This blog is a backup for American Indian Adoptees blog
There might be some duplicate posts prior to 2020.

If you need support

Support Info: If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419. Additional Health Support Information: Emotional, cultural, and professional support services are also available to Survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Services can be accessed on an individual, family, or group basis.” These & regional support phone numbers are found at . MY EMAIL:

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The toxic system of adoption!


Clean Bill for Louisiana Adoptees!


Need your OBC?

Cycle of Pain | Survivors of the ’60s Scoop await long overdue apology

PART 1: ‘We’re invisible’: Amid residential school reckoning, ’60s Scoop survivors in B.C. want action

PART 2: 

Fialka Jack-Flesh had not yet taken her first steps in the world before she entered the foster care system.

Her mother, a residential school survivor, was unable to take care of her, and she was taken into care at just eight months old.

“I was removed from my mom’s care originally because she grew up in residential school and she was deemed very unsafe at the age that she had me,” Jack-Flesh said. “She had me, I think, like seven years after she showed up for residential school. So not that long.”

It has been 10 years since Jack-Flesh aged out of government care.

Sometimes, it seems as if it was just yesterday.

For Jack-Flesh, aging out of government care, she said, was jarring and devastating.

“It’s kind of like being thrown off a f–king cliff.  If I’m going to be very honest with you guys.”



The Sixties Scoop Network’s open-source map tracking the diaspora of adopted Indigenous children. Sixties Scoop Network


Documenting the dispersal of children has fallen to grassroots groups like the Sixties Scoop Network, which has tried to map where Indigenous kids were “trafficked” as far away as Denmark and New Zealand, said co-founder Colleen Cardinal.

Read more: Survivors of the ’60s Scoop await long overdue apology

Monday, June 20, 2022

'60s Scoop survivor Marylou Fonda on trying to find her birth mother

Marylou Fonda was one of thousands of Indigenous children adopted by non-Indigenous families in the '60s scoop. She says by the time she was able to track down her birth family, her biological mother had passed away. 


Sunday, June 19, 2022

Dark Winds on AMC | Rutherford Falls Season Two (Natives on TV)

First Wolastoqey nation in Canada to ratify its own Child and Family Well-Being Act

 Tobique First Nation Adopts Dedicated Child Welfare Act

Moncton, NB, Canada / 91.9 The Bend |Aaron Sousa | Jun 16, 2022Tobique First Nation Adopts Dedicated Child Welfare Act

Wolastoqewiyik Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation) made history on June 8 after becoming the first Wolastoqey nation in the country to ratify its own Child and Family Well-Being Act.

Similar to the federal government’s C-92, also known as the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, it empowers Indigenous communities to take jurisdiction over child and family services.

Neqotkuk First Nation Chief Ross Perley said this is a historic step towards self-determination, adding that it will ensure kids and their families can stay healthy, achieve their dreams and celebrate their culture while living at home.

“We have talked for a long time about making our laws and taking control over child welfare for our community, our families,” said Perley in a news release.

“The Neqotkuk Child and Family Well-Being Act makes this goal a reality.”

The Wolastoqey nation noted this was a recommendation by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help address the ongoing legacy of Residential Schools and Indian Day Schools.

The new Neqotkuk Child and Family Well-Being Act introduces the following changes:

  • Recognizes the rights of the child
  • Exercises inherent right to make laws governing child welfare amongst Neqotkukiyik
  • Establishes Neqotkuk jurisdiction and definition of the best interest of the child
  • Unifies families through a proactive prevention-based child and family well-being model
  • Builds service models representative of Wolastoqiyik Neqotkuk
  • Replaces the Province of New Brunswick’s authority over child welfare matters in Neqotkuk

Neqotkuk First Nation has operated a child welfare agency, the Tobique Child and Family Services Agency Inc., since 1985, delivering services designed by federal and provincial governments.

The act will also allow the agency to design child welfare services.

“The New Brunswick Social Development department has been a solid and reliable partner and we look forward to working productively with them to implement this law and establish its support through provincial institutions,” said Perley.


Priest charged

 Retired priest, 92, charged after decade-long investigation into residential school sexual assault | Charge part of RCMP investigation into Fort Alexander Residential School

Arthur Masse is shown here in this undated photo. Masse, now 92, is charged with indecent assault against a 10-year-old girl who was a student at the Fort Alexander residential school between 1968 and 1970. (Société historique de Saint-Boniface Archives)

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

A retired priest has been charged with indecent assault in connection with a decade-long RCMP investigation into a Manitoba residential school.

Retired Father Arthur Masse, 92, was charged in connection with the sexual assault on a 10-year-old girl, who was a student at the Fort Alexander residential school, northeast of Winnipeg.

The alleged assault occurred between 1968 and 1970, police said at a news conference Friday morning.

"The victim in this case has endured a lot throughout the investigative process and has stood firm in speaking out about what happened to her," RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Paul Manaigre said at a news conference on Friday.

