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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Indian Identity - It's complicated in New England!

www.sjf.edu
By Trace A. DeMeyer

Living in New England (yes, it's still called that after 400+ years), I have come to understand how Native Americans here evolved through some of the most troubling, extreme and dangerous circumstances --- yes, dangerous.
Many non-Indians here have deeply-embedded fears of Indians, because of stories passed down in families.
Many New Englanders are of the mindset Indians are of the past, not the present. We are no longer a threat like we were in colonial days.
Today Massachusetts has no great track record of dealing fairly or honestly with its tribes. One example, the Mashpee Wampanoag had their federal recognition delayed over 30 years.
There are many more Indian people here who are not in federally-recognized tribes and have no identity card to show other Indians or the demanding media. 
This issue is affecting Senate-hopeful Elizabeth Warren (Democrat) who is running against Scott Brown (Republican). Elizabeth's ancestry is Cherokee. Her Cherokee ancestors might have been educated in New England, maybe at Harvard or Dartmouth. I don't know.
Since Elizabeth is not enrolled with the Cherokee, her lack of an identity card is a huge problem for the media and other Indians.
Really?
HEY! Indians in New England get it. She's one of us. We have our own stories passed down in our families, too.
Granted it's not easy to trace your ancestors from the late 1800s to secure that government-issued Indian Identity card. (My friend Russ calls his tribal ID, "My Holocaust Card.")
Why is Indian identity so complicated? 
Long-standing racism by state officials on the East Coast who wanted us dead - and a backlog of over 250 recognition bids sitting in the Bureau of Indian Affairs offices in Washington DC.  Delays are notorious. Tribal Elders who started the petitions are often dying before they see their petition recognized. 

In the 1800s, there was absolutely no benefit whatsoever if you were Indian. Saying you were could get you killed: After the Pequot War, hunting down the Pequot was common - there was a bounty on every Pequot - man, woman or child.  Bring in dead Indians and you get paid. The media never covers this.

So back to identity... tell me, could you provide records to the exact day your immigrant ancestor arrived here on a boat? Yet Indians are supposed to prove they are Indian?
In this part of the world, Native people intermarried for survival. After the Indian Wars, Native woman married outside of their tribes since there were so few men left who had not been killed in war.
Their survival was not complicated, it was necessary. 

QUOTE:


"It seems to me one of the ways of getting rid of the Indian question is just this of intermarriage, and the gradual fading out of the Indian blood; the whole quality and character of the aborigine disappears, they lose all of the traditions of the race; there is no longer any occasion to maintain the tribal relations, and there is then every reason why they shall go and take their place as white people do everywhere," said Anthony Higgins, a U.S. Senator from Delaware, in 1895 congressional testimony.

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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.

Three Years already

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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.

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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.

Our Fault? (no)

Leland at Goldwater Protest

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