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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Stories for a Lost Child

Author's late discovery of Native heritage was a 'cosmic blessing'

Friday, April 20, 2018

'She died coming to try to find me' #60sScoop #Adoption

'She died coming to try to find me:' Sixties Scoop adoptee pieces together tragic story of separation

Robert Kalkman was adopted at age 2, and his life shattered at 9 after discovering his true heritage

Robert Kalkman, aged about 3, in Fort Frances, Ont., after his adoption. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)
Robert Kalkman's memory of the woman standing outside the window is like the frame from a negative burned too hot by light.
Among the shapes of things in this memory is his adoptive father leaving the house in Fort Frances, Ont., to speak with this woman who kept coming back to stand outside the window.
"I remember as a child looking out the window and seeing this lady standing on the street and the commotion of my dad going out and begging her to leave," said Kalkman, 53.
"I was like three years old; it's the last thing I can remember."
Later in life, he would come to know the woman in the window was his biological mother, Kathleen McGinnis.
There is only one photograph of McGinnis that remains. It's from the 1952 edition of the magazine Northern Sportsman and published above an article headlined, I Write About Indians. The photograph is of an Anishinaabe family having a picnic. The caption does not identify anyone in the photograph, but Kalkman's biological family told him that it is her, as a baby, swaddled and fastened to a cradleboard.
This is the only surviving photograph of Kathleen McGinnis. She is the baby attached to the cradleboard in the upper right-hand side of the photograph. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)

There are other documents about Kalkman's biological mother — coroner and police reports from April 1978. There are witness statements about the accident, how she seemed dazed waving cars down on a highway near Calgary when she was suddenly struck and killed on April 3. The impact severed one of her legs and the circumstances that led to her death remain shrouded in mystery.
Kalkman was out in northern British Columbia a few years ago in a work camp when he came across a website listing missing and murdered Indigenous women. He first noticed the name of a woman he once went to school with and then he noticed his mother's name, along with that of her two sisters, Edith Quagon and Sarah Mason, who were both separately murdered by men plunging a knife through their hearts.
"I was like, 'wow.' I was just overwhelmed," he said.
"I wish whoever the police was, or whatever, spent a little more time investigating and looking into it. If it was a white person, they would be all over it."
Kalkman would later learn that his biological mother was hitchhiking to British Columbia from Thunder Bay, Ont. McGinnis had heard one of her two children — seized in 1966 from her father's house on the Manitou reserve portion of Rainy River First Nation while she shopped in Fort Frances, Ont. — had been adopted by a family that had moved from Fort Frances to B.C.
"She died coming to try to find me," said Kalkman.
"It's an identity you lose, the moment she is gone."


McGinnis's family, along with Kalkman's sister Diane Geissler, testified in Thunder Bay in early December during three days of hearings held by the national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. Kalkman didn't make the hearing.
Kalkman's story is also one among thousands of aftershocks still reverberating from the Sixties Scoop when child welfare agencies across the country would seize Indigenous children and quickly adopt them out into the care of non-Indigenous families.
His story also connects the Scoop with residential schools, which McGinnis attended, and reveals the systemic discrimination that led state agencies to repeatedly seize Indigenous children.
Robert Kalkman, aged 2, is held by the caretaker of the foster home where he was placed after he was taken by child welfare agents. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)
Ontario's child welfare agents determined the teenage mother — who had Geissler at 14 and Kalkman at 15 — didn't have the financial means to raise her children despite the fact she lived with her parents.
"It was because she was Native and lived a traditional lifestyle. She couldn't prove that she had an apartment or a house. It wasn't in her name, it was in her parents' name," said Geissler, who lives in Thunder Bay a few blocks away from where McGinnis lived before she left hitchhiking, looking for one of her children.
"She couldn't prove income because they hunted, trapped — they had a trapline — and fished for food. They grew their own vegetables, they picked berries, they picked herbs. They didn't have a nine-to-five job. They lived on the reserve."

Seized by child welfare

Kalkman and Geissler don't know the exact date or the details about the circumstances leading to the moment when they were seized. There is a story about a snowstorm stranding their mother in Fort Frances on the day they were taken. There is another about an uncle who hid them in a closet until a child's cry gave them away. Kalkman said one of his aunts confessed to him in 1991 that she had called child welfare because she was worried about the care the children were receiving.
Geissler was immediately adopted by a family that remained in the Fort Frances area. Kalkman remained in foster care for about a year until he was adopted at age two by a Fort Frances doctor who had treated him for various ailments.
"I think as a family we thought we were ... helping out someone who has a need," said Peter Kalkman, Robert Kalkman's adoptive brother.
"I think we did it for the right reason."
From left to right: Robert Kalkman with his adoptive family Klari Kalkman, Johannes Wilhelmus Kalkman and Peter Kalkman. (Submitted by Peter Kalkman)
Peter Kalkman remembers as an eight-year-old going to the courthouse with his parents to finalize the adoption on Feb. 24, 1967.
"It was very serious circumstances where the judge is saying you are taking on this person to be part of your family," said Kalkman, a radiologist who now lives in Abbotsford, B.C.
"It's a very large responsibility and commitment and we all felt that way."
Robert Gary Shebageget became Robert William Kalkman that day.
The family then moved to Vancouver.

