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Friday, March 31, 2017

NICWA Conference largest conference on record

Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians Provides Host Sponsorship of NICWA Conference

Published March 31, 2017

PORTLAND, OREGON — The National Indian Child Welfare Association received a $20,000 host sponsorship from the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians for this year’s 35th Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, to be held at Harrah’s Resort Southern California, a facility owned by the Tribe, in Valley Center, California.

This year’s sponsorship by the Tribe will help NICWA bring a wide range of workshops and relationship building opportunities for child welfare workers, tribal leaders, and ICWA advocates from all across Indian Country and maintain the conference as the premier national gathering to discuss best practices in Indian child welfare.

Established in 1875, the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians traces its Southern California ancestry back 10,000 years, and the tribal council governs 500 members with jurisdiction over a 6,000 acre reservation in Valley Center, California. Rincon uses profits from its commercial enterprises located on reservation to fund government services and economic diversification on behalf of the reservation and Rincon people. Engaged in an economic partnership with neighboring communities, the Rincon Band shares its good fortune with North County San Diego, through tribal government donations to worthy causes that contribute to the welfare and health of the region, including NICWA’s annual conference.

When reflecting on the Tribe’s sponsorship for the annual conference, Rincon tribal chairman Bo Mazzetti remarked, “Native people have a unique task of overcoming the past and the sobering statistics that haunt reservations. We must find ways to treat the trauma, health, mental, and social problems that pass from one generation to another. We must give our children love, mentoring, and positive examples. We must educate all of our families on how to raise healthy, resilient children. It behooves each and every individual to take responsibility for creating a world where our children are loved, where their needs are met, and where they are valued for their unique strengths and gifts.”

NICWA executive director Sarah Kastelic noted, “We are truly grateful to the Rincon tribal government and people. NICWA’s annual conference is only possible with the generous contributions of sponsors. With Rincon’s support and partnership, 2017 will be NICWA’s largest conference on record. More than 1,100 people have pre-registered to participate in this incredible training and networking opportunity that builds the knowledge and skill set of service providers and leaders working to protect Native children and keep Native families together.”

Monday, March 27, 2017

Manitoba child welfare agency in ‘chaos’


...children put at risk following political intervention



 

A Manitoba child welfare agency serving some of the poorest First Nations in the country is in “chaos” following the political intervention of chiefs who forced the temporary suspension of its executive director, according to an internal source.

The source, who is not authorized to speak publicly, said there is growing concern the actions by the four chiefs of the Island Lake Tribal Council to temporarily push aside the Island Lake First Nations Family Services agency’s executive director, Brenda Wood, has put children at risk.

“I knock on wood every day so nothing happens. And if something happens, who is it on?” said the source. “Is it on us and our negligence?”

In mid-February, three of the four Island Lake Tribal Council Chiefs—Garden Hill First Nation Chief Dino Flett, Red Sucker Lake Chief Sam Knott, and St. Theresa Point Chief David McDougall—sent a letter to the Island Lake Family Services board directing them to place Wood on temporary paid leave and complete a report on her “management style.” Tribal Council Chair and Wasagamack Chief Alex McDougall did not sign the letter but supported the move.

The board, which is appointed by the chief and council of each of the four communities, immediately complied despite supporting Wood’s efforts to reform the agency. Wood was put on temporary leave and the board took over management of the agency.

Now the agency is in complete turmoil, according to the source.

“It is really chaotic over there right now and it has been ever since (Wood) left,” said the source. “There is a lot of confusion, a lack of direction.”

Wood only became executive director of the agency in 2015 and faced a monumental challenge. The agency, which serves a region afflicted by the legacy of residential schools and deep poverty, has repeatedly been found by provincial and federal reviews of failing to provide a proper standard of child welfare care.

“She inherited a big mess,” said the source. “I have seen how this place was run before, when everybody did what they wanted. It didn’t seem like there was a lot of accountability…. This is why the new executive director does what she does. She understands the severity. People need to pull up their boots straps or get out of the way and let somebody else who is willing to do their jobs, do their jobs.”

The agency is overseen by the First Nations of Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority—also known as the Northern Authority which said last week it was monitoring the situation.

A spokesperson for the Northern Agency said there were ongoing and direct consultations with the Island Lake First Nations Family Services agency. The spokesperson said a development on those consultations could be announced within days.

The source said the chiefs moved against Wood because her efforts to reform the agency led to the termination of several people, including two who were politically connected. The source said Wood had also not been given the opportunity to defend herself against the allegations related to her management style.

