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Lost Children Book Series

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

PART FOUR: Victims of Adoptions and Lies:: Ceremony for Adoptees

By Trace Hentz

I woke up with two thoughts: there are two victims of adoption who need help and not necessarily from each other: the adoptee and the first mother. Each has its own burden and neither can heal the other.

“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 Eagle Feather has contributed to this blog.

This is the lost post, Part 4 of the series.

Six-Part Series: Victims of Adoption and Lies, Control the Message

By Trace L. Hentz (formerly DeMeyer) This post is a reblog

I woke up with two thoughts: there are two victims of adoption who need help and not necessarily from each other: the adoptee and the first mother. Each has its own burden and neither can heal the other.



Part 3:  CONTROL THE MESSAGE

Since I started this Victims series, I’ve heard from two new adoptees who came across this blog. I’m very happy – not because they are adopted but because we can now connect and relate as members of our own unique band of Native American adoptees. As each week passes, and the more I post about this history, perhaps even more adoptees will contact me.*
“Victim” is a word I don’t like to use but in the case of Native adoptees, it fits.
The adoption projects and programs in North America (US and Canada) intended to wipe out an entire population of Indian children by assimilating them (making them white) using closed adoptions.  It was officially called the Indian Adoption Projects – but Canada and many states had their own programs like New York State’s “Our Indian Program” and the Mormon’s own Indian Adoption Program.
How do you damage or destroy a culture? You abduct and claim their children as your own.
How this was planned and orchestrated is still kept under legal wraps, but the thousands of Indian children who were transracially adopted are certainly “victims” of planned ethnic cleansing or ancestricide. Not telling adoptive parents they were part of this program is quite a significant lie of omission, too. (Someday my hope is America will see an apology and eventually all parents will be informed. In the older days this country tried eugenics and sterilizing undesirables, and it’s usually people who are considered minorities who are targets for this treatment.)
In adoption terminology, we are called transracial adoptees because we were raised outside our culture, in our case First Nations and America Indian territories. We’re raised by non-Indian parents, far from the reservation. That would certainly destroy any contact and connections to our first families. With a closed adoption, no one would ever be able to find anyone, right?
It failed. My second book Two Worlds (published in 2012) is an anthology filled with adoptees that are living proof that the adoption/assimilation plan backfired. Adoption didn’t kill our spirit or destroy our blood. The adoptees in this book did reunite with their relatives and tribes, despite closed adoptions.
Now with the amount of adoptees who’ve opened their adoption, including me, I’d imagine there would be more news and media coverage, right? No. Somehow the US adoption industry has its reputation and bankrolls to protect, and their jobs to protect, so they must protect their territory, control the message or lose their business.
I see how it works. A young lady doctor from California said to me a few days ago, “I wish to adopt a child and save them from being an orphan.” I have heard and read those exact words before. The adoption industry has controlled that message and this mindset from their very beginning. This very nice doctor is young and open-minded so I asked her to consider that a child has its own name and ancestry – and would she consider becoming a legal guardian instead of an adoptive parent? I told her to get children out of the foster care system and if she could, raise as many children as she could afford. She is undoubtedly going to read up and do research, based on our conversation.
In the old mindset and in many adopters’ minds, there are still orphans! Can they imagine each baby has a mother and both are usually from a Third World Country, including Indian reservations in North American still plagued by poverty; and beyond that each baby has a country and relatives – so hardly anyone in the world is a true orphan!
That very old mindset has not been altered since the early 1900s (or 1958 when I was adopted). That is how you control the message. This doctor is among thousands of people planning to adopt in the near future with no clue how adoptees feel about this – even in 2012.
My point here is we have to do the work to change that mindset and control the message ourselves. We have to take to the streets and call lawyers and get lawmakers to open adoption records in every state. Until then, the adoption industry is winning and will still control the message.

*No one had done a blog for American Indian Adoptees like this prior, by the way. I started research in 2005, wrote my memoir on this history, and then created this blog in 2009 with medical studies, ideas, news and updates.