'You're an Indian'

Throughout his early years, Robert Kalkman said he didn't contemplate differences with his adoptive home's older brother and sister, who were the biological children of his adoptive parents. He never noticed his darker skin or wondered where he came from. He liked to dress up like a cowboy.
Then, at the age of nine, he noticed one of his friends in the Vancouver neighbourhood where he lived had stopped playing with him. When he asked him why, the answer shattered his world.
"He said, 'Because you're an Indian. My dad said you are an Indian,'" said Kalkman.
Robert, aged 12, and his adoptive father Johannes Kalkman, when they lived in Vancouver. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)
When he got home, his adoptive mother Janet Kalkman was cooking.
"I asked her, 'Mom, am I an Indian?' She said, 'Don't talk to me right now, I'm cooking,'" said Robert Kalkman.
"I went to my room and looked in the mirror."
A little while later she came into his room and put down a book. Kalkman said the book had about 40 pages of black and white photographs depicting Ojibway people from Minnesota and Ontario.
"That is when I started rebelling," he said.
Robert Kalkman, around age 17, in Vancouver. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)
"I had an identity crisis."
His life became a series of conflicts with his family, with his school and with the law. Eventually his adoptive parents turned him over into the custody of the courts at age 13. He became a ward of the state, again, and bounced between foster homes and juvenile detention centres.
"I was so angry at the world because I didn't know who I was, where I came from or what was going on," he said.
"I despised the fact I was Native. I would fight every Indian I could fight."

The girl at the bus stop

The anger may have totally consumed and eventually destroyed Kalkman except for a girl he saw from a city bus window standing at a downtown Vancouver bus stop in 1987. He wouldn't see her again for several months. In that time he would end up serving 80 days in jail for failing to pay a $548 fine for drinking and driving in a car stolen from his adoptive parents.
Robert and Kathleen Kalkman on their wedding day, Aug. 3, 1991. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)
When he got out, he decided to try and make a go of it and enrolled in a college where the girl from the bus stop also attended. They fell in love and married on Aug. 3, 1991.
Robert and Kathleen Kalkman, who is from the Tahltan Nation, now live in Chetwynd, B.C., and they have four sons, aged 27, 25, 17 and 15, along with two grandchildren aged three and five.
Kalkman, a journeyman carpenter, made a career working in gold mines and oil fields throughout northern B.C..
Robert and Kathleen Kalkman, centre, with their children, from the left: Dakota Kalkman, Kross Kalkman, Trey Kalkman and Jeremy Kalkman. (Submitted by Robert Kalkman)
Still there was a piece that remained lost.
His adoptive father, Johannes Wilhelmus Kalkman, who died from cancer about two years ago, "harboured quite a bit of anger for many years" over the adoption, said Peter Kalkman, 59.
And Janet Kalkman, who is 85 and living in an assisted care home, remains "a little bit ambivalent about the whole thing," said Peter.
"My wife, she has brothers and sisters, a mother and a father. My kids look at me and say where is your mom? Where is your dad? You got to look at them and say, 'All you got is me,'" said Robert Kalkman.
"Every time I wake up in the morning I tell them, 'I love you.' I tell them in their face, 'I love you.' That is the connection I have to have because this is all I have. I won't let anybody try to take what I have now."

Kids for Sale: Adoption Trafficking

A CNN exclusive investigation uncovers what could be a child trafficking scheme for adoptions after one mom blew the whistle.
By the time the call ends, Mata's radiant smile has turned to sobs. "My mom was tricked," she says. "My mom was tricked."
Her mother told her it was never her intent to give Mata up for good -- that she'd been deceived. She had been told that Mata would be given a great educational opportunity if she was sent away but that she would one day return. That Mom would always be a part of her daughter's life.
At the time of that call, the Davises now believe, Mata wasn't an orphan at all but was still living at home with a mother who loved her. They believe she was pulled from her home and placed in the orphanage after the adoption agency found an American couple -- buyers, in a sense -- with money to adopt a child.
An investigation by CNN into this alleged trafficking scheme found that children are being taken from their homes in Uganda on the promise of better schooling, placed into orphanages even though they aren't orphans, and sold for as much as $15,000 each to unsuspecting American families. CNN's investigation discovered that multiple families were duped this way.
WATCH: Kids for sale: 'My mom was tricked' - CNN