“There is a real witch hunt out there for her, they just want her gone,” said the source. “The real unfortunate thing about this too is that she never had the opportunity to communicate any of this.”
Wood was trying to slowly reform the agency, said the source. One of her main accomplishments since taking on the job was increasing special needs assessments for children at risk in the four communities—the agency also has a sub-office in Winnipeg.

“In the north, almost no kids had special needs assessments and those assessments were not getting done,” said the source. “Just before she was placed on leave, there was actually a person put there to specifically do special needs assessment.”

Wood was also trying to create a program to put parents and their children out on the land to do traditional activities and bond. She also assigned an employee to work specifically on the project.
“I know she was really pushing hard to have this up and going quickly—not in 10 years—she wanted this done properly and she wanted it done quickly,” said the source. “I think the overall picture is children and their parents would go there, there would be workers there. For example, it’s a good opportunity for a father and his children to bond…. A lot would be about re-exploring the role of family members. I think that has been really lost, one of the effects of colonization.”

Follow: jbarrera@aptn.ca


Friday, March 24, 2017

Who's Your Daddy?

Possibly the cruellest reality show ever committed to tape, Who’s Your Daddy? began as a six-part series in which a woman was put into a room with 25 older men and asked to guess which of them was her real estranged biological father. If she guessed correctly, she won $100,000. If she didn’t, the actor she picked as her father would win the money. To underline how monstrous this is, look at the video below. A tearful woman asks a man why he gave her up. He cries, tells her that she was conceived in a moment of love and confesses that not a day has passed where he hasn’t thought of her. Except that man is an actor. He’s the one who uploaded the video to YouTube, along with the description: “My performance on this Fox Reality series almost won me $100,000.” Gruesome. So gruesome, in fact, that Fox pulled five of the six episodes before they’d aired.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Levi EagleFeather: "The Power of Peaceful Resistance" | Talks at Google



Use the search bar for more on Levi Eagle Feather on this blog.  He has chapters in the book STOLEN GENERATIONS and CALLED HOME, in the Lost Children book series.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Called Home: Read excerpts



Last October we republished this book.

 [2nd Ed.] An important contribution to American Indian history told by its own lost children/adult survivors, American Indian and First Nations adoptees and family... Editors Patricia Busbee and Trace L. Hentz are writers and adoptees who reunited with their own lost relatives. From recent news about Baby Veronica, Canada’s 60s Scoop, and history such as Operation Papoose, this book examines how Native American adoptees and their families experienced adoption and were exposed to the genocidal policies of governments who created Indian adoption projects. "Adoptees do need a road map and that is what other adoptees have created," Hentz said about this anthology and book series. The second anthology in the Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects Book Series is published by Blue Hand Books in Massachusetts. CALLED HOME offers even more revelations of this hidden history of Indian child removals in North America, their impact on Indian Country and how it impacts the adoptee and their entire family. “We have created a body of work, a roadmap for adoptees coming after us. Governments stole the land and stole children. It’s time the world know,” Hentz said.

In the chapter ROADMAP: DNA and ICWA, we explain how to use ICWA to open your adoption file in the courts. BUY NOW

Sarah Kastelic: Enforcing the Indian Child Welfare Act to Protect Native...

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Goldwater Litigation on the Constitutionality of ICWA Dismissed Without Prejudice #StrongIndianFamilies


This is the attempted class action litigation claiming ICWA violated the Constitution.
This is a big win for ICWA and the legal advocates who worked on this case at the state, federal, and tribal levels.

Here is the Order.
The legal questions Plaintiffs wish to adjudicate here in advance of injury to themselves will be automatically remediable for anyone actually injured. The very allegations of wrongfulness are that such injuries will arise in state court child custody proceedings, directly in the court processes or in actions taken by state officers under the control and direction of judges in those proceedings. Any true injury to any child or interested adult can be addressed in the state court proceeding itself, based on actual facts before the court, not on hypothetical concerns. If any Plaintiffs encounter future real harm in their own proceedings, the judge in their own case can discern the rules of decision. They do not have standing to have this Court pre-adjudicate for state court judges how to rule on facts that may arise and that may be governed by statutes or guidelines that this Court may think invalid.
Here is the joint press release from the ICWA Defense Project.

The ICWA Defense Project is a coalition of NICWA, NARF, NCAI, and the ICWA Appellate Project to provide assistance and updates to tribes and other interested partners on the federal challenges to ICWA.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Forum: Education continues on Wabanaki plight #ICWA

Forum: Education continues on Wabanaki plight:

LEWISTON — In 2015, a report focusing on Maine Wabanaki children and decades of discriminatory practices in the child welfare system was meant to spark changes and begin the healing process for the state's native tribes.

