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They Took Us Away

They Took Us Away
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Navajo Elder gets birth certificate at 74

Click here for the story about the Elder...

Thanks to my Dine brother Leland Morrill for sharing this. S

everal of us adoptees are in for a shock (as if we aren't already in shock!) when we go to apply for a new driver's license in the USA. If we cannot supply an original birth certificate, they can deny us. It happened to Leland, who was adopted by Mormons. (His story is posted on my blog here and he is also a contributor in the new book "Two Worlds."
Leland has taught me so much about the Real ID Act of 2005 - which forgot to take into account many Native adoptees have amended (fake) birth records or no birth certificate.

So, please leave a comment if you are having issues with getting a new driver's license. There ought to be a class action lawsuit over this one, eh?

Read Leland's blog: http://amiauscitizennavajo.blogspot.com/

Google: Real ID ACT of 2005 if you need more information...

Trace Hentz (blog editor)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Dad" Reunions ( and what I learned about REUNION meeting my dad)

Maryland father finds his son after 35 years: After many false starts, DNA test leads to reunion http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-adoption-search-ryba-20110619,0,1793711.story
Father, daughter, find each other, in life and song
http://www.ajc.com/lifestyle/father-daughter-find-each-982010.html?cxtype=rss_news_128746

There is great truth and importance in these stories, dispelling myths how reunions between adoptee and first parents won't work...  I have my own reunion story with my dad Earl Bland in my memoir "One Small Sacrifice." I met my dad in 1996.

This is what I learned about REUNION:
  • After our first phone call, I wrote my dad a letter and explained what I knew about my adoption and gave details, like my date of birth, where I was born and what I knew from my adoption file. It gave him and his family time to process and adjust to my showing up in their life.
  • We made plans to see each other - later we'd talk on the phone, just the two of us. (Repeat after me: "We can't start over. We start here and now.") My dad and I began our lives together when we reunited in person for the first time.
  • Plan to meet. Schedule DNA tests if there is any doubt about paternity. Not sure at first, our DNA test said Earl and I were a 99.9% match. Hooray!
  • Expect to feel very overwhelmed at first. Reunion is not about rivalry but if you have siblings, expect their surprise (and maybe some jealousy, too). Avoid controversy and meet one-on-one, just you and your parent first. Later spend quality time with the entire first family (your siblings, their kids, your kids and all the relatives.) Don't rush into this one but take lots of pictures! Meet your siblings one at a time, too. It takes time and energy to get to know one another.
  • Watch your expectations, adoptees. Earl and I knew there was no way to go back to reverse the past or fix it. He did not apologize nor I didn't expect him to... My dad didn't ask me about my life or what I experienced being adopted. This might happen in your reunion, too. Plan your future together as time, money and distance will allow. Each and every reunion is unique. Share your story if and when you are asked.
  • Listen and be patient: that is what I did.  I had no idea how my dad spent his life but I knew it was going to take time to hear his story. I took copious notes!  My siblings and relatives shared much more than my dad and gave me tons of genealogy.
  • I knew my dad had no clue how hurt I was being adopted.  That was the truth for me. (Again, don't expect an apology.) I never expected he would fix my brokeness but hearing his voice the first time healed me in so many ways.  The fog I'd walked in started to disappear. Old illusions vanished. My grieving faded.
  • Depending on your adoptive family, only you the adoptee can determine if they can handle any news of your reunions.  I know just one adoptee who connected his mothers - now they are friends.  That takes some very strong loving women (and men) to make this happen. Many adoptees did share their reunion stories and it abruptly ended their relationship with the adoptive parents. Be sensitive and don't share details if they don't want to hear them. Many adoptive parents do not realize the importance of reunions in an adoptees life. It is up to the adoptee how to procceed and if you share the news. The risk of rejection by your adoptive family is a whole new chapter to reunion.
  • Last but not least, get counselling if you need to and early.  Spouses and friends may not be able to help you process all this. Go slow and be gentle with yourself but try and proceed with the reunion - since noone knows how much time you'll have to reconnect in this life.  In my reunion, I had a little over a year before Earl died. We made the best of our time. I knew he was very sick when we first met. Earl and I spoke often and I wrote letters and cards. When Earl became very ill and was hospitalized, I was updated by my family constantly. Sadly, I only met Earl once but I did attend his funeral and was listed as his daughter in his obituary.
Closed adoption advocates want us to believe secrecy is best and privacy was promised. That was not true in my experience at all. Yes, my mother Helen did not want to meet me but that was her choice, and I respected that. But ADOPTEES have TWO PARENTS. If one reunion fails, there is still hope we can meet someone else in our first family. It may be relatives - aunts, uncles or siblings. Never give up hope or your search! First, we have to permanently end closed adoptions - they do not serve the adoptee or their emotional and spiritual well-being. We must unseal adoption records and shine the light on the truth. We must demand Unconditional Access - so birthparents cannot withhold your original birth certificate or your adoption records.
I pray for each adoptee and natural parent to have a good reunion. There is good medicine and healing waiting for all of you.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Elder Blessing


