All those billions: the OOPS moment

militaryBy Lara Trace Hentz

Are we a country of people or are we a people living in a military complex?

Does the government tell us the truth or do they tell us what they think we can handle or what they believe we need to hear?

It’s obvious we spend more on military in America than any other sector.

Who are we really? or rather what are we? And is it true the government and military is the biggest employer in America?

Does anyone know?

Way too few people rule, govern and decide these things. Way too little good reporting comes from BIG MEDIA.

Like in Flint, Michigan, those leaders who cut corners have killed Flint children’s health and IQ yet somehow that was deemed an acceptable decision?

And apparently more WATER disaster headlines are on the way. (ie. Ohio and Navajoland)

Welcome to Flint, Michigan. This impoverished, mostly African-American city has indeed been run like a private corporation ever since Gov. Rick Snyder appointed an “emergency manager” to seize control of Flint’s heavily-indebted local government.  Snyder’s coup d’ etat usurped the people’s democratic voice and enthroned an autocratic CEO who’s answerable only to Snyder.  Read Jim Hightower here 

In the western U.S., water contamination has been a way of life for many tribes. The advocacy group Clean Up The Mines! describes the situation in Navajo country, which is far worse than in Flint, Michigan.

and this whopper of a misleading headline:

The US Army is shrinking by 23,000 soldiers under the Pentagon’s 2016 budget proposal (**down to 475,000 soldiers)

The service’s $147 billion proposed budget is about $2 billion less than the $149 billion the Army received in last year’s budget.

It reduces the active force from about 490,000 to **475,000 soldiers and puts a priority on existing weapons systems such as the AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, Joint Light Tactical VehiclesStryker wheeled vehicle upgrades and Guided Multi Launch Rocket Systems.

…The Army will buy 372 Warfighter Information Network – Tactical systems, a sharp reduction from last year’s purchase of 619 systems.  But the budget invests $866.1 million in the program, compared to last year’s funding level of $806.6 million.

Read more here

No mention of the USA being the biggest weapons dealer in the world?

Enough military bases to sink the world? here’s my post from 2011


The war of words and adoptees: #AdoptionDiscussions

This is in response to the “call for replies” to an article in The Atlantic. This type of “false equality” in terms of discussion leaves out certain basic premises that cannot be so easily overlooked.

There are some huge glaring problems inherent to the discussion on adoption as you are positing it.  Primary among them is the mythology dating only from the 1950s that adoption is about family creation.  The history of adoption is one of social engineering, deracination, extirpation, dispossession, displacement, and disinheritance.  In this light, to speak of the adoptee as having “issues” is to gloss over what is truly being manifested: A healthy resistance against an alien and alienating society that has seen fit to destroy not only the adoptee, but her family and community as well. Because the audience of The Atlantic is made up of those in the adoptive class, reading between the lines of this story gives us a different take that might go as follows: “You, the adopting parents, are not responsible for the failure of your children.”

Source: @TheAtlantic and #Adoption Discussions

This comment from Daniel on the Laura Dennis blog post Should Adoption be Illegal is of particular importance:

I would hasten to point out that the “logical fallacy” is found in this post.  By simply replacing the word “adoption” with “slavery” you can see how hollow this rings; who would argue that there was any validity in slavery?  Well, the anti-abolitionists for one, who cited, as here, those slaves who were “happy” on the plantation, etc.  And there are currently many who still think this way.

But this is minor.  More problematic is ignoring the actual history of adoption, which stems from indentured servitude.  Adoption is, as an institution, based and premised on the servitude of human beings.  There is no escaping this historical fact, which is still brought forward when we say “put up for adoption”—as the children of the Orphan Trains were “put up” on blocks, exactly similar to the slaves during the heyday of that other heinous institution.

So much of the two institutions resonate and echo with each other, from the “renaming” to the pricetag to the advertising based on race, gender, and health of the “available” goods.  I fear you completely miss the point in the comparison, and further miss the point of why someone might call for the abolition of adoption (as I do):  This is a utopian ideal which, once adhered to, will actually lead to reform.  As opposed to the decades of useless debate about reform that leave us nowhere.  This is a philosophical, moral, and ethically reasoned argument, as was abolition (which also had its “reformist” detractors).  To call it fringe is very insulting.  To insinuate that anyone wants children to live horrible lives in the name of some ideology is really a filthy thing to put forward.

Finally, to distance those who are as you offensively refer to them as “extreme” from the debate on adoption is to do the work of those in power who have done the exact same thing; this is the work of the “house slaves”, I’m sorry to say.  And so the metaphor works on all levels. I’m quite astounded to see so many gathering up the wood; seems like there are witches to burn.


American Indian SLAVERY? Yup. I did a paper First Contact and presented it at the Native American Journalists Conference in Florida in 2000. That was what – 16 years ago? Few knew or were talking about Indians as slaves – I gave several press interviews to media.  Finally  …someone else is taking an interest…


To “Jane,” Who Doesn’t Want to Be Called “Baby Thief”

Dear “Jane:”  I’d like to start this by saying I understand your feelings are hurt. I imagine that encountering the online family preservation community was like a slap in the face.

I’m pretty sure that’s because you’ve been told all your life what a blessed and booful and beneficent thing adoption is… for people like you.  And I doubt you’ve questioned that very much.  I’m writing this to tell you it is time to start questioning that, if only for your future adoptee’s sake, because your future adoptee will be the product of pain and loss.  Click the headline to read this brilliant post by Adopto-snark… (and read all the comments!)



