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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Reclaiming her identity: Suzie Fedorko

Two Worlds contributor Suzie Fedorko has a fantastic interview in Indian Country Today about her new memoir!!

Susan Fedorko was 40 years old when she found her birth family—or rather, when a long-lost sister found her. Her first book, Cricket: Secret Child of a Sixties Supermodel (Outskirts Press, 2012) chronicles Fedorko’s journey from Native American adoptee-turned “white” mother and wife, to a person reunited with her extended family. That family hails from the Grand Portage Indian Reservation people on her mother’s side and the White Earth Nation on her father’s, both Chippewa/Ojibwe. In an unexpected twist, Fedorko discovered that just a few years after her birth, her birth mother—Cathee Dahmen—had become an immensely popular supermodel, probably the first Native American woman to attain that status.
Fedorko’s story is a bittersweet mix of hard-won healing and humor. She recalls gazing at her then 11-month-old daughter, Samantha: “I broke down, thinking how terrible it must have been for my birth mother to part with me. It would rip me apart to be separated from Samantha.” Just pages later, she captures the voice of one of her husband’s good-old-boy friends, “whose accent made him sound like his name could have been Cletus.” Her experiences have been diverse, her responses unfailingly human, and her writing utterly frank.
Thousands of Native children—up to 35 percent of Indian youth in some states—were taken from their homes and adopted into white families before the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act.  Fedorko is one of them. Her story will resonate both with those who have reconnected and those still dreaming about that day.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/02/26/reclaiming-her-identity-conversation-native-adoptee-and-author-susan-fedorko-147877

 

Monday, February 25, 2013

An interview with Susan Harness on MPR

In Other Words (Montana Public Radio)
Recently, I was interviewed for a radio program in Missoula, Montana regarding my research on American Indian transracial adoption. It originally aired on Montana Public Radio (MTPR.org) Tuesday, December 11th 2012, on the program In Other Words, which explores experiences through a feminist perspective. The interview looks at American Indian transracial adoption and its intersection with race, history and class. If you weren’t able to catch it live, click on the link below to listen now.

http://www.susandevanharness.com/in-other-words-montana-public-radio/#comments

Susan and I are good friends and both transracially adopted. Please listen to this podcast. It's important. Her important book is listed in the reference section on this blog.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tribunal: Canada's human rights abuses of First Nations children

Archive photo: Sitka, Alaska Residential Boarding School

Canadian Government faces allegations of discrimination towards First Nations Children at Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

OTTAWA, Feb. 22, 2013 /Canada News Wire
 
On February 25, 2013, the Government of Canada will appear before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to face 14 weeks of hearings to determine if its flawed and inequitable First Nations child and family services program is discriminatory. The federal government controls and funds child and family services on reserves where as the provinces and territories do so for other children. The Auditor General of Canada and other expert reports confirm that the federal government's funding and program approaches to child and family services, including the more recent enhanced funding approach, are flawed and inequitable.
There is clear evidence linking the inequality in services to hardship among First Nations families and to the growing numbers of First Nations children in care.
Dr. Cindy Blackstock said, "This generation of First Nations children deserve an equal chance to grow up safely at home - something the Federal Government deprived many of their parents and grandparents of during the residential school era."
The complaint was filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 2007 by the Assembly of First Nations and First Nations Child and Family Caring Society after the Government of Canada failed to implement two evidence informed solutions to address the problem. Since then the Government of Canada has spent over 3 million dollars in its numerous unsuccessful efforts to get the case dismissed.
Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, said, "This case is important for everyone concerned about human rights. The outcome will affect both the quality of vitally important services available to First Nations children as well as the integrity of human rights protection in Canada."
Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) says, "It is very important that this case move forward, and that issues of discrimination be promptly addressed. What is at stake in this case is the integrity of our human rights regime and its ability to respond meaningfully to allegations of discrimination."
 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Leland's adoptive family

http://youtu.be/HPA3QeB_UpM

(1981 TV program) This is Leland Morrill's family who adopted 10 children. Seven are from one family in Canada. You ask, what happened that seven children were placed at one time? The mystery continues. This was during the infamous 60s Scoop. Leland is a contributor in the anthology Two Worlds and wrote what it was like growing up a very large Mormon family.

