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Support Info: If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419. Additional Health Support Information: Emotional, cultural, and professional support services are also available to Survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Services can be accessed on an individual, family, or group basis.” These & regional support phone numbers are found at https://nctr.ca/contact/survivors/ .

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

New Mexico needs to act to protect Native children #ICWA

OPINION


As governor of Tesuque Pueblo, I know firsthand how vitally important it is to keep Native children in Native communities.

For generations, federal policies aimed at the erasure of Native culture focused on forcibly separating our children from their families and communities. These horrendous policies effectively disrupted the continuity of our Native culture by severing our connection to coming generations.

Despite these attacks, our communities have resisted and fought to protect our children through the centuries; we are still here. This year we are hopeful the New Mexico Legislature will protect Native families and communities and correct these historic injustices by creating a New Mexico state Indian Child Welfare Act.

After years of advocacy, the federal Indian Child Welfare Act was signed into law in 1978. The federal law was a response to the alarming rates of removal of Indian children from their communities. This act put into law minimum standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and placement in foster or adoptive homes outside their communities. These standards include a requirement for the child welfare system to engage with the child’s tribe, identify potential family or community foster care when necessary, and provide active efforts toward the child’s reunification with their parents or caretakers.

Through the years, federal law has ensured thousands of Native children could remain in their communities, surrounded by extended family and brought up in their own traditional culture. This law provides added protections against systems-level abuses directed at Indian children and puts an emphasis on placement with relatives or tribal community members.

But despite the protections the federal law has provided, New Mexico’s tribal nations still have some of the highest numbers of children and families impacted by the child welfare system. In addition, legal challenges to the federal law threaten the safety and well-being of Native families by undermining tribal sovereignty and the right to self-determination.

Responding to these challenges, representatives from all 23 tribal nations of the state, tribal ICWA workers, tribal-serving nonprofits, the Children, Youth and Families Department, and other advocates and stakeholders have worked for over two years to craft New Mexico state Indian Child Welfare Act policy. The result of this work is legislation that will provide lasting protection for our tribal nations and our children. Moreover, it will stand as an example of how New Mexico is dismantling systemic injustice by centering our Native children, family and communities first.

The goal of state ICWA policy is to ensure that we have legal protections at the state level regardless of what happens at the federal level and at the same time exceed the minimum standards established in 1978. We can take this opportunity to improve on those minimal standards by enacting best practices for Native families in ways that are unique to our state. We know that when we elevate the most vulnerable populations, we elevate the level of services for everyone involved in the system. By working across government systems, we can pave the way for our families to be healthy and whole.

As we head into the new year, I call on the Legislature and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to advance this policy and correct the historical injustices against our children and Indigenous communities.

Our children are precious, and we must do everything possible to keep them in our communities surrounded by Indigenous culture and language. Together, we can build a lasting legacy that uplifts our children and ensures they will grow up to be our future ancestors.

Robert A. Mora Sr. is the governor of the Pueblo of Tesuque.

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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.

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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.

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Did you know?
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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.

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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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