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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sen. Udall Holds Listening Session on Human Trafficking in Indian Country

Native News Online Staff
Vice Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Tom Udall - D - New Mexico

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, held a stakeholder meeting on ways to more effectively prevent, prosecute, and improve data collection on human trafficking in Indian Country. Federal data on human trafficking in Native communities is limited, but available information suggests human trafficking in the United States frequently targets vulnerable populations, which would include Native Americans who disproportionately face high rates of poverty and trauma. In order to address the shortage of information, the Indian Affairs committee requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) seek data on the prevalence of human trafficking in Native communities and research the frequency with which law enforcement agencies have encountered it, the services that are available to victims, demographic information, efforts to increase prosecutions, and other federal initiatives. 
 
Udall released the following statement:
 
"Human trafficking affects every community in the United States – regardless of age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background. And because Native Americans disproportionally face high rates of poverty and trauma, they are especially vulnerable and frequent targets of human trafficking. For years, Tribal leaders and Native activists have raised the issue of human trafficking with Congress. By sharing their powerful and often heart-breaking stories, they have elevated our awareness about the need for more information and more resources to combat the spread of human trafficking in Indian country.  
 
"But the fact is that the federal government knows very little about the rates of human trafficking on Tribal lands. And it knows even less about human trafficking of individual Native Americans. After reviewing these GAO reports, it is clear that the true extent of human trafficking in Indian Country remains unknown. But it is also clear to me that the federal government could do more to help Native victims who are slipping through the cracks. Congress must take a long, hard look at how federal agencies collect and monitor data on this issue, ensure their accountability, and then work to provide federal and Tribal law enforcement agencies with enough resources to keep Indian Country safe. The administration’s proposed cuts to federal law enforcement agencies and Tribal programs would only further strain public safety initiatives on Tribal lands. Instead of jeopardizing Native communities by cutting policing and justice budgets, Congress should look for new ways to get funding resources to Tribes.
 
"Like with other crimes in Indian Country, addressing human trafficking will require Congress to look at and pass legislation that addresses issues of jurisdiction and inter-agency cooperation, and I’m hopeful that we can work together to provide Tribes with more resources to combat human trafficking and ensure that all Native victims of crime get the support they so desperately need."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The REAL ID ACT is already here?


by Lauren Hannula on

 

The REAL ID Act: Are You Ready for a National ID?


WI REAL ID 300x192 The REAL ID Act: Are You Ready for a National ID?
Sample of the new REAL ID for Wisconsin

People throughout the country might see some big changes happening to their driver’s licenses and state IDs. As of February 2013, 19 states have demonstrated compliance with the REAL ID Act, a piece of legislature that imposes much stricter measures on how people can obtain a driver’s license, and sets more thorough standards as to what will be displayed on them. Called the new “national ID,” the REAL ID Act has gained some traction in light of recent events like the Boston Marathon bombings.
But what exactly is the REAL ID Act, and how will it affect drivers across the nation?

The History of REAL ID

After 9/11, the federal government began to look at ways to increase security surrounding state identification cards and driver’s licenses, in an attempt to prevent further terrorism and/or unlawful entry into and out of the country.
In 2005, the House of Representatives passed a bill into law called the REAL ID Act. This Act would set certain federal standards upon all driver’s licenses, which are currently regulated by each individual state. After being passed into law, the bill was tabled until 2007, when it was announced that the federal enforcement of the act would be postponed for a period of two years. However, many state governments were slow to support this act, feeling that it not only infringed upon states’ rights handed to them by the 10th Amendment, but also created unnecessary cost to taxpayers in order to implement the change. It wasn’t until this year that the federal government announced that all states would need to be in compliance with the REAL ID Act by the end of 2017.

How IDs Will Be Affected

The REAL ID Act sets forth new federally mandated requirements for all state driver’s licenses and ID cards. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has set standards not entirely dissimilar from the requirements already in place for most states throughout the country. On each ID, the following information must be present:
  • Full legal name
  • Residential address
  • Birth date
  • Gender
  • Driver’s license/identification card number
  • Digital front-facing photograph
  • Signature
Driver’s licenses and IDs must now also include a common barcode and security devices to prevent any tampering with or counterfeiting of the card, and must display a star in the upper right-hand corner, signifying that your identification has been approved by the TSA and your identity has been verified. There are also new requirements put in place to obtain an ID or license; all applicants must present the following documents during the application process:
  • A photo ID, or non-photo ID that contains the applicant’s full legal name and birth date
  • Valid birth certificate
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of legal U.S. citizenship, OR proof of lawful admittance into or temporary residence within the U.S.
Lastly, each state must also agree to share its database of licensed citizens and drivers with all other states, including every piece of data on the cards themselves (name, address, birth date, etc.), along with all driving records and driver histories of everyone licensed to drive in the state.