Today's Child" started in June 1964 when Helen Allen -- a veteran reporter for the Toronto Telegram - Questioned at the time by skeptical Children's Aid Societies, but supported by Ontario's provincial government. During its first few years, about 80% of the children featured in the column were adopted.
Helen Allen in this National Television show states that she personally adopted 10,000 to 11,000 children. Who knows how many native and aboriginal children were adopted through her in Ontario Canada.

Featured on this video are 7 Ojibwe children, my adopted brothers and sisters to a Mormon family who adopted 10 children. I was a Navajo "undocumented adoptee" before we moved to Ontario Canada.
Note on the video how many of my brothers and sisters are not white like our adopted parents.
What is Genocide? What constitutes Human Trafficking?
Native Children who are deemed adoptable because of the 3rd world conditions forced on them through the Reservation system (Concentration Camps) may be labelled under "neglect", by Departments of Social Services that blur the lines between neglect and impoverishment. thus creating the definition of "abused or neglected" to encompass those "whose environment is injurious to the child's welfare."

Genocide is the worst crime possible, undoubtedly the most serious crime that can be
committed under international law. The 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
(hereinafter the Statute) testifies to the fact that this is the most serious of the crimes
within its jurisdiction.

It places Genocide first, followed by Crimes against Humanity,
War Crimes and the Crime of Aggression. The crime of genocide is defined in Article 6
of the Statute in the following terms:
[A]ny of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part,
a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

United Nations defined genocide as the intentional "destruction of racial,
national, linguistic, religious or political groups", "with the purpose of destroying it in
whole or in part or of preventing its preservation or development", either "causing the
death of members of a group or injuring their health or physical integrity" or interfering
with their biological reproduction or also "destroying the specific characteristics of the
group" through the "transfer of children"

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

[Birth Mother,] First Mother Forum: Why first mothers walk away from their children af...

[Birth Mother,] First Mother Forum: Why first mothers walk away from their children af...: Jane "Why do first mothers cut off communication with their relinquished children?" a reader emailed us recently.

This puzzles me too, since I didn't actually have reunion with my mother Helen.
The comments on this blog are very enlightening too. Please read.
Don't let fear enter into reunion. That is still my best advice.   Trace

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New research finds at least 3,000 confirmed Indian residential school deaths

Residential School classColin Perkel, Canadian Press, Feb 18, 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.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/18/it-was-obviously-a-policy-not-to-report-them-new-research-finds-at-least-3000-confirmed-indian-residential-school-deaths/

Monday, February 18, 2013

Amazon Review: Two Worlds



http://www.amazon.com/Two-Worlds-Children-Adoption-Projects
This review is from: Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects (Paperback)

TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, is a successful effort to present yet more testimony against the practice of Indian Adoption Projects. Co-editor Trace DeMeyer began being a voice for Indian adoptees with "ONE SMALL SACRIFICE: LOST CHILDREN OF THE INDIAN ADOPTION PROJECTS," which is a memoir of her own life as an Indian adoptee. She and co-editor, Patricia Busbee, have compiled an anthology of enlightening information on issues within the Indian Adoption Acts dilemma. The publication also includes short essays and poems, written by Native American and First Nation adoptees. Each adoptee's contribution uniquely tells a true-story of innocence, emptiness, endless searching for a place to really belong; and shows harsh reality of vulnerability, suffered through their lives for simply being different. A very profound statement captures the reader's attention by unveiling reality in numbers: "One quarter of all Indian children were removed from their families and placed in non-Indian adoptive and foster homes or orphanages, as part of the Indian Adoption Projects." Part of the publication includes information on Assimilation Acts and processes. The book gives a critical view into the history of The Indian Adoption Project, and uncovers an example of a failed and very controversial official adjudication, beginning in 1960, of trans-racial adoption. The well-respected study, "Far From the Reservation," was executed under a principal trust in trans-racial adoption, and headed by one of America's first postwar researchers within that genre. Methods followed for the study left much to be desired. It seems that David Fanshel's statistics presented resolutions following guidelines of other researchers, and failed to show any interest in recording possible impressions carried by adopted Indian children, living in non-Indian homes. Statistics given by the authors are devastating, clearly showing the rampant practice of Indian/First Nation Adoption Acts prevailing in North America, as well as Canada. It is a fact that the practice of taking Native and First Nation children out of their tribal environment is still condoned, while all effort to support traditional tribal childcare continues to be avoided.
The anthology has moved the "Lost Birds" one step closer to having their voices heard. It was difficult to put the book down for the expectation of new discovery with each new page.
--Dr. Raeschelle POTTER-DEIMEL, Vienna, Austria

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Keep Dancing: We are not Victims


By Trace A. DeMeyer

“I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile I keep dancing.” That is a line in the book “Bird by Bird” by Ann Lamott.  Her comical book offers instructions on writing and life and so far -- I’ve had good belly laughs. Yep, Ann made a funny book!
In part two, Ann was fighting herself over jealousy of another writer friend. She wrote, “Sometimes this human stuff is slimy and pathetic - jealousy especially so - but better to feel it and talk about it and walk through it than to spend a lifetime poisoned by it."

Poison is nothing to mess with.  I spoke with an adoptee friend last night and Levi is sure we adoptees need to create new ceremonies, even some just for us adoptees. I was nodding at every word Levi said.  A lifetime of isolation from what we know to be ours, our blood rights as Indigenous People, our language and culture and the healing offered by participating in ceremony, it was not ours growing up white and adopted and assimilated.

But we adoptees are not victims, Levi said. No, we are changed by adoption but not its victims.

I thought about ceremony, what ceremony I missed growing up, and what other Indian people probably took for granted growing up. That does make me jealous. I didn’t get to meet my grandmothers in flesh, only in dreams.
I am sad I do not how to make my own regalia. I see others dance at powwow and wish someone had time to teach me what I need to know.

I can think of a million things I’d like to know. When I met relatives in Illinois last year, I was over the moon happy.  My Harlow cousins filled many holes in my heart.
I am in reunion. Jealousy is not my poison.

For those not in reunion, their hearts ache.  We need to find a way to heal them.

Levi will be contributing to this blog in the very near future.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

HUGE DAY FOR WASH STATE ADOPTEES

Hello!
Big, HUGE day for WA adoptees!!

Sen Mike Carrell of Tacoma amended his OBC bill SB 5118, and REMOVED the veto (affidavit of nondisclosure) and replaced w/ the 'contact preference form'. What this means is that EVERY SINGLE WA ADOPTEE COULD GET THEIR ORIGINAL BIRTH CERT....IF this bill passes!!

The amended bill was voted on today in the Senate Human Services & Corrections committee, and PASSED!! This is the same committee that has blocked this bill the past 3 years (well, 'the committee' didn't block it -
the former chair is the one that did the blocking).

Next stop for this bill is the Senate Ways & Means committee, where there will hopefully be another hearing and another vote. Then another committee, Senate floor, then over to the House to start the process there.

So we have a LONG way to go BUT this is year is looking like we actually have a REAL chance of passing one of these OBC bills!

BUT...

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!

We need more people showing up in Olympia for these hearings, even if you don't testify, WE NEED TO FILL THE ROOM TO SHOW THE LEGISLATORS THAT THIS ISSUE IMPACTS MANY OF US!!!

