Adoption, child welfare services in USA rake in $14 billion a year

Taken From Families, Indigenous Children Face Extreme Rates of State Violence in US

  By Britney Schultz, Truthout | Report

In a photo taken around 1936, Aboriginal Canadians attend a school at Fort Resolution in the Northwest Territories. Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has concluded that the country's former policy of removing Aboriginal children from families for schooling could be best described as cultural genocide. In the US, Native children were subjected to similar policies for more than a century. (Photo: Library and Archives Canada) In a photo taken around 1936, Aboriginal Canadians attend a school at Fort Resolution in the Northwest Territories. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has concluded that the country’s former policy of removing Aboriginal children from families for schooling could be best described as “cultural genocide.” In the US, Native children were subjected to similar policies for more than a century. (Photo: Library and Archives Canada)


excerpt: Taken from their families


Foster Care, “Children’s Homes” and Profiting Off Native Loss

In South Dakota, Indigenous children make up 15 percent of the child population, but comprise more than half the children in foster care.  Nearly 90 percent of the kids in family foster care are placed in non-Native homes or group care.

Daniel Sheehan works with tribal leaders in the state to end the epidemic of illegal seizures of Native children by the state of South Dakota. Sheehan said the biggest concern of the nine tribes he works with is their children being taken away and the parents being prosecuted for “neglect.” This practice represents a pervasive bias against Native families – especially those living on reservations – the Lakota People’s Law Office asserts in a 2013 report to Congress. The South Dakota Department of Social Services equates economic poverty with neglect and fails to understand the tribes’ kinship system of extended family – something the ICWA was actually designed to protect. “Under this bias,” the report goes on to say, “South Dakota’s rate of identifying ‘neglect’ is 18% higher than the national average.”

Chrissi Nimmo said the issues that disproportionately affect tribes and lead to the removal of children should be considered “correctable conditions,” instead of accepted as the status quo. Currently, one typical state response to poverty seems to be to immediately and permanently remove children from their families. “There is, without a doubt, lasting trauma to children who are permanently removed from their birth families,” she said.

“[Native] women most often are the ones thrown under the bus,” Sheehan said. “Hence the disproportionate rate of incarceration.” Native Americans also report widespread discrimination by the police. According to a 2009 report by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Native women are criminally prosecuted at six times the rate of white women.

The women often get charged with assault for resisting arrest, Sheehan said. “Lakota women don’t accept being manhandled by white police, and these cops are being trained like military occupying forces, with military equipment like BearCat armored vehicles patrolling the reservations.”

When Native parents are arrested and their children are taken away, the parents have no means of contact with their children, and no information is communicated to them, Sheehan said. This makes it harder for families to reclaim their children, and easier for the state to perpetuate the cycle of forced removal of Indigenous children.

Taking children away from their Native families is also profitable: According to a February 2015 report from IBISWorld, adoption and child welfare services in the United States rake in $14 billion a year. And there are other indications of moneyed influence in child removal.


Doesn’t this constitute genocide?

archive photo

Truth and Reconciliation Commission officials expect toll to rise as more records reviewed

OTTAWA — Thousands of Canada’s aboriginal children died in residential schools that failed to keep them safe from fires, protected from abusers, and healthy from deadly disease, a commission into the saga has found. So far, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada has determined that more than 4,000 of the school children died.


If 4,000 people die at the hands of others like in Palestine right now, doesn’t that constitute genocide? This happened in America too and where are the headlines? As we slowly uncover more and more history and the atrocities, it’s too late, it’s done. The children are gone. No one stands trial. No one is put in prison.

What did we do to deserve this? Why would Creator allow this to happen? And more importantly I ask, how can we stop it? Where do we go from here?  How do you cope with things that happened in the past that are still going on?

It’s a fair and honest question.