The Pros and Cons of REAL ID

Proponents of the REAL ID Act cite its advantages to national security. These measures ensure that non-citizens are unable to obtain a state-issued ID or driver’s license, and also prevent anyone without one from boarding aircraft or entering high-security locations. Similarly, these IDs would place the United States in the company of nearly 100 other countries in the world (including most European countries) that have some form of a national ID card.

Cost, Freedom, and Privacy Concerns

However, many states oppose the implementation of the REAL ID Act based upon the estimated cost. The Act is a unfunded mandate, meaning that while the requirement is federally issued, the entire cost of recreating and re-issuing millions of licenses and ID cards would fall solely upon the states – without any financial assistance from the federal government. States are therefore required to raise their licensing fees in order to make up the added cost… putting an extra financial burden upon the licensee, who may simply be attempting to transfer one valid license into the REAL ID format.
Once the Act is fully implemented, residents without the new mandated ID will also be barred from boarding airplanes, entering nuclear facilities, and performing any other actions that require “official” federal identification. Citizens will need to provide a valid U.S. passport or permanent residency card in place of the new ID.
Another major concern is the idea of personal information being gathered and stored into what some are calling a “national database.” In order for the DHS and TSA to validate a citizen’s identity, they need to collect and store the information that otherwise would be solely kept by individual states. Many are worried about the “Big Brother”-esque implications this may have to personal privacy.

Major Effects Upon Immigrants

Immigrants and foreign nationals working in the United States are similarly worried about how the REAL ID Act may affect their abilities to live and work within the country. As the requirements for obtaining a new ID card are much more stringent than what some states may currently employ, foreigners without legal proof of entry into the country or without a Social Security number will be barred from obtaining a driver’s license, limiting their means of travel throughout country by a huge margin and possibly forcing them to return to their home country to renew their ID. Then again, supporters of the REAL ID Act cite this as an example of the system working properly, as it ensures that the only people working and traveling within the U.S. are those that the government has officially allowed to be here.

Immigration, Adoptees and The Identity Police: The REAL ID ACT of 2005

By Trace Hentz, Blog Editor

Have you tried to get a driver's license recently? I spoke to a cousin in Illinois who was not given a driver's license (renewal) but a piece of paper instead. She is not adopted. The Illinois Motor Vehicles people told her they are doing a background check first then will mail it to her. (My cousin has lived in Illinois all her life and she is over 60.)
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
We have seen this coming. (I was worried in 2005 when I went to get a passport and had to mail them my fake birth certificate.)
In 2011, Leland Morrill wrote this Facebook post on his concerns about the lack of original birth certificates for many Native adoptees like him. Leland did not have a birth certificate but a Certificate of No Birth Record.
READ HERE 

Leland contributed to the book series Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects. In the first book TWO WORLDS he shared he had not found his mother or father and was adopted by Mormons. In the second book CALLED HOME he found his mother's family. In STOLEN GENERATIONS, the third book, he found and met all his clans and his father.

Each year for an adoptee, information can drip drip drip and finally come. It's not a fast process. Each piece of paper helps.
You have two parents and two family trees. Never give up hope of finding the paperwork and the people.

ALSO::: If you adopted a child, request their adoption file as soon as possible. If you signed these documents you have the right to have a certified copy of the adoption proceedings and court documents. You and your adopted child will need ALL this information, when they reach adulthood. If you adopted a child from another country, did you get them their US citizenship records? If not, they could be deported. It is that serious.

If you do not have documentation of any kind, call the local FBI right now and explain your situation and remind them of the REAL ID ACT - and how it affects you as an adoptee.