(part four was accidentally moved/deleted) (but will be reposted when I locate it on this machine)

PART SIX: Victims of Adoptions and Lies: Identification (reposting)

Part 5


This series ran in 2012 on American Indian Adoptees (www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com). It was my most popular series on the topic of adoption…

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Black Market Adoption in Indian Country: Stolen Navajo Twins

Boston Globe
June 2, 1996

REUNION DAY AT 43: NAVAJO NATIVE FINALLY HOME

Author: Royal Ford, Globe Staff

TOLANI LAKE, Ariz. -- She stood in brilliant white sunlight, scuffed the cracked skin of the vast, parched land and stared down at the very spot where the old woman told her she had been born, right there, in a hogan that is gone, beside a field where corn once grew.
The woman her family called "the old aunt" reached up with a warm, dark hand and touched her high cheekbone. "You are so like your mother," Besbah Yazzie told her. Weeping in the baked expanse of the Navajo Reservation, they hugged. Yvette Silverman Melanson, stolen along with a twin brother from her Navajo family 43 years ago, raised rich, white and Jewish in Brooklyn, was finally home.

"One more of us is still out there and a whole lot more of the others," Melanson said in reference to her missing brother and thousands of other Native American children stolen from their families over the years and put on the black market for adoption. "This is not right. We have to find them. We have to find the boy."
Navajo natives had come from across the reservation to welcome her home. 

In a hot gymnasium here, 60 miles northeast of Flagstaff, the Tolani Roadman -- Medicine Man -- had wept as he told her tale in the native tongue. Behind him, Yazzie Monroe, her father, brushed tears from his weathered cheeks. The old women of the tribe wore their finest turquoise and silver in her honor. Children danced in a colorful whirl of beads and feathers.
"I don't know my own culture," Melanson told the gathering. "I am going to need your help in understanding. I am humbled. "Teach me, teach my children" she said.
She stood amid the swirling talc-like dust of the reservation, a long way from the cloying green spring back in her Maine home and further still from the life she has lived thus far. 
As a child, there had been winters at a fine Miami hotel, summer camp in Pennsylvania. Later came long trips to Israel where she marched the length of that land and stood military guard at her kibbutz. After her adoptive parents had both died, there were two stints in the Navy and, later, marriage to a retired scallop diver named Dickie, with whom she now lives in Palmyra, Maine.
But forever there had been the question, "Who am I?"  
She had always known she was adopted, but until three months ago that was all she knew. Then one night while exploring on her computer, she found out. 
On a national website, she saw that a Navajo family was looking for its lost twins. The trails of her search and theirs crossed in the Southwest. A piece of tattered and fading paper she possessed, bearing the names Yazzie Monroe and Betty Jackson, solved the puzzle. They were the mother and father of the large family that was looking for her.
It was an unlikely trinity, ancient and new, that brought her home: the Internet, that scrap of paper, and the mysterious works of the Holy People on her reservation who had held ceremonies to help find her.
This weekend, that family welcomes her home. She will stay here for two weeks along with her husband and daughters, Lori and Heather. Her mother died years ago, but her father was there to take her, looking almost fragile, into his great brown arms. Her seven brothers and sisters were there, as were numerous nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins and members of her clan.
"We have always known she was around somewhere," said Nettie Rogers, her sister.  "We want to thank the Holy People for bringing back our child, our daughter, to the center," Freddie Howard, a Tolani Lake official, told a crowd that streamed into a gymnasium for ceremonies welcoming Melanson and her family to her birthplace. 
She had come to the reservation east from Flagstaff, crossing through the Coconino National Forest. The Navajo lands began where the trees ended and a hot, dusty, vastness sprawled ahead. To the South were towns that bespoke stereotypical western violence: Two Guns, Two Arrows; and a place of real cataclysm, a giant crater created when a meteor smashed into the Earth 50,000 years ago.
Across the reservation were the four sacred mountains of her tribe, dark, bruised buttes and colorful mesas that glimmered like poured sand art."I've never seen mountains go straight up," she said as they shimmered in the white light of afternoon.
Her return came as efforts to find the so-called "lost birds" of the Navajo and other tribes across the country have intensified. 
After Melanson's story made national headlines and television news last month, a website previously set up by the Lost Bird Society, founded by a Lakota woman named Marie Not Help Him, was peppered with inquiries.
And it came as the tribes are fighting a bill in Congress that would make the adoption of Indian children by whites easier. It would weaken a federal law passed in 1978 that requires that Indian children removed from their homes be placed with relatives or other Native families.
In welcoming Yvette home, Navajo leaders rose to speak in defense of their children.  "We are more than dances, turquoise and rugs," Genevieve Jackson said in a plea that the outside world understand what is happening to Native children.  
 "Yvette's story is the Navajo story," Delores Grey Eyes added.  
Melanson's father presented her with a Navajo wedding basket symbolizing Mother Earth, Father Sky and a Navajo people planted in harmony between.  He said, as another sister, Laura Chee, interpreted, that he was "happy to have his daughter home, and now he wants to know if they can get the boy back."
"We must let people know what has happened, what is happening through adoptions," Melanson said, clutching the Navajo blanket the tribe had given her. 
"My family, my friends back home, were outraged. They had no idea something like this was happening."
"The taking of the children has to be stopped," she said.
Later, her family took her to her birthsite and told her how she had been taken.  She'd been born in a hogan and was sickly. A public health nurse came and took both her and her brother to the hospital at Winslow. The family never saw them again.
"Your mother would come to the road here," Desbah Yazzie told her, "and she would hitchhike into Winslow, looking for her children. She never found you, and later all they told her was that the children had been adopted."
Yvette Silverman Melanson, born Minnie Bo Monroe, stood in a ceaseless expanse of her birthplace and marveled."You can see forever," she said. "The sky is endless, the land is so big. If someone disappeared, a baby, how would you know which direction to go to even begin to look for them...
 This story is old (1996) but the fact is she is still looking - there are no updates on her lost twin brother....Trace

