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Howdy! We've amassed tons of information and important history on this blog since 2010. If you have a keyword, use the search box below. Also check out the reference section above. If you have a question or need help searching, use the contact form at the bottom of the blog. Contact Trace Hentz, blog editor.

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Songs My Brothers Taught Me - Official Trailer

My friend Andrew IronShell shared this on Facebook - please go see this movie.

2015 Sundance critics' favorite and official selection of Cannes Film Festival's Directors Fortnight: Set on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME is a compelling and complex tale that explores the bond between a brother and his younger sister, who find themselves on separate paths to rediscovering the meaning of home. Written and directed by Chloe Zhao.


Trace on Twitter: @Trace15

How adoption affected me: I'd never told my story of opening my adoption while I lived it. A few friends knew details but not all of it. I got the idea for a book when I wrote an article in 2005 about stolen generations of North American Indian children placed for adoption with non-Indian parents. That article, "Generation after Generation, We are Coming Home" was published in Talking Stick magazine in New York City and then in News from Indian Country in Wisconsin. It took me down a path I never expected.

I'd lived as an adoptee but had not done research into its history. I was not aware of the various medical terms for adoptee issues such as severe narcissist injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. There is new science called birth psychology so I read studies about adoptees in treatment for identity issues, reactive attachment disorder (RAD), depression and suicidal thoughts. Then I found statistics. So I wrote my memoir as an adoptee and wrote about the history and business of adoption as a journalist. I found more adoptees after my article was published, which really added to my understanding of the devastating impact of the Indian Adoption Projects.

Read the rest here:

ghost shell
what we inherit. . . a ghost shell. . .
I dream of this, the weight,
a tortoise shell on my back, a heavy hull.
Did I choose its protection? I was asleep.
No one ever said, “You can drop it now” or
“It’s safe to drop that, you’ll be ok.”
Maybe the shell did protect me at one time
when I needed armor.
Maybe it isolated me for reasons
I do not know or understand.
It was heavy and hard to balance.
When I woke up, I could feel its weight.
I can still feel it, like a ghost,
like an arm or leg amputated.
Somehow it still signals my brain,
“Protect yourself.”
Maybe my mother put this shell on me before she left me.
Maybe I inherited it, like a talisman.
Maybe the shell was what women in my family wore to survive.
All I know is I was born with it.
[First published in Sleeps With Knives by Laramie Harlow, my pen name (Blue Hand Books)]

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lost Daughters: Adoption Leads to an Increased Risk of Suicide

Adoption Leads to an Increased Risk of Suicide

Adoption Leads to an Increased Risk of Suicide

Adoption Leads to an Increased Risk of Suicide

Adoption Leads to an Increased Risk of Suicide


 Lost Daughters: Adoption Leads to an Increased Risk of Suicide - Suicide Prevention Month

FROM Light of Day Stories:

Here are links to two medical journal articles:

Genetic and Familial Environmental Effects on Suicide – An Adoption Study of Siblings

Genetics of Suicide: An Overview

top photo:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lasting effects of trauma reaches across generations through DNA

CBC RADIO |  September 27, 2015

Amy Bombay is Anishinaabe from Rainy River First Nation. She's an assistant professor of psychiatry at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Amy Bombay is Anishinaabe from Rainy River First Nation. She's an assistant professor of psychiatry at Dalhousie University in Halifax. (courtesy Amy Bombay)

Listen 6:19
Indigenous elders often say that memory is in the blood and bone, that our stories are passed not just verbally but through a kind of genetic memory.
Well, it turns out that may not be far from the truth. Amy Bombay is Anishinaabe from Rainy River First Nation in Ontario.
Amy Bombay and family
Left Photo: Amy Bombay with her family. (courtesy Amy Bombay)

She's an assistant professor of psychiatry at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and has been studying the impact of trauma and how it reverberates through generations. She was drawn to this field of study, specifically related to residential schools, because of its effect on her own family.
"Both my grandparents on my father's side attended, and most of my aunts and uncles on that side as well," she explained.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Truth and Reconciliation Commission BIG STRIDES to #TEACHTRUTH

Commission chairman Justice Murray Sinclair, centre, and fellow commissioners Marie Wilson, right, and Wilton Littlechild discuss the commission's report on Canada's residential school system at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

TRC findings on residential schools to be used in Yukon classrooms

'This is Canadian public history,' says TRC commissioner about making materials public domain

CBC News Posted: Sep 27, 2015 

Students in Yukon will be learning more about residential schools this year.