This is what Leland shared about the REAL ID ACT of 2005:

REAL ID ACT of 2005 passages affecting me and possibly other Native Americans:
(pg 42) TITLE II—IMPROVED SECURITY FOR DRIVERS’ LICENSES AND PERSONAL
IDENTIFICATION CARDS
(pg 43) Minimum document requirements:
(pg 44) (2) The person’s date of birth.
(pg 45) (B) Documentation showing the person’s date of birth
(pg 46) (C) TEMPORARY DRIVERS’ LICENSES AND17 IDENTIFICATION CARDS

(i) IN GENERAL.—If a person presents evidence under any of clauses (v) through (ix) of subparagraph (B), the State may only issue a temporary driver’s license or temporary identification card to the person. (ii) EXPIRATION DATE.—A temporary driver’s license or temporary identification card issued pursuant to this subparagraph shall be valid only during the period of time of the applicant’s authorized stay in the United States or, if there is no definite end to the period of authorized stay, a period of one year.
There will be undocumented Native Americans who will find through their respective state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) they no longer have the eligible documentation to maintain or be issued an Identification Card or Drivers License.  Some will be issued a temporary "paper" 1 to 6 month extension, up to one year, as per The Real ID ACT of 2005.  Others will not.  Once the State issued temporary extension, Identification, Drivers License expires, these Native Americans (me included) will become undocumented, thus illegal with no papers.
One of the main reasons for me setting up this Facebook page is because I never received correspondence from Representative Sensenbrenner. In addition, through 22 years of research, my own research has resulted in obtaining a State of Arizona Certificate of No Birth, keep in mind the Navajo Nation adopted me out in Chinle, Arizona.
My State of Arizona "Certificate of No Birth," was issued December 21, 2010, the result of my continuous research since September 07, 1989.
So far, with the help of my close friends, and people willing to help, my own financing, tens of thousands of US dollars later, I now have a State of Arizona Certificate of No Birth and a second State issued 6 month temporary paper Drivers License expiring July 13, 2011. My United States of America CITIZENSHIP expires on that date, again JULY 13, 2011. By virtue of the REAL ID ACT of 2005, States may only issue temporary Drivers Licenses and Identification for those who currently have one for an additional year. I am one of those cases.

Representative Sensenbrenner's Real ID ACT of 2005 will make me an ILLEGAL ALIEN who cannot work, and cannot access medical care, obtain a credit card, bank account, vote, and any right that is afforded a United States Citizen because of not having a current State issued Identification Card or Drivers License. My citizenship expires July 13, 2011 after my second 6 month temporary State issued Drivers License does.  (Leland was able to get this resolved.) Commissioner Chai Feldblum delivered a copy of my version of the Real IS Act to Jim Sensenbrenner.. The same day I talked to Chai Feldblum at UCLA School of Law, the Navajo Nation called me to tell me they were going to issue my Birth Certificate.

*** My Final Thoughts

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) originally estimated that REAL ID will cost $23.1 billion over 10 years. DHS planned to extend the deadline in 2013. Now it's 2017 and states must put it into effect.
In 2017, tell your governor to boycott it!  If you are an adoptee, explain why you cannot access your original birth certificate (if you live in a state with sealed adoption records.) Tell them what you stand to lose!
When an adoption is finalized, a new birth certificate for the child is customarily issued to the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents names are listed on our amended birth certificate.  The original birth certificate is then sealed and kept confidential by the State registrar of vital records. In the past, nearly all States required a court order for adoptees to gain access to their original birth certificates. In approximately 26 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico, a court order is still required.

Read more about your state's adoption laws here (2009 report):
www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/infoaccessap.cfm

Lawmakers ignorance about adoptees is not only dangerous, it's another SCARY chapter of adoption culture!
The Identity Police are asking for our identification and they are the ones withholding it for adoptees?
If anyone reading this blog has been denied a driver's license because you are an adoptee and do not have a copy of an original birth certificate  - please email me: laratrace@outlook.com.  You can also read about Navajo adoptee Leland Morrill on this blog - use the search bar to find his posts. He had difficulty replacing his lost driver's license...but was successful and is now an advocate for all of us adoptees.


Human Trafficking in Indian Country

The General Accounting Office has published a report, HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Information on Cases in Indian Country or that Involved Native Americans.
Human trafficking—the exploitation of
a person typically through force, fraud,
or coercion for such purposes as
forced labor, involuntary servitude or
commercial sex
—is occurring in the
United States and
involves vulnerable
populations. Native Americans are
considered a vulnerable population
because of high rates of poverty and
abuse, and other factors. GAO was
asked to research human trafficking
taking place in Indian country and
trafficking of Native American persons
regardless of where they are located in
the United States
.