A Blessing for the Native American Caucus

[by Ojibwa for Native American Netroots. I am unable to attend NN11 and the Native American caucus. Navajo had asked me for some words for the caucus, and since I do not have email at this location, I’m going to put these words into a short diary for all to read.]

Traditionally, Native American events began with a blessing. We understand that there are a great many different religious and spiritual traditions, and beginning discussions with a spiritual blessing does not imply that all must “believe” the same—rather it simply indicates that this is an important event. Traditional Indians have little concern for making converts, for carrying “the message,” or for proselytizing. An elder is simply asked to bless the event. This blessing might involve smudging with sage, sweet grass, cedar, or some other herb. It might involve a song. It might involve a pipe ceremony. It might involve some symbolic gestures.

Spoken words are different from written words, and many of us who live in oral pagan traditions are reluctant to write down the words that we would speak at a blessing. The power of the word changes when it is written and it loses its sense of the here and now. If I were to do a blessing at this event, it would probably involve smudge and the use of the pipe. What follows is not the words which I would speak, but a description of their intent.

This is a blessing calling upon the seven directions. It starts with offerings to that which lies above and that which lies below. It is a way of reminding ourselves of our need for fresh air, for rain that falls clean and free of chemicals, for the sun, the moon, and the star people. It reminds us of our dependence of the earth and our responsibility to nourish and care for it, just as it nourishes and cares for us.

Next would come an offering to the manitos (spirits) of north and a reminder of the importance of dreams. It is a reminder that it is our responsibility to bring our dreams to life.

Next would come an offering to the manitos (spirits) of south and a reminder of the importance of words. We should remember that words are living things and they continue to impact our lives long after they have been spoken. At meetings such as this we should speak words which bring us together, which create harmony. Words which separate us—those which reflect racism, sexism, homophobia, agism, classism, and other divisions—should have no place here.

Next would come an offering to the manitos (spirits) of west and a reminder of the importance of death. If I have lived well, then it is a good day to die. The focus among traditional Native Americans was on maintaining harmony in life: there was not a lot of concern for what happens next. The offering to the west is also about endings, about changing things in our lives.

Next would come an offering to the manitos (spirits) of east and a reminder of the importance of birth. This is a reminder of the need for birth, rebirth, and new ideas. New ideas, new concepts, like newborns, must be nurtured and nourished.

And the final direction, the seventh direction, is inward. It is placing myself within the circle that has gatherered and opening myself up for the words which will be spoken and the concepts which will be presented.

We come from many traditions. We come here to find harmony in our common cause.

to order prints: go to http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/06/09/983796/-A-Blessing-for-the-Native-American-Caucus?via=blog_787671

Saturday, June 18, 2011

More Voices, More Discussion


archive photo
 I read adoptee blogs. This one I particularly liked.
Joy's Division wrote:
"...That is exactly what drives me crazy about those that try to control the story of the emotional world of the adoptee, I spouted, they are trying to bear our souls, that is why I make so many bitchy posts about people who are trying to tell the story of adoption sans the frustrated adoptee. Which you know, happens, some adoptees are frustrated, some adoptees find this situation difficult to deal with." - from  http://joy21.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/you-can-only-bear-your-own-soul-controlling-the-adoptee-narrative/... "...So no, I am not in charge of the adoptee experience, I was shocked as shit to recognize my mother and feel the damaged love I do feel for her. I want to be more compassionate with her experience and at this moment I am, my last comment feels a bit harsh. It tears me up, it leaves me twisting in the wind. I am just a small part of a much bigger story, but we should be allowed to tell our stories without getting comments like, “Poor Innocent Dismissed.” I may be poor and I may be dismissed but I have never pretended to be innocent, I am as big of an asshole as you would ever want to meet. I mean the caveat being we are all assholes if you catch us in the right moment. At least I can own that."

