Rest in Peace Karen Vigneault, the woman who made miracles for Native adoptees

Kimberly Linebarger, left, with sister Gudrun Drofn Emilsdottir, in lobby of Seven Clans First Council Casino Hotel, Newkirk, Oklahoma, November 19, 2018.

Guðrún Emilsdóttir, circa 1967, baby picture

Guðrún Emilsdóttir, adopted shortly after birth, was 28 before she tracked down her birth mother.

Her birth mother gave Emilsdottir her birth certificate, which named her father, Henry Linwood Jackson.

“My nephew started looking for Henry,” she said.

Eventually, he contacted Native American genealogist Karen Vigneault, a member of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in California who was profiled in an earlier VOA story.  On Vigneault’s advice, Emilsdottir took a DNA blood test; they uploaded the results onto an online database and waited.

20180929_093011(PHOTO: Iceland covered the story too) (Karen Vigneault, an enrolled tribal member of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel and college and tribal librarian, has a face tattoo.)

(READ Long-lost Native American Sisters Reunite for a Joyous Thanksgiving)

Emilsdottir has returned to Iceland but is planning to return to Oklahoma in July 2019 for the “Encampment,” a pow wow the Otoe-Missouria tribe has held annually for more than 130 years. It’s an occasion for the tribe to sing, drum, dance and remember their history and traditions. And celebrate family, lost and found.

Henry Linwood Jackson, Otoe-Missouria tribe member, ca. 1965.

BIG READ: Long-lost Native American Sisters Reunite for a Joyous Thanksgiving

The reunion happened because of the tireless methodical work of librarian and tribal genealogist Karen Vigneault; she and I have worked together since 2013.

I learned yesterday that Karen has passed away in San Diego at her home.

She made miracles and reunions for adoptees, like these sisters.

It is impossible to put into words the impact she had on me and the lives of many adoptees she helped. She worked to find adoption records, tribal histories, family genealogy and find relatives that adoptees could contact and meet.

This loss is personal and devastating.

Not just to me but to readers of this blog who are still searching and hoping and waiting and wanting to find their families.

Using her own money, Karen traveled to Iceland late last year to meet Guðrún and the Iceland media covered it. Her wish was to reunite Guðrún with her tribe and relatives. She succeeded.
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CNN, Romney – on adoption we’re good @NPRWeekend #adoptees

By Lara/Trace

I must be living on another planet! WHO are these people? Come on, another Mormon like a Romney adopting is not news – they are SERIAL adopters of non-white kids. They had their own Mormon Indian Adoption Project! Thousands of Indian kids are now tithing each month as adults!  They make this part of their religious belief – converting us Indians savages into paying heathens! Everywhere they have missionaries – those saving plans worked!

Then we have NPR Weekend Edition with a horrendous white mother RACHEL who wants to sell her book and grab her 10 minutes of CELEBRITY on how she’s raising three little BLACK kids. Really? Read my take on that HERE

But this is almost to the point of HYSTERIA! Anyone who ridicules trans-racial adoption is in the crosshairs now???????????? REALLY?

I bet you money, more and more people are going to take a long hard look at human trafficking wearing the disguise of trans-racial adoption and wake up but not if they read these blathering propaganda-filled stories!

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Los Angeles (CNN) — MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry chastised her guests for being too serious just before the controversial segment about former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s adopted black grandson.

A source who was in the studio during the show told CNN that before the offending segment, the comedians were urged off the air to be funnier. The source asked not to be identified.

Later in the show, Harris-Perry told viewers the panel of comedians would “be forced to drink during the commercial so they can get their funny back.”

Clarification: An earlier version of this article failed to state that panelists on the Melissa Harris-Perry show were told off-air to be funnier prior to the segment during which they made jokes about Mitt Romney’s adopted black grandson. The story has been updated to clarify this.

Harris-Perry would tearfully apologize for the jokes a week later.

“My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off limits, and for that I am sorry,” Harris-Perry said Saturday.

The apology comes weeks after MSNBC host Martin Bashir lost his job because of remarks about former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Controversial comments by journalists about an American politician’s family are not new. Harry Truman threatened physical violence against a Washington Post critic who famously wrote in 1950 that the president’s daughter “cannot sing very well.”

