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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Matthew L.M. Fletcher on TNToT

Sixth Commentary on TNToT — Chapter 5: “Taking Indian Kids Away from Their Homes and Families”


This is the sixth full commentary on “The New Trail of Tears” (TNToT), a book written by Naomi Schaefer Riley (NSR or the author). The announcement post is here.
  • The first commentary, “Framed by a Friend,” is here.
  • The second commentary, “Turning Indian History against Indians,” is here.
  • The third commentary, “Indians are Saudi Arabia, Not Israel (Oh, and Crying Toddlers)” is here.
  • The fourth commentary, “”Indians as Unmotivated, Dependent Victims” is here.
  • Monte Mills’ guest commentary is here.
  • The fifth commentary: “Tearing Down American Indian Educators and Parents” is here.
  • Commentary on NSR’s DAPL column is here.
Chapter 5 is an outrage, with NSR implicitly advocating for the complete eradication of tribal communities because Indian tribes and the federal government have made them unlivable. This chapter deals with the Indian Child Welfare Act and Indian country justice. NSR continues to condemn Indian people for the same dog whistles — they’re lazy, ignorant, and dependent.
ICWA (or, Indian Country is Hell)

TNToT tees up a series of anti-ICWA advocates here, but never really makes the argument for why ICWA is bad. NSR’s goal here is to try to show that Indian country is an unlivable hellhole. NSR believes that “for too many children the best option is be raised elsewhere” [at 146]. TNToT quotes Elizabeth Morris (a vociferous anti-ICWA voicebox for the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare), who hopes that her own children won’t grow up in Minnesota Indian country [at 145]. Morris blames the federal government’s “subsidies” for her perception that Indian families are disintegrating. [at 150] For Morris, the government has “replace[d] the father in the home. . . .” [at 150] Further, “A man does need to feel needed. But the government took care of all that.” [at 150]
Morris is an evangelical Christian who firmly preaches the “drunken Indian” stereotype as fact. She also believes that Indian children should be raised by white families: “If they seriously wanted to protect children, they would have to send them off the rez and give them to white foster homes.” Morris is affiliated with the “Citizens Equal Rights Alliance,” a white nationalist group. These are NSR’s people, leading her down the primrose path to conclude: “[T]he reservation [is] no place for . . . children.” [at 167]

NSR also relies upon Mark Fiddler (the man who wants as many Indian children in foster care as possible: “If anything, there should be more Indian children put into foster care.”). Like Morris, Fiddler condemns Indian parents and reservation homes, referring to a “cycle of dysfunctional parenting.” [at 152] Fiddler also alleges: “And a disproportionately high number of Indian children are in danger every day.” [at 149-50] Foster care in off-reservation homes as a solution to the real problems in Indian child welfare is a really bad idea. I addressed these claims here:
Studies show what should be inherently understood—plucking children out of a community they know and putting them in stranger foster care is actively harmful to kids (there’s a reason Casey Family Programs is putting a billion dollars into reducing the number of kids in foster care). Eighty percent of child welfare removals are due to neglect. Our children do deserve better: better services, better wrap around care, a better understanding of the mental health issues and chemical dependency that plagues their parents. They don’t deserve to be taken from everything familiar—their neighborhood, schools, and extended family—because of system failures in our society.
Opposition to ICWA often comes from the private adoption market, as I wrote here:
Who benefits if ICWA tumbles? As usual, the answer can be found by following the money. Start with the beneficiaries of the $14 billion private adoption market. The adoption industry long has been a foe of ICWA. Conversely, Indian tribes do not profit from the termination of parents’ rights.
ICWA requires the state to seek an Indian family to adopt where possible, but private adoption agencies don’t get paid unless an adoption with a paying family goes through. In both direct placement adoptions and adoptions following failed reunifications with parents, money works against reunification with families and ICWA compliance. Some foster parents are encouraged by private agencies to become foster-to-adopt parents, altering the goal of foster care from reunification to termination for adoption. And being told they will be able to adopt their Indian foster children just as soon as the parents’ rights are terminated creates an adversarial relationship – not one that encourages the stated goal of reunification. In addition, fees charged by private and religious adoption agencies taint direct placement adoption petitions.
There is a candid statement in TNToT about the origins of ICWA: before ICWA, states removed Indian kids because the families were poor: “These standards, of course, would be enough to remove plenty of white children from their homes as well.” [at 149] I’m not sure if NSR is advocating for more foster care for all poor families regardless of race, or if’s an admission that there’s a problem in child welfare more generally.



