The NDN Collective is an action network built on principles of community organizing, building political power and advancing the rights of Indigenous people.
To learn more, visit https://www.ndncollective.org
LANDBACK Manifesto: here
The Justice Department is protecting the names of many perpetrators of abuse of Indigenous children.— Charlie Angus NDP (@CharlieAngusNDP) July 8, 2021
We need a special independent prosecutor who can force the government and church to turn over the documents.
There can be no reconciliation without justice.@MumilaaqQaqqaq pic.twitter.com/5TL6OxKM5O
This is a map of every residential "school" site in Canada.— Mumilaaq Qaqqaq (@MumilaaqQaqqaq) June 24, 2021
Every dot is a crime scene.
Only a few have been investigated so far.
Canada, do not get used to these numbers.
Do not let them become statistics.
Put yourselves in the shoes of these children in the ground. pic.twitter.com/5XJS1w1ka2
To learn more, visit https://www.ndncollective.org
LANDBACK Manifesto: here
Last week it was discovered that they are forcibly putting in IUDs into Native kids under 10, this week they discovered 215 bodies of Native kids under a school. These are issues that are person to me and so many of us.— Lucas Brown Eyes (@LucasBrownEyes) May 28, 2021
It's so dangerous just being a Native child.
the government of Canada 🇨🇦 covered up the death and murder of those 215 children in that government run school, a school only 60 km from where I grew up, if I was born one generation earlier I would have been forced into that school! My father was a residential school survivor— Kanahus Manuel (@KanahusFreedom) May 28, 2021
The long history of discrimination against First Nations children Learn more about how Canada repeatedly chose to not act on solutions to stop the harm to, and deaths, of children and why it is still a problem. https://t.co/7CnMuImGyH— Cindy Blackstock (@cblackst) May 28, 2021
It would also be really beneficial if when suicide deaths are recorded, that the adoption status of the person is included in the data.— Trace kalala Hentz (@StonePony33) May 28, 2021
|Janice L. Lindstrom spent much of her adult life pushing for stronger protections for American Indian children. She died on May 7 of cancer at age 75.|
Janice L. Lindstrom, a social worker and champion of legal rights for American Indians, and who testified in Congress for stronger protections for Indian children and families, died of cancer May 7. She was 75.
Lindstrom helped tribes and counties across the nation to develop programs to ensure that federal law was followed and Indian children were not forcibly removed from Indian families.
Her work was made possible by the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a landmark federal law passed in 1978 designed to end the practice of taking Indian children from their homes and placing them in boarding schools or foster care. The law gives tribes the right to intervene in adoptions in which Indian children are put up for adoption and placed with non-Indian families.
At the time, many Indian children were being removed from their birth parents not for abuse or neglect, but because of perceived or real poverty. Harsh living conditions prompted social workers to make unwarranted removals, and poverty made it difficult for Indians to qualify as adoptive parents. Before ICWA, 25% to 35% of Indian children were being removed from their homes; of these, 85% were placed outside of their families and communities — even when able and willing relatives were available.
A member of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, Lindstrom experienced this injustice firsthand. She watched as two of her younger sisters were placed in separate homes in Stillwater with non-Indian foster parents. Adding to the trauma of this separation, the family later discovered that one of Lindstrom's sisters had been sexually abused and underwent forced sterilization while in foster care.
"My mother could not stand the desecration of our families — the way they were breaking up our people — and she fought with tenacity to prevent it," said Lindstrom's daughter, Sheri Riemers, government and community relations director at the Ain Dah Yung Center, a St. Paul-based shelter for runaway and homeless youth.
Lindstrom was the oldest of five children born on the White Earth Indian Reservation in northwestern Minnesota. As a child, she went to live in nearby Park Rapids with her grandparents, who lived in a rustic wood cabin with an outhouse and wood-burning stove.
At 16, Lindstrom moved to the Twin Cities and did a series of odd jobs before being hired at the Minneapolis American Indian Center. The center's director, Frances Fairbanks, was impressed by Lindstrom's toughness and asked her in the early 1980s to coordinate a new program to monitor the state's compliance with ICWA and ensure that tribes were notified when Indian children were being removed from their homes.
Lindstrom and her team faced numerous barriers, including local social workers and judges who were not familiar with the new federal law and the unique status of tribes. But she persuaded counties in the metro area to allow her team to monitor court proceedings and to intervene in cases where Indian children were being removed or parental rights were being terminated. Tribes across the nation would adopt similar court-monitoring programs.
"Janice was tenacious," said Rose Robinson, a longtime friend and former director of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center. "She understood that when you take a child away, then you are disconnecting that child from their community and their relationships."
For the past 17 years, Lindstrom was executive director of Juel Fairbanks Recovery Services, a treatment center in St. Paul for men with substance abuse disorders. She put the center on sounder financial footing while encouraging healing through Indigenous culture and traditions.