In Other Words: Susan Harness and Sandy White Hawk

REBLOG: listen at links

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

Sandy White Hawk’s Response to Susan Harness


Below is our friend Sandy White Hawk’s response to the podcast we did with our friend Susan Harness. Enjoy.
_______________
Dear Kevin, (Land of Gazillion Adoptees)
I wanted to respond to Susan Harness’ reference to the Southeast Asian tradition the Gifting of a child as an alternative to standard adoption.
In Indian Country a traditional alternative to standard adoption practice is now developing.  It is called Customary Adoption or Custom Adoption. Long before first European contact Indian nations had a custom that kept and maintained balance with their communities; adoption was one of those customs.
Tribes are beginning to reclaim their traditional ways of maintaining family connections for those who would otherwise be separated from their families and communities if the family was struggling in taking care of their children.
The White Earth Tribe Band of Ojibwe of Minnesota has been the leader in developing this practice in its tribal court. Adoption money, SSI and other benefits follow the child in the process just as in a standard adoption. The major difference is parental rights are not terminated. In White Earth they use the term “suspended.”

Monday, April 24, 2017

UPDATES: In The Veins, Goldwater #ICWA lawsuit

www.bluehandbooks.org
In the Veins poetry anthology editor Patricia Busbee (adoptee, Cherokee mix) spoke with Dr. Dawn Karima (who also contributed stunning poetry to this book) about Native poetry and our history recently:

LISTEN:
http://talktainmentradio.com/podcasts/Conversation%20with%20Dawn%20Karima%20042417.mp3

****

Notice of Appeal in Goldwater ICWA Litigation


As they promised they would, Goldwater filed their notice of appeal to the 9th Circuit in the Arizona ICWA class action case.

Here.

Order they are appealing is here.

As always, documents in the case will be housed here.


***LOST CHILDREN  BOOK SERIES

This highly-anticipated collection is part of a history-making book series Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.  This series includes TWO WORLDS (Vol. 1), CALLED HOME: The Road Map (Vol. 2), and STOLEN GENERATIONS: Survivors of the Indian Adoption Projects and 60s Scoop (Vol. 3).  
IN THE VEINS (Vol. 4)  ISBN: 978-0692832646 $9.99, will share part of its proceeds with Standing Rock Water Protectors.
Paperback $9.99   Kindle ebook $3.96

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dawnland: Maine's Stolen Generations

Dawnland Trailer from Upstander Project on Vimeo.

About the film

When most people hear about children ripped from their families, they think of faraway places or of centuries past. The reality is it's been happening in the U.S. for centuries—and is still happening today. Native American children are more than twice as likely as non-Native children to be taken from their families and put into foster care, according to a 2013 study.
Americans should know that these atrocities are not history. 

READ MORE

We mention this documentary in the anthology STOLEN GENERATIONS (see sidebar)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My birth certificate is literally ‘fake news’

Connecticut is the home to many Native adoptees who were transferred and adopted there from Washington state - yes, all the way across the country! That is the Indian Adoption Projects and ARENA in action.


