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Saturday, April 30, 2022

Newspaper Editorials Perpetuate Misinformation on ICWA


Two Worlds is for sale at

Sarah Deer, Elise Higgins & Thomas White on Racist Editorializing about ICWA

Sarah Deer, Elise Higgins, and Thomas White have published “Editorializing ICWA: 40 Years of Colonial Commentary” in UCLA’s Indigenous Peoples’ Journal of Law, Culture & Resistance.

An excerpt:

Despite studies concluding ICWA has been a successful law to curb the crisis of child removal in Indian country when implemented correctly, a significant number of attorneys, think tanks, and politicians argue that ICWA actually harms Native children and should be repealed. Others argue that ICWA has served its purpose and is no longer necessary. This article considers how newspaper editorials perpetuate misinformation about ICWA, its history and its purpose. Moreover, we explore how anti-ICWA authors employ “words of colonialism”—in particular, the use of derogatory words and phrases to portray Native people as bad parents and Tribal Nations as dysfunctional. Providing inaccurate and racist characterizations of ICWA is one of the primary tactics used by editorials to delegitimize ICWA. Emotionally triggering and wholly inaccurate language is often employed as a sensationalist method to grab the reader’s attention by presenting the law in terms of clear-cut morality.

Frederick Thompson Richards, Life Magazine, 1900  (How long have you been civilized?)

Friday, April 29, 2022

Real Victims of Georgia Tann

Can You Say No? Tann advertised.  Digital Archive of the Memphis Public Libraries

5,000 children?

As the executive director of the Tennessee Children's Home Society, Tann got rich by stealing babies from their parents and adopting them out to unsuspecting families. More than 5,000 children were snatched by Tann, and at least 500 children are believed to have died while under her care. This was reported Dec 4, 2019.
Actress Joan Crawford brought the dark-haired infants she'd adopted from Tennessee Children's Home Society in Memphis… New York Governor Herbert Lehman purchased at least two infants from Tann. Then Lehman changed the laws in New York State to seal adoption records. The adoptive homes were not vetted thoroughly. Jul 24, 2020

READ: Georgia Tann: The Mastermind of a Black Market Baby Ring That  

Georgia Tann: The Mastermind of a Black Market Baby Ring That Lasted for Three Decades

Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis and the horrors Inside

It is hard to believe that in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1924–1950, children were being stolen from low-income families and adopted out to wealthy ones for a price. But it did happen. 

Robert Taylor, a lawyer who investigated the Tennessee Children’s Home Society scandal for Gov. Gordon Browning, said in his 1992 “60 Minutes” interview.” 

For almost three decades, renowned baby-seller Georgia Tann ran a children’s home in Memphis, Tennessee — selling her charges to wealthy clients nationwide, Joan Crawford among them. Part social history, part detective story, part expose, The Baby Thief is a riveting investigative narrative that explores themes that continue to reverberate today. 
I read the book BABY THIEF about this child trafficker years ago... What happened to the children who were adopted out and what happened to their mothers... Trace 
Google Georgia Tann to find out...

Thursday, April 21, 2022

A Slow Canadian Genocide


Yet, almost seven years and thousands of uncovered graves on residential school grounds later, this question should be re-visited. What do we make of Canadian genocide now?


George Gordon First Nation announces 14 potential unmarked burial sites at former Sask. residential school

Possible sites found close to former location of Gordon's Indian Residential School

A memorial for the students who attended Gordon's Indian Residential School in George Gordon First Nation. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

Leaders of George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan announced Wednesday that 14 potential unmarked burial sites had been found close to the site of the former Gordon's Indian Residential School.

George Gordon First Nation's chief and council and the band's residential school cemetery committee announced the results of a geophysical investigation Wednesday afternoon. 

Chief Byron Bitternose addressed the media, announcing the discovery of the 14 possible burial sites. He also said the search is not complete.

"In upcoming months this area will be a priority, an area for continued searching," Bitternose said. "It is my hope that one day we will be able to tell our children the whole story of what their great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and siblings endured."


Chief Byron Bitternose announced on Wednesday that 14 possible unmarked burials have been found near the former Gordon's Indian Residential School. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

A total of four areas within the First Nation have been searched, he said. One high-probability site was detected.

While the ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data cannot discern if the sites are graves of children, George Gordon First Nation member Sarah Longman says there is a high probability.

Anglican Church's national bishop to Indigenous members resigns over 'acknowledged' sexual misconduct

 Church says Rev. Mark MacDonald's actions amount to a 'betrayal of trust'

Rev. Mark MacDonald, the Anglican Church of Canada's first national Indigenous archbishop, has resigned over what the church is calling "acknowledged" sexual misconduct.

