Sen. Warren’s DNA means nothing to #ICWA #NativeTruth #WeAreStillHere

When I heard the drum at this powwow in Wisconsin, when I was 12, the sky opened up and my heart fell in. I was adopted out to strangers but I would find my family, no matter what. (My memoir is now retired. I will be rewriting soon.)

BY LT

What? Back so soon with breaking news?

Yep.  First, I want to thank my friend and blogger KC for asking me to think about and share my thoughts on what it means to have Indigenous ancestry and the recent headlines about Elizabeth Warren.  Next, I defend Sen. Warren’s right to claim her ancestry.  It’s hers! Heck, many Americans do have some American Indian ancestry, too. But what you do with it is what truly matters.

We are all mixed, one way or the other.  American, so heavily colonized, is very populated with mixed people.  We have (hi)storians to blame for not explaining much about this stark truth and reality.

For me personally I was not raised in a tribal community setting, though I had many Native people around me when I was growing up.  Being adopted out, I struggled until my 30s with identity and isolation, but no longer. I met my birth father and did a paternity DNA test with him when I was 38. The history he shared with me, that was what I needed, at that time. But words and blood tests DO NOT make me who I am or the direction of my life’s work.  My Oglala Lakota relatives made sure of that. They were in my life years prior to my finding my father who is mixed Shawnee-Cherokee-Delaware-Euro).

What is required of us:

Once you attend ceremony, once you pray in your language, once you show humility to elders, and once you work for them, and when you learn it’s not “me” but “we” – it is then you are made a relative and accepted as family.  Then you are in tribal community (which is American Indian tradition on Turtle Island). It may take many years, because it should.

As the following story by says, “Half a century ago, the Standing Rock Dakota scholar Vine Deloria Jr. wrote, “Whites claiming Indian blood tend to reinforce mythical beliefs about Indians.”

Falsely claiming Native American identity is a white American tradition, with a deeply racist past.  – Nick Estes

Warren is not living her life as a member of any tribal community, yet like so many, she seems to romanticize the idea of her blood being Indian.  She was raised with her family in Oklahoma, with her history, but she was not enrolled with the Cherokee Nation, who determines their citizenship based on Dawes Rolls, not DNA.  If the Cherokee tribe wishes to change that, and enroll her, it’s completely up to them. (She’ll have years of unlearning and good history lessons ahead.)

To my knowledge, what Warren did with her “ancestry” all these years, was she helped herself.  To my knowledge, she did not assist any tribal nation or community, and in fact, she has not even helped the tribes struggling right here in Massachusetts!  What we are fighting for in this century, like Standing Rock, federal recognition, sovereignty, treaty rights, water rights, protecting Bear’s Ears, ending destruction by mining, pipelines, poverty, all of that – where is she?

This is a new hashtag campaign: #NativeTruth  #WeAreStillHere

If Elizabeth was in her community, she’d know this: Blood quantum is an invention of the governments to widdle us down to “not enough Indian.” (Wiping us out on paper. Gone, erased.)

I actually know many lost Native adoptees who use the DNA test to get their family name, and slowly worked their way back to their tribal families. Some are back on the rez, while others join their urban Indian communities. (I do not recommend or trust the DNA testings or the data they collect and sell. Those TV ads are false and misleading. Very few Indians will submit to giving DNA though some scientists took it without their consent.)

When is a DNA test useful? My adoptee friend Rhonda did a DNA test with an uncle (her birth father’s brother) to determine if she was a family member, and she was – then she was enrolled in her tribal nation. DNA can connect you with a living tribal member, if you were adopted out, or fostered. That is very very helpful.

So, Sen. Warren, it’s not the amount of blood.  DNA doesn’t make you Indian. If you belong to a community (urban or reservation), that makes you a member of that tribal community.

BIG READ:  How Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test hurt our struggle (and took away the news coverage of what matters): READ

Intercept podcast: the last two segments are so good – please do listen!

If you do have Indigenous blood, if it is loud, it won’t leave you alone.  If this speaks to you, then find and join an urban or reservation community and work for them and work with them, and think a new way: “we” not me.

And ask them what you can do and please do what they ask respectfully.