Older birth parents and relatives are dying off, so are some of the adoptees leaving their children and grandchildren with big holes in their personal family health histories.  Adds Caffery, “We feel strongly that time is of the essence. It’s time to end this failed social experiment of secrecy and shame. It’s time to threat us as full citizens of our country and our state.”

Monday, April 17, 2017

Special Needs Adoption

Adoption Fairness Bill: Bipartisan Legislation for Tribal Special Needs Children



Adoption tax credit fairness for tribes: Bill would give parents adopting tribal special needs children an adoption tax credit available to ...
Read More »


Click here to learn more about the bill and Click here to read a letter of support from Chairman Dave Archambault II on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
 

Canada’s Child Welfare Crisis in 2017

Op-Ed in Maclean’s About Canada’s Child Welfare Crisis

Here, by Pam Palmater. Canada’s numbers of Native children in care may be currently worse than pre-ICWA numbers in the United States (Task Force Four Report).
The increasing number of First Nations children being placed into foster care in Canada is nothing short of a crisis. Although Indigenous children make up only seven per cent of the population in Canada, they represent 48 per cent of all children in foster care. It is an astounding number until one examines these rates on a province-by-province basis. In Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Indigenous children represent a shocking 73 per cent, 85 per cent and 87 per cent of all children in care respectively, according to the most recent Statistics Canada report. However, Manitoba reports that their numbers of Indigenous children in care are increasing and currently stands at 90 per cent, which represents one of the highest rates in the world. This isn’t much of a surprise given that one newborn is taken away from his or her mother every day in Manitoba as a matter of course—the vast majority being Indigenous. They are not the only provinces implicated as Indigenous children in Ontario are 168 per cent more likely to be taken into care than white children.

MORE: Prisons are the ‘new residential schools’

Friday, April 14, 2017

the Indigenous Rights Movement in Canada Honored with Top Amnesty Intl Award


Published April 14, 2017

MONTREAL – Celebrated global music artist and activist Alicia Keys and the inspirational movement of Indigenous Peoples fighting for their rights in Canada have been honored with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2017, the human rights organization announced today.
The award will be officially presented at a ceremony in Montréal, Canada, on May 27.
Accepting the award recognizing the Indigenous rights movement of Canada will be six individuals representing the strength and diversity of the movement, which has bravely fought to end discrimination and ensure the safety and well-being of Indigenous families and communities. They are Cindy Blackstock, Delilah Saunders, Melanie Morrison, Senator Murray Sinclair, Melissa Mollen Dupuis and Widia Larivière.

Cindy Blackstock hopes that the award will help to focus global attention on the injustices still prevalent in Canada today.
As head of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, she led a decade-long legal battle against the underfunding of social services for First Nations children. In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued a landmark ruling calling on the federal government to take immediate action to end its discriminatory practices.
However, the Canadian government has continued to drag its feet in fully complying with the ruling, meaning that First Nations children are still suffering discrimination.
“The conscience of the people is awakening to the Canadian government’s ongoing racial discrimination towards First Nations children and their families,” said Cindy Blackstock. “Now the question is: What are we going to do about it? Are we going to allow Canada to celebrate its 150th birthday while it bathes in racism, or will we speak up and demand the discrimination stops?”


READ: Alicia Keys and the Indigenous Rights Movement in Canada Honored with Top Amnesty Intl Award - Native News Online

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Rights of an Indian Child

The Rights of Indian Children ABA Article


The tribe I worked for decided to “bring the children home” through a focus on children in their community and ensuring resources to support that work. Many strategies were employed, depending on case specifics. Ensuring the tribal children were closer to home, both in proximity and culturally, was the goal. Some cases achieved the goal through reunification with the natural parents, others by placement within kinship care from stranger foster care. One of the primary practices was the transfer of cases to tribal court when the parents were amenable. In the end we brought all but one child back into tribal custody with an over 75 percent kinship placement rate.