You see how adoption is complicated, messy, a pain! There are many discussions happening across the blog world on the myths, benefits and damages of adoption. It is definitely clear that each in the triad (birth parents, adoptive parent and adoptee) has their own unique voice and view. That is how we learn - by reading and listening to others who went through the adoption process as parents or as an adoptee.
Even Facebook has created new discussions and arguments, too. Divisions do not serve anyone but create the impression there is no common ground or mutual agreement. Yet we all walk the path together as humanity.
I am no longer a "frustrated" adoptee but the survivor of a closed adoption. I opened my adoption file at age 22. At age 54 I read my "identifying" information in my formerly-sealed Wisconsin adoption file. I have had many reunions.
I do not judge my mother Helen for giving me up. I know she made the only decision she could at the time - which was find new parents for me. I am not her and cannot read her mind. Sadly she has already died so I will never know how giving me up affected her past or her future. I do know society judged her and she lived with their judgements.
I do know many frustrated adoptees, and I try to help them navigate each step to finding their identity and eventual reunion with relatives. There is no guidebook on this, by the way. There is no "ALL" since each mother and father and each adoptee is unique.
The changes in communication with the internet, blogs, Facebook and email has opened up my world since 2004. Teach me, contact me, post comments...

As Joy's Division writes: "...I will be called names, I will endure ridicule, but also some adoptee somewhere will find my blog like so many others already have and as a result find the courage to tell their own story. They will feel less alone, less alienated, their story will be different because they always are, but my story will encourage others to own their own. Controlling your own story, your own narrative is one of the most delicate and beautiful gifts you can give yourself. The h8trs are gonna h8t, love yourself anyway. I can only bear my own soul and I am, here."

We need more voices and more discussion like this.

We need to change the archaic laws and end closed adoptions and give access to sealed adoption files  - period.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Surprise #2 Genealogy

As I wrote before, I spoke with a cousin who shares my great-grandmother Mary Morris. Buddy shared how he met my parents Earl and Helen in Chicago. He is the only one I know who did meet them prior to my birth and knew them as a couple. That was no small miracle!

Next surprise: a new relative on Helen’s side. As an adoptee, nothing has been more exciting than finding pieces in the family puzzle. A new relative found me and emailed me! Am I ever glad I wrote a book!! Thank you Google!

I met my grandmother Helen Ryan Kilduff Thrall back in 1993 – a long time ago. As I wrote in my memoir, she didn’t know I was her granddaughter, but she showed me my first picture of my mother Helen. For me this was life-changing. I took lots of notes that day and wrote down her father was Michael Kilduff. When I drove near Ottawa in 2006, my interest in the Kilduff line was ignited again but I had not met or found anyone in Canada or the US with this name.

Now a cousin who shares my Kilduff blood found me. He has helped me trace back to my great-grandfather Michael Kilduff who lived in Ottawa then moved to Michigan then Wisconsin. This family started in Quebec and migrated to Ottawa. Peter even sent me a genealogy on this side of my family. He also sent a link to a website showing my ancestors were shipbuilders and stone masons. Who knew I have Canadian blood in my veins?

I told Peter it is a shame I didn’t know him prior, when I was a rock musician who traveled in Ontario and sang in clubs near where he lives.

Peter and I are kin and going to keep in touch. This was a gift I never expected and one I am truly grateful for, indeed.

(to be continued)

New Film needs you: Shooting Stars (by an adoptee)



Shooting Stars: a film about a young Native man who reconnects with his heritage in the most unlikely place: a junkyard (based on the filmmaker's beginnings and journey as an adoptee...)
CREATED BY:  Rhett Lynch (Navajo)
LOCATION: Alameda, New Mexico, United States
CATEGORY: Film
Film clip at Indiegogo