We also need you ALL to keep writing snail mail, emails, and calling legislators on each committee that each bill goes to. Writing the letters and emails are easy once you write up your first one. Because after that first one, you can just copy-n-paste for future letters/emails. Easy peasy!!
And we're more than happy to help!!

We also need to increase our 'fans' on Facebook and 'followers" on Twitter. Links are below.

IF YOU ARE WILLING AND ABLE TO GO TO OLYMPIA FOR HEARINGS IN THE COMING
WEEKS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!

Thanks!!
-Penni

Find WA-CARE in the following places:

www.wa-care. com
Facebook (http://www.facebook .com/pages/ Wa-Care/14191478 2493687)
Twitter (https://twitter. com/WA_CARE)
Email (washingtonadopteerights@gmail. com)

PLEASE take the time and like and follow and contact Penni - I have several adoptee friends from WA state who need this! Thanks for reading this blog, too! XOX Trace

Thursday, February 7, 2013

NPR: SD Tribes accuse state of violating ICWA

Listen to the Story

For years now, council members of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in South Dakota have watched as the state's Department of Social Services removed children from the reservation and placed many of them in white foster homes, far from tribal lands. Many of the children were later adopted, losing their connection to their families and heritage.
"I've seen it firsthand," says Brandon Sazue, chairman of the Crow Creek tribe.
Derrin Yellow Robe, 3, stands in his great-grandparents' backyard on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota. He was taken off the reservation by South Dakota's Department of Social Services in July 2009 and spent a year and a half in foster care before being returned to his family.
Derrin Yellow Robe, 3, stands in his great-grandparents' backyard on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota. He was taken off the reservation by South Dakota's Department of Social Services in July 2009 and spent a year and a half in foster care before being returned to his family.
John Poole/NPR
 
 
Sazue says the state has long overstepped its authority.
"That would be like United States going into a foreign country and saying, 'Hey, I'm taking your kid because of this or that,' " he said. "I mean, this is within the boundaries of the Crow Creek Sioux Indian reservation, and as far as I'm concerned, we are the government."
Read more: http://www.npr.org/2013/02/06/171310945/south-dakota-tribes-accuse-state-of-violating-indian-welfare-act
 
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/05/1184630/-Laura-Sullivan-of-NPR-to-Air-Story-Tomorrow-on-Report-to-Congress-by-South-Dakota-s-ICWA-Directors

Two Worlds contributor presenting at Pepperdine

Intercountry Adoption

Register Now
Dear Friends,

Our conference this year will be focused on the important and complex topic of intercountry adoption. All who address this issue have a deep concern for the plight of orphans worldwide. In the Bible, James declares, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress." Praised by some and criticized by others, intercountry adoption remains a matter of deep contention on the global stage. Proponents see it as a way to give a purported 18.5 million adoptable orphans a family and a better life, while critics call it a door to corruption and cultural imperialism.

This conference seeks to find understanding and common ground among these voices, while exploring the complex legal, religious and ethical issues raised by intercountry adoption. Our objectives for this conference include:
  • Finding common ground among conflicting points of view regarding intercountry adoption
  • Exploring current barriers to intercountry adoption such as legal regulations in both sending and receiving countries
  • Viewing faith and social science together to form a more complete picture of intercountry adoption
  • Providing knowledge and guidance for families with adopted children and those looking to adopt
We hope you can join us as we bring together lawyers, scholars, pastors, adoptive families, and adoptees to investigate the future of intercountry adoption.


BREAKOUT SESSIONS I
Responding to Adoption Triad Members Victimized by Abusive Adoption Practices
David Smolin
How Religion Informs Adoption Law Part I: Interfaith Perspectives
Mark Goldfeder, Faisal Kutty
Forgotten, Detained, Removed: Transnational Adopted Persons and Citizenship Rights
Caitlin Kee, J. McLane Layton, Lele Morrill


Leland Morrill, a contributor in the adoptee anthology Two Worlds, and a Navajo adoptee who has been reunited with his family and relatives, will be a presenter at this conference and share his presonal experiences with the Real ID Act of 2005 and his troubles securing a drivers license without an original birth certificate and tribal census number for his Navajo Nation. (Adoptees have amended birth certificates which are falsified birth documents listing our adoptive parents as our natural parents.) Leland plans to present a copy of Two Worlds to Ambassador Jacobs on Friday. Keep good thoughts and prayers for Leland on this important day... Trace

NICWA to Host Webinar on Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl

Sign up and listen!