PDF

NOTE: If you are an adoptee and do not have papers, and your adoptive parents have died CONTACT THE FBI immediately. Many adoptions were done by private attorneys and you could be a victim of human trafficking and were sold into adoption. 

https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/victims-human-trafficking-other-crimes
 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

TRIBAL JUSTICE DOCUMENTARY: reexamine the current definition of justice in America



New PBS Documentary on Native American Judges Focuses on Rehabilitative Justice

"We are village people. We have village values. And those values compel us to take care of each other, our families and our country," says Abby Abinanti, chief judge of the Yurok Tribal Court and the first Native American woman admitted to the State Bar of California. Tribal Justice spotlights tribal courts that incorporate indigenous customs and beliefs into their justice systems. The film follows Abby Abinanti and Claudette White, chief judges in two of the more than 300 tribal courts across the country, as they navigate cross-jurisdictional issues in their courts and communities.


Tribal Justice has its national broadcast premiere on the PBS documentary series POV (Point of View) on Monday, August 21, 2017. POV is American television's longest-running independent documentary series, now in its 30th season.  



White is the chief judge of the Quechan Tribal Court in the Southern California desert. She says the affiliated tribe has been "vastly diminished," but never removed from its homeland. "We have a lot of social ills in our community based on our location and the limitation to services," she says. "In my capacity as chief judge, what I'm fighting for is our people, our independence, our sovereignty, our existence."

White sees Abinanti as a mentor, and both women are focused on restoring their communities rather than punishing offenders. The Yurok and Quechan tribes are the two largest in California. Each faces its own unique issues, but Abinanti and White share the goal of increasing safety and decreasing incarceration in an effort to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. Both judges are passionate about preserving their cultures and creating new pathways to justice for families dealing with historical trauma and intergenerational addiction.

"You guys could be leaders in our community or you could help destroy our community," White tells two teenage boys in her court.

Studies show that rural areas and American Indian reservations are plagued by the manufacturing, trafficking and use of crystal methamphetamine. Reservations are targeted by non-Native drug cartels. Native Americans have the highest meth usage of any ethnic group in the nation, resulting in extremely high crime and incarceration rates. Abinanti remarks, "The state has a lot of responsibility for all the people. I have responsibility to one set of people-6,000 Yuroks and their families. And that's what I'm responsible for: for that and for this land."

Viewers first meet Taos Proctor, a large and gregarious young man, in Abinanti's tribal court in 2013. While out on parole from San Quentin State Prison, Proctor was arrested with methamphetamine on his person; he is facing a third-strike conviction and 25 years to life in prison. Over two years, the film follows Abinanti and her staff as they take on Proctor's case and help him to complete court programs and rebuild his life.

A thousand miles to the south, White invokes the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 to reunite an autistic and epileptic 9-year-old boy with his family. She also takes on a more personal case when she becomes the legal guardian to her troubled teenage nephew, Isaac Palone. Palone has recently left a group home and faces two felony charges for breaking into cars; his case is in state court rather than tribal court, and he is at risk of beginning a life shuttling in and out of prison.


Tribal Justice contradicts the entrenched mainstream narrative that depicts Native Americans as locked in hopeless circumstances as their tribes vanish. Abinanti and White's struggles and triumphs tell a different story, one of strong female leaders working alongside their people to affirm tribal sovereignty and break free of the systems of poverty and inequality confronting Native Americans today.

Director Anne Makepeace says that she was immediately moved by the two judges upon meeting them in 2013 and felt that audiences needed to know about their work. "I realized the film would educate a broad audience about something few Americans know about-tribal courts-and that it could have a tremendous positive impact on our criminal justice system."

"Tribal Justice challenges viewers to reexamine the current definition of justice in America," says POV executive producer Justine Nagan. "Through the often personal experiences of two powerful women striving to elevate their people through the tribal court process, Anne Makepeace gives us the opportunity to watch a rarely seen justice system effectively at work."

Friday, July 7, 2017

'It's a way of moving forward': Innu leaders praise announcement of inquiry into children in care


Innu leaders say there needs to be more of an effort to keep troubled Aboriginal children in Labrador, with treatment that includes a focus on their culture and roots.
The removal of children from their homes in Labrador has also been flagged by the province's child and youth advocate who has called for a new community-based approach to child welfare in the region.
In March, CBC News reported that 265 children from Labrador were living in foster care — including many from Inuit communities who had been sent to foster homes on the island of Newfoundland.

Uprooted: Why so many of Labrador's children are in foster care so far away from home

In Natuashish, a community of 963 people, there are 60 children in care of provincial government agencies.
Sheshashiu, the other Innu community in Labrador, with a population of 671, had 90 children in care.