"This is devastating news. The sense of betrayal is deep and profound when leaders fail to live up to the standards we expect and the boundaries we set," wrote Rev. Linda Nicholls, the church's archbishop and primate, in an open letter published on Wednesday.

Nicholls cites a complainant against MacDonald in the letter but no further details about the allegations have been provided by the church.

"First and most importantly, our prayers must be for the complainant whose life has been affected by Mark's actions. The betrayal of trust by someone in such a prominent role of leadership will require a long road of healing and our constant prayers," the letter continues.

A spokesperson for the church declined an interview request from CBC News and said it would not provide any further comment about MacDonald's resignation.

MacDonald, 68, was named the church's first national Indigenous Anglican bishop in 2007, a post which makes him pastoral leader to approximately 225 Indigenous churches, most of them on reserves.

He was elevated to archbishop in 2019.

A biography on the church's website said he served as a minister in Mississauga, Ont., Duluth, Minn., Tomah, Wis., Mauston, Wis., Portland, Ore., and the southeast regional mission of the Diocese of Navajoland during his career.

MacDonald is a graduate of Wycliffe College, a Christian evangelical seminary at the University of Toronto.

A 2013 article posted by the Anglican Journal, the national newspaper of the Anglican Church of Canada, described MacDonald as a "non-status Indian" with Indigenous ancestry through both his mother and father. The article also says he "grew up among the [Ojibwe] people."

The Anglican Church has named Bishop Sidney Black to serve as its interim national Indigenous bishop.

Remembering St. Anne's students

Canada’s National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation says their records show at least 24 students passed away while attending St. Anne’s Indian Residential School throughout its 70 years in operation.

In memory of former St. Anne’s students:

- Abraham Moses Nakogee
- Alexandra Chookomoolin
- Anna Aitel
- Antoine Wisk
- Charles Hunter (Fort Albany)
- Emile Anishinape
- Emilien Aitel
- Gabriel Carpenter
- Imelda Edwards
- Jennie Kostachin
- John Kioki
- Joseph Metat
- Josephine Chookomoolin
- Madeline Sutherland
- Margaret Sutherland
- Matheiu Kamascatishishit
- Michael Sutherland
- Michel Matinas
- Raphael Katakwapit
- Raphael Tomykatie
- Sabeth Sutherland
- Sabeth Wabano
- Simeon Ashnipinishkam
- Therese Okitigo

Additional photos of the school throughout its history can be found through Algoma University HERE.

In 1992, Former Chief of Fort Albany First Nation, Edmund Metatawabin, presented evidence to Ontario’s provincial police about abuse at the former school, prompting a six-year investigation.

The OPP’s work led to seven former St. Anne’s teachers and administrators being arrested in 1998, with 156 survivors receiving some form of compensation by 2004 – two years before the historic Indian Residential Schools Settlement of 2006.

Documents from the investigation were released in 2014 after an Ontario Superior Court judge ordered the federal government to disclose them to survivors and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

But by that time, the federal government had already redacted over 12,000 documents from the record – which denied many survivors any amount of compensation.

Still, the documents that were released by Ottawa revealed the use of a homemade electric chair being used between the 1950s and 1960s, with a variety of reports of disturbing physical and sexual abuse such as beatings, rancid food, disappearances and much more.

“Innocent children were malnourished, physically assaulted, sexually abused, and tortured. They went to bed hungry and lived in fear of a homemade electric chair. Some were forced to eat their own vomit,” said NAN leadership, as they described St. Anne survivors’ experiences. 

NAN’s search at notorious residential school continues #TRC


NAN’s search at notorious residential school continues

Written by Ryan Forbes Wednesday, Apr 20 2022, 4:55 AM
Students at St. Anne’s Indian Residential School in Fort Albany First Nation. Photo courtesy of Algoma University.

If you are a residential school survivor, you are able to contact the 24-hour National Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 for support. Indigenous people can also access the Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or online chat at

The provincial governent is committing nearly $500,000 to support community members in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation area with the region’s search of one of the most notorious Indian Residential School locations in Canada.

Ontario and Ottawa have committed $475,000 over two years to support survivors affected by the six former Indian Residential Schools in the NAN territory, including those of St. Anne’s Indian Residential School in Fort Albany First Nation.

Records from the federal government show students at St. Anne’s were subjected to a homemade electric chair, with survivors describing physical, mental and sexual abuse. Legal battles over compensation for survivors continue to this day.

“This funding will help us develop healing initiatives to support our families and communities through community-driven initiatives as they search for their loved ones,” said NAN’s Deputy Grand Chief, Anna Betty Achneepineskum.

“The search for these innocent children will be a painful experience and needs to be done with great care and respect. We look forward to implementing our Reclamation and Healing Strategy and will continue to develop and implement cultural and spiritual mental health supports to support all those who undertake this important work,” she adds.

