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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 . THANK YOU MEGWETCH for reading

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Thursday, June 1, 2023

StrongHearts Raises Elder Abuse Awareness #WEAAD

(EAGAN, MN. June 1, 2023)
  Despite the horror of being physically hurt, and having their money or medication stolen, elders who are abused or neglected often endure the abuse without calling for help. As lifelong caregivers and protectors, many elders suffer in silence to maintain the well-being of their family and that may include their abuser.

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) - a day to raise awareness and prevent elder abuse. It’s a day to reflect on what it’s like to become an Elder and the many challenges they are facing such as: losing strength, muscle, and bone mass. Mental clarity can deteriorate and lead to memory loss. These inevitable vulnerabilities leave our elders at risk of being abused.

According to the National Council on Aging, most abuse occurs in the home and at the hands of family members.

“It’s unacceptable when elders silently suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of those who should be protecting them,” said CEO Lori Jump, StrongHearts Native Helpline. “Many elders refuse to report their abusers because they are closely related and want to protect their family, but there are so many more reasons that most people can’t imagine.”


     Love: Despite the abuse or neglect, victims continue to love their abusive partner or relative.

     Fear: Elders may fear retaliation if they report the abuse.  

     Embarrassment: Worrying about what others might think or do to make matters worse. 

     Lack of Resources: Many elders live on fixed incomes and may depend on their abuser for shelter.

     Accessibility: Elders may not be able to report if they do not have access to cell phones, internet and/or transportation.

     Polyvictimization and Normalization: For generations, Native people have endured multiple types of abuse at the hands of non-Natives - so much so that abuse seems normal - an everyday part of life. 

Types of Abuse

Elder abuse is an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult. The abuser can be a family member, caretaker or another person that the elder trusts. Types of abuse can include:

     Emotional abuse - causes mental pain, fear and/or distress

     Physical abuse - the use of force to cause pain, injury, etc

     Financial abuse - improper use of an elders money, property or assets

     Caregiver neglect - a failure to meet basic needs (food, water, medical care)

     Sexual abuse - forced or unwanted sexual interactions of any kind

     Cultural and spiritual abuse

Learn The Signs Of Abuse

The signs of elder abuse may be difficult to spot as they could sometimes be the result of disease, side effects from medications or similar reasons. However, if you suspect that an Elder is being abused, be patient, talk and listen to them. Be aware that they may say that they are being “disrespected” rather than abused. Other signs of abuse may include:

     Unexplained bruising or injury

     Changes in behavior

     Lack of interest in family or social events

     Loss of weight

     Not having necessary medical aids ( glasses, walkers, teeth, etc) or adequate food, water, shelter

How can you help?

Education is always the first step. Understand the warning signs of elder abuse and pay attention to the elders in your life. Ensuring that our elders are properly cared for can include:

     Offering to help those in your family that might be feeling burdened with the care of a loved one.

     Spending time with an elder and planning a rotating schedule if you have multiple caregivers.

     Bringing them nutritional foods like baked goods or even better fry bread.

     Talking and listening to their stories because elders have a lot of wisdom to share and appreciate.

     Every state has an Adult Protective Services division for those wishing to report abuse at


StrongHearts can help. Advocates are available 24/7 to provide support and advocacy, make referrals to Native centered service providers and connect our relatives to regionally available resources. We are here 24/7/365.


National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention

National Adult Protective Services Association

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

My Two Aunties

From left, Jeremy Braithwaite, Lizzie Lycett, Cori Biggs, Art Martinez, Karan Thorne and Judge Bill Thorne during a training session with Indian Health Council staff. Provided photo.
 Protecting Children and Healing Families, One Native Auntie at a Time

Twenty years ago, a group of Indigenous tribes in Southern California had nearly 500 of their children in local foster care systems. Today, according to Indian Health Council data, the number is closer to 30. 

A main driver in recent years is My Two Aunties, a program that draws on family legacies and kinship traditions to wrap support and guidance around vulnerable parents and children living in a consortium of nine tribes.

