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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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This is a blog. It is not a peer-reviewed journal, not a sponsored publication... The ideas, news and thoughts posted are sourced… or written by the editor or contributors.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

After Alcatraz #ICWA

9 Laws and Programs Passed for Indians After the Occupation of Alcatraz

7/24/16
As of 1969, Congress had passed 5,000 laws for Indians. The effects of the laws had been to reduce the role of Indian tribal leaders and enhance the power of federal officials to regulate Indian people and their lives. The Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969 set the stage for the development of positive Indian programs. We were against the “ations”—relocation and termination.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/07/24/9-laws-and-programs-passed-indians-after-occupation-alcatraz-165218

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Goldwater lawsuit is a fight for the soul of tribal nations

Navajo Nation President: Separating Navajo Children from Their Parents & Families is Devastating


Navajo Nation President Begaye provides strong words during opening address
Published December 12, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE—During the opening banquet for Navajo Division of Social Service and Casey Family Program’s Navajo Child Work Session in Albuquerque on Monday, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye called for the absolute protection of Navajo children in his support of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
“There is nothing more devastating than seeing a Navajo child being taken from their parents. The connection that exists between a child and their parent is strong. It’s a sacred bond. In our support of the ICWA, we are protecting the connection between children, their parents and siblings,” President Begaye said.
Last week, President Begaye delivered a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell asking for her to support ICWA in enforcing that state courts investigate and verify the enrollment of Native American children in cases regarding custody and foster care.
President Begaye talked about the boarding school era in the history of American Indians to emphasize the historical trauma caused by the separation of Indian children from their families, culture and language. Both President Begaye and his brothers attended boarding school as young men.

“Imagine your identity being erased. Imagine not being able to see your mother and father. Imagine knowing you have family but not being able to see them. The separation is too much,” he said. “Now imagine children who are separated from their families and cultures for the entirety of their lives."

On July 7th of this year, ICWA came under fire when the Goldwater Institute filed a proposed class-action lawsuit in federal district court in Arizona challenging the constitutionality of ICWA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) guidelines that strengthen this legislation.
The Goldwater lawsuit has sparked a national discussion questioning the purpose of ICWA.  It is the position of the Navajo Nation that tribes, states and partners do everything they can to advocate for this legislation which protects tribe’s connection to Native American children.
President Begaye said the lawsuit portrays the lifeways of Native Americans as being insignificant while also portraying tribal communities as substandard.  For non-Natives, the lawsuit could be interpreted as compelling.

“It makes you think about the issue in the questions it raises,” he said. “Rather than go down that road, we, as Native Americans, need to know that we are just as good as anybody else.”

The Goldwater lawsuit is a fight for the soul of tribal nations, he said. It challenges the equality of tribal nations against non-tribal paradigms of societal standards not based in traditional culture or knowledge.

“Our traditional ways nurture our children and foster environments that are conducive to the success of our children. Navajo culture inherently protects the future generations as it does the elders.”
President Begaye expressed his gratitude to all departments in attendance, as well as the Health Education and Human Services Committee and Law & Order Committee delegates, for coming together to support and address the importance of ICWA in keeping Navajo children with Navajo families.  He called for the Nation’s continued support of ICWA and for tribes to stand against the Goldwater Institute’s lawsuit, which questions the constitutionality of the Act.

“Native Americans are just as good as any other society on earth. We love our families and will stand with them,” he said. “We need to make sure that every Navajo child in state custody or foster care doesn’t have to go through life wondering who they are or who their parents are.”

During the following morning’s agenda, Vice President Jonathan Nez presented a welcoming address to the work session that supported President Begaye’s position while also supporting positive, healthy families and homes on the Nation. The vice president also extended gratitude to the partners who organized the conference.

Regarding the Goldwater Institute’s lawsuit, Vice President Nez supports the need for all tribal nations to come forth with strong messages supporting ICWA.  He said there is a the need for the Nation to develop a strong strategy in combating the Goldwater Institute’s messaging and media campaign.