I cannot bear to think of innocent children being murdered – anywhere. We are living among monsters, very scary people…Lara/Trace

Archive Photo

“I was given that porridge I got sick on and I had to eat that … And if you don’t eat, then you’re going to get beat up some more, and you’re going to get punished – and if you throw up again you’re going to have to eat that too, so what choice do you have?” Metatawabin, 66, says at times he and his classmates were forced to sit in an electric chair – either as punishment or as entertainment for the staff at St Anne’s Indian Residential School, which operated from the early 1900s to 1976 in northern Ontario province.  Now, Metatawabin says, the government is hiding information about the school… St Anne’s was part of a government-supported school system to “assimilate” aboriginal children.  About 150,000 indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families by the federal government for decades starting in the 1800s and put into church-run residential schools. Many suffered physical and sexual abuse and squalid living conditions, and a Truth and Reconciliation Committee recently said at least 4,000 children died – a number that could be much higher…”

via Canada accused of hiding child abuse evidence – Features – Al Jazeera English.


Native people depend on our ancestors and the unborn for the answer and for understanding.

Aboriginal children used in medical tests, commissioner says

Truth and Reconciliation Commission seeks further documentation on tests

CBC News

Commissioners Marie Wilson, from left, Justice Murray Sinclair and Chief Wilton Littlechild of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Sinclair told CBC News that aboriginal children were also used as medical test subjects. Commissioners Marie Wilson, from left, Justice Murray Sinclair and Chief Wilton Littlechild of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Sinclair told CBC News that aboriginal children were also used as medical test subjects. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)


Aboriginal Canadians were not only subjected to nutritional experiments by the federal government in the 1940s and 1950s but were also used as medical test subjects, says the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In an interview with CBC Radio’s All Points West on Tuesday, Justice Murray Sinclair told host Jo-Ann Roberts that commission staff has “seen the documents that relate to the experiments that were conducted in residential schools.”

Other documents related to experimentation in aboriginal communities outside of residential schools have not yet been obtained, Sinclair said.

“We do know that there were research initiatives that were conducted with regard to medicines that were used ultimately to treat the Canadian population. Some of those medicines were tested in aboriginal communities and residential schools before they were utilized publicly.”

Sinclair said some of those medicines developed were then withheld from the same aboriginal children they were originally tested on.

“Some of those medicines which we know were able to work in the general population, we also have discovered were withheld from children in residential schools, and we’re trying to find the documents which explain that too,” Sinclair said.

CBC News has not seen the documents in the possession of the commission.

Recent revelations that the Canadian government used at least 1,300 aboriginal children attending residential schools in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia as test subjects have prompted further calls from aboriginal groups to pressure the federal government to turn over all archival documents related to residential schools.

“Our government recognizes that the relationship between Canada and First Nations has helped shape the country we know today,” Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt‘s director of communications Jason MacDonald said Wednesday in a statement.

“While we cannot undo the past, we can learn from it and ensure that those dark chapters are not repeated.”

MacDonald said that is why the Conservative government apologized for the residential school policy and “that is why we continue to focus on the work of reconciliation, on improving living conditions for First Nations, and on creating economic opportunities for First Nation communities.”

The commission, according to Sinclair, is in possession of the documents used by historian Ian Mosby to show that the Canadian government conducted nutritional experiments on malnourished aboriginal children and adults attending residential schools during and after the Second World War.

However, the commission has not been able to obtain documents “related to experimentation that went on in aboriginal communities outside of the residential school setting.”

“We haven’t seen those documents,” the chair of the commission told CBC News.

Valcourt’s office has said they have turned over 900 documents related to this to the work by the commission.

Ottawa ordered to provide all documents

In January, an Ontario Court ordered the Canadian government to turn over all residential school archival documents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and while the federal government has expressed a willingness to comply, Sinclair said “we haven’t seen the documents start to flow yet.”

The worry now, said Sinclair, is that even with the best of intentions Ottawa may not have the resources to provide all these archival documents in a timely manner.

“It’s a question of capacity and whether they have sufficient resources and time to be able to get them to us before our mandate as a commission expires on July 1, 2014.”

Sinclair said that if the federal government is unable to turn over all of the documents from Library and Archives Canada before the commission’s mandate expires next summer, the commission may have to turn to the courts once more.

Many of the documents are said to reside with departments outside of Aboriginal Affairs, such as the Health Department.

But a final report without all the documents would not be a “truthful” report, according to Sinclair.

“The report itself, in our view, only complies with the mandate if we are able to write a full and complete history of residential schools and in order to do that, we need those documents,” the chair of the commission told CBC News.