Key to the approach is a pair of home-visiting workers, known as aunties, who are as steeped in tribal customs as they are in mandated reporting and making active efforts to reunify families after a foster care separation. 

“Instead of ‘What’s wrong with you?’, they ask ‘What’s strong with you?’”  said Karan Thorne, a member of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians who developed the program. 


Saturday, May 20, 2023

Unspoken: America's Native American Boarding Schools (2023)


KUED (now PBS Utah) takes a moving and insightful look into the dark chapter of American history, the federal Indian boarding school system. The goal was total assimilation into Anglo civilization at the cost of Native American culture, tradition, and language. The film story starts with pre-history and comes full circle to modern day. Much of the film is told in first person Native American voice by the people who continue to live it. 

Read More:

Osage Murders | Killers of the Flower Moon movie trailer

👇Based on David Grann’s broadly lauded best-selling book, Killers of the Flower Moon is set in 1920s Oklahoma and depicts the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror. Directed by Martin Scorsese and Screenplay by Eric Roth and Scorsese, the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, and Jillian Dion. Hailing from Apple Studios, Killers of the Flower Moon was produced alongside Imperative Entertainment, Sikelia Productions and Appian Way. Producers are Scorsese, Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas and Daniel Lupi, with DiCaprio, Rick Yorn, Adam Somner, Marianne Bower, Lisa Frechette, John Atwood, Shea Kammer and Niels Juul serving as executive producers.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Estranged? | Adoption Illusions and Stockholm Syndrome



👇AN OLD POST from 2014/2021

Adoption Illusions and Stockholm Syndrome

"...I’ve been thinking about this concept for a long time. Adopters, when it comes right down to it, count on Stockholm Syndrome. Children who don’t succumb are labelled RAD.
Whenever I encounter an infertile woman so desperate to be a mother that she’ll bring home a stranger’s baby and force it to live in her fantasy, I always secretly wonder what she would do if she were single and desperate to be married.
Would she drag some strange man home and force him to watch the Notebook and cuddle? And if she did, would society think it was beautiful and precious?  Or would they think she was delusional and dangerous?  Rhetorical question, of course.  But why? Why is what is clearly a crime between adults viewed in such an overwhelmingly positive way when one of the parties is a child?..."  - Renee Musgrove 
This comment by Renee has been in my head for over a year and I finally did research on Stockholm Syndrome! KEEP READING

Catholic-Operated Native Boarding Schools in the United States pre-1970

NEW Website :

Compiled by a group of archivists, historians, and concerned Catholics, the List of Catholic-operated Native Boarding Schools in the United States, pre-1978, represents the first and most comprehensive source for information on Native boarding schools that were overseen or staffed by the Catholic Church before 1978. Our motivation for assembling this data was to provide a resource to help boarding school survivors, their descendants, Tribal Nations, and the Church itself navigate the history of Catholic involvement with Native boarding schools.

The list has two primary objectives: first, to identify all Catholic-operated boarding schools designated specifically to educate Native American and Alaska Native children in the United States, and second, to identify all Catholic entities that were involved in the operation of each school. We are under no pretense that our list is complete. We have done our best to offer the most accurate information possible, but we also anticipate future revisions as additional information is obtained.


By bringing together basic information about Catholic-run Native boarding schools and the various Catholic institutions involved in their operation, the list responds to the clear request from Tribal Nations for access to archival records in Catholic repositories. Families and communities of boarding school survivors and their descendants deserve prioritized access to information regarding their own histories. The Catholic Church also has an obligation to understand the scope of its own role in this history. Making basic facts about the history of Catholic institutional involvement in the boarding schools more transparent aids in that understanding and facilitates identification of possible sources of archival records as one preliminary step to support information access.

Our goal is for Tribal Nations, families, and individuals to be able to use the list to locate records for schools that members of their communities attended. Our hope is that Catholic institutional archives and Tribal Nations will build relationships to increase understanding about records for Catholic-operated Native boarding schools and further develop the historical record. 