Stephen Hawking warns that We Must Leave Earth

Renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has stated a warning to humankind: in light of all of the potential events that could spell the extinction of the human species, we must find a way to migrate into space.  Citing numerous potential extinction events that could occur over the next few thousand years, both environmental and man-made, Hawking believes that it is too risky to have mankind’s fate depend solely on the health of a single planet.

“I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space,” Hawking recently said, on the internet forum Big Think. “It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let’s hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.”

Hawking singles out the potential for a nuclear holocaust as a leading danger to the continued existence of humanity, and uses the Cuban Missile Crisis as an example of how close we may have come to wiping ourselves out. He says that “the frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future. We shall need great care and judgment to negotiate them all successfully.”

Which species will survive the Earth’s sixth mass extinction? via @ConversationUK

— http:LaraTraceHentz (@Trace15) January 19, 2016


I agree with Hawking we need a chance to move off planet. Why? Nukes are way too plentiful and way too dangerous. Our military is way too big. Way too many wackos. The next disaster might be an OOPS, I pressed the wrong button moment.

Why NASA called the Northwest Indian College Space Center

Hey everyone! The new HP computer arrived and seems to be working – though I don’t have some of my old files… Here is a great post I had to share…Lara/Trace (big sigh of relief)(who knew it could such a pain in the arse to use a brand new computing system with Windows 8)

Christian Cultee, a student at the Northwest Indian College, with a rocket that broke the sound barrier. It started out as a joke.

The students at Northwest Indian College on the Lummi Reservation near Bellingham were launching little rockets made from recycled water bottles as a way to do some hands-on science.

Computer science teacher Gary Brandt says calling it a “space center” was just something one of the students came up with.

“And he said, ‘I called us the Northwest Indian College Space Center,’” Brandt said. “I was kind of dumbfounded, basically. And I said, ‘OK, let’s do that. That’s kind of grandiose. Let’s really play it up.’”

The joke was funny because this was just a tiny, two-year college, with no engineering program. Getting into space was the last thing on the minds of these students; they were just trying to escape poverty. Next thing they knew, NASA was calling them up.

via Why NASA Called The Northwest Indian College Space Center | KUOW News and Information.

We The People and The Great Law of Peace

Figure 31

Figure 31. On June 11, 1776 while the question of independence was being debated, the visiting Iroquois chiefs were formally invited into the meeting hall of the Continental Congress. There a speech was delivered, in which they were addressed as “Brothers” and told of the delegates’ wish that the “friendship” between them would “continue as long as the sun shall shine” and the “waters run.” The speech also expressed the hope that the new Americans and the Iroquois act “as one people, and have but one heart.”[18] After this speech, an Onondaga chief requested permission to give Hancock an Indian name. The Congress graciously consented, and so the president was renamed “Karanduawn, or the Great Tree.” With the Iroquois chiefs inside the halls of Congress on the eve of American Independence, the impact of Iroquois ideas on the founders is unmistakable. History is indebted to Charles Thomson, an adopted Delaware, whose knowledge of and respect for American Indians is reflected in the attention that he gave to this ceremony in the records of the Continental Congress.[19] Artwork by John Kahionhes Fadden.

from Exemplar of Liberty, Native America and the Evolution of Democracy,
Chp.8, “A New Chapter, Images of Native America in the writings of Franklin, Jefferson, and Paine


By Lara Trace

 The Iroquois constitution, the Great Law of Peace, or Gayanashagowa, contains the tenets our Constitution, and is more advanced in thought than the Constitution that resulted from the Convention of 1787.

Did you know that WE THE PEOPLE is a concept the Iroquois Confederacy shared with Benjamin Franklin and other Founding Fathers who drafted the body of the existing governing constitution and democracy in America?  It is the Oldest Living Participating Democracy on Earth. Our constitution says WE THE PEOPLE, quite different than “All Hail The Queen” who was placed on her dictatorial throne, decreed by God.  I call the Queen’s people the “plant the flag” people. Everywhere they went, they planted their flag and demanded tax and the inherent right to govern and rule.

The WE THE PEOPLE blueprint for America is something few people know about:

In 1744 the Iroquois leader Canassatego (drawing in top photo) spoke at the Indian-British assembly in Philadelphia. Dealing with 13 administrations in 13 colonies was impossible, he said. Why didn’t we form an umbrella group? Each colony could keep its sovereignty. Yet the 13 could speak to other nations with one voice.

He offered a model. During Europe’s Middle Ages, Hiawatha had founded the League of Iroquois Nations. The Mohawks, Onondagas, Senecas, Oneidas, Cayugas, and Tuscaroras formed the League. It was the biggest political unit north of the Aztec nation.

Historian Jack Weatherford says few colonists were ready to listen. But one was. Ben Franklin had studied the Indians. Later, he became the Indian Commissioner. As early as 1754 he wanted to try Canassatego’s idea. Later, he and others built that idea into our constitution.

Each Iroquois nation ran its internal affairs with a council of elected delegates. They also sent delegates to a grand council. It ran affairs among nations. It was a pure federal system.

Our constitution has many Iroquois features. Iroquois lawmakers didn’t go to war. Civilian and military rule was separate. That wasn’t how Europe worked.

The Iroquois had no royalty — no hereditary rule. Their nations could naturalize new citizens. The League didn’t just conquer other nations. It could also admit them to membership.

We use Iroquois ideas to smooth our deliberations. Unlike Europe’s senates, we use the Iroquois method of holding silence while each delegate speaks. Like the Iroquois, our delegates give up their personal names. Ted Kennedy becomes “The Senior Senator from Massachusetts,” and so on. We use the caucus, or pow-wow, to iron things out before we take the floor.