AND 2017 ICWA OFFICERS (27 page pdf)


Print them out and use them PLEASE:
2017-Designated Agents for ICWA Service

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Darker Agenda: Is the adoption industry looking to monetize our children or worse #goldwater

A Right-Wing Think Tank Is Trying to Bring Down the Indian Child Welfare Act. Why? | The Nation

Here.
 ...A ruling in Goldwater’s favor, according to Fort and other legal experts, could undermine the authority of tribal courts, shutter tribal casinos, and open up reservations to privatization, something that could benefit oil and gas developers like the Koch brothers. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Indian School Road

In Indian School Road, journalist Chris Benjamin tackles the controversial and tragic history of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School, its predecessors, and its lasting effects, giving voice to multiple perspectives for the first time. Benjamin integrates research, interviews, and testimonies to guide readers through the varied experiences of students, principals, and teachers over the school’s nearly forty years of operation (1930–1967) and beyond. Exposing the raw wounds of Truth and Reconciliation as well as the struggle for an inclusive Mi’kmaw education system, Indian School Road is a comprehensive and compassionate narrative history of the school that uneducated hundreds of Aboriginal children.
Source: Indian School Road

Monday, April 3, 2017

Reconciliation Pole installed on UBC Vancouver campus

Reconciliation Pole at UBC nails the past to confront harsh reality of residential schools

NATIONAL

 
Reconciliation Pole at UBC nails the past to confront harsh reality of residential schools
One of the most distinctive parts of Reconciliation Pole are the copper nails. It has 68,000 of them pounded flat into the surface. Each one represents an indigenous child who died at residential schools across the country, said Haida artist James Hart, who was commissioned to design and carve the totem pole.  Click here to read more ...

Today's Book of Poetry: Burning In This Midnight Dream - Louise Bernice ...



Louise Bernice Halfe Sky Dancer has published a third volume of poetry, Burning In This Midnight Dream, and it is a burning indictment, a hushed prayer, an angry account.  Burning In This Midnight Dream articulates some of Canada's worst history from the inside looking out.  

These poems are an insider's nightmare memories of Canada's residential schools.

Halfe/Sky Dancer is a quiet poet of considerable reserve yet these poems rumble with thunderous revelations that reverberate off of the page, run up your arms and attack your guilty heart.
nipin nikamowin - summer song

I listened to outrageous laughter
there by the stone-carving shelter
where children painted and listened
to Alex Janvier.
Year after year
on the grounds of Blue Quills
I shared a tent with a friend and we told stories
of those lonely nights and how we preserved
our broken Cree.
I walked, ran, skipped
swore and sang the fourteen miles
from that school all the way to Saddle Lake.
We were told by our guide to meditate, be silent
in our walk. How could we after our voices
where lost in the classrooms of that school?
When I reached my home reserve
the Old Ones received me
and danced me on my blistered feet.
Water, tea, fruit, bannock and deer stew.
What food would heal this wound
bundled against my back?
A child still crying in those long school nights.
I know of a man who still carries his suitcase,
began at six, now sixty years, carrying
those little treasures of home
that was forever gone.
...
Burning In This Midnight Dream is a peat fire of poetry.  You don't see any flames on the surface but you know for certain that you are on hot footing and that all is ablaze underneath, smoldering and determined.

Halfe/Sky Dancer has included several family photos along with the text and this case is the exception that proves the rule about photos and poetry.  These photos are necessary.  The poems work just fine on their own, they are all strong, exude the strength of a brave survivor, but these photos make the stories blood, flesh and bone.  We see the young children in a new and different context, we see them as clearly as the "boy in the striped pajamas," the red-coated lost girl in the opening frames of Steven Spielberg's Shindler's List.  The fine and perfect faces in these photos are calling out through these poems.
Residential School Alumni

An uncle shot his wife
left her lying behind the house
with the rifle at her side.
Their four children peered
behind the curtains.
He was never able to look at anyone.
A lake held him as he froze, standing,
clutching his traps.
One son joined the marines
a mosquito killed him in Vietnam.
In a police chase another son
hit a slough and drowned in his grave.
Their little brother slept in a flaming
house with needles, spoons, heroin and cocaine.
My cousin was left alone.
I remember them.
...
Our morning read here in the Today's book of poetry offices was a little more sombre than usual but that's not to say we didn't enjoy the poems.  We certainly respected them.
Louise Bernice Halfe Sky Dancer wants the Truth and Reconciliation process to succeed.  Burning In This Midnight Dream is an honourable attempt to plow as much truth into the open as the open can bear.

Standing Rock

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.

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

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

#defendicwa

A photo posted by defendicwa (@defendicwa) on