Email Contact:


Thursday, May 18, 2023

BRUTAL PAST| Mental Impact of Cross-Cultural Adoptions

👉 The Brutal Past and Uncertain Future of Native Adoptions. “It is our right as Indian nations to raise our children,” said Sandy White Hawk, founder of the Minnesota-based First Nations Repatriation Institute, which serves Native people affected by adoption and foster care. 

In 1958, the Indian Adoption Project(s) were created “to stimulate adoption of American Indian children by Caucasian families on a nationwide basis.” 

See a 1967 portrait of a Long Island family, the Zuckermans, who took part in the project.  The program was immensely popular in New York, which was already the center of a robust and lucrative adoption marketplace.  

Such treatment of Native parents and caretakers by white social workers was not uncommon, but the Devils Lake Sioux were among the first to fight back publicly.  Members of the tribe, which is now called the Spirit Lake Tribe, traveled to New York for a news conference at the Indian Affairs office arranged that summer.  CLICK: []


Seattle May 17

The entire argument for eradicating the Indian Child Welfare Act was expressed in a white supremacist poem by Robert Louis Stevenson that I expect Samuel Alito to quote in the opinion, with zero sense of irony: 

Little Indian, Sioux, or Crow, 

Little frosty Eskimo, Little Turk or Japanee, 

Oh! don't you wish that you were me? 

You have seen the scarlet trees 

And the lions over seas; 

You have eaten ostrich eggs, 

And turned the turtle off their legs. 

 Such a life is very fine, 

But it's not so nice as mine: 

You must often as you trod, 

Have wearied NOT to be abroad. 

You have curious things to eat, 

I am fed on proper meat; 

You must dwell upon the foam,

 But I am safe and live at home. 

 Little Indian, Sioux or Crow, Little frosty Eskimo, Little Turk or Japanee, 

Oh! don't you wish that you were me? VIA

 (New York Times)



Not Feeling “American Enough”: The Mental Impact of Cross-Cultural Adoption. “For adoptees in the adoptee community, to move forward is to have allies,” she explains. “The narrative [around cross-cultural adoption tends to] lie with adoptive parents, and so we need them to elevate our stories, to elevate us in order for people to know that there is another narrative out there. It's not this fairy tale.”


👀Let's celebrate - over TWO MILLION VIEWS on our little website! THANK YOU! -TLH

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Northern California County’s Child Welfare System Again Called out by Civil Grand Jury

  A report released Monday by a northern California civil grand jury finds that the local child welfare system routinely misses court deadlines, creating “an unnecessary amount of stress” for children and families — particularly members of tribal communities who are overrepresented in the foster care system.

In its report, Humboldt County Child Welfare Services and the Courts: Late Reports, Dysfunctional Systems, and Traumatized Children, the local watchdog group describes inefficiency and staff shortages as delaying family reunification for California families.



Tuesday, May 9, 2023

The Morrill Family on National Television Summer 1981, 7 Ojibwe Adoptees placed in Mormon family...

By Leland P Morrill  (Navajo adoptee and contributor to the book series Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects) posted in 2013

"Today's Child" started in June 1964 when Helen Allen - a veteran reporter for the Toronto Telegram - was questioned at the time by a skeptical Children's Aid Societies, but supported by Ontario's provincial government. 

During its first few years, about 80% of the children featured in the column were adopted. Helen Allen in this National Television show states that she personally adopted 10,000 to 11,000 children.  Who knows how many native and aboriginal children were adopted through her in Ontario, Canada?

Featured on this video are seven Ojibwe children, my adopted brothers and sisters, to a Mormon family who adopted 10 children. 

I was a Navajo "undocumented adoptee" before we moved to Ontario, Canada. 

Note on the video how many of my brothers and sisters are not white like our adopted parents. 

What is Genocide?  What constitutes Human Trafficking? 