We didn’t adopt the Iroquois unicameral system. They had only one council. Franklin fought for that. Because he lost, we have both the senate and the house.

Franklin also wanted to let soldiers elect their own officers. That’s what the Iroquois did. He lost on that one, too.

Like the Iroquois, we allowed for impeachment. But only Iroquois women were empowered to impeach. Only Iroquois women could replace an impeached leader. We didn’t copy that feature.

Still, our constitution is a fine piece of engineering design. We looked at the European kingdoms we’d left behind. And we looked at these people who’d governed themselves so well for so long.

In the end Canassatego and the Iroquois tipped the scales in shaping our way of life. And we can be very glad they did. SOURCE

I am still recovering from a trip to the Gulf Coast where I picked up one nasty bug. Before I got sick, we went to Savannah in Georgia for the first time.  That city was amazing! As we drove through Virginia, the Carolina’s, and the deep south, I could not stop thinking of all the Native people who walked the land and how this great land was theirs at one time… until they were murdered or moved west. Whenever I travel, I pray for those who walked before and I thank them.
Indian people have given so much to this country, whether we say it or not, whether we know or not. And we are still giving as Indian people. We never stopped giving.
We gave you this, our Great Law of Peace.

Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, an Onondaga, states The Great Law of Peace includes “freedom of speech, freedom of religion, [and] the right of women to participate in government. Separation of power in government and checks and balances within government are traceable to our Iroquois constitution—ideas learned by colonists.” READ MORE HERE

Thank YOU

about me iconBy Lara/Trace (or whatever you want to call me!)

I am popping in to say thank you for 100,000 hits on this blog. REALLY!

That is no small feat for a journalist writer who writes about adoption, ICWA, Native American history and other serious dark matters.

Chi Megwetch, Pilamaye, Gratias and Merci Beaucoup!

I have a full schedule ahead that will prevent me posting now and in the month of April… Life is good, full, busy….

See you back here in May!

Harvard Classics: Charting the future

harvard classicsBy Lara/Trace Hentz

I am not writing this for pity or praise. I am writing this because the Harvard Classics were precious to me, filled with words and wisdom I’m still grateful for, then they were …lost.

Let me explain.

Many years ago, in northern Wisconsin on the Arrowhead of Lake Superior where I grew up, we were MILES from any library. We were not stranded by any means but our house was out in the country, outside the city limits of Superior. I’d need to walk two miles to get to the bus stop. I might ride the bus to visit a classmate, but not often. Mostly I’d ride my bike on Saturday to clean my grandma’s house. Rose lost her sight and needed a cornea transplant. (Sadly, the Mayo Clinic never called.) I’d clean for her and we’d talk all afternoon then I’d ride my bike home. That was pretty much a routine when I wasn’t in school Monday-Friday.

Maybe because of money, or because priority was attending Mass every weekend, I didn’t go to museums or the library on Saturday like many other kids. (We had very few class trips at my Catholic grade school.)  At some point my adoptive mom Edie did belong to a book club and cookbooks, Kona Tiki and a few other hardcovers laid around, but they were not interesting to me, not at that age. My adoptive dad Sev read hunting and fishing magazines. Good Housekeeping and other ladies magazines arrived in the mailbox too. Mom had invested in a set of Funk and Wagnall encyclopedias that we’d need to do homework in the 60s and 70s. (Remember this was long before computers and yes, I did read books from the school library.)

Then something brand new came by mail: THE HARVARD CLASSICS, green hardcover volumes full of philosophy, history, big new words and utter brilliance!  A world beyond Wisconsin in those 20 volumes changed my life.

I don’t know what Edie and Sev thought I’d make of my life but I was not expected to go to college. My parents didn’t have degrees so they didn’t offer to send me to college (obviously for lack of money).  So like any stubborn person, I decided I would go anyway… Maybe I was expected to stay in Wisconsin, work a railroad job, marry and have kids. That was what many of my classmates did, and I’m not saying that’s bad, but that really wasn’t MY plan.

My adoptive mom came from a big family and my cousins in Illinois were city kids who had access to lots of amenities, like museums, libraries and all expected to go to college. When my cousin Bobby was in seminary to become a priest, he told mom about the Harvard Classics. And slowly but surely, the Harvard Classics arrived at our door, one by one. (I don’t know what those books cost her but it wasn’t cheap.)

I spent days reading these classics: probably the most notable and memorable to me was this volume: Plato, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius (see photo). The world was much bigger than Wisconsin because of these philosophers, these authors… I knew I could not go to Harvard but I could read. I could expand my own mind on my own time.

Fast forward: I traveled to Wisconsin in 1996 because Edie had a short bout with breast cancer and it was resolved with a minor surgery. After a few days home, mom asked me if I’d live there again, in northern Wisconsin, since my divorce had happened in 1995. I was free to live anywhere. I hesitated because I was not sure this was a good choice for me career-wise, but I said, “Sure, Mom!”  She was happy. She cried. I cried. This was not an easy decision to make after living in places like Seattle and Portland. They were bursting with museums, libraries, book talks and culture!

Trapped in Wisconsin blizzards, some lasting four days or longer, I started to read the Harvard Classics again.  And slowly but surely, they worked their magic on me again and helped me see things in a new light. I looked for work as a writer-journalist and did find work as an editor pretty quickly. (There were very few jobs.) (I worked for a weekly first then a national Native newspaper, News From Indian Country.) By 1999 I moved to Connecticut for an editor job at the Pequot Times! (Mom pushed me to take it. I really didn’t want to leave her again.)