In her final days, Lindstrom continued to counsel residents. "They revered her like a mother," said Riemers, her daughter. "She took them under her wing like they were her own sons."
Despite Canada’s benevolent veneer, its history is replete with examples of genocidal medical violence inflicted upon Indigenous communities, including children, with Canadian physicians often leading the charge. This includes coerced and forced sterilizations targeting Indigenous women and girls.
In her landmark book, “An Act of Genocide: Colonialism and the Sterilization of Aboriginal Women,” women and gender studies professor Karen Stote describes how formal eugenic legislation in provinces like Alberta and British Columbia spanned decades in the twentieth century, while other provinces had similar practices that may have been informal, but with the same devastating end-result: the sterilization of thousands of Indigenous women and girls, forced to give up the ability to bear children.
And on that other terror:
These are recent reports of missing children made to local law enforcement. If you think you have seen a missing child, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678). https://t.co/gzcU0ba9WK— Tulsa World (@tulsaworld) May 21, 2021
"Where Reconciliation Lives"
Dr. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair
This was streamed LIVE on Wednesday May 12th 2021 Dr. Sinclair is Anishinaabe (St. Peter's/Little Peguis) and an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba.
Please support and read HIGH COUNTRY NEWS concerning Indian Country. It's fantastic!
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes worked with federal agencies to complete a first of its kind plan to address the crisis.
By Jessica Douglas
Two years ago, on a February evening, Ellie Bundy attended a tribal working group in Arlee, Montana, on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Surrounded by local and tribal law enforcement, tribal members and families, Bundy listened as people told stories about loved ones or community members who had gone missing. “What if that were my daughter?” Bundy said. “We say that a lot, but really, what if it were my daughter? What if it were my sister? What if it were my cousins? It is a visual you just can't get out of your head.” The meeting was one of four hosted by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to encourage discussion and come up with local community responses to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous people.
Bundy is now a councilwoman for the Salish and Kootenai, as well as the presiding officer of the Montana Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force. For the past five months, she and other tribal officials have participated in a series of working groups with federal, state and local law enforcement and community organizations. On April 1, at a press conference at the tribal headquarters in Pablo, Montana, the Salish and Kootenai joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in announcing the completion of the first Tribal Community Response Plan to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people.
As the first plan of its kind to be developed, it will serve as a model that tribal governments across Indian Country can adapt to meet their own specific needs. It marks a critical milestone in the effort to resolve the crisis, something that advocates say must be led by tribal nations and supported by the federal government. The new plan comes at a unique time nationally, after the passage of federal legislation including Savanna’s Act and renewing the Violence Against Women Act, coupled with executive-branch initiatives, such as Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s new unit in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which was created specifically to investigate crimes involving missing and murdered Indigenous people.
Gov. Polis signs bill at FLC, meets with local government
|Colorado Gov. Jared Polis came to Durango on Saturday afternoon to sign a bill and meet with representatives of local government.|
The bill, House Bill 21-1151, allows federally recognized Native American tribes to certify their own foster homes. Previously, only county departments of human or social services or child placement agencies could certify foster homes.
“This bill makes sure that Colorado’s laws are better aligned with some of the federal rights that exist under the Indian Child Welfare Act,” Polis said. “The federally recognized tribes have an authority to certify foster homes, but this bill makes sure that the county department of human services or health can contract with the federally recognized tribes to better place Native children who live outside of their jurisdiction with Native American families. This bill will increase the number of Native American children that are placed with Native American families, and by doing that, it’ll help make sure that the important aspects of Native American heritage and culture can be passed down inter-generationally."
We struggle and wonder where we fit in...
|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
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.
We are sharing this from APTN: https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/former-foster-child-peter-nygard-lawsuit-united-states-allegations/
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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
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).
PLEASE READ AND SHARE: Addressing the Epidemic of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls | Cultural Survival
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?
From StrongHearts Native Helpline
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.
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.
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
Don Lemon Wasn’t Having Any Of Rick Santorum’s Comments About Native History on 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.”
“Hollywood has focused much more so on our history which can often be quite tragic.”— APTN News (@APTNNews) May 4, 2021
Tonight on Face to Face, Cree actor Michael Greyeyes says he feels like the new show Rutherford Falls deprograms non-Indigenous viewers by showing the joyful side of Indigenous life. pic.twitter.com/hQLt2sRzsf
(click on headlines)
|Indian Child Welfare Act|
Family justice in an unjust world: A mother's story of false allegations by doctors, CPS and the police
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 ...
Indian Affairs Begins Disbursement of $900 Million in American Rescue Plan Funding to Tribes ...
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.
More than 800 items make up the Witness Blanket – everything from locks of hair to baby shoes to dolls.— APTN News (@APTNNews) May 2, 2021
It's one of two exhibits opening at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights that explores the experiences of residential school survivors. | @bhobs22https://t.co/VBSFRXgDmw
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
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.
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.
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.