Native Children who are deemed adoptable because of the 3rd world conditions forced on them through the Reservation system (Concentration Camps) may be labelled under "neglect", by Departments of Social Services that blur the lines between neglect and impoverishment; thus creating the definition of "abused or neglected" to encompass those "whose environment is injurious to the child's welfare." 

Genocide is the worst crime possible, undoubtedly the most serious crime that can be committed under international law. 

The 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (hereinafter the Statute) testifies to the fact that this is the most serious of the crimes within its jurisdiction. It places Genocide first, followed by Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes and the Crime of Aggression. 

The crime of genocide is defined in Article 6 of the Statute in the following terms: [A]ny of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

United Nations defined genocide as the intentional "destruction of racial, national, linguistic, religious or political groups," "with the purpose of destroying it in whole or in part or of preventing its preservation or development,"either "causing the death of members of a group or injuring their health or physical integrity" or interfering with their biological reproduction or also "destroying the specific characteristics of the group" through the "transfer of children." 

This video is evidence.  This is why ICWA and history matters. - Trace


Virtual Roundtable on the Indian Child Welfare Act (11am EASTERN)


WASHINGTON — In preparation for a fast-approaching U.S. Supreme Court decision on the fate of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Democratic minority members are holding a roundtable discussion this morning regarding the longstanding law that affirms tribal sovereignty in Indian child adoption cases. 

House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) will host a virtual roundtable to discuss the history and significance of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA),” according to a statement from his office.

“ICWA is a more than 40-year-old law that protects the well-being and best interests of Native children and families in state child welfare systems. In the past several years, ICWA has faced a series of legal challenges, the most prominent being the Brackeen v. Haaland Supreme Court case.

“The virtual roundtable will feature expert panelists to discuss the history of ICWA and the role Congress can play to strengthen ICWA and protect Native children and families.”

Of note, according to Grijalva: “This is the first congressional convening to examine ICWA since the onset of recent litigation efforts.”

 RELATED: “Indian Child Welfare Act again reaches U.S. Supreme Court. The basics of ICWA and why the high court is reviewing it now.”

Thanks to Indigenous Wire for this update

Thursday, May 4, 2023



It not only upholds Oneida’s vision of protecting families and preserving our core values and traditional beliefs – it has promoted the best interest of Oneida children for more than 40 years. 


States Seek to Protect Tribes’ Rights in Child Custody Cases

Followers of the case say it’s unclear how the court will rule, or on which grounds the court might decide to overturn the law. Some states are making backup plans.

Friday, April 28, 2023

On Sacred Ground (2023) #NoDAPL


On Sacred Ground (2023)

Indigenous Studies Discussion Group, University of Cambridge, Cambridge/UK

May 3, 2023 / 18:00 h BST (UTC +1) /19:00h CEST


Dear All,

We would like to invite you to the film screen of ‘On Sacred Ground’ (2023) at 18:00 on next Wednesday May 3rd in Room SG2, Alison Richard Building. The film is based on the true events during the 2016 construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that runs through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The film follows Daniel (William Mapother), a journalist and military veteran, and Elliot (David Arquette), an oil company executive, who find themselves on opposite sides of the fight during the construction of the contentious pipeline. As the story unfolds, the two characters go down separate paths during one of the most heated protests and confrontation with Native American tribes in modern US history. You can watch film trailer here: We look forward to seeing many of you there!

The screening will be hybrid, and please register here if you’d like to join online:

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The Repatriation Project

The Repatriation Project

A series investigating the return of Native American ancestral remains.

View the Full Series


Is the Metropolitan Museum of Art Displaying Objects That Belong to Native American Tribes?

by Kathleen Sharp for ProPublica

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

Series: The Repatriation Project

The Delayed Return of Native Remains

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

Stepping into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Shyanne Beatty was eager to view the Native American works that art collectors Charles and Valerie Diker had been accumulating for nearly half a century. But as she entered the museum’s American Wing that day in 2018, her excitement turned to shock as two wooden masks came into view.