By 2006, it was very hard when I found out Edie was losing her memory. It could have been dementia or Alzheimers or Lyme Disease. Nothing was going to bring Mom back from that hellish descent. I spent as much time in Wisconsin as I could.

One trip home I could not find the Harvard Classics. They were not in the living room. They were gone. Someone had taken them. Mom couldn’t remember who. I asked her best friend and he had no idea. Mom refused to move out East to live with me, despite this condition getting worse. (Eventually she was moved to Oregon and lived out her final days there and died in 2011.)

Losing her is still hard, still hurts.

A few weeks ago, I found 20 volumes of Harvard Classics on EBay. I bid on the exact same green hardcovers, barely used. They are beautiful. They are here.  They are HOME.

They are more than books to me. I’ll admit I hugged a few of them.

I have two young grand girls. I can’t wait to share the Harvard Classics with them.


(In case you hadn’t noticed I write once a week. I’m going to post early in the week because 🙂 this seems appropriate! And lots more interviews are ahead – so please follow by email…)

And if you have a chance, please visit THE MIX, a blog I co-edit with the brilliant Carol A. Hand on humanity’s mixed ancestry. We post on Wednesdays too! The essays are incredibly good. One thing I am sure of:  we must use our voice and our stories to embrace our collective future as humanity… We are all related! We truly are.

If you want me to interview you, don’t be shy! Send me an email:

Death by Big Pharma: Are we safe?

“Death by medicine is a twenty-first century epidemic, and America’s war on drugs is clearly directed at the wrong enemy.” –Dr. Joseph Mercola

 “Prescription pills merely treat, or should I say bandage, undesirable behaviors and sensations as opposed to addressing the underlying root cause of the problem.” –Shelly M White LINK



By Trace Hentz

I had measles as a kid. I had mumps and chicken pox too. When I worked in a Duluth high school after I graduated from college, it was mandatory that the staff all get vaccinated.

In the 1990s in Seattle I took a class in herbal medicine and was taught that once you’d had a bug-virus, your body builds an immunity to it.  It stays inside you dormant. That’s not to say you can’t get a cold again but our body is always fighting bugs and healing itself – without any drug or pill. You get a fever to kill the bug-virus then if your immune system is working properly, your cold goes away.

The questions I have (and some of you have) are:  Are we safe? Are vaccines safe?  Can we trust the drug companies who make them?  Can we really trust BIG PHARMA? Are they truly concerned about us —or their profits, their patents, their shareholders, and their bottomline?

If you watch the news, it’s hard to know who to trust.

The compounding pharmacy in New England killed 51 people by contaminated shots! READ

Why is there an autism epidemic now? One in 68 kids are autistic.

Some flu shots didn’t work since they were made for a different flu strain?

Are some vaccines responsible for some deaths? Apparently.

If you’ve heard of heavy metal poisoning, we need to ask why would some vaccine drugs contain heavy metals like mercury?

We all know that Big Pharma are powerful modern-day drug cartels and profit machines. But are they immune to prosecution?

We all have read about doctors who are given big gifts and big incentives to push new drugs on us!

In many ways the media caused this vaccine outrage – are they doing their job reporting on BIG PHARMA? For the record, according to Nielsen TV, ad spending by the pharmaceutical industry was $2.4 billion in 2011. Can media really report on Big Pharma since they are America’s BIGGEST ADVERTISERS? Aren’t the drug companies killing us with constant television commercials which cause people to take too many prescriptions?

Prescription Drugs Kill Over 100,000 People Each YearREAD

So how do vaccines work?

A vaccine contains a killed or weakened part of a germ that is responsible for infection. Because the germ has been killed or weakened before it is used to make the vaccine, it cannot make the person sick. (REALLY? I wonder about that…) When a person receives a vaccine, the body reacts by making protective substances called “antibodies”. The antibodies are the body’s defenders because they help to kill off the germs that enter the body. In other words, vaccines expose people safely to germs, so that they can become protected from a disease but not come down with the disease. (NY State Health Dept.)

So Just Who Is Big Pharma?

The medicine production industry is presided over by a handful of huge organizations. What were already only a relative handful of large corporations at the turn of the millennium have in recent years become further agglomerated into an even smaller oligopolistic group that literally controls production of the vast majority of the world’s ‘legal drugs’! 

Some major players in the Big Pharma league include:

(…Check the box on any current, or the next, medication you are prescribed and you’ll likely see one or other of these ‘Big Pharma’ names emblazoned thereon…and if, by chance, you don’t then likely it will be a wholly-owned subsidiary!)

These ‘Druggernauts’ are now too large, and too powerful to stop them from making many more multi-billion annual increments in their turnover figures! Annual ‘legal’ drug sales turnover is in the ball-park of $500 Billion and rising rapidly!

And in a world where money talks, be sure that that Big Pharma ploughs plenty (if still only a fraction of their profits) into paying not only an army of Reps as discussed to ‘butter-up’ the purveyors of pills, but also lobbyists to keep their agendas firmly in front of political decision makers.


In 2007, the headlines were drug companies were moving their manufacturing to make more profits. What safeguards did we lose?

