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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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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

HISTORY: How the "free" state of California enslaved Native children

Photo of Kate Camden, a Native girl who at age 10 was forced into servitude for a white family living in Shasta County. Photo is one of few records that exist showing Native children entrapped by California's apprentice and guardianship laws // Credit: Camden Family Portrait, circa 1857-1859 courtesy of Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, WHIS 9066

 Kate Camden family portrait

New Episode of ACLU Gold Chains Podcast Examines Indigenous Child Slavery in 19th century California, Connects to Upcoming U.S. Supreme Court Case Brackeen v. Haaland

How the "free" state of California enslaved Native children

Media Contact: press@aclunc.org, (415) 621-2493

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – California came into the Union as a free state in 1850 with a constitution that banned slavery. So how did white settlers in the mid-19th century get away with enslaving Indigenous children, some of them as young as 2 years old? And why does this little known, terrible chapter of California history matter today?

Today, the ACLU of Northern California released the third episode of Gold Chains, our podcast about California’s hidden history of slavery. Indigenous Injustice” examines a 19th century state law called the Act for the Government and Protection of Indians that effectively legalized Indigenous child slavery and encouraged kidnappers to snatch Native children from their tribal communities.

“The horror of what happened in California, the genocidal violence against Native people, and especially the enactment of that violence against children, is unfathomable,” said historian Stacey Smith, who appears as a guest on the show.

“Indigenous Injustice” isn’t just ancient history. Over time, the practice of forcibly separating Native children from their tribal communities has taken on many forms. There were the so- called Indian Boarding Schools. A variety of other government-sanctioned adoption schemes have funneled Indigenous children into Non-Native, mostly white households.

Currently, there’s a landmark case scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 9 – Brackeen v. Haaland – that deals with the very same issue of the forced removal of Native children from their families, tribes and tribal culture. It threatens to dismantle the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which was passed to prevent Native children from being removed from their communities.

The American Civil Liberties Union, along with 12 ACLU affiliates ( including the ACLU of Northern California) have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the court to uphold the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

“Indigenous Injustice” is a timely story that connects the dots between Indigenous child slavery in California to the present.

Link to Episode Website


November 1, 2022

Episode 3:
Indigenous Injustice

California joined the Union as a so-called free state in 1850. So how did white settlers get away with enslaving Native children until they were young adults?

We explore a little-known California state law called the Act for the Government and Protection of Indians that unleashed genocidal violence against Indigenous children. And we connect the dots between that terrible past and a landmark upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case.


Episode Credits:

Produced by the ACLU of Northern California

Host and writer Tammerlin Drummond

Senior Producer and Editor Joanne Jennings

Mix and Original Score Renzo Gorrio

Executive Producer Candice Francis

We’d like to thank our wonderful guides Stacey L Smith, William Bauer and Tedde Simon.

Our associate producers are Lisa P. White and Carmen King.

A special thanks also to our voice actors Pauline Schindler, William Freeman, and Avi Frey.

Elize Manoukian provided fact-checking and production assistance.

Field recording was done by Julie Conquest, Ron George and Eric Gleske.

We’d also like to thank the following members of our Gold Chains team: Brady Hirsch, Gigi Harney and Eliza Wee. Thank you also to Abdi Soltani, executive director of the ACLU of Northern California.

A special thanks to World Affairs, Oregon State University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for providing us with recording studios.

Archival sound was provided courtesy of Periscope Films and Prelinger Archives.


Episode Guests:

William Bauer is a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a citizen of the Round Valley Reservation. He is the author of California Through Native Eyes: Reclaiming History and We Were All Like Migrant Workers Here: Work, Community and Memory on California’s Round Valley Reservation.

Stacey Smith is an associate history professor at Oregon State University. She is the author of Freedom's Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation and Reconstruction.

Tedde Simon is the Indigenous justice advocate at the ACLU of Northern California and a citizen of the Navajo Nation.


Additional Resources:

Gold Chains: The Hidden History of Slavery in California, ACLU of Northern California

Among the Diggers of 30 Years Ago, Helen M. Carpenter

Early California Laws and Polices Related to California Indians Kimberly Johnston-Dodds, California State Library

Federal Indian Boarding School Investigative Report U.S. Department of Indian Affairs

This Land, host Rebecca Nagle

At Liberty, host Kendall Ciesemier


 

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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?

New York’s 40-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. According to the 2020 Census, 3.6% of Colorado's population is American Indian or Alaska Native, at least in part, with the descendants of at least 200 tribal nations living in the Denver metro area.

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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

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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