Beatty, an Alaska Native, had worked on a radio documentary about the two Alutiiq objects and how they and others like them had been plundered from tribal land about 150 years ago. Now, the masks were on display in the biggest and most esteemed art museum in the Western Hemisphere. “It was super shocking to me,” she said.

The Met’s ownership history for the masks, also known as provenance, omits more than a century of their whereabouts. Historians say the masks were taken in 1871. But the museum’s timeline doesn’t start until 2003, when the Dikers bought them from a collector. Ownership was transferred to the Met in 2017.

The Dikers, who have amassed one of the most significant private collections of Native American works, have been donating or lending objects to the Met since 1993. In 2017, as other institutions grappled with returning colonial-era spoils, the Met announced the Dikers’ gift of another 91 Native American works.

A ProPublica review of records the museum has posted online found that only 15% of the 139 works donated or loaned by the Dikers over the years have solid or complete ownership histories, with some lacking any provenance at all. Most either have no histories listed, leave gaps in ownership ranging from 200 to 2,000 years or identify previous owners in such vague terms as an “English gentleman” and “a family in Scotland.”

Experts say a lack of documented histories is a red flag that objects could have been stolen or may be fake.

“That’s a lot of missing documentation, which is a problem,” said Kelley Hays-Gilpin, a curator at the Museum of Northern Arizona. The Arizona museum has documented about 80% of its collection, as has the Brooklyn Museum and other institutions that are considered less prestigious than the Met but that have substantial Native American collections. Some museums, such as one at the University of Denver, decline gifts that have poor provenance.

For centuries, Native Americans have decried the looting of the graves of their ancestors by pothunters and scientists and the display of their remains and belongings in museums. In 1990, Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to facilitate the return of such items and human remains to the appropriate tribes, which the law declares are their rightful owners.

NAGPRA requires federally funded museums to notify a tribe within six months of receiving their holdings by contacting and consulting with that tribe’s chosen representative, often known as a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, and giving them an opportunity to reclaim their objects. The law also mandates that museums file a copy of those notices with the National Park Service.

These interactions provide an opportunity for institutions to learn more about the history of objects, whether they are authentic or might have been stolen and if it’s appropriate to display them. But as ProPublica has reported this year, museums have often delayed such discussions while keeping human remains and objects that the law says should be returned.

Some pieces in the Diker Collection are sacred, such as a shaman’s rattle made of human or horse hair; some are funereal and were buried with the dead. (The Met recently returned the rattle to the Dikers, and there are “ongoing consultations” related to some other items, according to the museum.)

“Most of these items could only have ended up in private hands through trafficking and looting,” said Shannon O’Loughlin, director of the Association on American Indian Affairs, which advocates for tribal sovereignty and the protection of Native American cultures.

“The way that so many of these things wound up in museums is horrible,” said Rosita Worl, president of Sealaska Heritage and a Tlingit citizen. New York law goes by the principle of once stolen, always stolen, and she said the pieces are tainted. “The rightful thing is for these things to be returned home.”

Initially, many of the objects were loans; due to a loophole in NAGPRA, this meant the museum did not have to report them to tribes or to the NPS. To date, the museum has accepted the transfer of 77 of the promised gifts from the Diker Collection, according to the Met.

But ProPublica found that after assuming ownership the Met for years failed to consult the necessary tribal officials in a timely and consistent manner about objects in its collections. A year passed before the museum contacted someone at the Alutiiq tribe to inform them that it had their masks. (The Met declined to name the person it contacted.) Four years later, the NPS posted summaries that the Met had sent in September 2022 to 63 tribes connected to objects in the Diker Collection. The Met did so after ProPublica asked the museum about the masks and other sacred and culturally sensitive items.

All the while, the museum displayed some items with incorrect descriptions and omitted or minimized the wars, occupations, massacres and exploitation that dominated the tribes’ past.

The Met’s descriptions in its displays “are in the land of make-believe,” said Wendy Teeter, the former curator at the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The public won’t have a clue as to what a piece really is or how it got there.” This, Teeter said, “perpetuates stereotypes and bias against Native people.”