In Puerto Rico, costs send pharma packing


Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) announced that it will be shutting down one of its three manufacturing plants in Puerto Rico but will shift the 100 full-time employees currently to another facility in the country.  The company said that it will shutter the plant at the end of 2015 because it produces small-molecule drugs, which only make up a minor portion of the company. Some of these drugs have seen their sales drop as a result of lost patents, according to the Indianapolis Star.The Puerto Rico site will soon be put up for sale, and the company will take a $170 million charge against its earnings in the fourth quarter of 2014 as a result of the shutdown. – More:

I have more questions than answers…


Systematic” –> Iraqi children are becoming the victims of “systematic sexual abuse, including sexual slavery” in areas controlled by the Islamic State, according to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. AFP reports that they also are being forced to serve as child soldiers.
Preventing the next outbreak –>  reports for the LAT that two California state lawmakers are proposing a bill that would restrict parents’ ability to opt out of vaccinating their kids. Details haven’t yet been released, and certain religious exemptions may still be allowed.

2014 in review (Happy 2015 y’all) “Helper Monkeys” prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog. WooHoo! I am thrilled!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 32,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Are we celebrating our loss of privacy?
Are we celebrating ? Indeed!


I am just so happy to see that this little blog did so well in 2014, considering there are 6 billion blogs out there. (Yikes, seriously!)

So in January, expect weekly posts from yours truly. I still have plenty to share and gripe about (kidding)… HAPPY 2015!  And thank you all – I couldn’t do this without you!


Identity, Indians and THE MIX

tacosAs Adoptees we need to be flexible, open to the new, to synchronicities, to unlikely possibilities and to seeing the extraordinary opportunities we have, to deal with the losses, the traumas of adoption, to be who we want to be.  Identity, that ‘thing’ we have taken from us in adoption which is replaced by a new identity invented by our adopters, is not a fixed point in our lives. Identity is ours to create, we can be whoever we want to be, no matter who we were told we were. – Von Hughes (on Lost Daughters)


By Lara Trace Hentz

Identity? Oh yeah, baby. It’s so vast, so incredibly vast. In my new book Becoming I list some of my grandmothers (the ones who gave me blood and ancestry) because some are immigrants and some are Indigenous. I have so much interest in them, I can barely contain my emotions of enthusiasm and happiness that I finally know some of their names!

My cousin Cathy was asking me why some of our relatives hid the fact they are Indian. Well the past few posts I have on this blog might be a good indication. Savages? Not able to vote? Own land? Herded to concentration camps/reservations?

Cathy’s grandmother Bessie and my grandmother Lona are sisters – her grandmother claimed their mother (Mary Frances Morris-Harlow) was not Indian. I didn’t meet my grandma Lona. Yet Bessie’s father always said his mother was Indian and told his children and grandchildren.

My own dad told me his grandma Mary Frances was Cherokee. (We also have Shawnee ancestry.)

But how could a Cherokee/Shawnee be in Illinois?

After invasion, when colonies became the United States of America, Native Americans were very aware they were being denied basic civil rights. I know many readers are history teachers or history buffs, so you already know about the Cherokee Trail of Tears, etc.  Some of my ancestors were in Tennessee and Kentucky then were forced on the trail. Some made it as far as Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and stopped. Why? Because if they married white men, or married mixed-blood men who didn’t claim they are Indian, that meant they had a future.  If they had family already in Illinois that could also be their salvation!

I have many ancestors who lived and died in Pana, and that part of Illinois.  Where Illinois meets Kentucky was another Trail of Tears.  Where southern Illinois meets Missouri is the Trail of Tears State Park.  Illinois, particularly south-central Illinois is filled with street names like Nokomis, Pocahantas, Mowequa, Powhatan, Chillicothe, and many more. I do not believe this is mere coincidence. Many Indians in the East were moving and migrating as more and more colonists were encroaching – and somehow enough (mixed) Indians were in Illinois and enough settled in Illinois, enough to have an influence on place names. (The last time I drove through Illinois, my jaw dropped at all the Indian names!)

  • Illinois is an Algonquin word. Illinois – from the French rendering of an Algonquian (perhaps Miami) word apparently meaning “s/he speaks normally” (c.f. Miami ilenweewa),[13] from Proto-Algonquian *elen-, “ordinary” + -wē, “to speak”,[14][15] referring to the Illiniwek.
  • Chicago – derived from the French rendering of a Miami-Illinois word for a type of wild onion
  • Peoria – named after the Peoria Tribe which previously lived in the area
  • The name “Pana” is derived from the American Indian tribe, the Pawnee. Pawnee became “pani” or “slave” in the French patois or creole that developed in Illinois. This evolved into “Pana”,[3] now pronounced, however, [ˈpejnə].

Though I have not researched this, many mounds are also in this area! Many were plowed down but thankfully some still exist. Cahokia Mounds is located in Collinsville, Illinois off Interstates 55/70 and 255. My Miq’mac friend Alice Azure wrote a book about her visits to these ancient sacred mounds.

Why would Indians settle in Illinois?

Some were already there but during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to control the travel of all Native Americans off the Indian reservations.  Since Native Americans did not obtain U.S. citizenship until 1924, they were considered wards of the state and were denied various basic rights, including the right to travel.[WIKI 30] The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) discouraged off-reservation activities, including the right to hunt, fish, or visit other tribes.  As a result, the BIA instituted a “pass system” designed to control movement of the Indians. This system required Indians living on reservations to obtain a pass from an Indian agent before they could leave the reservation.[WIKI 31]

If I were Indian in the late 1800s, forced to walk hundreds of miles, I’d settle down in Illinois and find a nice man, marry and have my kids. Better than moving to Indian Territory/Oklahoma reservations where you couldn’t leave without permission and a pass.

So I will continue with my family research and try to find more of my grandmother’s stories, if they exist on paper. (I am grateful to have their names!)

I decided to start a brand new e-magazine THE MIX, so more of these vast and varied family stories can be collected and published.