“What they are doing is chipping away at the sovereign rights of Native Americans which can eventually extend beyond ICWA,” Vice President Nez said. “What the Goldwater Institute is doing is wrong.”

Both President Begaye and Vice President Nez voiced support of ICWA and the protection of Indian children by keeping them with Native American families.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Cindy Blackstock, Canada's Warrior for Children

Globe and Mail Article on Cindy Blackstock


Here.
“What I saw were children being systemically removed from these communities. And I’d go to these communities, and there was no running water, and people would wonder why the kids weren’t clean, and I’d think maybe someone should do something about the water. We would see the multigenerational impacts of residential schools, and there are no mental-health services that are culturally appropriate. So there were all these layers of inequality and I started to realize it was the system, in many cases, that was creating conditions where families were not going to be successful in caring for their kids. And nobody was really holding the system to account.”

[use the search bar on this blog for more about Cindy and her work... Trace]

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Saturday in Los Angeles Community Informational Meeting/Luncheon #ICWA #FosterFamilies

Community Informational Meeting/Luncheon
Saturday, July 16: This FREE event is to provide Native Foster Homes for Native children in the foster care system in Los Angeles County. We have had some success and publicity on this through local media for Lisa Smith, a local Cherokee Nation Citizen who has ​​​​opened her home to foster children.
 
See Article:

You are invited to attend
Community Informational Meeting/Luncheon
this Saturday, July 16 from 11am to 1pm
at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
840 Echo Park Avenue Los Angeles, near Sunset Blvd and Echo Park Blvd.   

The purpose of this event is to supply information to Native American families who may be interested in providing safe and loving homes to Native American children.  

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is 1978 federal law which mandates placement preferences of Native American children:
  • First – with Family members or non-related extended family
  • Second - Members of their own tribe
  • Third – Members of other tribes
The last resort is placement with non-native foster families.

WE NEED NATIVE HOMES

To ensure proper implementation of ICWA, we must provide Native homes to prevent our children from placement with non-Native families. When Native American children are placed in non-Native homes, they are at high risk of losing their identity, heritage, values, customs, culture and knowledge of their history.

Please join us. Bring your family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and all you know who are Native American and interested in helping to provide a safe and loving home to Native American children.

Lunch is provided – RSVP please call (626) 938-1822 to be included
 
CREDIT: Isabel Avila; Robert Rodriguez (left) and David White run DCFS’ ‘American Indian Unit.’
 
an earlier event

Toxic Stress, ACE STUDY, violence trauma


Violence is just one part of childhood trauma. So why are we focusing so much on childhood violence?

Three Types of Stress

Five years before the first of many papers from the ACE Study was published in 1998, Dr. Bruce McEwen at Rockefeller University, with Dr. Eliot Stellar, used the term “allostatic load” to describe how repeated chronic stress – “toxic stress” – produces stress hormones that create wear and tear on the brain and the body.
Over the last five years, the concept of the effects of toxic stress on children was amplified by Dr. Jack Shonkoff at the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child. He and his team describe three types of stress: Positive stress, which children need to help them grow and thrive. Tolerable stress, which is temporary, and where a caring adult helps a child to recover. And toxic stress — extreme, frequent or extended activation of the body’s stress response without the buffering presence of a supportive adult.
This toxic stress – the kind that comes from living with a physically and verbally abusive alcoholic parent, for example – damages the function and structure of a kid’s brain. Toxic stress floods the brain with stress hormones. When a kid’s in fight, flight or freeze mode, their thinking brain is offline and doesn’t develop as it should.
Kids experiencing trauma act out. They can’t focus. They can’t sit still. Or they withdraw. Fight, flight or freeze – that’s a normal and expected response to trauma. So they can’t learn. Their schools respond by suspending or expelling them, which further traumatizes them.