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

SOLD! Adoptive U.S. parents paid thousands for Indigenous Manitoba children #60sScoop

Indigenous children for sale: The money behind the Sixties Scoop

Carla Williams, SIxties Scoop
Carla Williams was adopted by a Dutch family during the Sixties Scoop. (CBC)



Marlene Orgeron recalls the day her adoptive Louisiana parents told her they bought her for $30,000. Her brothers, they told Marlene, were "freebies."

It left her feeling worthless.

"They told me I should feel grateful they paid anything for me at all," Orgeron said. "I felt so guilty."
It's the latest revelation in a story survivors say has haunted them for decades: the money behind the Sixties Scoop.

The scoop, as it is called, refers to the era from the 1960s to the 1980s, when child welfare authorities scooped up Indigenous children and adopted them out to non-Indigenous families.

Those placed in homes outside the country weren't just adopted out of their Indigenous homes and into mostly white American families. They were bought and paid for.

"It hurts so much, but I have waited so many years for someone to finally talk about this," said Dianne Fast, whose brother Willy was seized from their Eriksdale, Man., home and adopted by a couple in Indiana.
Marlene Orgeron
Marlene Orgeron was taken from her home in Shoal Lake, Man., in the 1970s and adopted by a family in the U.S. (CBC)

His value? Fast said her brother went for $10,000.

"His mother used to say she owned him."

Carla Williams, also from Manitoba, was adopted by a family in Holland for $6,400.
Manitoba twins Diane and Debra ended up in Pennsylvania. They said they were valued at $10,000 as a pair.

Wayne Snellgrove calls it human trafficking.

"[My adoptive parents] paid a lot of money for me," said Snellgrove, who started out in foster care.
"They farmed us out to an [American] adoption agency and then they sold me."

'It sickened me'

Williams said the thought of the transactions is revolting.

"It sickened me," she said.

Barbara Tremitiere was surprised to hear this. Now retired, during the 1970s, she was an adoption worker with the Pennsylvania-based Tressler Lutheran Home for Children.

They worked hard to find homes for children with "special needs," she said. Canadian Indigenous children were deemed special needs.

"Because you didn't want them," Tremitiere said. "I was once told by a native person from [Manitoba], on one of the reservations ... 'we passed on to you what we didn't want.' And they were probably right."

The agency fees to adopt Indigenous kids from Manitoba weren't high — under $2,000, Tremitiere said.

The Children's Bureau of New Orleans charged close to $4,000. The executive director at the time called it a "great deal" for Manitoba taxpayers, who would no longer have to foot the bill for Indigenous kids in provincial care.

At the time, the U.S. also was promoting Indigenous adoptions, pulling children from their reservations and placing them in white families to assimilate them.

Sixties Scoop, Adopt Indian Metis program

Old newspaper clippings promote adoption of First Nations children. (Karen Pauls/Twitter)
One 1966 press release celebrated the successful adoptions of these "Indian waifs."

 

'Hands off our children'

Ernie Daniels, then chief of Long Plain First Nation, called it genocide. He was stunned to see newspaper ads from U.S. adoption agencies recruiting "Indian" kids from Manitoba.

Eric Charles Orgeron
Marlene Orgeron's brother, Eric Orgeron, was born in Birch River, Man., in 1972 and later adopted by a family in the U.S. He moved back to Manitoba in August to get back in touch with his roots. (Marlene Orgeron)

"I told them to keep their hands off our children," Daniels told CBC News.

His pleas fell on deaf ears south of the border, but they gained traction in Manitoba.

By1982, the province ordered a moratorium on out-of-province adoption of Indigenous children. Soon after, an inquiry was launched into the child welfare system and its effect on Indigenous families.

It's estimated more than 25 per cent of all Indigenous children placed for adoption were placed in homes outside the province. Hundreds ended up in the United States; many are still trying to find their way home.

"It doesn't even feel like this body belongs to me," said Williams. "I'm lost. I'm really lost."

SEE WEBSITE FOR MORE

Monday, September 26, 2016

$1.3 billion in damages: #60sScoop get their day in court




August 23, 2016
 
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu

Thousands of First Nations, Métis and Inuit across Canada who were ripped from their homes as children are getting their day in court after a years-long struggle in what has become known as the “Sixties Scoop,” a painful, but little-understood chapter of Canadian history.