Salish child
A Salish Native American child in 1910
Enlarge this image

Congress Granted Citizenship to All Native Americans Born in the U.S.
June 2, 1924

Native Americans have long struggled to retain their culture. Until 1924, Native Americans were not citizens of the United States. Many Native Americans had, and still have, separate nations within the U.S. on designated reservation land. But on June 2, 1924, Congress granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. Yet even after the Indian Citizenship Act, some Native Americans weren’t allowed to vote because the right to vote was governed by state law. Until 1957, some states barred Native Americans from voting.


If we weren’t citizens, what were we? …Lara


The original inhabitants of the area that is now Illinois included:

About Our Maps
*The Chickasaw tribe
*The Dakota Sioux tribe
*The Ho-Chunk tribe (Winnebago)
*The Illinois tribe (Illini)
*The Miami tribe
*The Shawnee tribe


Other Indian tribes that migrated into Illinois after Europeans arrived:

*The Delaware tribe
*The Kickapoo tribe
*The Ottawa tribe
*The Potawatomi tribe
*The Sac and Fox tribes
*The Wyandot tribe

There are no federally recognized Indian tribes in Illinois today.

The Indian tribes of Illinois are not extinct, but like many other native tribes, they were forced to move to Indian reservations in Oklahoma by the American government. You can find their present-day locations by clicking on the tribal links above.

Effing brilliant writers, changing names, Becoming

By Lara/ Trace

OK, I had my 9-9 birthday and survived it on a SUPER MOON.  In numerology, your life is four phases. When I hit this one, age 58, (yikes) I started my fourth.

But lately, so much anger has been pouring out of me! Not because of a birthday… It’s because I have lost a good friend Brent from a heart attack, and my other friend Ben is in the ICU and we don’t know if he’ll make it. I have never cried so much – at the drop of a hat – even TV commercials – especially dogs, I cry, cry, cry. I’m not complaining. Hey, I can feel. I feel so much, it’s like I can’t turn it off! I had trouble feeling anything for YEARS – like I couldn’t feel- and when that changed, the “feeling floodgates” opened. That is where I am today. (The Moons can trigger emotional outbursts, too. It can make some people crazier than usual.)

Just so you know: My name change is official.  30+ years ago I changed my name to Trace – first it was Tracy Ann on my fake birth certificate. Earlier it was Laura Jean Thrall on my real birth certificate.  Getting done with DeMeyer – that took longer (writing with a name does that) – which was EGO – on my part. Many adoptees I know are doing the name change right now – it’s going to be a BIG trend, I predict!

I was talking with a childhood friend and told her if I had not opened my adoption at age 22 – I’d be dead. This is absolutely true. Adoptees who committed suicide, I get them and know why. Living like that, blanked out, no identity, can kill you. Not being able to know the truth or find your people, that can kill you. I can’t sugar-coat it. I can’t say I was grateful. I’m not grateful. How can anyone be grateful for being abandoned, erased, then lied to? (In my case I was rejected by my own mother Helen when I found her.)

If I had my real name when I was adopted, a clear explanation of why I was abandoned/put up for adoption, that would have helped.  If my adoptive parents could have told me something real, true, it would have helped ME handle what happened. If they knew about adoption and what it did to me, I seriously doubt they would have done it…   I wrote this before: I shut down. Switched off.  Nothing was real. I was a fixture of my own imagination!  This is no way to live, believe me. When I found Helen, and she made her choice to not meet me, I chose something else and met her family, not her.

We adoptees have to survive so much, from the moment we arrive.  It’s a minefield of emotions. Adoption can kill us or make us strong. I chose strong.

I want mothers to know – no matter what religions or adoption propaganda says, don’t do it. Don’t put your child up for adoption. Just don’t.

All the years your child is with other parents, you can’t turn back the clock. You won’t get them back the way you want or might expect. It can’t be undone.

Again, this is how I feel. I don’t speak for all adoptees….Lara

Lately I saved up some of the BEST effing writing on adoption (links below)

***The Only Words I Have Are Effwords here

I’ve had it. I’m so tired of the constant, self-justifying drone of “not MY adoption” and “My baby was left by the side of the road/is a Real True Orphan/was totally gonna die.” So fuck international adoption. Fuck “We didn’t know.” And if you can’t do the amount of homework and research to add someone to your family that you’d put into buying a used car, then fuck you and fuck your expectations of sympathy.

***Trigger Happy: Adoptees Who Are Successful Even When Living Triggered – Part 2

***Legalized Lies – Colorado OBC – LINK



P.S.: I am wrapping up my brand new book BECOMING (as Laramie Harlow) and will post on this blog when it’s done. I started it about two years ago and it has lots of true stories, funny stories, some prose.  It definitely has some thoughts on adoption, too. Here are 11 reasons why you’ll want to read it >>>HERE

BONUS:::: Here are a few interesting websites to peruse…

What Doctors Don’t Tell You:

Audio Fix:

This audio report from BBC News looks into a “telepathy breakthrough” made by neuroscientists at Harvard University, who demonstrated how technology can be used to send a mental message from one person to another without any contact between them.