Thursday, April 19, 2018

An apology will not bring back the dead children

(Residential school survivor Evelyn Korkmaz, left, Senator Murray Sinclair, and NDP MP Romeo Saganash at a news conference in Ottawa)

Catholic bishops news conference only adds confusion around Pope’s apology to residential school survivors

A news conference to clear the air about the Pope’s apology to Indian residential school survivors only seemed to confuse things further.
Bishop Lionel Gendron told reporters in Ottawa Wednesday the Catholic church is a “decentralized” organization and Pope Francis can’t be held responsible for what others have done.
But Senator Murray Sinclair called that “a failure” and said the apology demanded by his Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is needed by survivors to heal.
Senior leaders of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops addressed the media in Ottawa in front of an NDP motion to be tabled in the House of Commons calling on Pope Francis to apologize for residential schools. The motion failed after one MP voted no. It’s not clear who voted against it, but in a scrum prior to Question Period, Conservative Indigenous Affairs Critic said it has no place in parliament.
“We like to keep a separation between church and state in terms of Parliament directing specific actions,” she said. “And I think we also believe that that’s an important distinction to keep, which the other parties don’t believe.”

The bishops said the Pope may apologize in person if he came to Canada and met with Indigenous peoples.
But according to Richard Gagnon, Archbishop of Winnipeg and vice-president of the CCCB, the church has already done so, said “The pope never said he wouldn’t apologize,” Gagnon said. “What the Holy Father did say was he would not personally respond to (TRC) call to Action 58.”

Does that mean Yes or No the Pope will apologize?

“Our concern is that it’s important to clear up any misconceptions that are out there and correct any inaccuracies,” Gagnon added.
The answer confused reporters who continued to yell questions as the black-robed religious figures left the room.

Sinclair was accompanied by NDP-MPs Charlie Angus and Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou), who bashed the bishops’ behaviour.
“I am disgusted,” said Saganash, a Cree politician from Quebec who survived 10 years in residential school.
“To state ‘the Catholic church as a whole in Canada was not associated with the residential schools’ pushes this church towards very irresponsible, historical, revisionism,” added Angus (Timmins-James Bay), a Catholic.
Sen. Murray Sinclair, who chaired the TRC, said it was sad to see the church try and distance itself from the issue now.
“They’re not taking responsibility and that’s a shame,” he said.
It took survivor Evelyn Korkmaz, who shared the stage with the politicians, to clarify the subject.
“The church has acknowledged wrongdoing,” she said. “So all we’re asking for is a verbal apology.”
Korkmaz attended notorious St. Anne’s residential school in Angus’s riding, whose survivors are battling Ottawa for the same compensation offered other survivors.
Angus, who has been championing their fight, said the church has to apologize and noted he was “distressed” Canadian bishops weren’t insisting he do that.
But Gagnon defended the head of the church.
“I agree with the way the Pope is handling this in waiting for an opportune time,” he said.
“He has been invited to Canada from the prime minister, from three of our presidents of the Catholic conference of bishops of Canada…His response had to do with Call to Action No. 58 and its rather strict confines.”
Pope Francis has apologized to Indigenous peoples in Bolivia for the impact of colonialism and said sorry to survivors of priestly sexual abuse in Ireland.
“We have a track record with this Pope who is not afraid to confront the hard issues,” Gagnon added.

Indian Lawsuits on School Abuse May Bankrupt Canada Churches ...

Indian Lawsuits on School Abuse May Bankrupt Canada Churches. By JAMES BROOKE NOV. 2, 2000. ...

A history of residential schools in Canada | CBC News

CBC News answers frequently asked questions about residential school abuse ...
An apology will not bring back the dead children or end the cycles of oppression we are still healing and dealing with... The Vatican still holds us apology will never do...  Trace

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Too many black, Indigenous kids in Ontario child-welfare system, report finds

Called Interrupted Childhoods: Over-representation of Indigenous and black children in Ontario child welfare, the report calls on child welfare authorities to examine whether they are engaging in practices that might violate human rights rules.The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies said it was undertaking initiatives to address the issues.
"Historical and current child welfare practices have resulted in over-representation of Indigenous children in child welfare," Mary Ballantyne, the association's CEO, said in a release. "Those practices have also led to cultural genocide for the Indigenous people of Ontario."Ballantyne also said the over-representation of African-Canadian children was unacceptable.
Source: Too many black, Indigenous kids in Ontario child-welfare system, report finds | CBC News

Thursday, April 12, 2018

‘Indian Horse’ tells painful story of Canada’s residential schools

Indian Horse Movie Trailer

Navajo Nation judge weighs jurisdiction of sexual abuse lawsuits against Mormon church

Gallup, N.M. • A Navajo Nation judge is weighing whether sexual abuse lawsuits against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should proceed and where the cases should be heard.