Rhett Lynch lives and works in Alameda, New Mexico. In his thirty years as a professional artist, he has found expression in a variety of mediums, from hand-woven tapestries to sculpture, drawings, and monotypes, to paintings in oil and acrylic, to writing, acting in films and developing the motion picture production company, Heap Big Films. Always seeking to expand his visual vocabulary, Rhett consistently experiments with various materials in order to bring more power, life, and intensity to his art. Rhett’s broad range of subject matter: the human form, animals, landscapes, icons, archetypes, myth and legend, are depicted realistically to pure abstract, whimsical to mystical. He refers to his work as a visual journal, recording his experiences as a tourist of life. His work is a testament to the deeply powerful symbols found in the well of his Indigenous heritage, conveying a universal message, which crosses all cultural boundaries. Although varying greatly in medium and subject matter, all of Rhett's work contains a common thread: intensity of color and multifaceted intent. His paintings and writings are deeply personal, complex and moving, sometimes disturbingly so, providing an interactive experience provoking thought, evoking emotion, and leaving a lasting imprint on the psyche. Rhett's work, which has appreciated consistently over three decades, attracts a broad range of collectors, veteran as well as neophyte, from entertainment and political personalities, to church parishes and corporations such as CNN.

Please show your support and give what $$$ you can! Just click on the Indiegogo box... I am so excited to meet Rhett who is among the growing numbers of Native adoptees ...Trace

Monday, June 13, 2011

VIDEO: Tribe remembers boarding school era, begins healing (Michigan)

VIDEO: themorningsun.com http://t.co/VkbByNu
By MARK RANZENBERGER


Willie Johnson looked over at the old, crumbling, red-brick building and recalled his grandparents.
They attended the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial School, one of many across North America with the avowed purpose of “taking the Indian out of the child” beginning in the late 19th century. Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, the land and the buildings belong to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and Tribal leaders and elders say it’s time for healing.
The Tribe accepted eight acres of property and six historic buildings from the state of Michigan. Monday, a day-long service of honoring, healing and remembrance began the Tribe’s ownership.
Johnson was one of four people who read the names of nearly 150 children believed to have died at the school during the 40 years it operated. Officially, just five children died, but many more are believed to have buried quietly somewhere on the approximately 300 acres of land now owned by the city of Mt. Pleasant and the Tribe.
The aim of the Indian schools was to “enlighten” the Native children, force them to learn English and forget their Native language, introduce them to Christianity and Western values, and teach them useful trades. Many children were forcibly separated from their families and sent to the schools.
Experts say the boarding school experience resulting in the wholesale destruction of Native values and near-loss of Native culture.
The school closed in 1934. The state of Michigan converted the property to a state hospital for the developmentally disabled, which is now closed.
Lorraine “Punkin” Shananaquet, a healer and a member of the Tribal Council of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, said the echoes of the grief, pain and loss continue across the generations.
“My muscle and my blood remember things,” Shananaquet said. She said the day of remembrance could bring emotional, mental, spiritual and physical healing as Native people struggle to regain their language, family, culture and ceremony.
The Tribe has yet to decide how it will use the property. Tribal spokesman Frank Cloutier said the healing and remembrance had to come first.
“Today,” Cloutier said near the end of the ceremonies, “the place is no longer what it was before.”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wabanaki Tribes TRUTH & RECONCILIATION COMMISSION (MAINE)

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/06/wabanaki-tribes-maine-sign-historic-foster-care-trc/

INDIAN ISLAND, Maine – When Denise Yarmal Altvater talks about the torture and abuse she and her younger sisters suffered as Indian children in foster care in Maine, the story is so painful to hear that it is impossible to imagine how those little girls lived through it.


On May 24, Altvater, a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission, participated in a public ceremony to launch a Truth and Reconciliation process that will help heal her and others like her, who experienced the same awful separation from their families and communities and the brutality of a government child welfare system whose negligence could—or perhaps should—be considered criminal.

Chiefs of the Wabanaki nations, Maine Gov. Paul LePage and Altvater signed a Declaration of Intent to Create a Maine/Wabanaki Truth & Reconciliation Process, a process meant to heal people from the traumatic experience of the past behind and move toward the best possible child welfare system for Wabanaki children. “Wabanaki” means ‘the people of the dawn” or ‘first light.” The Wabanaki nations are the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point, and the Penobscot Indian Nation at Indian Island. A Truth & Reconciliation Commission will be created as part of the process.

For more than a decade, Altvater and other indigenous Wabanaki women have worked with a Truth and Reconciliation Convening Group of individuals from the Maine Tribal Child Welfare, state Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child and Family Services and staff from the Muskie School of Public Services, American Friends Service Committee and Wabanaki Mental Health Association to bring the Truth & Reconciliation project forward.