READ THIS ARTICLE 

A shorter version of this story appears in the July-August 2016 issue of Health Progress.

We have published on the ACE Study here on this blog. Use the search bar for more... Trace

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Reporting on #ICWA Factsheet

see link below


By Trace Hentz (blog editor and adoptee)

We are at a crossroad again. We've had various recent attacks on the Indian Child Welfare Act, as if the history didn't exist as to why there is a federal law in place to protect Native children.

Do journalists not understand the history of the ICWA and the governments who attempted to destroy Indian culture by taking away future generations?

In 2016, trafficking in children is a $14 billion dollar industry. Children-in-the-system do produce an income for some people (lawyers, judges, social workers, foster parents.)

Indian children are protected from trafficking/adoption today with the federal law ICWA.

Why the attacks on ICWA?  Do they honestly think that the Native adoptee will settle in with their white parents and never question what actually happened?

Children are young a short period of time. We are not robots. We do think for ourselves.

I cannot think of one Native adoptee who has not done a search for their first family after a closed adoption.  Our identity may have been taken from us but we will go looking for it as adults.

Being placed in a non-Indian home will not prevent any adult adoptee from searching for their families and tribe.

Veronica Brown, Lexi and others have put ICWA back in the news. That is the good news with the bad news...

Here is what the Native American Journalists Assoc. did to help mainstream reporters write a better balanced story:

NORMAN, Okla. – Earlier this year, the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) was disheartened by mainstream reporting on several cases involving the welfare of Native American children.
In response to the arbitrary reporting on this issue, the NAJA Board of Directors has collaborated with the National Indian Child Welfare Association to release a media guide to aid reporters and editors when covering cases that fall under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
NAJA is hopeful this guide will be a useful resource for any media outlet covering ICWA and will help improve coverage of a complex and significant issue for American Indians / Alaskan Natives.
Ethical journalism should always inform coverage of intricate laws such as ICWA, which directly involve children and families in the Native American community.
According to the guide, some ICWA cases may be newsworthy, however, the way journalists report these stories can encourage anti-Indian sentiments and influence negative behavior toward tribes and tribal citizens.
There is no cost to access the resource guide, which is available for download on the NAJA website at: http://www.naja.com/resources/covering-icwa/.




Saturday, July 9, 2016

#Lexi will remain with her Utah Family #ICWA

Summer and Rusty Page listen to their attorney, Lori Alvino McGill, after an appeals court hearing in downtown Los Angeles in June. They've pledged to take their fight to the state Supreme Court. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Friday, July 8, 2016

First Nations Films: NANABOZHUNG, Vanishing Link

Film is important to us as storytellers... go to link and watch the previews... Trace

How can First Nations continue to survive in the urban environment? How can they survive at all after reserve and residential schools. First Nations are not the problem in our society. They may just be the solution to the problem.


NANABOZHUNG - We Are the Solution - documentary-  2016 - 80 min.
After being 'rounded up' into reserves, after the imposition of the Indian Act and their forced re-education in the residential schools, can these First Nations people continue to survive
in this urban environment? Can we afford to allow their culture to die when it puts the preservation of the environment above all else? From an emotional and Intellectual point of view we come to realize that 'First Nations are not the problem. They are the solution to the problem'. Directed by Lia Williams, Produced by Guy Hibbert (149.00)


VANISHING LINK - documentary -  retracing her roots! - 2007 - 60 min.
A very personal and emotionally moving program about one woman's "return" to her spiritual roots and native identity. As this exciting story unfolds through the woman's direct experiences the viewer follows her journey and so travels deeper into her "return". Woven together with riveting stories from Elders brought to life through stirring traditional art, dances, songs, and crafts. Vanishing Link explores native spirituality through the oral traditions of tribal elders while following a unique spiritual quest. A must-see for all audiences. 