 

Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Time: 11 a.m. Pacific / 2 p.m. Eastern
Presenter: Adrian Smith, JD, MSW, NICWA government affairs associate
The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear the case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, a South Carolina adoption case involving the Indian Child Welfare Act. This high profile and emotionally charged case has garnered significant attention in the past year. Oral arguments are expected to occur in late April, and a decision announced shortly thereafter.
The National Indian Child Welfare Association will host a webinar for those interested in learning:
  • What are the background and facts of the case?
  • What are the questions before the U.S. Supreme Court?
  • What possible implications will this case have on Indian Country?
  • What is being done nationally in preparation for this hearing?
This free webinar is open to all. Register here.
Hat tip to NILL's blog.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

NPR: Lack of ICWA Compliance, Genocide

Bryan Brewer, Tribal Council Chairman, Oglala Sioux Tribe (Pine Ridge)
It has to be exposed nationwide what [South Dakota is] doing to our Lakota people. It’s a form of genocide (Chairman Brewer).

NPR: South Dakota Tribal ICW Directors’ Studies on State’s Incredible Lack of Compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act

Here, via Pechanga.
An excerpt:
South Dakota’s Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) directors have issued two reports to Congress: “Reviewing the Facts: An Assessment of the Accuracy of NPR’s ‘Native Foster Care – Lost Children, Shattered Families,’” and “Is South Dakota Over-Prescribing Drugs to Native American Foster Kids?” The first of these reports cites evidence that South Dakota’s Department of Social Services (DSS) is placing 87% of Indian children into non-Indian homes or group care, even while anywhere from 20-43% of licensed Native American foster homes in the state sit empty. This, according to the authors of the report, is in clear violation of the federal ICWA law which requires states to keep Native foster children with their extended families and tribes whenever possible. The study also affirms NPR’s assessment that the state’s ICWA violations are partly motivated by the tens of millions of federal dollars that South Dakota receives for placements of Native children each year.
 
This is HUGE NEWS! Good movement forward! I am so honored to share this with you... Trace

Monday, February 4, 2013

Canada's unstated paternity policy amounts to genocide against Indigenous children


By Dr. Lynn Gehl Gii-Zhigaate-Mnidoo-KweJanuary 29, 2013

Source: http://rabble.ca/news/2013/01/canadas-unstated-paternity-policy-amounts-cultural-genocide-against-indigenous-children


Canada commits genocide of 25,000 Indigenous children through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's (AANDC) unstated paternity practice, yet relies on language -- unstated paternity -- that blames their mothers.

In 1943, Raphael Lemkin first coined the term "genocide" and proceeded to define the term. Interestingly, what many people do not know is that Lemkin defined genocide in cultural terms rather than in terms of killing and mass murder. More specifically, Lemkin defined genocide as having two stages. The first involves the denial of an oppressed group's national pattern; and the second stage involves the imposition of the oppressor's national pattern.