The residential schools system, which ran from the 1870s until the 1990s, removed about 150,000 aboriginal children from their families and sent them to church-run schools under a deliberate policy of “civilizing” First Nations.

Many students were physically, mentally and sexually abused. Some committed suicide. Mortality rates reached 50 per cent at some schools.

In the 1990s, thousands of victims sued the churches that ran the schools and the Canadian government.

The $1.9-billion settlement of that suit in 2007 prompted an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper followed by the creation of the commission in 2008.

Hearings provide first step in healing




Singers and drummers perform during the Truth and Reconciliation hearing at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in June 2013.

Richard Rolke/Morning Star

By Richard Rolke – Vernon Morning Star   June 02, 2013 1:00 AM

John Pierre was a child when life with his parents and siblings splintered. It was never restored. “We’ve never come together as a family,” he said of the lasting influence of the Indian residential school he attended in the 1950s.  “Inside, I’m still crying. I’m still a child.”

Raw emotion was evident as former students shared their experiences at the federal Truth and Reconciliation hearings in Kamloops Wednesday.

“It was such a lonely time,” said Mary Percival of being taken away from her parents at age seven.

“I cried for my mom and dad to tuck me in at night. It was very heart-wrenching. My mother became an alcoholic after we were removed.”

Peter Alec was three years old in 1964.

“I wanted my mom and dad to come and get me but they never did,” he said.

“I felt so empty because I lost so much. I never bonded with my mom and dad. I had no feelings when my mom and dad passed away because I didn’t know them.”

For many of those parents, they knew what awaited their children in residential school as they had also  been forced into those classes long before.

“My mother told me to do as I was told and I wouldn’t get into trouble. I did as I was told and we know what happened,” said one woman.

Sexual abuse was a constant thread among many of the survivors. It was at the hands of teachers, clergy or other students.

In one case, a woman recounted how she was initially strapped by a nun for wetting her bed.

“And then she did things she wasn’t supposed to. She started touching me.”

Punishment was severe for speaking traditional languages although many didn’t know English. Speaking out of turn brought the strap.

Food was often in short supply and even worse quality. Education was often limited to religion.

Self-worth evaporated.

“I was ashamed to be an Indian. I thought, ‘How do you change the colour of your skin?’” said a woman who is now 58 years old.

Eventually, the students reached a certain age and left school, but the trauma remained, particularly when they began to have their own families.

“The way I was treated at residential school was the way I treated my kids. I physically abused them. They got in the way of my drinking. I didn’t want the responsibility,” said one woman.

For many, being separated from their own parents at a young age left them with few examples to draw on as they raised children.

“I never told them I loved them and I couldn’t hug them. We were like army sergeants to our kids,” said a mother of five.

“That’s the way we were taught to be. I will be sorry for the rest of my life.”

And that cycle engulfed the next generation.

“I saw my son screaming at his kids and I told him to stop. He said, ‘Why, you did that to me?’”

For another woman, her experiences warped her relationships with men.

“If I was beaten, if I was molested, it was normal to me,” she said.

But as the survivors spoke Wednesday, most were surrounded by spouses and children. The arrival of grandchildren was often the turning  point to a  brighter future.

“It made me realize I have a heart. I’m not a tin person,” said Leona McKay.

“I have to learn to get over the anger and fears and to be the difference I want to see in the world. It’s time to stop depending on others to make us better. We have to help ourselves.”

Questions still remain as to how governments and churches allowed injustice to occur to children. For some, bonds with religion are broken forever.

But for Alanna Manuel, responsibility must run deeper.

“All of the rest of Canada did not protest for our human rights. No one said, ‘Don’t abuse those children.’ Canada needs to take ownership,” she said. “Canada, you let this happen for hundreds of years and you better fix it. I want you to leave here knowing this isn’t an Indian problem, it’s a Canadian problem.”

Speaker after speaker stressed that their experiences no longer dictate who they are.

“We can tell the stories but my past is my past. I don’t live there anymore. Let’s move forward,” said Ginger Alec.

Members of Vernon’s Trinity United Church observed the proceedings.