Judge Carol Perry heard arguments Monday after lawyers for the Utah-based LDS Church filed a motion to dismiss five lawsuits, the Gallup Independent reported Tuesday.

The suits filed in tribal courts allege Native American children were sexually abused while enrolled in the church’s Indian Student Placement Program. The first suit was filed in 2016 on behalf of two adults who said they were abused when they were students in the program.

Source: Navajo Nation judge weighs jurisdiction of sexual abuse lawsuits against Mormon church - The Salt Lake Tribune

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

'I Wanted Someone to Love Me for Even a Second'

'I Wanted Someone to Love Me for Even a Second'

Girls make up only a small fraction of the incarcerated juvenile population, but girls often land in detention because they have experienced some form of trauma: abusive families, bad experiences in the foster care system, and especially sexual abuse. Policy experts even use the term "sexual abuse to prison pipeline," and they say it’s why incarcerating a young girl perpetuates more negative behavior and makes it harder to exit the system.
Desiree is a young woman who has bounced between foster care, detention centers, and residential treatment centers since she was 10. Even though she has been the repeated victim of abuse, she says she's been made to feel like she's the problem...and she's angry about it. But she has her own ideas about how to make things better and she’s making her voice heard.

Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice is supported, in part, by the Anne Levy Fund, Margaret Neubart Foundation, the John and Gwen Smart Family Foundation, and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Indigenous film draws attention to #60Scoop survivors

Birth of a Family the fifth and final movie screened during the Wide Awake series

A film sharing the story of three sisters and a brother trying to rebuild their family after it was torn apart during the Sixties Scoop was shown at the University of Windsor Thursday night.
Birth of a Family was the fifth and final movie screened during the Wide Awake series put on by the university's Aboriginal Education Centre in partnership with the Arts Council Windsor and Region.
It follows the journey of Betty Ann, Esther, Rosalie and Ben, who were adopted as infants into different families across North America and are just meeting again for the first time.
"I think that the policies in place were very systematic in how they were targeting First Nations people," said Kathryn Pasquach, the Aboriginal Outreach and Retention Coordinator for the university. "It was very unfortunate that the cultural importance and the belief system that Indigenous people hold were not valued."

Anthony Saracino is a university student who felt it was his duty to see the film

"I think just being a citizen of Canada — a citizen of the world — it's important to know the ground you walk on and I'm just doing my due diligence with that," he said.
Ostoro Petathegoose is an Indigenous woman who attended all of the screenings.
"I grew up with a lot of anti-Indigenous racism in my life and I have found when talking to a lot of people they are not educated on the history of Indigenous peoples in this country," she explained. "So I feel that movies like this are really relevant and people should be seeing movies like this."
The education centre hopes to run a similar series of films next year.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Adopt Indian Metis Program

We also have the Canada and American governments conducting the ARENA programs- transporting First Nations and American Indian children for adoptions cross borders.
Were you adopted into the US from Canada? Do you know?

1966 The National Adoption Resource Exchange, later renamed the Adoption Resource Exchange of North America (ARENA), was established as an outgrowth of the Indian Adoption Project.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Advertised for Adoption #HumanTrafficking #Adoption

As I wrote "What do you call this" on this blog: THIS is genocide. Taking children and selling them in a catalog?  Taking children so they would disappear? Taking children so there would be less Indians to deal with, so governments would not have to honor their treaties? All the missing and murdered Indigenous women? The hunting of these women and their deaths by serial killers or maybe the police?
Think about it. Protect yourself.
Yes, adoption as human trafficking is what happened. Trace

Finding Cleo: CBC podcast solves decades-old mystery of Saskatchewan girl lost in Sixties Scoop (UPDATED)

Siblings separated in Sixties Scoop had been searching for sister for decades when they turned to CBC for help


A patchwork of information suggested Cleo Semaganis Nicotine had been killed decades ago while trying to make her way back to Saskatchewan from her adoptive family in the U.S., but no one knew for sure what happened until CBC News began looking into the case.


LISTEN: Finding Cleo: CBC podcast solves decades-old mystery of Saskatchewan girl lost in Sixties Scoop - CBC News | Indigenous

Adoptions threaten culture #SNAICC

Any move to have Aboriginal children adopted by non-Indigenous families would be a backward step, according to Australia’s peak body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
SNAICC (National Voice for Our Children) chairwoman Sharron Williams, a Narungga-Kaurna woman based in Adelaide, said all children needed to be safe and cared for but Aboriginal children shouldn’t be separated from their kin and culture.