The so-called scoop happened between the 1960s and the 1980s and saw thousands of aboriginal children taken from their homes by child-welfare service workers and placed with mostly non-aboriginal families. In some cases, children were sent to live with families in other provinces, the United States and the U.K., often without the consent of their parents.

A  legacy of  ‘cultural genocide’

The fallout from the practice has negatively impacted generations of aboriginal Canadians.

The final Truth and Reconciliation Commission report stated “the effects of the residential school experience and the Sixties Scoop have adversely affected parenting skills and the success of many Aboriginal families.”

“By the end of the 1970s, the transfer of children from residential schools was nearly complete in Southern Canada, and the impact of the Sixties Scoop was in evidence across the country,” the TRC said.

“In 1977, Aboriginal children accounted for 44 per cent of the children in care in Alberta, 51 per cent 
of the children in care in Saskatchewan, and 60 per cent of the children in care in Manitoba.”


The “Sixties Scoop” has not received the same attention as another dark chapter in Canada’s history: the issue of residential schools. And unlike survivors of the residential school system, adults who went through the Sixties Scoop have never received an apology from the federal government. Last June, the Manitoba government formally apologized to those affected.

Marcia Brown Martel, a member of the Temagami First Nation near Kirkland Lake, Ont., was taken by child welfare officials and adopted by a non-native family as a child.

Martel has described what happened to her and thousands of others as “cultural genocide.”


“I lost everything, including my name. I lost my family. I lost my language. I lost everything about my culture,” Martel told The Canadian Press. “This should never have happened. It was wrong.”


Dozens of supporters rallied outside a Toronto courtroom Tuesday where an Ontario Superior Court judge will hear opening arguments for a summary judgment in a class action lawsuit against the federal government by survivors of the Sixties Scoop.

At the heart of the Ontario lawsuit, is a federal-provincial arrangement in which Ontario child welfare services placed as many as 16,000 aboriginal children with non-native families from December 1965 to December 1984.


The claim, which has not been proven in court, alleges the children suffered a devastating loss of cultural identity that the federal government should have protected. The suit alleges plaintiffs suffered emotional, psychological and spiritual harm from the lost connection to their aboriginal heritage.  
They are seeking $1.3 billion in damages, or $85,000 for each affected person.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs will argue they have enough evidence to forego a trial and prove that Canada had an obligation in law to ensure that indigenous children removed from their homes retain their cultural identity and heritage.


Tuesday’s hearing comes after seven years of delays due to appeals by the federal government, which has fought the claim since it was launched in 2009.

“Today I stand with the survivors of the Ontario Sixties Scoop as they fight for justice and acknowledgement after decades of heartache,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, in a statement. “Survivors of the Sixties Scoop deserve just resolution and restitution without further delay.  The federal government said recently that they would prefer to resolve this issue outside the courtroom.  If they are serious then they should work with survivors of the Sixties Scoop to get a respectful, acceptable process in place.”

Sixties Scoop survivor Dokis Thibault is emotional as she gathers with supporters at a rally in Toronto on Tuesday, August 23, 2016. Scores of aboriginals from across Ontario rallied in Toronto today ahead of a landmark court hearing on the so-called ’60s Scoop.
Calls on Ottawa to recognize an ‘immense wrong’
A number of indigenous leaders called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an open letter to resolve the issue without further delay and to “recognize and right an immense wrong — with both words and deeds.”

“This case is about Canadian values – past, present and future,” the letter says. “This moment is an opportunity for Canada to put an ugly legacy behind us, for the government to take steps to reform its conduct so that the injustice does not continue and build a better future for all. It’s a chance to open the door for future generations to grow up healthy and proud of who they are.”

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett has said she wants to see the lawsuit over the Sixties Scoop taken out of court.

“We, as you know — as a government — would like to get things out of court and to a table where we can make those kinds of agreements together, as a way forward,” Bennett told reporters in Winnipeg in August.

