian Child Welfare Through Inquiry and Data

 

Data collection on Native American involvement in adoption and foster care is needed to remedy courts’ failures.

More than four decades after the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), state courts still do not reliably fulfill their obligations under the statute. As a result, Native American children, families, and communities are too often denied the very protections the ICWA sought to establish.

Congress enacted the ICWA in 1978 to address the disproportionate rates at which Native American children were—and continue to be—removed from their homes and placed with overwhelmingly non-Native adoptive and foster families. These removals, Congress recognized, were frequently unwarranted, harmful to Native families and communities, and infringed upon Tribes’ inherent rights of sovereignty and self-governance.

The Interior Department sought to address this problem through a second ICWA rule also issued in 2016.

GOOD READ: Promoting Indian Child Welfare Through Inquiry and Data | The Regulatory Review

Sunday, April 4, 2021

First Environmental-Themed Program in April | “commUNITY: Environment is Sacred”

In April, VMM’s first environmental-themed program will acknowledge International Earth Day with a month-long community-themed online film streaming event, titled “commUNITY: Environment is Sacred,” and a panel discussion. The April programs are free and open to the public but registration is required.

 

“commUNITY: Environment is Sacred” is a program of six films, featuring themes of water, energy, Indigenous food and health. The themes highlight important environmental issues that have a direct effect on Native lands and an Indigenous philosophy for the world to better understand. The films will be available April 1-30 for worldwide online streaming 24/7 at visionmakermedia.org.

 


The six films include: “
Crying Earth Rise Up” (2015, USA, 57 min.); “Red Power Energy” (2016, USA, 56 min.); “Growing Native Northwest: Coast Salish” (2018, USA, 57 min.); “RETURN: Native American Women Reclaim Foodways for Health & Spirit” (2019, USA, 28 min.); “Rematriation Series: Joanne Shenandoah” (TBD, USA, 10 min.); and “The Seven Generation River” (2019, USA, 27 min.). 

For more information about the films and to register, visit visionmakermedia.org.

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What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!

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.

Did you know?

Did you know?
lakota.cc/16I9p4D

Did you know?

New York’s 4o-year battle for OBC access ended when on January 15 2020, OBCs were opened to all New York adoptees upon request without restriction. In only three days, over 3,600 adoptees filed for their record of birth. The bill that unsealed records was passed 196-12.

Help in available!

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

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Diane Tells His Name

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?

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

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Canada's Residential Schools

The religious organizations that operated the schools — the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Jesuits of English Canada and some Catholic groups — in 2015 expressed regret for the “well-documented” abuses. The Catholic Church has never offered an official apology, something that Trudeau and others have repeatedly called for.

ADOPTION TRUTH

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

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