When the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations in December 1948, Lemkin's definition was included within the definition. Article 2 of the Convention codifies five genocidal practices and states that any of these acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, constitutes genocide. These five practices are: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and, forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

That said, when I think about the issue of unknown and unstated paternity and the Indian Act, specifically about AANDC's unstated paternity policy, or internal practice or whatever they want to call it, I realize it is in fact genocide. As many know, Indian status is delineated into two subsections of section 6 of the Indian Act: subsection 6(1) and subsection 6(2). While mothers registered under subsection 6(1) are able to pass on status to their children in their own right, this is not the case with mothers registered under subsection 6(2), also known as a weaker form of status. In the event that a father’s signature is missing or not found on a child’s birth registration form, the Registrar of AANDC assumes a negative presumption of paternity, meaning the Registrar assumes non-Indian paternity. This means that the children born of mothers registered under subsection 6(2) are vulnerable as their children are now considered to be non-status and thus not entitled to their treaty rights such as health care and education rights, First Nation band membership, and First Nation citizenship.

Many know by now that Indigenous women are victims of a higher rate of sexual violence such as incest, rape, gang rape, sexual slavery and prostitution. This situation has been brought on through the oppression of colonization, the denial of our rights as Indigenous people, the denial of our land and resources, the residential and day school systems, and the criminalization of our cultures and Indigenous knowledge systems. In any sexist and racist society young Indigenous women are particularly vulnerable. Research has shown that 45 per cent of the children born to status Indian mothers 15 years of age or younger do not have their father’s signature on their birth registration form.

It is precisely at this moment where Canada's practice falls within the parameters outlined in the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Specifically, when a father's signature is not placed on a child's birth registration form and the mother is registered under subsection 6(2) of the Indian Act, AANDC's unstated paternity policy transfers [read commits the genocide] these children from their First Nation community into mainstream Canadian society.

It is crucial that I point out that in the process of committing genocide Canada relies on language that blames mothers, as in "unstated paternity." While AANDC's unstated paternity policy targets Indigenous mothers for the lack of the father's signature, there are many instances where a mother, for very legitimate reasons, may refuse to obtain a man's signature, such as in the unfortunate situations of incest and rape. In addition, there are many situations where a father will not sign a birth registration form as they seek to avoid child support payments or because they need to preserve a previous relationship. Clearly, terms such as unreported, unnamed unacknowledged, unestablished, unrecognized, and unknown paternity are better signifiers of women's realities.

AANDC's genocidal policy continues to exist today despite the fact that section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was put in place in 1982 and is supposed to protect Indigenous women from sex discrimination. Furthermore, this genocidal policy exists today despite the long-time heroic efforts of Mary Two-Axe Early, Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell, Yvonne Bedard, Sandra Lovelace, and Sharon McIvor. It is clear to me that legislative change, such as the changes to The Indian Act that took place in 1985 and 2011, is not an avenue for Indigenous women. Clearly the government of Canada has merely manipulated moments of legislative change in their favour: genocide.

Through their unstated paternity policy, Canada perpetuates the sexual violence imposed on Indigenous women and commits genocide on their children. Since 1985, when this AANDC policy emerged, I estimate that as many as 25,000 Indigenous children have been affected by this genocidal practice.

In April 2012 Canadians celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Do you feel protected? Did you feel fuzzy and warm? I certainly did not and I am sure many Indigenous women and their babies stand with me on this.

Dr. Lynn Gehl is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley. She has a section 15 Charter challenge regarding the continued sex discrimination in The Indian Act and she recently published a book titled Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts. You can reach her at lynngehl@gmail.com and see more of her work at www.lynngehl.com.