Achneepineskum adds the strategy will be developed with survivors and will include recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action of 2015. Funding will also support communications and technical supports, as well as public education and awareness initiatives.

St. Anne’s Indian Residential School was run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate Catholic Church and the Grey Nuns of the Cross in Fort Albany First Nation between 1906 and 1976, with support from the federal government.

Records show that the school was originally located at the Fort Albany Mission on Albany Island in Treaty #9, before relocating to the banks of the Albany River in 1932. The school burned down in 1939 and was later rebuilt.

First Nations youth from Fort Albany, Attawapiskat, Weenusk, Constance Lake, Moose Fort and Fort Severn all attended the school.


‘60s Scoop survivor says healing foundation is no help at all | APTN News


‘I haven’t heard a word:’ ‘60s Scoop survivor says healing foundation is no help at all 

Some survivors of the ‘60s Scoop say they’re frustrated by the lack of response they’re getting from the organization set up to help them heal.

“I’ve been waiting to hear from the Sixties Scoop (Healing Foundation) to tell me what they have planned,” says survivor Darlene Gilbert of Annapolis Valley First Nation in Nova Scotia.

“I’ve heard nothing.”

The Sixties Scoop Healing Foundation was created with $50 million from the $875-million national class-action settlement that compensated Inuit and First Nations survivors for the loss of their cultural identities.

As children, they were taken from their homes between the 1950s and 1990s to be placed with non-Indigenous foster and adoptive families across Canada and around the world. Métis and non-status Indigenous peoples were excluded from the settlement agreement.

According to the Class Action Scoop Settlement Agreement website, 20,167 people have been approved to receive $25,000 in compensation including Gilbert.

The foundation says on its website its mission is to “accompany Survivors and their descendants along their healing journey by supporting cultural reclamation and reunification, holistic wellness services, advocacy, commemoration, and education initiatives.”

healing foundation
Darlene Gilbert was 10 years old when she was taken from her family. Photo: Angel Moore/APTN.

Gilbert, who was removed from her family when she was 10 years old, was placed in a number of temporary spaces and group homes in Nova Scotia.

She says she contacted the foundation using the phone number listed on its website to access therapy to deal with the traumatic effects of losing her culture and language.

“There’s supposed to be healing money,” she said in an interview. “We need therapy, our families need therapy, our children, our grandchildren may.

“I haven’t heard a word, not a word; so that was just like I felt brushed under the carpet like we all do.”

Katherine Legrange, a ‘60s Scoop survivor and director of the national non-profit support group 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada, feels the foundation isn’t working so far.

“I’d say that the communication with survivors has been really poor to date, it’s really unclear about how the healing foundation intends to directly help survivors,” she says from Winnipeg.

“I feel like they are really struggling to connect with survivors and share what their plans are; even if there are no plans, share that.”

Call for a national inquiry

Legrange has called for a national inquiry to examine the ‘60s Scoop and “make that connection with residential schools, with MMIWG (missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls), with the justice system, because we know that lots of us ended up in these kinds of unfortunate situations.”

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, a research and archive centre established after the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, “is in full support of the 60’s Scoop Legacy of Canada and their call for the federal government to commission a national inquiry into Indigenous child removal.

“The Residential School system came first, followed by the Scoop,” the centre says.

“Finding this truth means hearing from those affected directly – nationally and internationally – to hear from all the children, the families and the individuals that ran those systems to fully understand the colonial historical record of the Scoop and what really happened.”

APTN News tried reaching the foundation using the phone number and email on its website and didn’t receive a response.

APTN also requested an interview with the foundation’s inaugural CEO, Dr. Jacqueline Maurice of Saskatchewan.

Maurice, a Métis-Indigenous Scoop survivor with a Ph.D. in social work and a medical degree, was appointed in September 2021.

Her vision for the foundation, described in a statement following her appointment, includes the concept of one survivor helping another survivor on the path to healing.

“In this new role, [Maurice] will be responsible for the development and implementation of programs and services to support survivors and will play an integral part in the development of grants, services and supports to survivors,” the statement added.

A few months later, the foundation distributed its first round of grants – valued at just over $1 million – to eight community groups.

“This year’s pilot program begins the foundation’s legacy of investment into healing and serving Sixties Scoop survivors across the nation,” Maurice said at the time.

“The initial grant process will inform the design of future funding streams that will deliver valuable services to those who need them most.”

But Gilbert is still in the dark about what’s available to her and whether it’s in Nova Scotia.

She feels a national inquiry would help.

“We should be able to tell the government how they tried to colonize us, break us, take our language, keep us away from our communities,” she says.

“This is important for this generation – the ‘60s Scoop – to be able to say, ‘Hey, we need this healing in order to break what has come behind us and [so] it doesn’t come [back] in the future.”