Ms Williams’ comments came as federal Children’s Minister David Gillespie said permanent adoptions should play a role in finding new homes for abused or neglected Aboriginal children, including adoptions with non-Indigenous families.

Debate on the issue has raged following the alleged rape of a two-year-old girl in the Northern Territory town of Tennant Creek.

Mr Gillespie has described the situation as a child protection “crisis”.

Ms Williams told NIT this week that before upping adoptions, more work needed to be put into helping parents, families and communities care for their children.

“We don’t believe Aboriginal children should lose connection to culture through adoption,” Ms Williams said.

“We know from our history that (approach) has created some enormous problems with our children losing connection to their country, their culture and in many instances their community.”

Asked if she thought non-Indigenous families should be able to adopt Indigenous children, Ms Williams said: “I don’t think they should.”

She said in most states and territories adoption was not an option, but permanent and stability placement was.

“In most states, non-Aboriginal people can become foster carers of Aboriginal children and that happens and in those instances cultural connect plans and stability plans are developed for individual children in care,” she said.

“But adoption is one of those areas where it doesn’t happen.

“I know there is work happening in New South Wales where there is a push to go down the road of adoption.

“I’m unsure how far that’s got, but in South Australia that isn’t something that is on the drawing board.”

Need to look at underlying poverty

Ms Williams said more resources needed to be put into addressing the poverty in Aboriginal families, the lack of employment, difficulties with housing, access to early childhood services and health programs.

“I think if they were better addressed for our communities, we would have a far greater response to better parenting (and) building stronger and more resilient communities, therefore less children would be removed.”

Northern Territory Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation head Eileen Cummings said a bridging program was needed to help keep children who were removed from their homes for their own safety connected with their families, communities and culture and to also help the communities grieving the loss of the children.

“We don’t want the children at risk to be left in their home environment unless there is a safety net there somewhere,” she said.

“But what we want is programs for the parents and the community as well.

“A lot of them are upset because the children are being removed, but you can’t leave them if they are not safe.”

Ms Cummings said when her corporation worked with women who were being subjected to domestic violence, one of the shelters ran an outreach program so that women could work to revisit their families and reconnect with their children.

“I thought that was a good way of reconnecting the parents back with the children because I don’t want our children to lose their identity as young Aboriginal people,” she said.

Children need better home environments

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples said in a statement vulnerable children should be removed, but they needed to be going to a better place.

“We are troubled by the knowledge from past Royal Commissions of the dangers of neglect and abuse perpetrated within institutions and of the failures of many out-of-home-care alternatives,” it said.

“We desperately need to know where we are removing our children to.

“Their new environment must allow them to thrive.

“Countless Aboriginal children who have missed out on care and support have already been ‘removed’ – they are currently in juvenile detention centres and jails.

“These are the children failed by support ‘programs’, failed by distant policy-makers, failed by families in over-crowded houses and failed by communities where local control and self-determination have been frustrated.”

Meanwhile, more than 100 people last week protested outside Channel Seven’s Sydney headquarters following a segment on Seven’s Sunrise program in which an all-white panel discussed the proposed removal of Indigenous children through an adoption scheme.

The program subsequently revisited the topic with a panel of Indigenous experts, but ignored calls for an apology,

It said it blocked out the protestors with a generic backdrop last week.

“We respect the right to protest as much as we respect the right of free speech,” a Seven spokesperson said.

“Some of the group was holding offensive signage and some began banging on the window and mouthing obscenities.

“To ensure regulatory compliance, and bearing in mind the potential for young children to be watching, the decision was made to utilise a generic backdrop.”

Wendy Caccetta

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Body Remembers

New research reveals that trauma experienced in childhood has long-term damaging effects on quality of life and lifespan. But the same research shows that adults play a critical role in helping children overcome this damage.

READ: The Body Remembers | On Being

Here’s a quick experiment about your past that will tell you a vast amount about your future.
Check all that apply:
  • Did you experience recurrent emotional abuse as a kid?
  • Physical?
  • Sexual?
  • Did you experience physical neglect?
  • Emotional neglect?
  • Did anyone in your childhood home have substance abuse issues?
  • Did anyone struggle with mental illness?
  • Did anyone participate in criminal behavior and/or go to jail?
  • Was your mother ever treated violently?
  • Did you experience divorce or parental separation?
How many checks do you have? This is what clinicians call your ACE score. It stands for “adverse childhood experiences” and study after study has confirmed that it has a huge influence on your lifetime health. For starters: The life expectancy of individuals with ACE scores of six or more is twenty years shorter than it is for people with no ACEs. And a person with four or more ACEs is twice as likely to develop heart disease and cancer.