Mitakuye Oyasin. We are all related!

xoxox

A new address for my blog: American Indian Adoptees

THIS REALLY MATTERS: Native perspective: Sherry Treppa: Why #ICWA is critical to the health of native children and tribal communities

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Vermont’s Uncomfortable Eugenics History | #ICWA Custody Case | Dawnland | Paradise Papers | #NAAM

Vermont’s Uncomfortable Eugenics History

Read the full article by Stephen Mills in the Rutland Herald.

Dormancy Concept Trailer from Luke Becker-Lowe on Vimeo.

Link to the GoFundMe site for this production.

via Filmmakers Explore Vermont’s Uncomfortable Eugenics History

My earlier post on this

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The Supreme Court refused to hear an Arizona case that pitted a non-Indian mother and Indian father each other in a fight over custody of their children.

READ: Supreme Court won’t hear Arizona case on custody fight over tribal kids | Cronkite News

***

“Dawnland,” an upcoming documentary film, follows the stories of several key individuals involved in the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

READ: The Wabanaki people are taking back their narrative | Public Radio International

***Offshore Billionaires (If they don’t pay US taxes and hide their money offshore, then THEY need to move offshore.)

click: America’s Future In One Image — What’s Really in the GOP Tax Plan 

The GOP tax plan would allow generations of the super wealthy to live tax-free. It is a plan so outrageous that one of America’s top experts in helping the wealthy avoid taxes finds it abominable. Read our explanation from David Cay Johnston.

*** November is National Adoption Awareness Month #NAAM

By LT (adoptee, top photo from my memoir book cover)

I have written on this blog about my story, my own search, my reunion, my work to help other adoptees, and the Lost Children Book Series. So MANY times. And I appreciate you have all hung in here with me on the adoptionland coverage, and the human trafficking issues. (If you have not read the coverage, use the search bar on this blog, or the Category tags.)  There are so many stories, after meeting so many adoptees. Not just Native adoptees – adoptees from everywhere.

Where are we now? Not far at all… I wrote this a few years ago:

Now more serious stuff…. It’s National Adoption Awareness Month. I call it Be-Wareness Month. Why? The billion dollar adoption industry tries its best to recruit new people to adopt. Few want to adopt a child(ren) from foster care. Why? They are too old, come with baggage (not just luggage), or already talk.  Foster care kids are the ones who truly are in need of good parents, definitely.

Over at American Indian Adoptees, I’m post lots of adoption news as it relates to American Indian Adoptees. Visit: http://www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com.  

It is a crazy world out there as more people are waking up to the reality of adoption myths (like “babies are blank slates”)(and some of these orphans are not orphans). As an adoptee I am in favor of legal guardianships for children who cannot be raised by their first families, and their kin. Children need their own name, ancestry, medical history and names of both parents, never erased but part of their legal records.

No more fake amended birth certificates that follow us our entire lives. PLEASE!

Here is a revealing 2015 post about the Evolution of Birth Certificates.

Ignorance of biological ancestry has had devastating consequences for some. In the U.K. in 2008, twins that were separated and adopted at birth unknowingly married each other. This year, a Brazilian couple found out after they were married that the same biological mother had abandoned them as infants. Random meetings amongst half siblings are not uncommon, as many have reported in the news, and on the DSR. One mom realized that a distant relative, one whom she and her children had spent time with at family gatherings, had donated sperm and was in fact the biological parent of her children.

From my friend Amanda:

Adoption Statistics That Matter. Right now, private adoption agencies are figuratively peeing their pants about the Adoption Tax Credit because they can charge more when the tax credit is in tact and as high as possible. They claim that the numbers of adopted children will drop drastically as a result (no they won’t, BTW). Blah. Here is some gross stuff that matters more:

-Black and Native children are disproportionately more likely to be taken into foster care than white children.

-Black children, specifically black boys, are less likely to be adopted.

-Adopted children are more likely to become foster children than any other child.

-It costs more to adopt a white female infant, privately, than any other child. The “fees” to adopt a boy of color are at least half of this.

This is an industry. Racism, sexism, adultism, and classism fuel it.

p.s. THANK YOU for reading this long post and watching the videos. YOU ROCK!

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