With files from Kathleen Martens

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Warning Signs that Someone Has Experienced Sexual Violence

From the StrongHearts Native Helpline

Sexual violence is a far too common thing throughout Native communities. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Native Americans are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual violence in their lifetime. As we know, this may be even higher due to the lack of reporting common in Native communities. Sexual violence is any type of sexual activity done without consent. We often don't know when someone is struggling with something. Sexual violence is no exception.

If you believe someone you know and love has experienced sexual violence, here are some warning signs:

Pulling out of their favorite activities or hobbies

            Your relative may be showing little or no interest in their favorite activities.

Small signs of loss of trust

            Your relative might stop trusting you or your family members with small or large things. 


You may notice that your loved one is absent or turning down more invitations. They may have secluded themselves in their homes or workplaces or finding reasons to spend more time alone or with very few people.

Signs of depression or energy fatigue

Your relative may be starting to show signs of depression. This can include changes in appetite and weight, conversations that include hopelessness or lack of outlook on life, and either uncontrollable emotions or numbing of emotions.

Loss of interest in conversations or seeming spaced out

Your relative might be experiencing zone out or feelings of disconnection while in the middle of a conversation. This could look like slow responses to questions, looks of lost in thoughts or slower speech when talking.

Seeming to be uncomfortable when talking about sex or topics related to sex

This can be a little hard to detect if you don't already know how comfortable someone is with talking about the topic of sex. But if you see a dramatic change in the comfortability of one's expression and opinions of sex this could be a sign of sexual violence. 

If your partner has a change in interest in sex or being touched

If you are concerned that your partner may have experienced sexual violence, one warning sign may be that they no longer show interest in sex and pull away when you try to approach or touch them. The main component here is that they seem to have lost trust or interest in sexual touch, but not necessarily in your relationship. 

While not every sexual assault or rape leaves physical injuries, here are a few to look out for:


      Vaginal or anal bleeding

      Broken or dislocated bones

      Difficulty walking

It can be difficult to talk with someone who has experienced something as traumatic as sexual violence. But as a relative, your support can mean a lot to a victim-survivor. StrongHearts Native Helpline is here to chat about ways that you can support a relative experiencing the effects of sexual violence. 

Call or text 1-844-7NATIVE or chat here on, advocates are available 24/7 for free, safe and confidential support. If you would like more information about how you can help someone in an unhealthy or abusive relationship visit our Help a Friend or Relative page.

Your body. Your sovereignty. Your decision.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Pope Francis to make 3 Canadian stops in July to meet residential school survivors, sources say

Pope Francis is expected to visit at least three cities during a late July trip to Canada, CBC News has learned.

Sources involved in the planning of the trip say the Pope will likely make stops in Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit during what is scheduled to be about a four-day trip to the country. CBC News is not identifying the confidential sources because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The pontiff initially announced plans for the visit during his Vatican meetings on April 1 with Indigenous delegates from Canada, where he offered an initial apology for the actions of individual Roman Catholic Church members in Canada's residential schools.


Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Gerald Antoine, centre left, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Natan Obed and Métis National Council president Cassidy Caron walk in St. Peter's Square after a final audience with Pope Francis on April 1. (Yara Nardi/Reuters)


Christi Heath, Choctaw, 2022 Champion for Native Children


Cristi Heath is an advocate for Native American Children, having worked for the Department of Human Services for over 17 years.

Cristi Heath, Yukon, Oklahoma, has been selected by the National Indian Child Welfare Association as a 2022 Champion for Native Children.

A member of the Choctaw Nation, Heath has worked for the Department of Human Services (DHS) for over 17 years and has spent most of her career with DHS in Oklahoma county.

She received her associate degree from Rose State College with honors and was a part of the Sociological Honor Society. She received her bachelor’s degree from the Univ. of Central Okla. (UCO) in Edmond, Okla., graduating magna cum laude.

Heath said, "When I started with the Department of Human Services, I did investigations (Child Protective Services) for four and a half years. Then I was part of the pilot program that they started in Oklahoma County called Kinship Foster Care. I worked doing that for a year and then supervised Kinship Foster Care in Oklahoma County from 2006-2009."

She went on to reading home studies for people who wanted to be foster parents.

"I did what they called Family Centered Services for five years, supervised that for five years. And then I came to STPU (Specialized Placement and Partnership Unit) and have been doing that for the last two years," said Heath.

On a day-to-day basis, Heath oversees the DHS youth in shelters across the state of Oklahoma. She supervises four liaisons who are each assigned a region of Oklahoma with 21 shelters that have placement of DHS youth. The liaisons check the shelters, assess safety, and see how the kids are doing.