Yukon schools will be using material prepared by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Commissioner Marie Wilson said the recordings made by the TRC  belong to all Canadians, which is why the TRC is putting its material online and in the public domain.

"This is Canadian public history and is really essential," she said.  

Anyone can reproduce the material, make physical copies of books or create publications with survivors' stories.

Different publishing houses are already adapting the TRC's material

"I think the point of it all is that there's no one publication that tells the whole story," Wilson said.

Making the material available for free also saves money, Wilson said. "In Ottawa we had 500 copies of things that we prioritized in sharing out with survivors who were there," she said.

"We can't say that we've provided enough copies for the 70,000 survivors that are alive today, not for all the schools."

In Yukon, the department of education has already worked with the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation to produce a hard copy book called Finding Our Way Home.


The Department of Education says it will use TRC materials in classrooms this year. The department established a Grade 10 Social Studies unit on residential schools last year.

The book Survivors Speak and other titles can be downloaded for free from the TRC website.

A sense of relief and a sense of accomplishment is how Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus described the mood in Ottawa as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its 94 recommendations on how the country can move forward after residential schools.
Judy Gingell
Judy Gingell, an executive elder for Kwanlin Dün First Nation and a former Commissioner of Yukon, says she agrees with the TRC panel's recommendations and says education is essential to true reconciliation. (CBC)

Now that the truth is out, it's up to Canadians to take on the role of reconciliation.
"All Canadians have a personal responsibility to learn about this time in Canadian history," she said in a statement. "Before reconciliation can truly move ahead, we all need to know the truth of what happened."

It's estimated between 3,000 and 4,000 Inuit from Nunavut attended residential schools.
Therese Ukaliannuk
Therese Ukaliannuk of Igloolik, Nunavut, says her 6-year-old daughter was taken to residential school while she was in the south with tuberculosis. She never saw her daughter again, or learned where she was buried. (CBC)

"We still have much grieving to do for this time in our lives and our families and our history, and must continue to work to find ways to heal and move on to healthier futures," Towtongie said.  

In a news release, the Makivik Corporation said it is pleased with the TRC's work and its final report and recommendations.

"Now we have been given the whole story and a blueprint to recovery. Let's do it," said Jobie Tukkiapik, Makivik Corporation president, in the release.

Therese Ukaliannuk, an elder from Igloolik, Nunavut, who now lives in Iqaluit, told her story to Igalaaq host Madeleine Allakariallak in Inuktitut.

Ukaliannuk's six-year-old daughter was sent south to residential school while she herself was in the south receiving treatment for tuberculosis. The little girl never returned.
Her mother never learned where she is buried.

Related Stories

Leland Kirk Morrill testimony at BIA hearing in Portland

Leland has provided links since we can't upload to this blog because of file size.

Here is the video of Leland's presentation at the BIA Hearing in Portland, Oregon:

NICWA's Sandy White Hawk's Adult Adoptee evening gathering: me, and my biological Aunt Olivia and my biological cousin Merle:

UPDATE: Filmed by Drew Nicholas Blood Memory Project an upcoming project through Drew and Sandy Whitehawk

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Omaha Tribe of Nebraska plans Native foster care system to preserve culture

MACY, Neb. | The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska is in the early stages of planning a local Native American foster care system, a move its leader says will help preserve tribal culture for future generations.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the tribe a $300,000 grant to create an independent tribal-run family services program for enrolled Omaha members.
“We know what’s best for our children and our youth,” Omaha Tribal Council Chairman Vernon Miller said Thursday. “The federal government recognizes that.”

The system would allow the Omaha Tribe to make better use of the Indian Child Welfare Act, which was passed in 1978 to focus placement of Native foster children in Native homes rather than with non-Native families. Currently, the Omaha Tribe places foster children through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

“It’s going to allow for our children to remain with our families and culture as they transition into youth and adulthood,” Miller said of the planned program.