“We want to work together with all of the litigants that are presently in court and try and get to the table.”
*With files from the Canadian Press

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Protest at Goldwater Institute



Group to Protest Goldwater Institute's Anti-ICWA Suit in Phoenix

9/22/16
On Friday, September 23, 2016, a group of Native Americans will be protesting at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, in response to that organization's legal challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Event organizers, known as Defend ICWA, say the protest will fall on the third anniversary of the surrender of Baby Veronica to her adoptive parents, a case that made global headlines after the Cherokee girl's biological father fought to maintain custody in a protracted legal battle that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. The protest is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., across the street from the Goldwater offices in Phoenix.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/09/22/group-protest-goldwater-institutes-anti-icwa-suit-phoenix-165868


Thursday, September 15, 2016

California Supreme Court Denies Review in In re Alexandria P. (Choctaw ICWA Case)

NICWA Supports Safe Transition in California ICWA Case

Being a foster parent is a hard, selfless, honorable role. We have great compassion and appreciation for the amazing people who open their homes and lives to vulnerable children at the time when they need love, stability, and support the most. And while we feel deep sympathy for what the Page family is going through during this difficult time, it was regrettable and disturbing to observe the media spectacle witnessed yesterday, which stands in stark contrast to best practice that ensures a child's safe transition in such circumstances.
 
Transitioning a child from a foster care placement to family should be done in a manner that creates the least amount of unnecessary trauma for a child. This is why such matters are kept private--because child development experts and families understand it is in the child's best interest to do so.
 
Court transcripts indicate the Pages were aware since 2011 that their foster daughter had loving relatives wanting to welcome her into their home and reunite her with her siblings, one of whom she will now live with. As with most foster placements, where reunification with siblings and family is the stated objective, the Page family understood her placement was to be temporary.
 
Despite this and numerous court rulings dating back to 2013, they chose to reject the consensus of the court, the county child welfare agency, the child's parent, her court-appointed attorney, and her tribe, who all agreed it was in her best interest to be with her sister and family.
 
Now she is with family. Court documents elaborate on the longstanding and close relationship her relatives have with her; they explain that she has long known them as "family from Utah." These are not strangers. These are family members who she knows well.
 
We understand the difficulty of accepting the temporary nature of foster parenting, but it is imperative we focus on supporting a safe transition. Today, this child is with her sister and other family members who have been waiting five long years to welcome this child into their home.  
 
Read more HERE

Docket here.
Documents and previous coverage here.

SOURCE: Turtle Talk

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Vancouver Island couple lose appeals to adopt Metis toddler

A British Columbia foster family has lost its fight in the province’s highest court to adopt a Metis toddler in an emotional saga that has pitted the importance of indigenous heritage against that of blood relatives.
The B.C. Court of Appeal has dismissed two appeals launched by the Vancouver Island couple, who hoped to stop the Ministry of Children and Family Development from moving the little girl to Ontario to live with her biological siblings, who she has never met.
The foster mom is Metis while the adoptive parents in Ontario are not, and the B.C. couple had argued the girl’s aboriginal background should take precedence. The girl, who is nearly three, has been in the couple’s care since two days after birth.
But a five-judge panel ruled unanimously in a written decision released Tuesday that both the couple’s appeals of earlier B.C. Supreme Court decisions must be dismissed.
“(The foster parents) face an insurmountable hurdle to achieving the relief sought,” the ruling says. “The adoption scheme in British Columbia does not provide for adoption of a child by foster parents at the behest of a court….”

KEEP READING

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Native Americans Descended From A Single Ancestral Group, DNA Study Confirms

Native Americans Descended From A Single Ancestral Group, DNA Study Confirms: For two decades, researchers have been using a growing volume of genetic data to debate whether ancestors of Native Americans emigrated to the New World in one wave or successive waves, or from one ancestral Asian population or a number of different populations. Now, after painstakingly comparing DNA samples from people in dozens of modern-day Native American and Eurasian groups, an international team of scientists thinks it can put the matter to rest: virtually without exception, the new evidence supports the single ancestral population theory.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

One River, Two Canoes

Kristen Carpenter on ICWA in Cato Unbound


Here is “One River, Two Canoes: Peace and Respect in Indian Child Welfare.”

Kristen’s first post in this series is here.

The Indian child is not a blank slate. She is never a fraction of anything. She is Navajo or Hopi, Odawa or Cherokee, born into a fabric of spiritual life, a lineage of cultural practice, a place of individual power and of collective responsibility to the whole. One or two or three generations later – even if her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were themselves relocated or adopted – today the Indian child is protected in her personal identity, family life, and tribal citizenship by ICWA.[5]

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Third Fletcher Commentary on ICWA in Cato Unbound


Here is “A History Lesson“:

An excerpt:
Reformers are still trying to save Indian children by taking them away from Indian families and tribes. Mr. Sandefur would rather force Indian children into state court systems by undoing ICWA, perhaps because they can be more easily plucked from state systems by the private adoption market. There have even been calls to greatly expand the number of Indian children in foster care. Literally no ethical person seeks to put more children in foster care. Studies show what should be inherently understood—plucking children out of a community they know and putting them in stranger foster care is actively harmful to kids (there’s a reason Casey Family Programs is putting a billion dollars into reducing the number of kids in foster care). Eighty percent of child welfare removals are due to neglect. Our children do deserve better: better services, better wrap around care, a better understanding of the mental health issues and chemical dependency that plagues their parents. They don’t deserve to be taken from everything familiar—their neighborhood, schools, and extended family—because of system failures in our society.
Imagine a child welfare proceeding where the judge meets with the parties for two hours before the hearing to engage in problem solving and to brainstorm creative ideas to best serve the child, followed by a formal hearing that may last two or more hours. Compare that to a state court hearing that lasts mere minutes, and where there are systematic financial pressures for “permanency,” in other words, to place children in foster care, terminate parental rights quickly, and adopt them out. It’s not even a comparison.

Prior entries here and here.

[My humble opinion is the billion dollar adoption trafficking industry needs to keep Indian kids in the pipeline to make money - and that is not in the best interest of an Indian child... Trace (adoptee and erased]

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.

“Cherokee Nation ICW (Indian Child Welfare) is supporting the campaign #DefendICWA developed by the National Indian Child Welfare Association. Our department is asking individuals to express their support by writing down how and why they support and defend ICWA, with a snapshot of their self holding their document of support. Cherokee Nation is the largest federally recognized tribal nation. We also have the largest ICW department. ICW has around 130 employees who work continuously to ensure our Native families and children’s rights are protected and the ICWA is enforced. The BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) has published ICWA regulations, which will be in full effect this December 2016. These regulations address issues in the past that were misinterpreted by state courts and blatantly ignored. The regulations make the ICWA stronger, give it teeth and (makes) more clear for state courts understanding. The regulations also address the so-called ‘existing Indian family doctrine.’ This doctrine is no more. Unfortunately, there is still misconception and misunderstanding as to why the ICWA is so significant to tribal nations. There is a constant struggle with the media whom paints tribal nations so horrific and develops a very negative perception of ICWA. We are here. We are not going anywhere, and we will continue to fight for ICWA to ensure our future by taking care of our children. Every Cherokee child matters no matter where they reside. This campaign puts a face to supporters’ words. This campaign shows Indian Country’s strong supports of ICWA.” Heather Baker, Cherokee Nation citizen on the “I support and defend the ICWA because” Campaign #RealPeopleSeries

A photo posted by The Cherokee Phoenix (@thecherokeephoenix) on

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

Three Books on Lost Birds

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.

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.

from pinterest

click for more info

click for more info
Native American sex trafficking resource

Hilary Tompkins, adoptee

Support ICWA

“I came to California in 1956. I am 83 years old. I will be 84 in October. I was born in 1932. I am one of 12 children. I am the great-great-great granddaughter of Chief Richard Fields of the Texas Cherokees, and also my grandmother, who married Walker Fields, (1876-1902) was Annie Bushyhead (1885-1902). Her father was Jesse Bushyhead(1854-1906). Jesse was the first cousin of Ned Bushyhead (1832-1907), the first editor of the San Diego Union newspaper. Ned Bushyhead went to California in 1849 for the Gold Rush. The Cherokees did not do too well in the gold fields. The Cherokee women did excellent because they did laundry and things for the miners, and they made more money. I moved to San Diego from Grove, Oklahoma, actually Peter’s Prairie. I was born one-half mile from where John Ridge died, murdered or assassinated, whatever you want to call it. I was also born only a half-mile from the cemetery (where John Ridge, his father Major Ridge and Gen. Stand Watie are buried). It’s called the Polson Cemetery (Delaware County). It’s now a National Historic monument, and my parents and grandparents, and my brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and my great-grandmother Bushyhead are all buried in the cemetery. All of my relatives were allotted land in that same area. I still own 16 acres of my dad’s allotted land. My ancestor on the Fields side came (to Indian Territory) with Major Ridge before the Trial of Tears.They came in 1837. The Ridges had slaves, and one of the slave’s names was Peter, and he cleared this prairie. It’s called Peter’s Prairie. I was born right in the middle of that prairie. Our house was a three-room house that daddy built in 1922. Six of us were born there, and the last six of us wereborn at the Claremore Indian Hospital.” Etta Jean Fields, Cherokee Nation citizen from San Diego #RealPeopleSeries

A photo posted by The Cherokee Phoenix (@thecherokeephoenix) on