Keep Reading

Indigenous chocolate shop to open in downtown Sudbury #60sScoop

 An Indigenous chef who creates edible art is expanding her business in Sudbury.

Tammy Maki started Raven Rising Chocolate shop e-Commerce in October 020 and is now opening a storefront. Maki used some of the money she received from the '60s scoop settlement to start up the business.

"It kinda' didn't feel like very good money, so I actually wanted to take that money and apply it to something positive," she said.

"So I did take a portion of it strayed Raven Rising and quite frankly it was the best decision I have made."

Maki's chocolate shop will be located in the old Capitol Theatre on Cedar Street downtown.

"I fell in love when I walked in here and I remember it because I am 57 so I remember when it was the Capitol Theatre," she said.

"And when I allowed in and saw the ceilings, what I do is create art … edible art and this place makes me want to create it."

Maki said Raven Rising will be an Indigenous forward shop.

edible art

"There will be a lot of chocolates that are Indigenous ingredient-based and I do a lot of sourcing from Indigenous businesses, but, of course, I also proudly use local ingredients, lots of local farm ingredients and sourced in Canada as well," she said.

Along with opening the retail space, Maki is helping Indigenous students pursue the art. She's offering a 1,500 Raven Rising Pastry Art Scholarship at George Brown College. 


Cultural Genocide indeed


“I feel shame and pain. I ask forgiveness of God,” Pope Francis said on Friday as he apologized for the “deplorable” abuses of Canada’s First Nations children.

Between the 1880s and the 1990s, the government ran a system of compulsory boarding schools which a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recently dubbed ‘cultural genocide’,” The New York Times reported. The Catholic church operated about 70 percent of those schools, where about 150,000 children were placed and “where abuse, both physical and sexual, was widespread, along with neglect and disease,” The Times said. A former judge, Murray Sinclair, who headed the commission, estimated that at least 6,000 children went missing.

The TRC, established as part of a government apology and settlement over the schools, concluded that at least 4,100 students died from mistreatment, neglect, disease or accident. The Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation in British Columbia, using ground penetrating radar, discovered the remains of 215 of them buried near the Kamloops Indian Residential School which opened in 1890 and closed in the late 1970s, The Times reported. “It’s a harsh reality and it’s our truth, it’s our history,” Chief Rosanne Casimir told a news conference.

Children were also placed with non-Native families, a policy which Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba denounced as he ruled in a class action lawsuit, The Guardian reported. “There is … no dispute that great harm was done,” Belobaba wrote. “The ‘scooped’ children lost contact with their families. They lost their aboriginal language, culture and identity. Neither the children nor their foster or adoptive parents were given information about the children’s aboriginal heritage or about the various educational and other benefits that they were entitled to receive. The removed children vanished ‘scarcely without a trace’.”

In Australia, Kevin Rudd, as prime minister, apologized in 2008 for this "great stain on our nation’s soul." He was referring to more than 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being placed in institutions or foster homes or adopted by nonIndigenous families between 1900 and 1970.

New Zealand tried to “civilize” Māori children, starting in 1840. “Boarding schools initially taught in the Māori language but soon qualified for subsidies only if lessons were in English. By 1960, only 26 percent of children could still speak their native language,” the Toronto Globe and Mail reported.

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen apologized for the treatment of 22 Inuit children from Greenland, then a Danish colony, more than 70 years ago, Agence France Press reported. Frederiksen told the six survivors at a ceremony in the Danish capital Copenhagen, “What you were subjected to was terrible. It was inhumane. It was unfair. And it was heartless.”

Norway, Sweden and Finland are supporting initiatives to protect the culture of the Sami people living in Sápmi — formerly Lapland — following efforts to force them to culturally assimilate, The Guardian reported.

In the United States, the Trump administration’s seizing of 2,300 refugee children from their parents recalled a history of African and Indigenous family separation. The Washington Post recalled this tweet from the African American Research Collaborative: “Official US policy. Until 1865, rip African American children from their parents. From 1870s to 1970s, rip Native American children from their parents. Now, rip children of immigrants and refugees from their parents.” The Post drew attention to “The Weeping Time” exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture documenting the story of children sold away from their enslaved families.

The government sent thousands of Indigenous children to government or government-funded, church-run “Indian schools” between the 1800s and the 1970s. Richard Pratt, who founded the first one, the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania on Nov. 1, 1879, described his philosophy as: “All the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him and save the man.”

“While the government believed a white youth’s ‘moral character and habits are already formed and welldefined, when he leaves for school, a Indigenous youth was thought to be ‘born a savage and raised in an atmosphere of superstition and ignorance’,” The Equal Justice Initiative reported. “The government believed that ‘if [an Indigenous child] is to rise from his low estate the germs of a nobler existence must be implanted in him and cultivated.’”