Narcissism: In the first half of Coast to Coast Radio Show, Professor at the University of Georgia, W. Keith Campbell , discussed the epidemic of narcissism in our culture. He defined narcissism as having a grandiose or inflated sense of self– being a “legend in your own mind,” and thinking that you’re better than other people or better than you really are. Narcissism is a trait that most people have some of in their life, but when it reaches a certain level, it can be diagnosed as a disorder or condition, he said. There are certain signs that become more evident over time such as people always turning the conversation back to themselves, as well as an arrogant attitude, or a brazenness about self-promotion.The trait appears to be on the rise– two thirds of college students in America in the 2000s had narcissism scores higher than the average student in the 1980s, he reported. Social media and “selfie” photography are newer tools that narcissists sometimes use to promote themselves or make themselves look good, he added. Narcissists sometimes make for good political leaders, and many US presidents of the last century have scored high in those traits, Campbell noted. They can also make for good partners, as long your interests and theirs align– if they don’t, that’s when narcissists may exploit or hurt people, he cautioned. Are you a narcissist? Take this quiz to find out.

When the sh*t really hit the fan on faceb**k

ICWAGraphic1By Lara/Trace

The sh*t really hit the fan last week when a good friend of mine shut down a Facebook group page. (She’d emailed me while she was deciding, so I knew and agreed.) (She shut down a group, not her own profile.) (I rarely went to that group page.)

I’m not naming names but it was for adoptees.

I got emails instantly – people thinking it was my page. (Uh, no, it’s not.) Why are you abandoning us? (What?) What’s going to happen to us? (Nothing.)

I mean this – Facebook is not the place to share personal tragic stuff. It’s not private. Even if it says it’s private or closed, it’s not!

It’s a total game changer when you think about who is reading or posting on groups when you have never met them in person – they could be anyone (FBI, doctors, psychos) and not even adopted. (Like pyscho-babbling students who want to study you and do their masters thesis on you – yuck) (Hey, it’s already happened!!) (Or your future employers who will see how emotionally messed up you are.) (Or the one or two I have met in person and knew instantly they need to be in a hospital.)

Some of these adoptees are sick, very sick. They are hanging on to their grief like it’s the only thing left. I told a few to seek out an elder and make sure you bring a gift and money and tobacco. (It’s expected you pay them something if they are counseling you.) (Men counsel men and women counsel women.)

I tell you what – adoptees don’t know this until you tell them.  That is f*cking tragic.  Adoption ripped our heads into shreds.

I think that whole faceb**k mess created some new form of addiction – some adoptees are literally sucked into this non-reality. They were isolated by adoption, yes. And it hurts to think about it but a faceb**k group is not the place to go when you need help.

I had a long talk with an elder about this and he said what adoptees need is ceremony. Indeed. We need their tribes to step up and offer them that. With clear instructions on how to go about re-joining the community. Instructions on how to be Indian again. Instructions on how to be respectful.

I am not judging anyone but I went and found my family and went to South Dakota and did ceremony and studied with an elder when I lived in Seattle. I’ve done sweats many times. No one told me to do this – I just did it! If it’s important to you, you’ll do whatever it takes to feel better.

What adoption did was break and shatter that connection to our culture and it did create a great emptiness and need in adoptees. My friend sadly had to de-friend so many people for her decision but this action was truly vitally important.

It seems so silly to say this but faceb**k is NOT a real place….

Ceremony is how we heal ourselves….



PS: I am sick of faceb**k but there are too many friends there that I want to keep in touch with, need to keep in contact with – it’s literally impossible to leave!

PSS: In days I should be able to drop the DeMeyer last name and start using Hentz.

And here is someone who agrees with me with not sharing so much on social media – HERE

Thoughts on depression from an artistic mind – The Globe and Mail

sheepHey everyone!

I just finished up writing an essay for a new anthology about adoptees, adoption and Ireland! Whew, it’s done! The editor wants the Irish government to sit up and listen.  Exactly!  (We all want America to sit up too and listen to first mothers and adoptees.)  As some of you know, I am a mix of American Indian (Tsalagi-Shawnee with French Canadian- Irish) – That makes me a very spunky gal.. so I hear.

I want you to read this post Thoughts on depression from an artistic mind – The Globe and Mail — since it pertains to so many of us humans right now … Yes, it seems like today everyone has depression — or is now becoming depressed.  I do understand why!! Hello? It’s like – turn on the news – the world is insane!

Really, though, I had heard this about comedians. Many are depressed. Many show only one side – the humor, the smile, the goofiness, the wit, the brilliance.

As a kid, I was the class clown, smart alec, etc.  One nun hated me so much she flipped me out of my desk! I also had a home life that was anything but funny. Humor was an outlet, a good one. I made all that nastiness go away with laughter! (I still want to…)

Robin Williams was the court jester of the world. He brought us to our knees with laughter. We needed that. Now that he is gone, we still have his many movies.

Michael RedHill

This says it all: “ROBIN WILLIAMS… REST IN PEACE… MAKE GOD LAUGH” — the poet-playwright Michael RedHill did a bloody brilliant job on his post.


I’ll be back next week posting more of my brain farts…Lara/Trace




Headlines: trafficking, adoption, Indian Child Welfare

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014, the House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 4980, the “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.” This bipartisan, bicameral bill reflects agreements reached between House and Senate leaders on three separate bills designed to prevent sex trafficking of children in foster care, increase adoptions from foster care, and increase child support collections for families, among other purposes.

House Committee on Ways and Means sealRead the full press release at Chairman Dave Camp’s website.


Alaska Supreme Court sides with Interior tribe in child custody, sovereignty case

The Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday in support of an Interior tribal court in a child custody and tribal sovereignty Native American Rights Fund logocase that was contested by Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration.

The case, Simmonds v. Parks, started almost six years ago as a custody dispute in the Village of Minto, a town of 200 people about 130 road miles northwest of Fairbanks.

Read the full article at the website.

Learn more about the case at the Native American Rights Fund website.


Why Are These Indian Children Being Torn Away From Their Homes?