Editor Note: Being adopted is high stress, too. We have posted about ACE on this blog - use the search bar.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

FREE test for adoptees - apply now - by APRIL 30

MyHeritage has launched a new pro bono initiative to help adoptees and their birth families reunite through genetic testing. We are providing 15,000 MyHeritage DNA kits, worth more than one million dollars, for free, to eligible participants.

Who is eligible?

Participation in this project is open to adoptees seeking to find their biological family members, and to parents and other family members looking for a child they had placed in adoption years ago. Preference will be given to people who are not able to afford genetic testing. Leveraging the power of genetic genealogy opens new doors in the search for relatives, and we believe everyone should be able to access this valuable technology.
Applications are open until April 30, 2018. Apply Now

National database for First Nations adoptees | #60s Scoop Peer Support Line #NISCW

60s Scoop

Eleanore Sunchild, a Cree lawyer who specializes in Aboriginal law and has represented Sixties Scoop adoptees, says, "a lot of times, they were so young they don't remember their family, they don't know what community they come from or even what tribe they belong to."

Sunchild says that loss of Indigenous identity coupled with separation from family is often devastating.

"The whole loss of being raised in a different home and not exactly knowing why, why they were removed — there's something wrong with them? Or was there something wrong with their family? And in a lot of instances it was just because of the policy that was in place at the time," she said.
Kicknosway says some people don't necessarily want to return to their communities.
She says they "only want to know they belong somewhere" and "have validation that they were alive" and that maybe someone missed them when they were taken away.
Author and Sixties Scoop survivor Raven Sinclair, an associate professor of social work at the University of Regina, has written extensively on the subject. She is in the midst of a five-year study with the aim of creating a national database of adoptees.
Her goal is to create a network that can provide practical, long-term support similar to what is available to some of the people affected by the residential school system.
Eleanore Sunchild
Cree lawyer Eleanore Sunchild, who represents survivors of the Sixties Scoop, says it's hard for adoptees to track down their biological families because many of them were so young when they were taken that they don't remember any details about their relatives or their community. (Connie Walker/CBC News)

"An adoptee you know here in town could call up a therapist who's been approved by us ... and get some help," she said. "For some, it's been a lifetime of abuse, so it's going to take a long time for them to recover."

NISCW has set up a toll-free number to help adoptees searching for family connections and to provide peer support.

Meet Melissa Olsen | Stolen Childhoods

The Indian Adoption Project (IAP), which resulted in the out-of-home placement of many Native American children, lasted from 1958 through 1967. It emerged during the U.S. federal government’s ‘Termination Policy’ that sought to assimilate Native tribes into the larger American fabric “as rapidly as possible.” This meant removal of federal protection of tribes and tribal lands and the transfer of civil and criminal jurisdiction to the states, affecting laws around “social services, child welfare, probate, those kinds of civil matters,” Melissa says.

“You’re telling me this thing I’ve lived all these years has a history and that history includes some policy and that policy has been unknown to me? I’m a second year PhD student. To be at that level of study and for that to just be known, it still floors me.”
 Source: Meet Melissa Olson | Pollen - Pollen
Stolen Childhoods, an audio documentary written by Melissa Olson, Ryan Katz, and Todd Melby aired during the Listening Lounge and Truth to Tell. You can listen to the podcast below.

To support the project, visit their
GiveMN page.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Indian Child Welfare Act attacks are a threat to tribes #ICWA

High Country News
This week, High Country News published a story by reporter Allison Herrera detailing a conservative think tank’s efforts to dismantle the Indian Child Welfare Act, an adoption law that turns 40 this year. The 1978 act was created to prevent the separation of Native children from their families and communities through adoptions, to “protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families.”
Groups like the Goldwater Institute that push for the elimination of ICWA are, intentionally or not, contributing to the continued attack on Native existence.
Such groups have attempted to capitalize on misinformation and stereotypes as a way to undermine ICWA. But ignoring the rights of tribes as both governments and as peoples to protect their culture not only ignores sovereignty, an all-too-common practice these days, it also overlooks, quite callously, generations of historical trauma.
Note from Trace Hentz
I am so grateful to Graham for writing this article and interviewing me and others on the topic of ICWA and keeping adoptees in the news. When I spoke to him, it hit me that I wrote the article for Indian Country Today in 2013 and very little has changed. other than Goldwater trying to end the important much-needed federal law Indian Child Welfare Act.

Right now, ICWA is the law, but legal challenges against it continue.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Grandmothers on front lines of opiate crisis need to be heard and helped #ICWA

In Indian country, opiates and heroin are called dark spirits.

“...When you are in the throes of opiate addiction, it now owns your soul,” he added. “Pharmaceuticals was the gateway to addiction for our elders, and now some are experiencing addiction at 60, 70, 80 years old who had led a clean and traditional life but were prescribed without being told they were going to have a dependency problem.”

