Breaking: Court Fights Intensify Over Who Gets To Adopt Native American Children

A case before a federal appeals court last week could upend an historic adoption law meant to combat centuries of brutal discrimination against American Indians and keep their children with families and tribal communities. For the first time, a few states have sued to overturn the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which Congress enacted in 1978 as an antidote to entrenched policies of uprooting Native children and assimilating them into mainstream white culture. Now, in a country roiled by debates over race and racial identity, there’s a chance the 41-year-old law could be overturned by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, considered the country’s most conservative court. (The law applies to federally recognized tribes.)

“This is about attacking Indian law and Indian sovereignty,” said Chrissi Nimmo, deputy attorney general for the Cherokee Nation. “This is just the first step.” The Cherokee, Navajo, Oneida and Quinault Indian Nations, as well as the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, asked to be included as defendants in the lawsuit.

BREAKING NEWS: Court Fights Intensify Over Who Gets To Adopt Native American Children | HuffPost

Lost Birds and Lost Children Book Series

My readers know I am an adoptee and the author of a book series by and for Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, 60s Scoop and ARENA in the US and Canada.

This latest attack on Indian Country is about land.

If you adopt and take children and erase their identity, isolated and unable to open their adoption, eventually there will be no more Indians (in their way – anywhere.)

The American Indian Adoptees blog has coverage : /https://blog.americanindianadoptees.com/

Ireland’s ‘house of tears’ | Origins Canada | 60s Scoop | One Small Sacrifice | and my thanks

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(excerpt) Some of the children – the cute ones, says Ms. Corless – were adopted at a price in North America, often without their mothers’ consent. John P. Rodgers, a survivor of St. Mary’s and an author who wrote a memoir about his experience, For the Love of My Mother, now being developed as a Hollywood film script, believes that the available photographs of the home were part of a marketing ploy. “These beautiful photographs of nuns in religious garb taking care of the children with chubby cheeks, white ankle socks and shoes, neat dress, it’s a real film shot. I realized that was a staged photograph,” he says in an interview.

The nuns would send letters to families describing little girls and boys they had available. “One report of an Irish health department in 2012 suggested that perhaps 1,000 children were trafficked from the Tuam institution alone,” Prof. Smith says.

Will there be a TRUTH COMMISSION in IRELAND too?

A harrowing discovery in Ireland casts light on the Catholic Church’s history of abusing unwed mothers and their babies – and emboldened survivors to demand accountability…

But the reality was horrific. They were homes of abuse and neglect; places of forced confinement for the mothers and where babies were allowed to die – murdered, in effect. Kevin Higgins, a lawyer familiar with the issue, says the deaths were “at least manslaughter.” One Irish newspaper has called the scandal “our little Holocaust.”

The reason for the homes was simple and rarely questioned at the time. The mothers were unwed; their children often called “devil’s spawn.” Set up by the government and run by Catholic religious orders, the mother and baby homes were part of a system to deal with the perceived shame of “illegitimate” children and the women who bore them.  …The rest, 796 infants and toddlers, she believed, were in a mass grave in an area of low-cost housing, built on the former grounds of St. Mary’s by Galway County Council.

READ: Ireland’s ‘house of tears’: Why Tuam’s survivors want justice for lost and abused children – The Globe and Mail

*** Has this scandal gone Global?

Many Canadians are unaware that in the immediate postwar decades, federal and provincial governments funded “Homes for Unwed Mothers” in every Canadian province. Over 300,000 unmarried mothers were systematically separated from their babies during this period.  Mothers report verbal, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse in these homes, and the Canadian government has so far done nothing to acknowledge these wrongs.  Origins Canada advocates for a Committee to Investigate such as the one held in Australia to uncover the illegal, unethical and human rights abuses in adoption policies and practices in both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous contexts. This type of inquiry may serve to validate the lifelong psychological and intergenerational damage to families by draconian adoption policies and practices, and to provide mental health and healing services to those denied them so many years ago.  – Valerie Andrews, Executive Director Origins Canada: Supporting Those Separated by Adoption

******** DECLINING International Adoptions

Americans adopted around 5,370 children from other countries in fiscal year 2016. For the first time, males outnumbered females among adoptees from abroad.