Monday, April 24, 2023

Petitioning the Court to Open Your Adoption File (for adoptees adopted in the United States) | Old Papers and the NARA

2023: The states of Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut,Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana,Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont (July 1, 2023) are the only U.S. states where adult adoptees have unrestricted access to their own original birth records!  Check out Bastard Nation

The late Karen Vigneault always told adoptees to not be afraid of using the courts to open your adoption records.  And she used NARA, a federal program that has files on everyone. Read more below:  Trace

Petitioning the Court to Open Your Adoption File (for adoptees adopted in the United States)

Why you should consider a petition:

Petitioning the court to open your records is something every adoptee should try. Even the most restrictive states allow the sealed adoption file to be open via court order, and petitioning the court is usually not a difficult nor terribly expensive proposition, and your odds are slightly better than winning the lottery.

As is detailed in my search series article, "Documents", the court file contains a variety of documents related to one's adoption, often including the original birth certificate. The most likely occurrence is that when petitioned, the judge will instruct that only non- or de-identified information be compiled from the file and given to you, but in a few instances, judges have been known to open the entire file. A very few judges will open files to every adoptee who asks, regardless of the reason. It pays to research how the particular judge you will be appearing in front of usually responds to petitions to open the file.  Local search groups often have this information, or you can post an inquiry on an email list or Usenet newsgroup, as discussed in previous parts of this Search Series.

The details of petitioning:

Petitioning the court does not require the services of a lawyer although it can help your chances of success to use one. The first step will be determining what court has your file. You probably have already obtained this information if you followed the steps detailed in the other documents of this series. The court that has your file will be the court that finalized the adoption. In the States, this is usually a county Family court, located in the county where your adoptive parents resided at the time of your adoption. Most courts will have the proper forms for petitioning available to you on request, and you do not need to be physically present at a hearing date in order for the judge to read and respond to your petition, although appearing in person can greatly enhance your chances of success. Along with the petition, you should include the reason for your request. You may simply believe the information belongs to you, and you can state this, but the sad truth is that you are more likely to be successful if there are extenuating circumstances. If you have a medical condition that could be eased with the information or with finding your birthparents, proof and explanation of that condition should be included in your petition. If there were unusual circumstances involved in your adoption, if you know your birthparents are deceased, if you already know the identity of your birthfamily, or if your adoptive parents are deceased, you should include a statement to that effect, along with proof of your claims. However, even if you do not have any unusual circumstances, and simply want the information, you should still try a petition. As stated above, some judges will release the file to adoptees just for the asking.

Using The Indian Child Welfare Act in a petition:

The Indian Child Welfare Act is little-used, but it can be the key to a successful petition to open a sealed file if you are adopted, and are some or all Native American. The ICWA was passed in 1978 to address congressional findings that "an alarmingly high percentage of Indian families are broken up by the removal, often unwarranted, of their children from them by nontribal public and private agencies and that an alarmingly high percentage of such children are placed in non-Indian foster and adoptive homes and institutions; and..... that the States, exercising their recognized jurisdiction over Indian child custody proceedings through administrative and judicial bodies, have often failed to recognize the essential tribal relations of Indian people and the cultural and social standards prevailing in Indian communities and families."

One section of the ICWA is of particular interest to adoptees. Section 1951b states "Upon the request of the adopted Indian child over the age of eighteen, the adoptive or foster parents of an Indian child, or an Indian tribe, the Secretary shall disclose such information as may be necessary for the enrollment of an Indian child in the tribe in which the child may be eligible for enrollment or for determining any rights or benefits associated with that membership. Where the documents relating to such child contain an affidavit from the biological parent or parents requesting anonymity, the Secretary shall certify to the Indian child's tribe, where the information warrants, that the child's parentage and other circumstances of birth entitle the child to enrollment under the criteria established by such tribe."