“In this process I’ve always used my name Yarmal because I think my two sisters need to be remembered and had we not gone through what we did, my two sisters would be alive today,” said Altvater. Her two sisters, who lived until their early forties, died of lingering trauma-related causes connected to their early abuse. When Altvater joined the working group 13 years ago she came to the table with mistrust, anger and fear, she said. “I came as an adult with childhood memories of all the torture and abuse I suffered as a young child, as a little girl.”

Altvater and her sisters were placed in foster care with a non-tribal family near Indian Island when she was eight years old. When she began working with the Convening Group 13 years ago, Altvater said she came to the project “full of childhood memories about the abuse and torture that I suffered in a foster home for four years as a young girl.” The abuse included ongoing sexual molestation and nights locked in a dark cold cellar in the foster home, she said. Attempts to tell the state what was happening fell on deaf ears, Altvater said. No charges were ever brought against the couple that abused her and her sisters.

Taking control of her own narrative has helped in the healing process, she said. “It’s been 13 years since I told my story. I didn’t even know it needed to be told. Since then I’ve learned to feel, care, love and most of all strive to become the person the Creator meant for me to be when I was born. Healing is not going to be easy, but it will transform all of us,” Altvater said.

Altvater works with the American Friends Service Committee, the Muskie School of Public Service and the Maine Indian State Tribal Commission to help the healing process for others with similar experiences.

“Everyone wants to know what the goal of this project it,” Altvater said. “For me, it is about healing, education and learning. It is about changing how we do our work in the future so that every child we are responsible to protect is treated with kindness and dignity and given the best we have to offer so they will have a place that is always safe.”

The Maine Tribal-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will be the first of its kind established in the country, said Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis.

“This is truly a historic event,” Francis said at the ceremony. “This TRC process is unique in that parties on both sides have come together with the best interests of Wabanaki children and families at heart. It is a model of collaboration that can be replicated in other areas of tribal-state relations in Maine and has the potential to be a model for other states as well.”

Francis said that Indian children were punished for being native. “They wanted to assimilate them and make Native people like everyone else. The TRC will assure that past atrocities will never happen again and our children have the right to stay Wabanaki and stay connected to that. My hope is this collaboration and support on both sides will serve as a model for how to respect each other and overcome our difference while acknowledging our past.”

The TRC is driven by three key purposes: to create a common understanding between the Wabanaki and the State of Maine concerning what happened and what is happening to Wabanaki children in the welfare system; to act on the information revealed during the TRC to implement changes to improve the system; and to promote healing both among Wabanaki children and their families and the people who administered the abusive system.

Governor Paul LePage, who visited Indian Island for the first time in many years, said the signing of the Declaration of Intent is “an important step to allow the commission to establish its mandate and get to work.” He talked about his own youth when, unlike Indian children who were taken from their homes, the decision to leave home was his. The TRC project is “long overdue,” LaPage said. Although there have been abuses in the past and “the system has had a negative impact,” Maine’s child welfare program is now committed “to protecting the rights, dignity and traditions of the tribes” while delivering needed services to all children and families, LePage said.

“We are one state. We are one people. And we share similar backgrounds,” LePage said. The governor said he visited Indian Island on several occasions years ago when he was a student at Husson College in Bangor, and that he spent 10 years working for a lumber company and living with the Maliseets in New Brunswick after graduating.

Truth & Reconciliation Commissions have been established in various places around the world, most notably in South Africa to deal with the violence and human rights abuses that occurred under the Apartheid system. The idea is to work through acknowledgement of the wrong doings toward healing and reconciliation, reparations and institutional reform. In Maine the TRC may include public testimony from the victims, comprehensive reports by the commission, and policy recommendations. The commission’s work will be helped by the Andrus Family fund, which has provided financial support for the project. More information about the Maine Tribal Truth and Reconciliation Commission is available online at www.mainetribaltrc.org.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Our Children are Sacred by Judge Tim Connors


Seven generations ago someone was praying for us. We are the answer to their prayers. We take this responsibility seriously. When you are working with our children, it is sacred work.  Our children are sacred.