 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Q&A with Trace DeMeyer

Joe, Edie and Trace in Wisconsin (Family photo)
Q & A with journalist-adoptee Trace A. DeMeyer, author of the ONE SMALL SACRIFICE, a memoir and TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.
Why did you write your memoir?
Trace A. DeMeyer: I'd never told my story of opening my adoption. 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.
What do you mean?
TAD: 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. An adoptee friend in Toronto told me to read Adoption: Unchartered Waters by Dr. David Kirschner, a book about adoptees who are notorious serial killers. Another chilling book I found was "The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller who Corrupted Adoption." I soon realized the adoption industry doesn't disclose any of this to the media or to adoptive parents or to adoptees like me. 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.
How did you handle being an adoptee in a closed adoption?
TAD: I grieved my birthmother but didn't know I was grieving until much later. Being adopted affected my self-esteem but no one had told me. Trauma and grief issues were like tentacles, affecting me even as an adult. I had difficulty feeling good or bad. I was hurt my birthmother abandoned me as a baby, so I didn't bounce back emotionally until I had counseling and after I found my birthfather. My emotional state recovered but it took many years.
How did you recover?
TAD: First, I opened by sealed adoption file at age 22. That healed me more anything, to know my name. Even though I never met my birthmother, I did meet my birthfather when I was 40. Our reunion is in my memoir. Finding out why you are abandoned and put up for adoption, once you know the truth, it works like a miracle. I call it my cure. It felt like a dark cloud lifted and I could feel again. Before I met Earl, my b-dad, I did co-counseling in Seattle where you tell your whole life story - all of it - with complete honesty, no holding back. Then it was like a powder keg exploded. I started to see how being adopted had locked me up in illusions about who my birthparents were, so when I learned the truth about them, my heart did begin to heal. I was no longer a mystery. Even my health improved.
What about the Indian Adoption Projects?
TAD: There is congressional testimony and documented proof of various adoption programs in different states which lead to the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. The idea in America and Canada was to assimilate Indians. If they took us and placed us with non-Indian parents, they assumed we'd forget we're Indians. But we don't forget. I know my ancestors were in my head, talking to me when I was young. Adoptees who are American Indian are called Lost Birds, Split Feathers, Lost Children, and Lost Ones. Of course most of us adapt and bond with our birthparents but as we grow up, our identity and name might still be locked up in a sealed file. Adoptees told me we won't heal until we open our adoption and go full circle, which means we meet our tribal relatives. The adoption projects are acknowledged by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Child Welfare League of America, and I include one apology in the book. My book is basically a memoir but it does include history.
How long did it take to write?
TAD: About 5 years. I chose the title "ONE SMALL SACRIFICE: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects." Now Amazon is selling it and bookstores and libraries will be able to order copies. The 2nd edition was released on Kindle on Dec. 21. 2011 - it has more chapters and a new format. I am so pleased with the reviews and have done lots of interviews and hope to do more.
Who should read it?
TAD: Adoptees, definitely, and the families who adopted us. One birthmom is California told me she plans to read it with her son she placed in an open adoption. Those who have read my book do react strongly to the idea the American government condoned and conducted closed adoptions to erase our identity as Indian people. My hope is tribal leaders will read it so they understand Lost Birds are anxious to return to the circle, meet relatives, relearn language and attend ceremonies. In Canada they call their adoptee population "The Baby Scoop Generation" and the 60s Scoop and their reunions are called "repatriation to first nations." There are no programs in America for adoptees to be repatriated or returned to their tribal nations as adults. With sealed adoption records in the majority of states, adoptees struggle to get answers. My book offers suggestions and places to write for help. I offer my help, too.
What's next?
TAD: Some adoptees are in reunion, some are not. Their stories needed to be told. Adoptees found me on Facebook and read my blog.  I collected stories from other Lost Birds/adoptees for the anthology: Two Worlds. I started this in 2008. It's my goal to shine a light on adoption secrecy and end the atrocity of closed adoptions affecting so many American Indians who are now adults. We do need to heal this and go full circle.


To listen to an interview about Trace's work on getting Congressional hearings and opening the Indian Adoption Project files: We the Jury: A Forum without Borders  broadcast on February 2: www.blogtalkradio.com/wethejury .
 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ottawa ordered to find and release millions of Indian residential school records

