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Standing Rock

Monday, May 23, 2016

Early thoughts: Revelations and Dead Indians



Back in 2008, I had a draft of my first book and I had given it the name DEAD INDIANS (taken from the phrase "the only good Indian is a dead Indian.")  Here are some of my early thoughts.   

Trace (author of One Small Sacrifice)

Revelations

“…well I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and civilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before. – Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)

           
Being so disconnected from self, or discombobulated, I’d call it paralyzed, emotionally closed for business. In other words, I was a wreck. This was a very big revelation for me. Huge. I didn’t like any of it. I’d found lots of books on what to do if you adopt a baby. There weren’t any on how to live like this.
            Realizing my assimilation, I had to accept that I’m a stranger to my own history, my own tribe. I wanted to feel better. I’m no kid. I’d had Indian friends all my life. What hurt, ducks around me were nice but didn’t care. They were not in my skin or have any clue.  How do I heal or deal with this? In many ways I was ashamed to admit any of it.
            Two ducks raised me, two (chickens) had walked away. All four parents were completely unaware of how they contributed to the big picture; this wasn’t about any fault or blame. I knew adopting was the way it was done; the bigger system decreed let someone else raise your baby. For Indian people, which you will read later, some were unwilling and did not have a choice.
            It was very hard for me to accept why my own birthparents, why my mother, rejected me. That’s how I felt. I didn’t know why.  “Left… Let go... Abandoned… Orphaned.”  Those words echoed inside me like an infection, like I was defective. Seriously, at times I acted like an emotionally battered and beaten dog. I remember. I felt terrible as a kid. It wasn’t safe to be me, so sad, so shameful. I remember living with my adoptive parents and it wasn’t all rosy. I held in more anger and anxiety than they or I could handle. I buried that too, filed it away, pretended it wasn’t there.
            I can see now that my new mom and dad pretended too; my (adoptive) parents were hiding their own pain, her infertility, their loss after her two miscarriages. As my little brother and I grew up their adopted kids, we lived their secret fear we wouldn’t turn out ok.
            This dead feeling (and sickness) was in my soul, invisible, but it’d spread like cancer. I could function, sure, and even be a writer and musician, someone my family could brag about. There’s no question my adoptive family gave me many things – along with the confidence that they loved me. Yet growing up, no one said how deeply disturbed or troubled I was.
            Right above my office chair is an African mobile called the Circle of Joy. The circle of dancers sway above me and remind me of why I’m here. It’s my purpose to ask, to write, to find joy in every moment, to dance my way home.
            So what is trauma and what caused the trauma I felt? I had to know so I could release it.
Sage Smudge is essential for all of us

2 comments:

  1. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this. It's something not enough people know about.

    ReplyDelete

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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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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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