Source: International adoptions to U.S. declined in 2016 | Pew Research Center

 

 

 

 

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The $800-million proposed agreement with Sixties Scoop survivors that was announced by the Canadian government isn’t the first aiming to compensate Indigenous people for historical wrongs. (Top photo)

READ: Sixties Scoop settlement the latest involving Canadian Indigenous people – Canada – CBC News

 

And I thought I’d share some of my own experience being an adoptee.

(c)2012
2nd Edition on Kindle and Amazon

Stop a moment.  Who are you?

Stop and think about…  Have you ever considered that an adoptee doesn’t know who they are …?

Placed as a baby, decisions were made for me and my life in a Wisconsin courtroom in 1957. At age 22, in 1978, I went back to that courtroom and found a judge who luckily remembered my adoption and I asked for his help.

Many still do not appreciate or know how difficult it is to find out (WHO YOU ARE) after a sealed closed adoption. Those who don’t experience being adopted have little comparison, comprehension or compassion for its complexities, or what life is like in legal limbo.

I’m a Split Feather, a Lost Bird, an adoptee with Native American ancestry. I know this because I opened my adoption. I wanted to know my name, and why my parents gave me up, or had they abandoned me.

I wanted the truth, good, bad, both. I wanted what you what – ancestors, names, places.

Truly it was like being trapped in two worlds… (After my memoir came we did Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects) – now living with two sets of parents and two last names; life gets fuzzy between truth and fiction.  As a young adult adoptee, it was pure nonsense having to accept “this was done in your best interest.”  Clearly that wasn’t enough information to build a life on.  I needed more.  I needed my own medical information, I told the kind judge.

To get to the truth was all uphill. Years of uphill. Laws made it illegal for me to look or know my own name.  (How strange and confusing all this was.)

The tragedy was I felt like a lost-and-found item in a department store. Unclaimed, some strangers came in, spotted me and said “I’ll take that one.” As their child, I became invisible, unidentifiable, and perfectly suited to blend in with all the other Americans.  (But I didn’t ask for this.)

The agency Catholic Charities handled me (the newborn) and sealed my fate.  My identity and my mother’s identity would remain a secret, papal leaders decreed. (It’s still happening –  records are legally changed and locked up!)

It would take years before I could rightfully claim my identity and know what happened that I happened.

Because adoption records were locked by Wisconsin law, my decision to know who I am involved risk.  Not only would this test my courage, it could get me locked up.

It also meant I’d face the fear of my birthmother rejecting me a second time.

My memoir One Small Sacrifice tells the entire story of how I went from one of the Stolen Generations to now, today… (I was using my adoptee name when I wrote it in 2004. I legally changed my name in 2015 to Trace Lara Hentz. More INFO)

As for any settlement, the USA has not issued an apology or any settlement for the Indian Adoption Projects or ARENA (a program that moved children from Canada to the US and vice versa.) I helped to write and publish a book series so one day, some day, we will have this history to use in the courts.

************************************** AND ONE MORE THING

a little cyber ghost treat that looks good!

I really want you to know that your blogs are so good, my words are insufficient.  I often read HOURS because of you all on wordpress. We are our own community of souls putting good thoughts and ideas out there into the blogosphere. Your photography, your poetry, your reviews, your art, your writing, your books, your experiences fill me up (usually on Mondays!) I cannot thank you enough — all of you. XOX Lara/Trace

Best Contemporary Native Art | Standing Rock Chairman loses election #NoDAPL | 60s Scoop

A new traveling exhibition of some of the best contemporary Native American artworks of the past 25 years, Native Art Now!, opens Nov. 11-12 at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. The field of contemporary Native art takes center stage in Indianapolis as the exhibit opening coincides with a convening of leading Native artists, scholars and others for roundtable discussions, accompanied by a Native Art Now! television documentary and book.