“It’s about the wider community acknowledging wider responsibility,” said Rev. Jeff Seaton.

Schools were operated by the United and Catholic churches as well as other denominations.

“I hope people will reflect on the power of religion to do great damage and the power to provide transformation,” said Seaton.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is travelling across the country to learn about what happened at residential schools and to inform all Canadians about the legacy of those institutions.

“I have heard that people will never forget, but we have to stop walking into our future backwards,” said Murray Sinclair, commission chairperson. “The country must understand that its sense of self must have balance with our sense of self.”

The commission will ultimately file a final report, but Sinclair believes that’s only the beginning of the process. He urged everyone in the Tk’emlups Indian Band hall to remain involved.

“You are the ones who will have to pick up the challenge of reconciliation. Reconciliation is about healing and coming to terms with what has happened and to move forward,” he said.

3,000 confirmed Indian residential school deaths

Residential School classColin Perkel, Canadian Press, Feb 2013

At least 3,000 children, including four under the age of 10 found huddled together in frozen embrace, are now known to have died during attendance at Canada’s Indian residential schools, according to new unpublished research. While deaths have long been documented as part of the disgraced residential school system, the findings are the result of the first systematic search of government, school and other records.
“These are actual confirmed numbers,” Alex Maass, research manager with the Missing Children Project, told The Canadian Press from Vancouver. “All of them have primary documentation that indicates that there’s been a death, when it occurred, what the circumstances were.”
The number could rise further as more documents — especially from government archives — come to light. The largest single killer, by far, was disease. For decades starting in about 1910, tuberculosis was a consistent killer — in part because of widespread ignorance over how diseases were spread.
“The schools were a particular breeding ground for (TB),” Maass said. “Dormitories were incubation wards.” The Spanish flu epidemic in 1918-1919 also took a devastating toll on students — and in some cases staff.
For example, in one grim three-month period, the disease killed 20 children at a residential school in Spanish, Ont., the records show. While a statistical analysis has yet to be done, the records examined over the past few years also show children also died of malnutrition or accidents.
Schools consistently burned down, killing students and staff. Drownings or exposure were another cause. In all, about 150,000 First Nations children went through the church-run residential school system, which ran from the 1870s until the 1990s.
In many cases, native kids were forced to attend under a deliberate federal policy of “civilizing” Aboriginal Peoples.Residential-school girls class Many students were physically, mentally and sexually abused. Some committed suicide. Some died fleeing their schools. One heart-breaking incident that drew rare media attention at the time involved the deaths of four boys — two aged 8 and two aged 9 — in early January 1937. A Canadian Press report from Vanderhoof, B.C., describes how the four bodies were found frozen together in slush ice on Fraser Lake, barely a kilometre from home. The “capless and lightly clad” boys had left an Indian school on the south end of the lake “apparently intent on trekking home to the Nautley Reserve,” the article states. A coroner’s inquest later recommended “excessive corporal discipline” of students be “limited.”
The records reveal the number of deaths only fell off dramatically after the 1950s, although some fatalities occurred into the 1970s. “The question I ask myself is: Would I send my child to a private school where there were even a couple of deaths the previous year without looking at it a little bit more closely?” Maass said. “One wouldn’t expect any death rates in private residential schools.” In fact, Maass said, student deaths were so much part of the system, architectural plans for many schools included cemeteries that were laid out in advance of the building. Maass, who has a background in archeology, said researchers had identified 50 burial sites as part of the project. About 500 of the victims remain nameless. Documentation of their deaths was contained in Department of Indian Affairs year-end reports based on information from school principals. The annual death reports were consistently done until 1917, when they abruptly stopped. “It was obviously a policy not to report them,” Maass said.
In the 1990s, thousands of victims sued the churches that ran the 140 schools and the Canadian government. A $1.9-billion settlement of the lawsuit in 2007 prompted an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The research — carried out under the auspices of the commission — has involved combing through more than one million government and other records, including nuns’ journal entries. The longer-term goal is to make the information available at national research centre.
[For me, this report is suspicious since we know there are first-person narratives that describe murders of children in these schools…and the numbers are misleading since many of the schools hid records of deaths (murders)… Lara/Trace]