For Wabanakis and members of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, a group tasked with implementing the report's recommendations, that process is far from over.

Speaking during a Great Falls Forum in Lewiston on Thursday, Maine Wabanaki REACH Community Organizers Barbara Kates and Tom Reynolds underlined the importance of the work that had been accomplished but said more outreach and more education is needed.

The pair led a presentation titled “Truth, Healing and Change: Why Maine Needed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” which refers to the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in 2013. 

The commission was charged with taking an intimate look at the causes behind the "disproportionate removal" from families of Native American children who were put into the child welfare system.
Among the biggest takeaways from its report was that Native American children in Maine were five times as likely to be placed in foster care as non-native children; Wabanaki children's native ancestry is often not identified during intake procedures; and the presence of institutional racism in state systems and the public.

The commission, made up of native and non-native members, was regarded as the first of its kind in the United States.

Since then, Kates said, the work of REACH, which stands for Reconciliation-Engagement-Advocacy-Change-Healing, has been, now that the truth is known, "What do we do now?"
A snippet from an upcoming full-length documentary detailing the emotional commission process was screened during Thursday's event, held at the Lewiston Public Library.

In compiling the report, the commission collected more than 150 statements from Wabanaki survivors, their families, foster families and employees of the state child welfare system.
In one such statement, a woman recalls being taken from her family for no reason, and as an adult, still didn't know why. Another remembered sitting in bleach with her sister while in foster care, "trying to convince each other that we were getting white."

REACH began as a collaboration of state and tribal child welfare workers who knew from their work together that major inequities existed in the way the state dealt with family issues within native communities.

Since the release of the report, REACH is still scheduling speaking events to educate Mainers on the history of the Wabanaki and native children, which have experienced forced assimilation dating back to the 1800s.

Kates and Reynolds provided a brief historical overview, including why Maine became a focal point on child welfare. During the 1950s and 1960s, national child welfare practices encouraged removing Native Americans from their communities and placing them in foster care. Boarding schools designed to assimilate Native Americans were also still prevalent.

According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, the Indian Child Welfare Act, adopted in 1978, "marked one step toward upholding tribal rights, but effective implementation was another, and many states, including Maine, struggled with that process in the years after the law’s passage."
The act was meant to prioritize keeping Native American children in their homes within their tribal communities.

Reynolds said Maine was pressed by the federal government in the early 1990s to boost compliance with the act because of numbers that were still high, and was still struggling with it well into the 2000s.

"They kept finding that they were hitting their heads against a brick wall," he said, referring to continued issues leading up to the commission. "They realized they needed to dig deeper," he said.
Questions from the audience Thursday hit on education and what's next. Kates was asked whether local schools are adding the correct Wabanaki history into their curriculums.

Kates said no other state has yet to conduct a similar truth and reconciliation commission.
Penthea Burns, co-director of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, was originally scheduled to speak during the forum but had a conflict, Kates said.

Joe Hall, an associate professor of history at Bates College, introduced the speakers. 
Hall said Thursday's discussion was timely because school budgets are being drafted statewide.
"We get the opportunity to think about how we raise our children, which is not something that Wabanakis have always had the luxury of," he said. 

Kates has been involved with designing and delivering community presentations and ally-building workshops to increase understanding of Maine's shared history with the Wabanaki people.

Kates said that as a child welfare worker, it has been a "steep learning curve" in recognizing the complicated Wabanaki history. The commission found that there is still resistance to the idea that native people continue to experience "cultural genocide."

She said work to implement the recommendations from the study is ongoing. Those recommendations include the development of new trainings for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, as well as legal and judicial offices, a policy to monitor compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act and better support for foster and adoptive families.

The work of the commission, she said, opened the door for changes.

"It's the idea that we're here now," she said. "What do we do now?"

arice@sunjournal.com

Sacred Water: Standing Rock Part I - RISE (Full Episode)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Oglala Sioux Tribe members form children's advocacy group

South Dakota legalizes religious-based discrimination in adoptions, Oglala Sioux Tribe members form children's advocacy group

South Dakota’s SB 149 did explicitly mention ‘due regard’ for the Indian Child Welfare Act. The state has a history of removing Native youth from their cultural contexts, a practice that was aided by Christian boarding schools with forced ‘assimilation’ programs. Lakota families in particular experienced high rates of involuntary separation.
When two severely malnourished and abused girls were found on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation last November, community members near and far gathered to take action on the tribe’s own terms. As Jim Kent reports, the newly-formed “Embracing Our Children’s Health” group focuses on empowering, encouraging, assisting, and supporting existing programs and organizations for children and their families on the reservation.
Download Audio
The Pine Ridge Reservation is located along the border between South Dakota and Nebraska. It’s home to members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, also known as the Lakota.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Four Days of Protest