My mother Donna Lou was born in 1939. She and her family lived on Beaver Island in Michigan. After my grandmother died, my mother was separated from her brother and sent to be a domestic servant for a Mennonite minister and his wife in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This happened despite the fact that we had literally dozens of tribal family members who could have cared for her. Her Uncle Leo and his wife, for example, always wanted a daughter and would have loved to raise my mother. Unfortunately, she was sent away without any notice to her Indian family. While she was living with the Mennonites, she was forced to cut her hair outside of her Native tradition, prohibited from practicing Native
American traditions, and prohibited from any contact with her Native American family and tribe. When she turned 17, she was forced into a loveless, arranged marriage. The marriage didn’t last very long and she was on her own, alone in the world. She never had the courage to return home to her tribe because she felt so different and damaged. With her dark skin, black hair, and brown eyes she stood
out as different from the majority of her peers in the 1950s and beyond. She never felt like she belonged anywhere. Without good examples of parenting, raising her children was a struggle for her. If my mother had been born after the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and ICWA had been followed, she would’ve had a very different life and I would’ve had a very different mother.

Our Children Are Sacred
Why the Indian Child Welfare Act Matters
By Judge Tim Connors

http://turtletalk.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/jj_spr11_connors.pdf

[Please read this powerful paper by Judge Connors.. I am amazed at his eloquence on this topic. We need more judges like him  ...Trace]

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lawsuit filed for 60s Scoop First Nation adoptees in British Columbia (NEWS)

new link: http://ipolitics.ca/2011/06/01/b-c-natives-sue-federal-government-for-millions-over-sixties-scoop/

Postmedia News June 1, 2011

A class-action lawsuit that could cost Ottawa millions of dollars has been filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on behalf of aboriginal children affected by the "Sixties' Scoop."
The "Scoop" refers to the thousands of Native children who were allegedly taken between 1962 and 1996 after the federal government signed over its responsibility for Indian child welfare to the provincial government.
The B.C. government received money for each status Indian child taken into care. This is the first Sixties' Scoop class-action suit filed in B.C. and only the second in Canada. An Ontario case was given court approval in 2010.
A Vancouver lawyer representing victims said the Sixties' Scoop victims could win "millions of dollars in federal compensation," such as that given to residential school survivors.
"But the purpose of this lawsuit is for the survivors to seek justice for the wrongs that were done to them," said Jason Murray. "Just as the residential schools closed, aboriginal children were again taken away, into foster care.
(c) The Victoria Times Colonist
Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/life/Lawsuit+filed+Sixties+Scoop+kids/4872693/story.html#ixzz1O6B5YF8a

[This is only the beginning... the abuses here in America will come to light, too  ...Trace]

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Washington state ICWA passed today

WASHINGTON INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT PASSED (6-1-11) NEWS!!

After a multi-year tribal effort to make this Act a reality, Governor Chris Gregoire has signed the Washington State Indian Child Welfare Act (WICWA) into law. AAIA has worked closely with Washington state tribes on Indian child welfare issues for many years and we believe this is an important step forward in the ongoing efforts to promote the safety and well-being of Indian children and families.

WICWA has two main purposes. First, it codifies in Washington law the main provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). This helps to make sure that state courts, attorneys and others involved with the state legal system incorporate ICWA protections for Indian children, families and tribes into their everyday practice. AAIA has long been involved in Indian child welfare advocacy. Studies and efforts by the AAIA were the catalyst for the enactment of the ICWA in 1978.

Second, WICWA clarifies how the federal law should be implemented and expands upon its protections. Among the most meaningful additions are provisions which define important legal terms, such as “active efforts,” “best interests,” and “qualified expert witnesses,” modify the placement preferences and improve procedures for identifying Indian children, including recognizing tribal decisions on membership as conclusive.

AAIA provided technical legal assistance to Washington tribal leaders and attorneys drafting and advocating for WICWA. WICWA builds upon previous tribal efforts to implement ICWA in Washington State which AAIA has assisted, including negotiation of a landmark tribal-state Indian child welfare agreement with the state, incorporation of provisions in the agreement into state practices and procedures, and legislation requiring the state to recognize tribally-licensed foster homes.

WICWA will help to advance the central goals of ICWA – namely to keep Indian families together and to ensure placement with extended family or tribal members whenever possible.
http://turtletalk.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/washington-icwa-passes/

[Great news...now we need other states to do this... Trace]

SEARCHING??

SEARCHING??
Are you still searching?

Every. Day.

Every. Day.
adoptees take back adoption narrative and reject propaganda

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.

Read this SERIES

Read this SERIES
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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

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.

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Our Fault? (no)

Leland at Goldwater Protest

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