By GLORIA GALLOWAY, OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
The federal government must scour its archives for millions of documents related to the Indian residential schools that operated in Canada for more than century – institutions where physical and sexual abuse was rampant and from which many students never returned.
An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled on Wednesday (Jan. 30) that it is not good enough for Ottawa to provide the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) with records that can be found in the active files of departments.
Most of the relevant documents were long ago sent to Library and Archives Canada (LAC) for storage, and Mr. Justice Stephen Goudge said the government must now retrieve them so that the commission can fulfill its mandate of compiling a historical record of the residential-schools experience.
Canada’s obligation under a settlement agreement signed in 2006 with the school survivors, the government, the churches that ran the institutions, and others, is straightforward, Judge Goudge wrote.
“It is to provide all relevant documents to the TRC,” which was created as part of the settlement agreement, he wrote. “The obligation is in unqualified language unlimited by where the documents are located within the government of Canada.”
The department of Aboriginal Affairs has turned over a million records and promises hundreds of thousands more. But 23 other departments have refused to do likewise. It is estimated that millions of school-related documents in the archives could occupy 6.5 kilometres of shelf space, and finding them could cost as much $100-million.
 
The only thing I can add is America needs to do the same - and if it's up to me, we will have the records released in my lifetime for the residential schools here and the genocidal Indian Adoption Projects...Trace

Utah adoptees need court order to get adoption records

Go here:
http://www.utdcfsad opt.org/search_ reunion.shtml
The Utah Mutual-Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry
http://health. utah.gov/ vitalrecords/ pictures/ forms/adopt. pdf

Utah law permits adult adoptees the right to obtain non-identifying,
detailed genetic and social history with regard to their biological family.
Adoptive parents should receive the state forms entitled "Birth Father's
(and/or) Birth Mothers Non-identifying Information for Adoption Registry" at
the time of finalization. Copies of the completed forms may be obtained for
a nominal fee from the Office of Vital Statistics. In 1987 the state of Utah
established a "Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry." This registry is
administered by the Bureau of Vital Records and Statistics and is available
to adult adoptees (21 years or older who were born in Utah), their
biological brothers and sisters, and their birth parents. If both the adult
adoptee and an adult member of the biological family register, then
identifying information will be released to both parties.
See links below.

A Few Tips:

* Request non-identifying information from the agency that handled the
adoption. Contact the Department of Vital Statistic for the state you were
born in and they should be able to direct you to the agency.
* Review the laws and what is available for the state where you were
adopted.
* Sign up with the state registry. Contact the Department of Vital
Statistics for the state where the adoptee was born and where the adoption
was finalized.
* Sign up with the International Soundex Reunion Registry.
* Speak with your adoptive parents. Many adoptive parents have
additional information that they were waiting for the "right time" to share
with their children.
* Join a support group.

Utah Dept. of Vital Statistics
288 N. 1460 W.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Telephone: (801) 538-3916

Overview of Utah Adoption Information

In Utah, records are sealed and may be opened only by court order upon a showing of good cause. Requests to open sealed adoption records are initiated by formal petition in the court in the county where the adoption took place. Where a petitioner is seeking medical information to aid in the preservation of his or her health, petitioner must contact the bureau of vital statistics and the agency involved in the adoption to request non-identifying information, accompanied by a letter from a physician stating the need, and whether the information requested is necessary for the preservation of the health of petitioner. Where petitioner is seeking something other than medical information from the adoption records, he or she must register with the Voluntary Adoption Registry. Identifying information will be released when a registration is received by a court or licensed child placing agency from an adult adoptee (age 21) and a birth parent. Information will not be released if the adult adoptee has a biological sibling who was raised in the same family and who has not yet reached age 21. Adult biological siblings of adoptees may also register. If a registration has been received from both the adult adoptee and his or her biological sibling, such information may be released.

Utah Code Ann. 78-30-15; 78-30-18.

For registry information, contact:
Adoption Reunion Registry
Department of Health
Vital Statistics
288 N. 1460 W.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Telephone: (801) 538-3916

Only 8 states have opened adoption records. Utah, who has a very high percentage of Native adoptees, needs to open them immediately... Trace

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.

Three Years already

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.

Read this SERIES

Read this SERIES
click image

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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