American Indians Protesting Trump, Pipeline with March

Gathering in Washington for Four Days of Protest


ABC News |
BISMARCK, N.D.  - The Associated Press reported American Indians from around the country are gathering in Washington for four days of protest against the Trump administration and the Dakota Access pipeline that will culminate with a Friday march on the White House.
Starting Tuesday, tribal members and supporters plan to camp each day on the National Mall, with teepees, a ceremonial fire, cultural workshops, and speakers.
On Friday, a 2-mile march is planned to the White House, where a rally is scheduled.
Sioux tribes oppose the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois. Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners expects to have oil flowing this month, after getting the green light for final construction from the Trump administration last month. Sioux tribes are fighting the project in court.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

#60s Scoop Letters to First Nations leaders and Canadian Ministers



Letter to AFN request to meet 60s Scoop adoptees

by Indigenous Adoptees
 

February 19 2017
 
 
National Chief Perry Bellegarde
Assembly of First Nations
55 Metcalfe Street
Suite 1600
Ottawa, ON K1P 6L5
 
Dear National Chief,
 
Thank you for your recent statement “Children of the Sixties Scoop deserve justice, healing and reconciliation” on February 14, 2017. The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (NISCWN) formerly known as BiGiwen Indigenous Adoptee Gathering, began our work in earnest in 2014 in Ottawa, ON. Led by a few local Sixties Scoop adoptees, our goal was to bring adoptees together to share our stories, validate each other’s experiences, and work towards healing grounded in our Indigenous traditions. Our first gathering was a resounding success as 65 adoptees came together in Ottawa from all over Turtle Island to build capacity, share stories, and begin the long process of healing inter-generational wounds and trauma.  In August 2015 we held our 2nd gathering for Sixties Scoop adoptees, foster care survivors, and their families. With the help of trusted Elders and community facilitators, we utilized land-based ceremonies to lead the healing work. At that time we reached out to AFN for support but your office could not accommodate us but thank you for offering. Our 3rd gathering is planned for fall 2017.

The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (“the Network”) is writing this letter to request a meeting with you in light of the recent judicial decision on the Ontario class-action lawsuit on behalf of Sixties Scoop adoptees. Also, given Minister Bennett’s statement on her willingness to engage in negotiations with adoptees, a meeting would be especially timely. During the meeting we would like to discuss and brief you on our work, how the Sixties Scoop has impacted our lives, the work that needs to be done across Turtle Island for healing and reconciliation, and ways that NGO's Chiefs, and advisors can provided necessary support and expertise.

The Network is unique, as it's the only community-based adoptee-led organization working with Sixties Scoop adoptees & foster care survivors. We're intimately connected to hundreds of adoptees across Canada, the US, and overseas. Urban and rural First Nations, Metis and Inuit adoptees & foster care survivors who have reached out to us over the years for support, advocacy, resources and friendship. One common heartbreak and concern we hear from adoptees who've been taken away from their communities is that our Chiefs and First Nation communities have not supported our repatriations nor welcomed us back into the circle. 

Our central concern in working towards a national resolution to ongoing litigation is that all impacted adoptees and foster care survivors are not just included, but centred and prioritized, in any discussions about their cultural losses and in strategizing ways forward. It's vital that our voices are heard since it's the survivors who know the impacts of the Sixties Scoop the best because we speak to it from our lived experiences. 
Although the Ontario class-action lawsuit judgement is one small victory, thousands of adoptees and foster care survivors are once again emotionally triggered by these announcements with reverberations being felt across the nation and beyond. Survivors do not want to be excluded from conversations about us, and together with the Assembly of First Nations the Network wants to ensure that all our voices are represented at the negotiation table, while we continue the critical work of raising awareness about the Sixties Scoop nationally and internationally.
 
We look forward to hearing from you,
 
Colleen Hele- Cardinal, Duane Morrisseau-Beck, Elaine Kicknosway
Directors
 
Backgrounder on National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network
 
The NISCWN, was formed in September 2016, as a national voice to (a) Provide a national forum for the members of the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network to express their needs and concerns on behalf of Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada; (b) Ensure access to services for Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada; and (c) Provide relevant, accurate and up-to-date information to Indigenous people affected by Indigenous Child Removal Systems in Canada. For more information on who we are and what we do, go to www.indigenousadoptee.com.

SEE MORE LETTERS at their above website. 

Use the search bar on this blog for many more stories about the 60s Scoop survivors.

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
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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

#defendicwa

A photo posted by defendicwa (@defendicwa) on