As the boarding schools began closing, the government launched the Indian Adoption Project to promote European American adoption of Indigenous children, Vox reported. “The data showed that 25 to 35 percent of Native children around the country were being taken from their homes, and that 85 to 95 percent of those kids ended up in non-Native homes or institutions,” Vox stated.

Elizabeth Williams, who had been sold twice since she last saw her children, placed an ad in the Christian Recorder newspaper in Philadelphia in 1866 to try to locate them, The Post said. And Sandy White Hawk, a Sicangu Lakota adoptee from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, founded the First Nations Repatriation Institute to help adoptees reunite with their tribes and families.

WGBH noted in a 2015 documentary that Maine had set up its own TRC – an approach which South Africa started in 1995 to try to forge unity after apartheid ended. The commission heard Indigenous testimony such as this: “All we did was beg for our foster mothers to hug us and say they loved us. My baby sister and I sat in a tub of bleach one time trying to convince each other that we’re getting white.”

The struggle continues with a federal lawsuit challenging as racially discriminatory the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which deals with child separation, filed by a European American couple in Texas, joined by their state, Indiana and Louisiana. The National Indian Child Welfare Association says the law addresses a crisis affecting Indigenous children, families and tribes. Invalidating the ICWA, its supporters say, would have far-reaching consequences for Indigenous peoples, including the issue of tribal sovereignty.

Pratt’s racism and White Hawk’s lament notwithstanding, it is hard to miss the defiance in the song “Drums” written by Peter LaFarge which Johhny Cash sang 58 years ago:

“And when they think that they’d changed me

Cut my hair to meet their needs

Will they think I’m white or Indian

Quarter blood or just half breed

Let me tell you Mr. teacher

When you say you’ll make me right

In five hundred years of fighting

Not one Indian turned white.”

‘60s Scoop survivor compensation payments capped at $25K


Survivors told payments would be as high as $50,000. (video here)

Mental health counselling and crisis support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or the online chat at

The total federal settlement payment for individual ‘60s Scoop survivors is now set at $25,000, the claims administrator announced this week.

“I understand everyone won’t be happy,” said Doug Lennox of Klein Lawyers, lead spokesperson for the class-action agreement approved in November 2018.

“But now we know how much money we still need to pay and what everybody’s owed.”

The ‘60s Scoop was a wave of adoptions from the 1950s to the ‘90s that swept First Nations, Inuit and Métis children out of their homes and into non-Indigenous foster and adoptive placements across Canada and around the world.

Survivors sued the federal and Ontario governments, settling for $875-million to compensate for the loss of their cultural identities. Inuit and First Nations people not registered under the Indian Act (non-status) were left out of the deal.

Interim compensation

Already 12,500 survivors received an interim compensation payment of $21,000 during the coronavirus pandemic. They are awaiting their second and final payment of $4,000.

Then, there are those whose claims were approved during the pandemic and are waiting for their total payment of $25,000.

“I know it’s enormously frustrating,” Lennox added.

“People want to know why does everything take so long? We have a legal system that is hundreds of years old. It moves at its own pace.”

He said Collectiva would be ready to implement the decision almost immediately, adding its call centre is now open extended hours.

“They have the funds, they’re ready to go.”


Friday, April 15, 2022

Probably Ruby #adopteebook

 Probably Ruby is her debut novel and her American debut

For readers of Tommy Orange’s There There and Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart BerriesProbably Ruby is an audacious, brave and beautiful book about an adopted woman’s search for her Indigenous identity.

Relinquished as an infant, Ruby is placed in a foster home and finally adopted by Alice and Mel, a less-than-desirable couple who can’t afford to complain too loudly about Ruby’s Indigenous roots. But when her new parents’ marriage falls apart, Ruby finds herself vulnerable and in compromising situations that lead her to search, in the unlikeliest of places, for her Indigenous identity.

Unabashedly self-destructing on alcohol, drugs and bad relationships, Ruby grapples with the meaning of the legacy left to her. In a series of expanding narratives, Ruby and the people connected to her tell their stories and help flesh out Ruby’s history. Seeking understanding of how we come to know who we are, Probably Ruby explores how we find and invent ourselves in ways as peculiar and varied as the experiences of Indigenous adoptees themselves. Ruby’s voice, her devastating honesty and tremendous laugh, will not soon be forgotten.

Probably Ruby is a perfectly crafted novel, with effortless, nearly imperceptible shifts in time and perspective, exquisitely chosen detail, natural dialogue and emotional control that results in breathtaking levels of tension and points of revelation.