LINK


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sisters Torn Apart Reunited Decades Later #60sScoop

Sonya Murray, centre, made it her mission to track down her long-lost sisters Nakuset, left, and Rose Mary, right. (Submitted by Nakuset)
Sonya Murray, centre, made it her mission to track down her long-lost sisters Nakuset, left, and Rose Mary, right. (Submitted by Nakuset)


Women among thousands of First Nations children removed from their families under federal program


CBC News Posted: Jul 04, 2016 / Last Updated: Jul 05, 2016

Sonya Murray and her sister Nakuset hadn’t heard from their youngest sister Rose Mary since she was around five years old.
The two older sisters were taken from their family home in Thompson, Man., one night as part of a federal government program that’s now known as the Sixties Scoop.
Decades after being forced apart along with thousands of other First Nations children and placed in adoptive homes across Canada, the two sisters were reunited with Rose Mary Monday on CBC Montreal’s Daybreak.
Between the 1960s and 1985, the government estimates more than 11,000 Aboriginal children were removed from their families – often without the parents’ consent –  and adopted out under the program.
Nakuset
Nakuset said Rose Mary was ‘the missing piece’ and her sisters now have to make up for lost time. (Radio-Canada)

Others contend that as many as 50,000 children were adopted out under the program.
“One night, there was a knock on the door. Nakuset and I were alone in the house. I kind of opened door… and apparently some police came in and took us away,” Sonya said.
Nakuset and Sonya were kept in the same foster home for a brief period before they were separated.
‘She’s gone… that’s all I ever heard’
Sonya, who was around five years old at the time, was the eldest of the three girls.
“One morning I woke up and I looked in the bed over from me and it was all made up, and [Nakuset] was gone,” she said.
“I asked, ‘Where’s my sister?’ and they just said, ‘She’s gone.’ That’s all I ever heard.”
Nakuset was adopted by a family in Montreal, where she still lives, and Sonya was later returned to live with her mother and stepfather. She now lives near Kenora, Ont.
The emotions of that time are still raw for Nakuset, especially when she considers the loss Sonya felt and the effort she made to find her little sisters.
“Sonya made it her mission to try to find both of us, and she’s really the one that keeps us all together.”
That effort paid off last week, when she received a message from Rose Mary on Facebook last week.
Nakuset teenager
Nakuset says she grew up yearning for her native roots. ‘I so desperately wanted to belong. ‘ (Submitted by Nakuset)


The youngest sister had moved to Vienna, Austria, with her European father when she was around three years old.
“There were no goodbyes,” Sonya said. “She was just gone one day.”
The sisters’ four brothers were also taken from their mother and placed in homes.
‘She was the last missing piece of the puzzle’
The message from Rose Mary, who now lives in Horn, Austria, came as a welcome shock to Sonya.
“I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t sure. My head was asking if this is real,” Sonya told CBC.
Since then, the three say they’ve been going “crazy” together, and they finally feel complete.
“In Austria, I used to feel lost and I never knew why,” Rose Mary said. “Now, my heart feels wide open and I’ve found new happiness.”
Rose Mary was “the missing piece,” Nakuset added, a feeling that was echoed by Sonya.
“You have a sense of emptiness, there’s always a feeling that you’re not full, you’re not complete,” she said.
“In meeting with my two sisters — now it’s ‘us’, not just me and you, like it was with Nakuset. It’s not just me and you against the world, it’s us against the world. We’re complete. She was the last missing piece of the puzzle.”
Nakuset said she can’t imagine the loneliness her youngest sister felt so far away.
“I think about how hard that must have been for her to be the only Cree in a country, you know, where there’s no one else who looks like her,” she said.
Nakuset said they’re now keen to get to Europe and teach their little little sister all about Cree culture and language. Rose Mary is already planning a visit to Canada next summer.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to make up for lost time,” Nakuset said.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/60s-scoop-reunited-sisters-cbc-1.3663770?cmp=abfb

Nakuset is one of the writers in the new book STOLEN GENERATIONS... PAPERBACK HERE: https://www.createspace.com/5982643

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Reunification celebrated in Michigan #ICWA

State of Michigan Celebrates Reunification Day


Link to news coverage here.

