Missionaries in Hawai’i | More Attacks on ICWA | Is Tulsa Indian Country? | MMIWG epidemic

Sending you all a big thanks for reading this news roundup and Happy Turkey “Big Food” Day tomorrow… Lara/Trace

An Exhibition Critically Explores the History of Missionaries in Hawai’i

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — In August 1806, five students on the campus of Williams College took refuge from a sudden thunderstorm beside a haystack and vowed to commit themselves to spreading the Gospel around the world.  This is Ground Zero of the American overseas missionary movement.

For many people, this moment marked the start of an outpouring of generosity and benevolence that saved souls and brought distant lands into the modern world.  Only recently has another narrative been recognized — one of shameless spiritual imperialism that trampled native cultures and eventually devolved into explicit political and economic oppression.

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The unexpectedly deep connection between the college in Williamstown and the Pacific islands, 5,000 miles away, is outlined with an extensive timeline along a wall, which highlights what was happening in each place. It mentions figures such as Sanford B. Dole, the son of missionaries who came to Williams in the 1860s, where he and other missionary descendants called themselves “the Cannibals,” and were active in the Lyceum.  Dole and two others from that group would help draft the “Bayonet Constitution” of 1887, which accelerated the process of undermining native Hawaiian leadership. When the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, Dole would serve as the Republic’s first president, until completing the handover to American power a few years later.

READ: An Exhibition Critically Explores the History of Missionaries in Hawai’i

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The Indian Child Welfare Act is vital to our continued survival. (There has been much written on this blog about ICWA and the book series Lost Children)

BIG READ: Why conservatives are attacking a law meant to protect Native American families – The Washington Post

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How can that be? In 1832, President Andrew Jackson pushed through the policy of “removal” of Indian nations from the eastern U.S., which destroyed the historic land base of the “civilized tribes.”  He promised the tribes new land in the West to be theirs “as long as the grass grows or the water runs, in peace and plenty.”  After the Trail of Tears, the U.S. signed a treaty that “solemnly guarantied” the new reservation lands in what is now Oklahoma. Many tribes elsewhere have found to their regret that Congress is permitted to decide that the grass ain’t growing any more. It can abrogate some or all treaty obligations—and even “terminate” a tribe altogether. But case law says there is a “clear statement” rule: If Congress wants to end a reservation, it has to say so.

READ: Supreme Court Must Decide If Tulsa Is ‘Indian Country’ – The Atlantic

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Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG)

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) highlighted the report in a press event in Washington, DC, this week where she talked about the importance of addressing the MMIWG epidemic. Murkowski was joined by U.S. senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI 4th District), and Juana Majel-Dixon (Pauma Band of Mission Indians), Executive Board Member and Recording Secretary of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). The UIHI report identified the state of Alaska as the fourth-leading state for number of cases of MMIWG. Also, in the top ten states are New Mexico, Washington, Arizona, Montana, California, Nebraska, Utah, Minnesota and Oklahoma.

NEWS: New Report Identifies 506 Urban Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & girls – Native News Online

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Mental Midgets | Musqonocihte: “…it’s a miracle we’ve survived this far…”

How is that for a book title? I just published a “short” book – I call it short because our attention spans are short… 🙂 LINK

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Montana: Orphan Asylum 1892-1973

Orphans


St. Joseph’s Orphans Home
1892-1973
46°37’2.73″N 112° 1’9.53″W


COURTESY OF THE FACEBOOK GROUP ST. JOSEPH’S ORPHANGE CHILDREN IN HELENA, MT

Site of St. Joseph’s Orphans Home

St. Joseph’s Orphans Home, which stood on the northeast corner of Montana Ave. at Custer Ave.. The Home was built in 1892-93 by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, on land purchased by the Sisters and built with money donated by companies, businessmen and friends of the Sisters. It was demolished in 1973.

It had steam heat, with stairs and flooring of hard maple. Naturally, the boys department was entirely separated from that of the girls.

There was a marble altar in the orphans’ chapel, donated by the Galen family as a memorial of Matilda Galen (1837-1891). The whereabouts of the altar is unknown.

The building was badly damaged by the 1935 earthquakes, but it continued to operate into the 1960s. At the close of the orphanage in 1965, most of the 14 children remaining were Cuban refugees.
The following brief history and statement of condition of the home is from the Oct. 9 1921 Helena Independent :

THANKS TO SISTER DOLORES BRINKEL, SCL, ARCHIVIST OF THE DIOCESE OF HELENA FOR HER ASSISTANCE WITH THIS FEATURE ABOUT ST. JOSPEH’S ORPHANAGE.