LISA BIRD-WILSON is a Saskatchewan Métis and nêhiyaw writer. Her fiction book, Just Pretending (Coteau Books, 2013), won four Saskatchewan Book Awards, including 2014 Book of the Year, was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Award, and was the 2019 One Book, One Province selection. Her debut poetry collection, The Red Files (Nightwood Editions, 2016), is inspired by family and archival sources, and reflects on the legacy of the residential school system and the fragmentation of families and histories. She is the chair of the Saskatchewan Ânskohk Writers Circle Inc. (SAWCI)—the group that hosts the Ânskohk Indigenous Literature Festival and the CEO of the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research Inc. in Saskatoon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Pimicikamak Cree Nations will search for graves

 National Native News

Another First Nation in Canada is preparing to search for unmarked graves at a former residential school.

As Dan Karpenchuk reports, this time it will be in northern Manitoba.

The Pimicikamak Cree Nations has announced plans to search the site of the former St. Joseph’s Residential School. It was operated near Cross Lake by the Roman Catholic Church in northern Manitoba, between 1912 and 1969. The chief of the Pimicikamak Nations is David Monia. He says the reserve has identified the names of 85 children who died at the school.  However, he adds that surviving records are incomplete.

“Many of them are listed as boy, as girl, 40% of them have first names only. Where did these kids come from?”

Investigators say they will use ground penetrating radar to search the site, which is now a neighborhood with homes.

“You know they don’t describe it as a school. More like assimilation camps, torture camps, or death camps and really that’s an international crime.”

No start date for the search has yet been determined. It was just over a week ago that the Pope apologized at the Vatican to a Canadian Indigenous delegation, for the role of the Catholic Church in the abuses at Canada’s residential schools. Thousands of Native children were abused at the schools, many died.

Friday, April 8, 2022

We Don’t Want an Apology: We Want Justice


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

There is a reason why the Six Nations-Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) were not invited to Rome to meet the pope and secure an apology for the victims of the residential schools — we don’t want an apology, we want justice.

Tens of thousands of Native children suffered abuse by the residential schools administered by the Roman Catholic Church with the compliance of the provincial and federal governments and it may well be proven thousands died either by murder or neglect by the priests. nuns and staff at the schools.

I was baptized into the Church as a child at the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. I was taken against my will to the Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Ontarior, 600 kilometers (373 miles) from my home and, along with the two dozen other Akwesasronon (people from Akwesasne) endured sexual, mental and physical abuse while being denied adequate food and health care, our bodies marked by open sores and rotting teeth leaving permanent scars.


Project engages federal Indian law to protect tribal self-determination

Maggie Blackhawk
Maggie Blackhawk

After the American Indian Sovereignty Project was established last summer, its leaders knew that they would be busy with scholarly engagements in contemporary issues in federal Indian law. But the group, a collaboration between Yale and New York University (NYU), had little idea how quickly they would become immersed in a series of immediate court challenges at the highest level.

In February, the project had one of its most visible moments to date when U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer cited during oral arguments an amicus brief filed by the project’s team in the case Denezpi v. United States.

A joint initiative of Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and the NYU School of Law, the Sovereignty Project brings together scholars, law students, graduate students, and a select number of undergraduates to study, research, and engage American Indian law and policy. The brief cited by Breyer is the second of three the project’s team has written for the high court, and the justice’s reference was an important recognition: It highlighted the impact their work can have in helping to elucidate federal Indian law and policy and in advocating more broadly for Native American tribal sovereignty, according to Ned Blackhawk (Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada), the Howard R. Lamar Professor of History and of American Studies at Yale.

He and Maggie Blackhawk (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe), professor of law at New York University, co-founded the Sovereignty Project partly with the mission of providing support to Native tribes in legal cases involving Indian Country. The project, he said, also aims “to build an intellectual research community oriented around questions of American Indian legal concern as well as educational awareness about pressing contemporary tribal issues.”

In the six months since the Sovereignty Project was established, it has already been “flooded” with requests from the Tribal Supreme Court Project for assistance on federal court cases, according to Maggie Blackhawk.



Pope's apology on residential schools is a step on the journey to reconciliation

Editorial: There have been many reactions among Indigenous people to the Pope's expression of "shame and sorrow." All of them are valid.

Deacon Rennie Nahanee Horiz PM web
Deacon Rennie Nahanee, here at St. Paul's Catholic Church, believes the Pope's recent apology is just the beginning.

On Friday, the Pope met with nearly 200 First Nations, Inuit and Metis delegates at the Vatican and delivered a long-sought apology for actions of church leaders in perpetuating abuse of Indigenous children at Catholic residential schools.

In the apology, the Pope voiced “sorrow and shame” for the role that members of the clergy had in “all these things that wounded you, in the abuses you suffered and in the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values.” For that conduct, the Pope said he asked “for God’s forgiveness” and joined Canadian bishops “in asking your pardon.”

