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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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Thursday, December 8, 2022

NEW BOOK: "A Child of the Indian Race"

"A Child of the Indian Race"  "A Child of the Indian Race": A Story of Return

Sandy White Hawk

Foreword Gene Thin Elk

Introduction by Terry Cross

Minnesota Historical Society Press (December 1, 2022)

Description

An adoptee reconnects with the Lakota family and culture she was born into— and nurtures a new tradition that helps others to do the same.

In the 1950s, when Sandy White Hawk was a toddler, she was taken from her Lakota family on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Her adoption papers identify her as “a child of the Indian race,” and her adoptive mother never let her forget it, telling her she was unwanted and shaming her for being “Indian.” White Hawk medicated her traumas with drugs and alcohol. At age twenty-eight, she gained sobriety and reconnected with her birth relatives. As she learned what it means to be Lakota, she also learned that thousands of Native adoptees shared her experience—left to navigate racial and cultural complexities as children, with no way to understand what was happening to them.

Mentored by a respected elder, White Hawk began to work with relatives who also had been separated by adoption and foster care, taken away from their families and communities. Fighting through her feelings of inadequacy, she accepted that she could use her voice to advocate. Ultimately, White Hawk founded the First Nations Repatriation Institute, an organization that addresses the post-adoption issues of Native American individuals, families, and communities.

White Hawk lectures and presents widely on the issues around adoption. She exposes the myth that adoption is a path to protecting "unwanted children" from "unfit mothers," offering a child a "better chance at life." Rather, adoption, particularly transracial adoption, is layered in complexities. “A Child of the Indian Race” is Sandy White Hawk's story, and it is the story of her life work: helping other adoptees and tribal communities to reconcile the enormous harms caused by widespread removals.

Advance Praise

“Of all human rights assaults on Native peoples in the United States, the stealing
of Native children is perhaps the most heartbreaking. Adopted by a white couple,
Sandy White Hawk grew up without cultural defenses against the onslaught of racism 
and erasure she experienced. Her eloquent, riveting book takes the reader on her journey back home and toward her life’s work: helping Native families to reconnect and, together, face down generations of trauma.”
Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee), writer, curator,
policy advocate, and recipient of a 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom

"In this profoundly moving memoir, Sandy White Hawk, Sicangu Lakota, speaks eloquently of her life as a young child adopted by a white family. It is an intensely personal story of resilience and perseverance in spite of trauma, racism, and painful truths. At the core of her healing is her tribe’s Welcome Home song and ceremony for adoptees. To all Native adoptees, this book is a must read. Welcome home."
Denise Lajimodiere (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa), author of Stringing Rosaries: The History, the Unforgivable, and the Healing of Northern Plains American Indian Boarding School Survivors

"Worthy of a novel—but true. A young child is transported to a strange place where she is challenged to overcome events no child should have to face. She lives in a world that doesn’t recognize or accept her, all the while being told that this is in her own best interest. This is a story about the triumph of the human spirit that finds love, acceptance, and purpose in restoring hope to others who were also lost.
William A. Thorne, Jr. (Pomo and Coast Miwok), retired tribal and state court judge

"Since the 1870s, first through boarding schools and then through forced adoptions, federal bureaucrats have permanently removed Native children from their families. Their goal was the erasure of Native people; the result was trauma and severely damaged families. Sandy White Hawk, who lived this adoption experience, has become a strong advocate for Native people and Native families. In this compelling and immensely readable story, her compassion and dignity shine through."
Anita Fineday (White Earth Tribal Nation), managing director, Indian Child Welfare Program, Casey Family Programs

“Sandy White Hawk is ‘a child of the Indian race.’ This is her powerful memoir of coming home to the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota as an ‘Indian adoptee.’  It is a story of much suffering and great courage, and it highlights the indelible importance of song, ceremony, culture, and landscape in the arduous journey towards truth, reconciliation, and healing.  It is also a journey greatly facilitated by the vision and hard work of many Native mentors, families, and communities. Read this book. It will change you.” 
Frank Pommersheim, professor of law and associate justice, Rosebud Sioux Tribe Supreme Court

Author Information

Sandy White Hawk is a Sicangu Lakota adoptee from the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota. She is the founder and director of First Nations Repatriation Institute, which offers resources for First Nations people impacted by foster care or adoption to return home, reconnect, and reclaim their identity. White Hawk is Director of Healing Programs at the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition and was elder-in-residence at the Indian Child Welfare Law Office in Minneapolis. She is the subject of several documentaries, including Blood Memory: A Story of Removal and Return.

Gene Thin Elk (Great Sicangu Nation) is an internationally known consultant in the area of Indigenous healing methods.

Terry Cross (Seneca Nation) is the founding executive director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association. He is the author of the Heritage and Helping and Positive Indian Parenting curriculum, as well as Cross-Cultural Skills in Indian Child Welfare.

$ 18.95 Minnesota Historical Society

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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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To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

Did you know?

Did you know?
lakota.cc/16I9p4D

Did you know?

New York’s 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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click to read and listen about Trace, Diane, Julie and Suzie

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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