SOURCE

St. Joseph’s orphans’ home was founded In Helena in the year 1892, starting as all things must, on a small plan, since growing to be one of the finest institutions of its kind in the northwest. Since it was founded it has cared for over 3,000 orphans, taking them in from infancy and giving them food, clothing, shelter and education until they were able to care for themselves or could be provided with suitable guardians or homes. The great majority of these charges have been maintained without the help of surviving parents, though in some cases small contributions have been received from this source. At the present time there are 180 children in the home. Less than $100 a month is being contributed toward their support by surviving parents, and the annual cost of operating the institution is about $25,000. The Sisters in charge are skilled through necessity in the exercise ot the most rigid economy.

At this lime an effort is being made to place the lands surrounding the home in a condition of cultivation that will supply some of the needs of the home and those of the boys large enough for farm work do their share in cultivating the farm.

The greater part of the money necessary to operate the home has been raised in the past by the solicitation of donations, but this year, owing to the depression in Butte, Anaconda and other Montana cities the subscriptions have fallen off materially and solicitation is not possible. The orphans are now receiving an education up to and including the first year of high school, and owing to tho dangers and templattons, under present day conditions, that confront the youth of the country it is well that the steps of the orphans are guided as far as possible along the path of life.

Lost Sparrow solves mystery but leaves wounds exposed

 

lost sparrow
Four Native American children adopted by the Billing family

I think of this important documentary LOST SPARROW all the time and wanted to share the links with you again. The earlier review I wrote is on this blog here and I’ve included it in TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.

Review by Lara/Trace

On November 16, 2010, the documentary “Lost Sparrow” premiered on PBS Independent Lens.  Based on a true incident in 1978, two Crow Indian brothers (both adoptees) ran away from home and were found dead on railroad tracks the next day. Chris Billing’s film takes a closer look at what killed these two boys and what truth shattered his entire family.

The filmmaker is one of four biological children. His parents adopted six, with four of them from the Crow tribe. Billing was 16 when the boys died. The family buries them in New York and moves on with their lives. His parents eventually divorce.

The filmmaker narrates how his little brothers Bobby (13) and Tyler (11) were trying to help their sister Lana (who is also Crow). Lana told her brothers she was being sexually molested by their adoptive father. The two boys were going to Montana to get help. They knew who they were and knew their tribe.

As the film unfolds, Billings’ story becomes more about the despondent quiet Lana, and how she didn’t survive the sexual abuse or find peace after her brother’s heroic gesture and unfortunate deaths.  Lana runs far away from the adopters to North Carolina. Her pain is so deep the alcohol abuse seems the only antidote she can afford.

There are no signs of wealth where Lana lives; unlike the Billings and their homes in New Jersey and the summer mansion in upstate New York. Journalist-turned-filmmaker Chris Billing said it took three years to make the film. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Billing, agree to see Lana on film but neither managed an appropriate response to her troubled past. Dysfunctional denial, which Mr. Billing’s exhibited while filming, seems inappropriate and not an apology, considering the facts revealed during the course of filming. The man at the center of the conflict, the adoptive father, an all-controlling philanderer, rich businessman, acts like nothing happened, like he did nothing wrong. What you hope is he was charged as a pedophile and sent to prison. This didn’t happen.

What does happen is the filmmaker and his siblings repatriate the two boys to the Crow tribe and have them interned on tribal land.

Chris films the boys’ father and tribal family who knew the boys were adopted by a rich East coast family but could do nothing to stop the adoption. Their grief leaves the viewer tormented. After revealing the entire truth, the filmmaker said it did little to bond their family or cure old wounds, “If it was good for Lana, then making the film was worth it.”

Wounds this egregious and deep are not healed by a 78-minute film.

From the Lost Sparrow PR:  On June 27, 1978, a 44-car Conrail freight train struck and killed two Crow Indian brothers near the town of Little Falls, New York — a day after Bobby, 13, and Tyler, 11, had disappeared. The two boys had run away without warning from the white, Baptist family that had adopted them and their biological sisters seven years earlier, spiriting them from a troubled Montana reservation family to an idyllic Victorian castle across the country. Lost Sparrow recounts award-winning filmmaker Chris Billing’s investigation, three decades later, into the dark family secret that prompted his adopted brothers to flee.

Trace A. DeMeyer (Lara) is the author of One Small Sacrifice and Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects… She lives in Massachusetts.

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