As both a retrospective celebration and a summit meeting for influencers in contemporary art, Native Art Now! will promote appreciation for today’s Native art and artists, and generate dialogue about the current state of the field and its future challenges. The exhibition features 39 iconic works of Native art that the museum acquired primarily through its Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship, including installations, paintings, prints, sculptures and glass and fabric art. Visually compelling works from artists Truman Lowe, Allan Houser, Kay WalkingStick, Meryl McMaster and Nicholas Galanin among others will be on view in the special exhibition gallery that opens to visitors Saturday, Nov. 11.

READ: Enlightening Exhibition of Nation’s Best Contemporary Native Art Opens Nov. 11 – 12 – Native News Online

Todd Coon and his sister Patsy were “scooped” by child welfare authorities when they were just toddlers in the wake of a 1966 Winnipeg house fire.

READ: ‘I thought I was alone’: Sixties scoop survivors gather in Ottawa | Ottawa Citizen

Manitoba to apologize to aboriginals adopted into white families in ’60s Scoop

Manitoba to apologize to aboriginals adopted into white families in '60s Scoop
Manitoba is set to apologize to aboriginals who were taken from their parents decades ago and adopted into non-aboriginal families. Premier Greg Selinger said the apology, expected next week in the legislature, will acknowledge damage done to those taken from their homes and their culture. Manitoba was one of the provinces most affected, so it is appropriate that it be among the first to apologize, he said.

CLICK: Manitoba to apologize to aboriginals adopted into white families in ’60s Scoop.

WINNIPEG – Manitoba is set to apologize to aboriginals who were taken from their parents decades ago and adopted into non-aboriginal families.

The apology, thought to be the first by a Canadian province, is directed at individuals (adoptees) from the so-called ’60s Scoop, which many see as an extension of Indian residential schools policy.

Premier Greg Selinger said the apology, expected next week in the legislature, will acknowledge damage done to those taken from their homes and their culture. Manitoba was one of the provinces most affected, so it is appropriate that it be among the first to apologize, he said.

“It’s an acknowledgment that they did lose contact with their families, their language, their culture,” Selinger told The Canadian Press. “That was an important loss in their life and it needs to be acknowledged. It’s part of the healing process.”

Adoptees have been calling for a federal apology and many want compensation for their experience, which they say was as traumatic as that suffered by residential school survivors.

Selinger said he hopes the apology prompts the federal government to say it’s sorry.

“These policies were initiated at the federal level all across the country. We’re acknowledging the harms done in Manitoba and the need for healing in Manitoba. We’d like to see the federal government address it on a pan-Canadian level as well.”

[More at American Indian Adoptees blog here: www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com]

 

From Lara: I will be posting an update later today…

60s Scoop: Stolen Generations

Origins Canada website

cropped-aialc.jpgThe 60s Scoop refers to the adoption of First Nation/Metis children in Canada between the years of 1960 and the mid 1980′s. This period is unique in the annals of adoption. This phenomenon, coined the “60′s Scoop”, is so named because the highest numbers of adoptions took place in the decade of the 1960s and because, in many instances, children were literally scooped from their homes and communities without the knowledge or consent of families and bands. Many First Nations charged that in many cases where consent was not given, that government authorities and social workers acted under the colonialistic assumption that native people were culturally inferior and unable to adequately provide for the needs of the children[1]. Many First Nations people believe that the forced removal of the children was a deliberate act of genocide[2].

Statistics from the Department of Indian Affairs reveal a total of 11,132 status Indian children adopted between the years of 1960 and 1990[3]. It is believed, however, that the actual numbers are much higher than that. While Indian Affairs recorded adoptions of ‘status’ native children, many native children were not recorded as ‘status’ in adoption or foster care records[4]. Indeed, many ‘status’ children were not recorded as status after adoption. Of these children who were adopted, 70% were adopted into non-native homes. Interestingly, of this latter group, the breakdown rate for these transracial adoptions is also 70%![5].