Meanwhile, the rate of drug-related out-of-home child placements in general in Minnesota has skyrocketed.

Of the 7,595 children placed into out-of-home care in Minnesota in 2016, parental drug abuse was cited as the primary reason in nearly 28 percent of cases. Of those 1,478 children covered under the Indian Child Welfare Act, 588, or about 40 percent, were removed for the primary reason of parental drug abuse, according to Department of Human Services data.
Nearly 90 percent of ICWA children, regardless of the reasons for removal, were placed with a relative while in out-of-home care.

READ: Rosario: Grandmothers on front lines of opiate crisis need to be heard and helped – Twin Cities

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

#AdoptionArmy | A Generation Removed #ICWA

Here's an older post (2014)  still relevant today:

An excerpt:

Margaret Jacobs’s new book, A Generation Removed, provides a thoroughly documented and heart wrenching account of good intentions gone wrong, both in education and in child welfare. Jacobs’s specialization is women’s history, particularly the interactions between Indigenous and white women in settler nations such as the United States, Canada, and Australia. I appreciate Jacobs’ stance as a scholar all the more because she is a white feminist historian who is able to cast a critical eye on the contradictory roles often played by women of European descent. It was from reading Jacobs’s earlier work that I first encountered the Maternalism movement: the proto-feminist reformers of their day who asserted female authority and expertise (before American women could vote or hold elected office) into the public spheres usually reserved for male leadership.

Jacobs’s previous work, White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940, is a massive scholarly tome. I drew on this work for my keynote remarks to the 2013 KAAN (Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network) conference and at AAC (American Adoption Congress) 2014. White Mother to a Dark Race is a valuable resource, particularly for researchers with an interest in the origins of public school teaching and the social work profession. Having said that, White Mother is quite weighty and not nearly as accessible to lay readers as her latest book, A Generation Removed.

Jacobs’s new book provides highly personal accounts that help readers to make sense of the social reform experiments in Indian child welfare and education from the perspective of the Native women who lost their children in the process.

Those of us wondering what can be done in contemporary times to halt the widespread practice of family disruption still perpetuated by the adoption industry will gain inspiration from the chapter explaining how the Indian Child Welfare Act came into existence in the 1970s. This largely untold story may also inspire activists who want to interrupt the vulture-like “baby lifts” in impoverished communities around the globe that search for “orphans” for the marketplace of adoption. Readers will learn not only the faulty reasoning that leads popular opinion-shapers such as television’s Dr. Phil (who sympathized with the Capobiancos, the adoptive parents in the Baby Veronica case) to characterize ICWA as a racist law. Readers will also learn how the valiant efforts of a committed group of researchers, child welfare practitioners, and first/birthmothers combined to create an effective coalition to get ICWA passed in order to protect Indian families.

Key to that process, as Jacobs documents meticulously through archival records and interviews with key players, was the construction of a counter narrative that challenged the public perceptions of Indian mothers as unfit parents and drunk welfare dependents who didn’t love their children.  While not denying the problems plaguing many Native communities, such as alcohol addiction, child neglect and abuse, and poverty, Jacobs offers a more nuanced and complete portrait of Indigenous families and their struggles to raise children by maintaining extended family ties, drawing on the cultural traditions that had been systematically attacked dating back to the Great Indian Wars. The struggle for extended family integrity is all the more remarkable and poignant, given the subsequent onslaught of well-meaning educators in the boarding schools that for a lengthy period preached the inferiority of Native ways and tried to replace them with superior Euro-American, Christian ways.

Another way of putting it is this: There is no “post-adoption” until we have ended adoption, once and for all. Just as the boarding school experiment for Native American children has been discredited as genocidal, just as the Indian Adoption Program has been disbanded (you can read about its rise and fall in A Generation Removed), so too, I anticipate that the transracial and transnational adoption experiments will be replaced by a much more just and humane practice that is less about the business of selling children (and in the process, disrupting extended families of color), and more about ensuring justice and care for the most needy and vulnerable—namely, poor women of color and their children around the world.


John Raible has written a breathtaking article on how "child removal" affects us adoptees both past and present...It is true Margaret Jacobs has broken new ground in history with her new book A GENERATION REMOVED, and it's brilliant. It takes time to digest. After editing and writing four books on this topic myself, we have made HUGE STEPS in creating awareness of the Indian Adoption Projects and Programs that were genocidal in intent and purpose... We are living proof as American Indian Adoptees that we are resilient....Trace

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Adoption is trauma

 I am so sorry to read a tweet like this but it is the reality we face as adoptees... Trace

Monday, February 12, 2018

South Dakota's Federal #ICWA Ruling Heads To 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

The Indian Child Welfare Act lawsuit filed in Rapid City's federal court almost five years ago is going to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel is hearing oral arguments in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

In March 2013, the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux Tribes, as well as tribal parents, brought suit against state officials in Pennington County. They claim the process for handling abuse and neglect cases routinely violates ICWA and due process rights.