"This is unacceptable that your children are being taken from you," Carolyn Bennett told him at the time. "We are going to change it."
Source: 'It's a way of moving forward': Innu leaders praise announcement of inquiry into children in care - Newfoundland & Labrador - CBC News

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Powwows, rodeos, homecomings today



How do Indians observe the 4th of July? Do we celebrate? 
To answer, let’s turn back the pages of time. A reasonable chapter to begin in is July 1776, when the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence and 13 colonies became the United States of America. With the emergence of a nation interested in expanding its territory came the issue of what to do with American Indians. History tells us that as the American non-Indian population increased, the indigenous population greatly decreased, along with their homelands and cultural freedoms.
From the beginning, U.S. government policy contributed to culture and land loss. Keeping our focus on the 4th of July, however, let’s jump to the early 1880s, when Secretary of the Interior Henry Teller developed what has come to be called the Religious Crimes Code—regulations at the heart of the Department of Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, Code of Indian Offensesthat prohibited American Indian ceremonial life.
Bottom of Form

Teller’s general guidelines to all Indian agents were to end tribal dances and feasts. Enforced on reservations, the code banned Indian ceremonies, disrupted religious practices, and destroyed or confiscated sacred objects. Indian ceremonial activities were prohibited under threat of imprisonment and/or the withholding of treaty rations.

The Secretary of the Interior issued this Code of Regulations in 1884, 1894, and 1904 through Indian Affairs Commissioner’s circulars and Indian agent directives. Indian superintendents and agents implemented the code until the mid-1930s. During this 50-year period, Indian spiritual ceremonies such as the Sun Dance and Ghost Dance were held in secret or ceased to exist. Some have since been revived or reintroduced by Indian tribes.

All across Indian country, tribes hold modern celebrations— including powwows, rodeos, and homecomings—that coincide with the United States’ Independence Day celebrations. 

READ July 4th Facts 

Indian Humor

Saturday, July 1, 2017

History: Britain’s Futile Attempt to Keep American Colonists From Taking Tribal Land

880b70ce-9aeb-42fa-a725-aba0d804794a.png

***
In the 1760s, the government in Britain was taking a new approach to its vast colonial holdings, and in 1763, colonial governors and tribal leaders met in Fort Augusta, Georgia, for the first of 10 congresses at which they negotiated a geographic separation. The king had ordered that there should be a limit to colonial expansion—if a tribe claimed a stretch of land, a colonial governor was not supposed to grant it to settlers. The Fort Augusta meeting began with the tribal representatives describing what they believed to be the extent of their territory. Over the course of several congresses, the diplomats agreed on a boundary between tribal lands and the seaboard colonies. This negotiated line was supposed to limit conflict for the foreseeable future.

***
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued October 7, 1763, by King George III following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War, which forbade all settlement past a line drawn along the Appalachian 

Friday, June 30, 2017

US Tribes Call for Testimonies on Missing American Indian & Alaska Native Boarding School Children

Published June 30, 2017

WASHINGTON – On June 15, 2017, at its Mid‐Year Conference in Connecticut, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) adopted a resolution, sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation, encouraging American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations, families, and descendants to provide information on children who never returned home from Indian Boarding Schools.

Source: US Tribes Call for Testimonies on Missing American Indian & Alaska Native Boarding School Children - Native News Online

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

They Called Me Number One

Like thousands of Aboriginal children in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere in the colonized world, Xatsu'll chief Bev Sellars spent part of her childhood as a student in a church-run residential school.
These institutions endeavored to "civilize" Native children through Christian teachings; forced separation from family, language, and culture; and strict discipline. Perhaps the most symbolically potent strategy used to alienate residential school children was addressing them by assigned numbers only—not by the names with which they knew and understood themselves.
In this frank and poignant memoir of her years at St. Joseph's Mission, Sellars breaks her silence about the residential school's lasting effects on her and her family—from substance abuse to suicide attempts—and eloquently articulates her own path to healing. Number One comes at a time of recognition—by governments and society at large—that only through knowing the truth about these past injustices can we begin to redress them.