See Romney’s reaction to MSNBC apology
Watch MSNBC host’s tearful apology
MSNBC pokes fun at Romney family photo

READ HERE:  http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/06/showbiz/msnbc-romney-ground-rules/index.html?iref=allsearch

I left this comment on Laura Dennis’ blog on 1/16/14:

It’s like we are living on two planets and on one planet – the white couples (Child Catchers) who adopt are still saviors. NPR Weekend Edition finds them since this is how THEY still think about adoption. Yet the woman who adopts three Black Kids writes a book to make a name for herself? It’s not the first time this happened. (The are tons of blogs by savoirs who adopted trans-racially). And NPR just jumped into the adoption propaganda game promoting people like her. That world is still spinning.

I live in the new world – where adoptees and first parents have educated beyond these fallacies and mistruths. We have moved past that world into one where children and their safety are top priority, not who adopts them.

LINK

Major contribution to Native American history published!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TWO WORLDS, Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects offers astounding narratives that challenge views on adoption

After generations of Native children were forcibly removed from their Tribes and placed in residential boarding schools, children were also being placed in closed adoptions with non-Indian families in North America.

Finding those children became a mission for award-winning Native American journalist-adoptee Trace A. DeMeyer who started research in 2004 which culminated in her memoir “One Small Sacrifice” in 2010.  DeMeyer was introduced to Cherokee adoptee Patricia Cotter-Busbee, and the collaborated on their new anthology, “TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.”  The book hits Amazon and Kindle in September. (ISBN: 978-1479318285, Price: $19.95 (PAPERBACK), $6.99 (EBOOK).

“Readers will be astonished since these narratives document a page of North American history that few even know happened,” DeMeyer said. “Today tribal families hope to reconnect with adoptees but we know closed adoptions were planned to assimilate children, to erase their culture and end contact with their tribe. I started this project in 2008 after my memoir, then adoptees wrote to me.  When I met Patricia in 2010, she shared her own amazing story and I knew she had to be part of this book.”

A recent MFA graduate of Goddard in writing, Patricia Cotter-Busbee welcomed the chance to contribute and help edit. “I could not resist helping with this important book. I felt that this was the project I had been waiting for. I kept thinking where are all these adult adoptees? I am an adoptee and know how badly I wanted to reconnect with my first families. If 1/4 of all Indian children were removed and placed in non-Indian adoptive homes, these adoptees must be looking for help, trying to open records and find clues to their identity. One study even found in sixteen states in 1969, 85 percentof the Indian children were placed in non-Indian homes. This book will help lost adoptees reconnect.”

The Lost Children in Two Worlds share details of their personal lives, their search for identity and their feelings about what happened to them.

“The history of the Indian Adoption Projects is troubling since it was unofficially ethnic cleansing by the US and Canadian governments, and this practice went on for years without public knowledge, but I am happy to report it failed because we are still here and still Indians; and this book explains how we adoptees did it,” DeMeyer said.

DeMeyer and Busbee agreed that “TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects” is an important contribution to American Indian history.

“Indigenous identity takes on a whole new meaning in this anthology,” Busbee said, “both for the adoptee and those who adopted them.  Adoptees definitely live in two worlds and we show you how.”

The book covers the history of Indian child removals in North America, the adoption projects, their impact on Indian Country and how it impacts the adoptee and their families, Congressional testimony, quotes, news and several narratives from adoptees in the US and Canada in the 375-page anthology.

“Two Worlds is really the first book to debunk the billion dollar adoption industry that operated for years under the guise of caring for destitute Indigenous children,” DeMeyer said. “Readers will be astonished since very little is known or published on this history.”

DeMeyer lives in western Massachusetts and Busbee lives in Washington state.

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For a copy of this press release online: visit Blue Hand Books at http://www.bluehandbooks.org

Photos available upon request.

Adoptees in this book are available for interviews.

 

Early reader comments included:

“…sometimes shocking, often an emotional read…this book is for individuals interested in the culture and history of the Native American Indian, but also on the reading lists of universities offering ethnic/culture/Native studies.”

“Well-researched and obviously a subject close to the heart of the authors/compilers, I found the extent of what can only be described as ‘child-snatching’ from the Native Americans quite staggering. It’s not something I was aware of before…”

“The individual pieces are open and honest and give a good insight into the turmoil of dislocation from family and tribe… I think it does have value and a story to tell. I was affected by the stories I read, and amazed by the facts presented…. because it is saying something new, interesting and often astonishing.”