Miller added a tribal system would strengthen ICWA applications on the Omaha Reservation, meaning the tribe would have more power to keep its children with Omaha Tribe families. He also said the system would help leaders identify children who are eligible for Omaha Tribe membership and enroll them.

Nebraska's Native foster-child population of 5 percent remained disproportionately high in 2014 when compared with the state's total Native child population of 2 percent, said Linda Cox, a research analyst with the Nebraska Foster Care Review Office.

According to the office, 155 -- or 5 percent -- of 3,029 foster children were identified as Native in 2014. The previous year, 261 of 3,892 -- or 7 percent – were Native.

ICWA was created to allow tribes to intervene with the judicial system to prevent family breakups and calls for child placement preference to be with people of their town tribe.

Denny Smith, director of Native American Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said some Native children are removed from their families because of poor living conditions. Smith is an enrolled member of the Assiniboine Tribe, with headquarters on the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana.

“There were heartbreaking cases all over the country, and I don’t think there was any way to avoid that,” he said. “I think (ICWA) worked out well that everybody has been responsible on both sides.”
Frank LaMere, executive director of Four Directions Community Center in Sioux City, applauded the Omaha Tribe’s stride toward establishing a local foster care system.

“I am very pleased and encouraged by tribal initiatives to keep Native children with Native families,” he said. “We are very gratified by the Omaha efforts and those of the other tribes.”
LaMere added some Natives in state foster care systems can grow up knowing very little about their heritage. He said some have come to him for information about their ancestry.

“Several times a year, in Sioux City, we have adults who were adopted and will come to us trying to find their way back to their culture,” he said. “If they can find their way home, I am pleased.”
Smith said loss of Native culture is a large concern for many tribes.

“The issue was that the children, with all good intentions, were taken out of Native families and generally given to non-Native families,” Smith said. “(ICWA) was a move to save the next generation of culture. If you lost one generation of culture, your hopes of surviving the culture would be very limited.”

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tribal Child Welfare Codes

Additional Findings from NNI/NICWA on Tribal Child Welfare Codes


Researchers reviewed 107 publicly available, tribal child welfare codes for U.S.-based tribes with populations ranging from 50 to 18,000 citizens. Researchers sought out the most up-to-date tribal child welfare codes available for each tribe, reporting that approximately 45% of the 107 codes were amended after 2000. The research team analyzed over 100 variables on the topics of culture, jurisdiction, tribal-state relationships, child abuse reporting, paternity, foster care, termination of parental rights, and adoption. A more detailed report on this study will be released later this fall. For more information about this project and its findings please contact the Native Nations Institute: Mary Beth Jäger (Citizen Potawatomi)
Cool poster here. First cool poster here

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines

Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines
click to read and listen about Trace, Diane, Julie and Suzie

Telling our Stories

Telling our stories is a critical piece to healing the trauma of Indigenous adoption and so, as an adoptee, it is important to be both a teller and someone who “bears witness” to the stories of others. Although I am happy to be closing the door on telling mine, there are so many stories yet to be told.

~ Raven Sinclair


ICWA headlines

ICWA headlines
click to read

Three Books on Lost Birds

good tweet

Bastard Nation

Published on Feb 24, 2013 Dear Citizens of the World... We are Anonymous. Bastard Nation advocates for the civil and human rights of adult citizens who were adopted as children. Millions of North Americans are prohibited by law from accessing personal records that pertain to their historical, genetic and legal identities. Such records are held by their governments in secret and without accountability, due solely to the fact that they were adopted. Bastard Nation campaigns for the restoration of their right to access their records. The right to know one's identity is primarily a political issue directly affected by the practice of sealed records adoptions. We advocate the opening to Adoptees, upon request at the age of majority, of those government documents which pertain to the Adoptee's historical, genetic, and legal identity, including the unaltered original birth certificate and adoption decree. The BASTARDIZED states of Alabama, Alaska, Oregon, Kansas, New Hampshire and Maine are the only U.S. states where adult adoptees have unrestricted access to their own original birth records! We have reclaimed the badge of bastardy placed on us by those who would attempt to shame us; we see nothing shameful in having been born out of wedlock or in being adopted. Help us in our efforts to end a hidden legacy of shame, fear and venality. We are Knowledge. We are Freedom. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. For we are Many. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

Truly One of a Kind Website

Truly One of a Kind Website
click to read

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