Since the historic occasion, there have been a diverse range of reactions among Indigenous people and residential school survivors. Some have welcomed the apology. Some have felt the Pope’s words did not go far enough in accepting the church’s role in the abuse. Some have called for more tangible actions to follow the expression of sorrow.

All are valid reactions and all Indigenous people are entitled to greet the apology on their own terms. 



Wabanaki Nations seek ‘equality’ for their tribal sovereignty

‘We’re denied one of the most fundamental rights’
Monday, April 4, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With one long-overdue legislative achievement under their belts, tribal nations from one of the furthest ends of Indian Country are asking Congress to fully recognize their sovereignty.

Maine is home to five federally recognized tribal governments. But the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point and the Penobscot Nation are unable to exercise their rights in the same manner as every other Indian nation.

The outcome has been disastrous. Whether it’s safeguarding water in their communities, enhancing public safety or protecting Indian children through the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), tribal leaders say they are being left behind when it comes to true self-determination.



Montreal students honour memory of Indigenous children by hand-sewing moccasins

Students at Montreal's Beurling Academy are on a creative mission to honour the memory of Indigenous children, one moccasin at a time.

The students are learning about how, since the late 19th century, 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools.

To learn from and honour Indigenous children, students learned how hand-sew small moccasins during a community initiative called Project 215.

The workshop was hosted by Rebekah Elkerton. She is Anishinaabe from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, near London, Ont. KEEP READING


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Read the full text of the Pope's apology for Canada's residential schools

Residential school survivor presents Pope with symbolic moccasins

As Pope Francis prepares to come to Canada, a look at past papal visits

Indigenous delegate receives cultural name in ceremony outside Vatican

Why the meeting with Pope Francis is a historic one for First Nations

Former AFN regional chief believes papal apology is important for Catholics too

Here are the times a pope has apologized in recent history

Canadian residential schools: A timeline of apologies

A forensic anthropologist on the difficulties of identifying human remains

Indigenous artifacts in Vatican collection 'need to come home,' advocates say

Hopes high for 'change of heart' by Pope Francis after meetings with Indigenous delegates

'Today is about our own life': Metis elder reflects after meeting with the Pope

Meeting with Pope an 'opportunity' to begin handover of residential school records: former AFN chief


Catholic Church must ‘address deniers’ following apology


Catholic Church must ‘address deniers’ following apology says Murray Sinclair

Sorry is ‘an important milestone’ but more work must be done, according to the retired senator and former judge...

The former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is urging the Catholic Church to tackle residential school denialism following Pope Francis’s apology on Friday morning.

Church leaders who refuse to accept survivors’ truths are, right now, “the biggest source of resistance to reconciliation,” says Murray Sinclair.

“Denialism was allowed to flourish because of the silence that was coming from the Pope,” said the retired senator in an interview. “With this statement, those denying within the church — or denying in public because of the church being able to support denialism — will no longer have that ladder upon which they can stand.”

On the final day of an Indigenous delegation’s Vatican visit, the pontiff uttered a long-awaited and much-anticipated sorry “for the role that a number of Catholics” had in abusing children forced to attend Canada’s residential schools.

“All these things are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Francis said. “For the deplorable conduct of those members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry.”

The role these Catholics had in wounding Indigenous children and stripping them of their identity, culture and spirituality filled him with feelings of shame, sorrow and indignation, the pontiff added.

His apology comes nearly seven years after the TRC delivered its final report. In it, Call to Action 58 urged the pope to apologize for the “Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children.”

Pope’s apology a powerful gesture, but unlikely to affect court cases in Canada, experts say READ

Francis didn’t outright apologize for the church’s institutional role in perpetrating the abuse but rather the bad behaviour of individual Catholics that, he suggested, had turned their backs on their faith.

Sinclair told APTN the contrition “is a major step” but said Francis still must come to Canada and face survivors to fulfill Call to Action 58.  Sinclair also said the reference to policies of cultural assimilation was a notable insinuation of institutional guilt.

“That’s important,” Sinclair said. “That should be taken together with the apology for the individuals who committed wrongs. The one thing that arguably was missing was an acknowledgement that they put those people in place, in those positions of power where they could get away with that.”

Nevertheless, Sinclair said in a press release it was an important moment and long past time the church took responsibility for “a dark chapter of Canada’s colonialist history, one which the Church was a key co-author.”

The former judge took control of the TRC in 2009 as it began crisscrossing the country seeking out survivors and documenting the horrors of residential schools. He was appointed to the Senate in 2016 and retired in 2021.


CANADA leads THE WAY on reconciliation - is AMERICA next? Real reconciliation requires JUSTICE and arrests!  TLH

Pope Francis apologizes for church role in Indigenous residential schools - The Washington Post 

Pope's apology a powerful gesture, but unlikely to affect court cases in Canada, experts say


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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.

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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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