The Michigan Supreme Court ceremonially praised the efforts of family court participants, including Tribal leaders, for restoring children to their families on June 24, 2016, in Lansing.  Five judges from Michigan’s Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum were present.  According to the article, more than half of foster care children were returned to their families in 2015.
In 2015, more than half of the 8,000 plus children in foster care were reunited with their families. As several people noted throughout the event, reunification is always the goal of the judicial system, and deciding to terminate parental rights is a last resort. Friday’s event celebrated the major efforts courts and the state are making to put parents back on the path to caring for their own.

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.

“Cherokee Nation ICW (Indian Child Welfare) is supporting the campaign #DefendICWA developed by the National Indian Child Welfare Association. Our department is asking individuals to express their support by writing down how and why they support and defend ICWA, with a snapshot of their self holding their document of support. Cherokee Nation is the largest federally recognized tribal nation. We also have the largest ICW department. ICW has around 130 employees who work continuously to ensure our Native families and children’s rights are protected and the ICWA is enforced. The BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) has published ICWA regulations, which will be in full effect this December 2016. These regulations address issues in the past that were misinterpreted by state courts and blatantly ignored. The regulations make the ICWA stronger, give it teeth and (makes) more clear for state courts understanding. The regulations also address the so-called ‘existing Indian family doctrine.’ This doctrine is no more. Unfortunately, there is still misconception and misunderstanding as to why the ICWA is so significant to tribal nations. There is a constant struggle with the media whom paints tribal nations so horrific and develops a very negative perception of ICWA. We are here. We are not going anywhere, and we will continue to fight for ICWA to ensure our future by taking care of our children. Every Cherokee child matters no matter where they reside. This campaign puts a face to supporters’ words. This campaign shows Indian Country’s strong supports of ICWA.” Heather Baker, Cherokee Nation citizen on the “I support and defend the ICWA because” Campaign #RealPeopleSeries

A photo posted by The Cherokee Phoenix (@thecherokeephoenix) on

more info at website

more info at website

Join!

National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (NISCWN)

Membership Application Form

The Network is open to all Indigenous and Foster Care Survivors any time.

The procedure is simple: Just fill out the form HERE.

Source Link: NICWSN Membership

Hilary Tompkins, adoptee

Three Books on Lost Birds

SAVE THE DATE

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why?

Sixties Scoop Hearing in Toronto at the Osgoode Hall Court House

Please check in for further information as to the precise location of the Courtroom, and details of community events to honour the first case in the western world about:

Cultural genocide
Who is responsible when Nations’ children lose their identity?

LINK

Customer Review

Thought-provoking and moving 11 October 2012
Two Worlds - Lost children of the Indian Adoption Projects

If you thought that ethnic cleansing was something for the history books, think again. This work tells the stories of Native American Indian adoptees "The Lost Birds" who continue to suffer the effects of successive US and Canadian government policies on adoption; policies that were in force as recently as the 1970's. Many of the contributors still bear the scars of their separation from their ancestral roots. What becomes apparent to the reader is the reality of a racial memory that lives in the DNA of adoptees and calls to them from the past.
The editors have let the contributors tell their own stories of their childhood and search for their blood relatives, allowing the reader to gain a true impression of their personalities. What becomes apparent is that nothing is straightforward; re-assimilation brings its own cultural and emotional problems. Not all of the stories are harrowing or sad; there are a number of heart-warming successes, and not all placements amongst white families had negative consequences. But with whom should the ultimate decision of adoption reside? Government authorities or the Indian people themselves? Read Two Worlds and decide for yourself.

ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

click for more info

click for more info
Native American sex trafficking resource