Many of the adoptees, who are now adults, are seeking to reunite with birth families and communities. A substantial portion of these adoptees face cultural and identity confusion issues as the result of having been socialized and acculturated into a euro-Canadian middle-class society[6]. For transracial adoptees, identity issues may be worsened by other problems arising during the search and reunion experience. As one author put it, the identity issues of adoptees may be compounded by being reacquainted with one of the most marginalized and oppressed group in North American society.

There are lots of adult adoptees searching for families, and families searching for adoptees. As a result, several First Nation/aboriginal reunification programs have sprouted up in Canada. These links are available below, and some have toll-free numbers. For adoptees who are not sure where their roots are, calling any of the agencies can be a first step. They will direct you to an agency or band or provincial post-adoption office that can help. Although Saskatchewan currently does not have a Native repatriation program, Saskatchewan Social Services has a part-time Repat worker who can assist at Post Adoption Registry, 1920 Broad Street, Regina, SK S4P 3V6, (306)787-3654 or 1-800-667-7539.

For many adoptees and birth families, it has been beneficial to utilize the services of experienced Repatriation workers. These individuals can assist all parties in the emotional and psychological preparation for reunion.

By Dr. Raven Sinclair ravsin@sasktel.net

(See bibliography list below)

1. Kimelman, 1985; Sinclair et al., 1991

2. Kimelman, 1985: see also the UN Convention on Genocide at this site.

3. RCAP, 1996 (Search under “Adoption”)

4. This knowledge is based on personal experience and knowledge as an adoptee with adoptive siblings, and as an adoption worker.

5. Bagley, Young & Scully, 1993

6. Hall, 1995; Gilchrist, 1995; Richard, 1998

A short reference list of of Scoop material:

Bagley, C., Young, L., & Scully, A. (1993). International and transracial adoptions: A mental health perspective. Northern Social Work Practice, Northern and Regional Studies Series, Volume 4.116-135.

Fanshel, D. (1972). Far from the reservation: the transracial adoption of American Indian children. New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press. 116-135.

Fournier, S. & Crey, E. (1997). Stolen from our embrace: The abduction of First Nations children and the restoration of Aboriginal communities. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre.

Gilchrist, L. (1995). Urban survivors, Aboriginal street youth: Vancouver, Winnipeg & Montreal. Research report presented to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, January, 1995.

Hall, L. (Speaker – Vancouver, BC 93-06-02 13).(1995). For seven generations: An information legacy of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Libraxus Inc.

Kimelman, Judge E.C. (1985). No quiet place: Review committee on Indian and Metis adoption and placements. Manitoba Community Services.

Lyslo, A. (1960). Adoption for American Indian Children. Child Welfare, 39(6). June 1960. 32-33.

Lyslo, A. (1961). Adoptive placement of American Indian children with non-Indian families. Child Welfare, 40(5). May 1961. 4-6.

McRoy, R., Zucher, L.,Lauderdale, M. & Anderson, R. (1983). The identity of transracial adoptees. Social Casework: The Journal of Contemporary Social Work, 65. 576-583.

Richard, K. (1998). A submisssion on the matter of cross cultural aboriginal adoption. Unpublished paper submitted to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. (Available from Toronto Native Child & Family Services).

Sinclair, Judge M., Phillips, D. & Bala, N. (1991). Aboriginal Child Welfare in Canada. Bala, J., Hornick, J.P. & Vogl, R. (1991). Canadian Child Welfare Law: Children, Families and the State. Toronto: Thompason Educational Publishing. 171-194.

Sobol, M. & Daly, K. (1993). Adoption in Canada: Final Report. National Adoption Study, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario.

Stevenato & Associates, J. Budgell. (1998). Aboriginal Healing & Wellness Strategy Research Project: Repatriation of Aboriginal families. Toronto: Author. (Available through Toronto Native Child & Family Services.)

Ward, M. (1984). The adoption of Native Canadian children. Cobalt, Ontario: Highway Bookshop.

9781479318285_COVER[I’d like to add that the anthology TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects covers this controversial history in depth… It’s available on Amazon and Kindle…Trace/Lara] Also available in our store at http://www.bluehandbooks.org