Reviews

"Deeply personal, sorrowful and ultimately triumphal, They Called Me Number One is an important addition to the literature on residential schools, and Canada's reckoning with its colonial past."
- Winnipeg Free Press

"Her memoir provides invaluable insight into the enduring effects of a tragic and shameful part of our collective past, and also helps to begin the process of healing."
- Danna Hansen, Quill & Quire


"Much of what has been written about the residential schools system, however, is so densely academic or historical that many readers simply tune it out. But Bev Sellars' memoir, They Called Me Number One, is neither, which is what makes it so accessible."
- Tyrone Burke, Canadian Geographic

About the Author

Bev Sellars: Bev Sellars is Chief of the the Xat'sull (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake, British Columbia. She holds a degree in history from the University of Victoria and a law degree from the University of British Columbia. She has served as an advisor to the BC Treaty Commission.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

“Indian Children and the Federal-Tribal Trust Relationship” Now Available

Newly Released Census Numbers

American Indian & Alaska Native Population Growing


Published June 25, 2017

WASHINGTON – On Friday, the U.S. Census Bureau released new estimates on the population in the United States. Estimates released Friday, indicate the American Indian and Alaska Native population grew by 1.4 percent to 6.7 million between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016.






The American Indian and Alaska Native Population – Other Key Statistics:
  • California had the largest American Indian and Alaska Native population of any state in 2016 (1.1 million), while Texas had the largest numeric increase since July 1, 2015 (10,800). Alaska had the highest percentage (19.9 percent) of the American Indian and Alaska Native population.
  • Among counties, Los Angeles County, Calif., had the largest American Indian and Alaska Native population of any county in 2016 (233,200), and Maricopa County, Ariz., held the greatest increase from the previous year (4,100). Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska, had the highest share for this group (91.8 percent).

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Safeguarding Tribal Sacred Items

Senator Udall said: “Native Americans have been the victims of theft and looting for generations. We have passed laws to stop it, but people are exploiting the loopholes in our current laws to sell these objects as art. They are not pieces of art – theft not only robs Tribes of sacred objects, it robs them of a piece of their spiritual identity. This bill is the strong action we need to put a stop to theft and sale and ensure Tribes have a seat at the table in the fight.”
READ 
A copy of the bill is available here.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Soul Wound: The Legacy of Native Boarding Schools

Boys pray before bedtime with Father Keyes, St. Mary’s Mission School, Omak. © Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture/Eastern Washington State Historical Society, Spokane, WA
Native scholars describe the destruction of their culture as a “soul wound,” from which Native Americans have not healed. Embedded deep within that wound is a pattern of sexual and physical abuse that began in the early years of the boarding school system. Joseph Gone describes a history of “unmonitored and unchecked physical and sexual aggression perpetrated by school officials against a vulnerable and institutionalized population.” Gone is one of many scholars contributing research to the Boarding School Healing Project.
Rampant sexual abuse at reservation schools continued until the end of the 1980s, in part because of pre-1990 loopholes in state and federal law mandating the reporting of allegations of child sexual abuse. In 1987 the FBI found evidence that John Boone, a teacher at the BIA-run Hopi day school in Arizona, had sexually abused as many as 142 boys from 1979 until his arrest in 1987. The principal failed to investigate a single abuse allegation. Boone, one of several BIA schoolteachers caught molesting children on reservations in the late 1980s, was convicted of child abuse, and he received a life sentence. Acting BIA chief William Ragsdale admitted that the agency had not been sufficiently responsive to allegations of sexual abuse, and he apologized to the Hopi tribe and others whose children BIA employees had abused.
The effects of the widespread sexual abuse in the schools continue to ricochet through Native communities today. “We know that experiences of such violence are clearly correlated with posttraumatic reactions including social and psychological disruptions and breakdowns,” says Gone.

Read the full article here

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Christians Only: The New Anti-Native Adoption Law in Texas

The Freedom to Serve Children Act, an anti-Native adoption law in Texas, protects the rights of child welfare providers to discriminate.

This law is unlikely to create problems for Indians who are willing to hew to the Christian line, but Texas is home to lots of Indians who follow the Native American Church. It appears to me from the outside that NAC people are as Christian as Mormons are, but I doubt that most Christians in a position to place children for adoption would see it that way, or know the difference between peyote and heroin.
Then there are always some Indians still doing their best to follow traditional beliefs. (Where we say “traditional,” many Christians who demanded this bill would say “heathen.”) Other Indians let go of their traditional beliefs but still did not buy what the missionaries were selling. They end up like a lot of white people: not atheists or even agnostics but rather “unchurched.”

Source: Christians Only: The New Anti-Native Adoption Law in Texas - Indian Country Media Network

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