Essentially this section directs the State to give adult adoptees of Native American heritage who request it, their birth information, so that they may enroll in their tribes. The section does allow for birthparents to file a veto, but even then the adoptee is entitled to tribal notification so that they may process their tribal rights and privileges. You can read the entire ICWA on the Web.

There are a few problem areas with using the ICWA. Many adoptees are of enough Native American blood to qualify for enrollment in their tribes, but there is nothing documented that verifies that information. Before a judge will open a file under ICWA s/he will often demand some sort of proof that the adoptee is NA at all, proof that most adoptees will simply not have. But in other instances, the agency that handled the adoption, or the court file itself, will contain notations that you, the adoptee, do have NA ancestry. If you have received non-ID from a source that states this, include a copy with your court petition. You will also need to include a copy of the ICWA in order to make the judge's work easier and predispose him/her to wanting to help you. If you have any information at all that you are even the smallest bit Native American, you should use the ICWA in your petition. Include affidavits from family members (adoptive and birth) who have told you that you have Native American blood, as well as any 'official' agency or other documents to support your claims. Remember that most tribes have small blood quantum requirements, and you should not feel guilty about using the ICWA. The intent of this law is to ensure that those of us who are entitled to tribal membership by birthright, have the *choice* to join our Native American communities.

What to Expect:

Your petition will have several possible outcomes. It can be denied outright, and you will receive nothing.  Or, you might be denied identifying information, but receive censored copies of documents, or merely a summary of non-ID compiled from the documents themselves.  The judge might also choose to appoint an intermediary. The intermediary will be given the file, and will conduct a search for your birthparents, usually the birthmother if you have not already found her.  She will then be asked for permission to release identifying information to you.  The irony is that in many cases, you still will not be given the court file or the documents contained within it, even if your birthparent(s) agrees to exchange identifying information.  You will usually be required to pay for the intermediary service. In the case of the ICWA, sometimes the Court will appoint a tribal intermediary who will process your tribal enrollment in addition to seeking permission from your birthparent(s) to exchange identifying information.  This is in contravention of the mandates of the Federal Act, but that does not seem to have stopped judges from doing it.  Lastly, copies of parts of or your entire file might be turned over to you, unaltered.

This is a work in progress. Adoptees with experience in petitioning the court for their adoption file are encouraged to email me with the details of their experiences for use in this document.

This post was authored by Shea Grimm,, except where otherwise indicated. It may be copied and distributed freely, in whole or in part, as long as it is not sold, and as long as this notice is kept intact.

Back to Shea's Search Series: The Definitive Guide to Self-Empowered Adoptee Search

Editor Note: The government has files on everyone, going way back.  My sister Teresa and I found a marriage license from 1901 and got copies.  If you do have a name of an ancestor who was adopted, try using the NARA.

 Find an office near you

Toll-free number

1-86-NARA-NARA (1-866-272-6272)

I have a name! Now what? 

If you have a name, and an indication from your non-ID or other sources that members of your birthfamily served in the military, there are sources on and offline that can provide you with other crucial bits of information. The Freedom of Information Act allows individuals to request certain records on both living and decased military personnel regardless of their relationship to the individual, or reason for the request. Information obtainable under the FOIA includes Name, Service Number, Rank, Dates of Service, Awards and decorations and City/town and state of last known address including date of the address.  If the veteran is deceased you are entitled to Place of birth, Geographical location of death, and Place of burial. To find out where to write for records, visit the National Archives and Records Administration site dealing with military personnel records.

For those searching in Canada, The National Archives of Canada has personnel files of over 5,500,000 former military and civilian employees of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Federal Public Service.  Documents in these records contain information about the individual's employment history with Federal Departments, the military units with which he or she served, pension details, and more.

 Read my earlier articles:

How to Open an Adoption Part One (UPDATED) –FREE, Reunion registry for adoptees, adoptee blogs and information.



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.

no arrests?

Crime Scene

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so far...
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You are not alone

You are not alone

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What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!


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?

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.

Diane Tells His Name

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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