Imagine entering family court and knowing that what’s at stake is the person you hold most dear – your child. Now imagine having a judge tell you that he’s removing your child from your custody, from your home. When you ask him why, the judge’s replies, “I honestly can’t tell you.” The judge then signs an order giving custody of your son to Social Services.

You might think that such a court proceeding could never happen in the United States – but you’d be wrong.

Read the full article by Stephen Pevar at the ACLU website.




The National Child Welfare Resource Center for Tribes (NRC4Tribes) is one of the new resource centers within the Children’s Bureau Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) National Network. The NRC4Tribes joins the Children’s Bureau’s Child Welfare Training and Technical Assistance Network (T/TANetwork) which is designed to improve child welfare systems and to support States and Tribes in achieving sustainable, systemic change that results in greater safety, permanency, and well-being for children, youth, and families.

The Children’s Bureau is located within the Administration for Children,Youth and Families (ACF) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Tribes continue to be able to access training and technical assistance (T/TA) through various national resources centers within the Children’s Bureau national T/TA Network.The NRC for Tribes is the focal point for coordinated and culturally competent child welfare T/TA for Tribes within theT/TA Network.The NRC4Tribes works collaboratively with Tribes and the T/TA Network to assist Tribes in the enhancement of child welfare services and the promotion of safety, permanency and well-being for American Indian/Alaska Native children and families.


“Those are Our People and That’s our Family” written by Erika Bjorum

August 7, 2014

“Those are Our People and That’s our Family”, written by Erika Bjorum, who conducted a graduate research project with Maine-Wabanaki REACH, is published in the latest edition of Journal of Public Child Welfare. Her study examined the perspectives of Wabanaki community members and child welfare staff on state child welfare involvement in Wabanaki communities.

In the acknowledgements, Erika states, “The author gratefully acknowledges the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Convening Group and the staff from the Muskie School of Public Service for their partnership in developing and carrying out this project, as well as their valuable contributions to the editing process.”

Changing the Way We See Native Americans – 500 NATIONS


Changing the Way We See Native Americans – 500 NATIONS | 500 NATIONS.


By Lara/Trace

This talk was given at a TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. In 2013 Matika Wilbur (story/project link) took on a project of massive scope: to photograph members of each Federally recognized tribe in the United States. “My dream,” Wilbur says, “is that our children are given images that are more useful, truthful, and beautiful.”

This is my post for this week…It needs no words from me…Just my Love and Appreciation… AHO

Proof from the CUB Video Archives; NOT Much has Changed in 40 Years of Adoption | Musings of the Lame

Adoption: No, NOT Much has Changed in 40 Years

The Sad Depressing Proof from the CUB Video Archives

I think I literally hear it or read it at least once a week, “But adoption is different now… those horrible things don’t happen anymore” or something along those lines.

It goes along with the thought process of “Sorry you had a bad experience, but not all adoptions are like that.” Granted I am an eternal optimist, but these statements are really just wishful thinking often used to dismiss another’s reality so the speaker can continue to hold the view that works well for them. In other words,  I call BS.

While due to the many voices and stories being told and with much credit given to books like The Girls Who Went Away and films like Philomena, there has been great progress in having people accept that there were indeed forced adoptions in the past.  Maybe enough time has passed that the general public feels safety in admitting that perhaps the way mothers were treated during the Baby Scoop Era was wrong or that society wasn’t being “nice” when forcing moms into maternity homes, laboring with no support, and almost literally ripping newborns out of their wombs? It seems to have gotten somewhat accepted that adoption “was” sometimes/ often “bad” or that mothers were treated sometimes/often cruelly in the past, but the keyword there is  PAST. We have to believe that things are different now and adoption has changed. Never mind that the foundation of the institution itself and all the accepted adoption practices of the past were built on the forced cruelty, the world has strong vested interested in keeping adoption’s reputation as pure and innocent of any wrong-doings.

  • It doesn’t happen like that anymore.
  • Adoption is different now.
  •  Those days are in the past.

Yeah right.

40 Years Post Baby Scoop Era; Stagnate Adoption Practices

OK, yes the Baby Scoop Era is definitely over. Most will give the end date there for the passing of Roe V Wade (even if there are all too many instances of forced adoption post), but has adoption actually improved since then?  Like many, I would like to think so and there have been many times when I have, again, the eternal optimist, though yes, we HAVE come a long way….at least with public perception? With getting the word out? With education?  Right? I mean so many have been working for so long…some progress has had to have been made! And then, I offered to help Lee Campbell with the  Concerned United Birthparents‘ videos.

And I got really really depressed. I’ll tell you why in a hot minute, but first abut these videos…

A Video Glimpse into Adoption History

cub the birth parent groupThere are four of them; newly added to the CUB | Concerned United Birthparents channel on YouTube.
So that’s changed. There is definitely MORE money in adoption now. Granted, everything cost more, but just for fun, I used an inflation calculator to see what a 5K adoption SHOULD cost now and it is  only a 129.4% increase to $11,469.83 based on general inflation not five times that amount.

what a 5K adoption SHOULD cost now and it is  only a 129.4% increase to $11,469.83 based on general inflation not five times that amount.

Other than that, sadly, not much has changed in adoption. The proof is in the CUB Video archives. I strongly suggest you watch them all so you too can know your adoption history and understand that we have a very long way to go. No adoption is NOT different now. It just costs more money and the same horrible practices of adoption coercion DO happen every day.

REALLY VERY IMPORTANT to know our adoption history…Thanks Claudia for the CUB videos!

Here were my thoughts on how adoption has changed for me in the past 10 years