After two years of litigation, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken found for the plaintiffs and ordered changes in the way emergency placements are handled. Immediate appeals were filed by the Seventh Circuit presiding judge, the Pennington County State's Attorney, and the state Department of Social Services. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

LISTEN AT LINK: South Dakota's Federal ICWA Ruling Heads To 8th Circuit Court of Appeals | SDPB Radio

Friday, January 19, 2018

Native Americans Confront the Legacy of #Adoption

Groups help ease transition back into families, tribes

Conrad Eagle Feather, a Sicangu Lakota, was only three when he was taken from the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota and adopted by a non-Native farming family in the state of Nebraska. His three sisters were removed to separate families.
He recalls a childhood with little joy.
“They used us for farm labor,” he said, detailing a list of chores that began before dawn and continued until bedtime. He said he still bears the scars of physical abuse.
“For every sin I had committed according to the Bible, I got one strike with whatever they had in their hands at the time — a garden hose, a broom handle, a wire hanger,” he said. “And all the time, they used to tell me, ‘Who knows what would have happened to you if we hadn’t saved you?’”

READ STORY: Native Americans Confront the Legacy of Adoption

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Indiana to open their adoption records July 1st

Indiana is set to open their adoption records on July 1st, and this will be of particular interest to our Native American community. As you may know, over a million children were routed through Chicago between 1950-1970 and many of them ended up in Indiana, having been placed in non-Native foster and adoption settings.

Please let your readers know there will be a conference open to everyone that will assist people in filling out the forms to request their birth information, hosted by the Indiana Adoptee Network  Needless to say, we are counting the days so that hopefully many of the American Indians/Native Americans living here will be able to find their rightful families and reconnect with their culture and heritage.

Thank you,

Kerry Steiner
Professional Genealogist
Aspen Genealogy
Creating Affordable Family Trees Since 1992
Association of Professional Genealogists
National Genealogical Society
Indiana Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 17491  ~  Indianapolis, IN 46217
(317) 370-6781

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Victims Sought: Canada Awards $635 Million to Stolen Native Children #6os Scoop

YouTube Screen Capture
Chief Marcia Brown Martel is a lead claimant in the 'Sixties Scoop' court settlement with Canada. Under the settlement, First Nations and Inuit children who were taken from their homes between 1951 and 1991 will be eligible for personal compensation.

Montreal Sixties Scoop victims from 1951 to 1991 can seek assistance from National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network regarding settlement

In October of 2017, the federal Government of Canada reached a settlement with the First Nations victims of the “Sixties Scoop.”  The program gained its nickname when child welfare agencies removed thousands of indigenous children from their communities primarily in the 60’s and placed them with foster families or adopting families.
After years of trying to fight against the Canadian federal government, Lead claimant Chief Marcia Brown Martel won a massive victory when the court awarded a payout of $800 million Canadian / $635 million American, to about 20,000 victims.

How to seek compensation and / or support as a “Sixties Scoop” survivor
Colleen Cardinal, (Plains Cree from Saddle Lake Cree Nation) one of the co-founders of the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (NISCW) told Indian Country Today that the NISCW is a great resource for those seeking compensation and / or support as a “Sixties Scoop” survivor.
In addition to offering services such as leadership, support and advocacy for those affected by Indigenous child removal systems in Canada, the NISCW is currently offering a specific “Sixties Scoop” Peer Support Toll Free Number (1-866-456-6060.)

According to the NISCW website:
The peer support line will provide listening and support services to Indigenous 60s scoop survivors who experienced displacement, loss of culture, due to being adopted or fostered in non-Indigenous households across Canada, the U.S.A.
The Peer Support Line will provide safe, respectful and non-judgemental confidential listening.It will link Survivors to approved services across Canada to support their emotional, cultural, spiritual and mental needs.
Services include:
  • Provide direction on how to access government information related to their adoption and other government documentation.
  • Provide direction to support their repartition efforts that include finding families and communities.
  • Provide information and direction on how to attain Indigenous programs and services, Treaty Indian Cards, Metis memberships and Nunavut Land Claims Agreement services for Inuit.
  • Provide one-on-one talks with Survivors to listen to stories, connect them with other Survivors, or Sixties Scoop organizations across Canada.
For more information on the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network visit

READ: Victims Sought: Canada Awards $635 Million to Stolen ‘Sixties Scoop’ Native Children - Indian Country Media Network

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adoptees take back adoption narrative and reject propaganda

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.


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

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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.

Our Fault? (no)