More than 80 investigators worked on the case, contacting more than 700 people across North America to search for witnesses and victims, and obtaining 75 witness and victim statements.




“There are other prolific [Indian Residential School] abusers still alive that also must be brought to justice,” Fontaine wrote on Twitter. “This arrest proves it can be done.”

Fort Alexander Residential School operated from 1905 to 1970 and was run by the Catholic Church. “From its early years, the school had problems with runaways,” the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at the University of British Columbia says on its website.


Standing Rock tribal member named Miss Minnesota


Miss Winona makes history as the first Native American to win Miss Minnesota; headed to Miss America

Miss Minnesota - Rachel Evangelisto
Miss Minnesota - Rachel Evangelisto(KTTC)

MINN. (KTTC) – 24-year-old, Rachel Evangelisto was crowned Miss Minnesota at the Miss Minnesota Scholarship Org. Pageant on Friday evening.

Evangelisto participated in the pageant with 20 other women.

According to her Miss Minnesota contestant bio page, she attended the University of Minnesota - Morris, where she got a degree in Political Science with an emphasis on Law.

Evangelisto works for the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Division of Minnesota where she is a Guardian ad Litem.

She is also a member of the Húŋkpapȟa Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Evangelisto will represent Minnesota at the next Miss America pageant.

Portraits of 1960s scoop survivors


Students at Quispamsis Middle School used paperboard squares to recreate a photo of Mindaver Lee, a survivor of the scoop in the 1960s.

Minda Burley has only one photo of herself as a baby.

“It was published in the newspaper to adopt Metis’s child, and that’s how we found our family to adopt my biological sister Joan and me,” Burley said.

It was only recently that she discovered that she was part of the scoop of the 1960s. During this period, thousands of indigenous children were taken out of their homes and given to non-indigenous families.

“We can’t see”: British Columbia scoop survivors in the 1960s want action in housing school calculations

Burley’s photographs now show thousands of toddlers deprived of their culture, shedding light on the shadows of Canadian history.

Her story and the stories of many others related to the scoops of the 1960s have been the focus of studying at Quispamsis Middle School in this past grade.

On Friday, Grade 8 classes completed an art installation project at QPlex, Quispamsis, New Brunswick, that recreates Burley’s only toddler photo.

“It’s about pulling out all my brothers and sisters and listening to their stories and what they’ve experienced,” because much happened to them. It’s much worse than what everyone really wants to know, “Burley said.

“This will make them feel better and hopefully bring out what happened to us and everyone in the 1960s scoop.”  SOURCE   MORE PHOTOS

Read more: ‘We’re invisible’: Amid residential school reckoning, ’60s Scoop survivors in B.C. want action 


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Ancestors Know Who We Are

The National Museum of the American Indian Launches Ancestors Know Who We Are

Contemporary Black-Indigenous women artists Rodslen Brown, Joelle Joyner, Moira Pernambuco, Paige Pettibon, Monica Rickert-Bolter, and Storme Webber are featured in this digital exhibition. 
The show takes its title from a letterpress print by Storme Webber, created as a response to being told she was not Black enough or Native enough.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian presents the new digital exhibition Ancestors Know Who We Are, featuring works by six contemporary Black-Indigenous women artists that address issues of race, gender, multiracial identity, and intergenerational knowledge.

Rodslen Brown (Black/Cherokee Nation, 1960–2020), Joelle Joyner (African American and Kauwets’a:ka [Meherrin] descent) Moira Pernambuco (African and Amerindian [Wapishana]), Paige Pettibon (Black, Salish, and White descent), Monica Rickert-Bolter (Prairie Band Potawatomi, Black, and German), and Storme Webber (Alaskan Sugpiaq [Alutiiq] and Black descent) are the artists in the show.

“The women featured in this exhibition powerfully tell their stories through the art they created,” said Cynthia Chavez Lamar, director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “As a museum, it’s important we share the perspectives of Indigenous women to provide insight into their diverse experiences through exhibitions like this as well as our programs.”

In addition to the works of art, Ancestors Know Who We Are also highlights artist interviews and writings from Black and Black-Indigenous scholars in the fields of history, gender studies, art history, and education, including Kyle T. Mays (Black/Saginaw Chippewa), fari nzinga, Lilian Sparks Robinson (Black/Sicangu Lakota), and Amber Starks (Black/Muscogee Creek). Often written in the first person, these short essays address the exhibition’s themes.

“The exhibition moves beyond the idea of the ‘Native experience’ or the ‘Black experience’ to highlight how gender and mixed-race identity informs art and creative expression,” said curator Anya Montiel (Mexican and Tohono O’odham descent). “These artists have unique perspectives and voices that speak to our current moment as a nation.”

The show takes its title from a letterpress print by Storme Webber, created as a response to being told she was not Black enough or Native enough.

This project received support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.

To view this digital exhibition, visit

Two Manitoba First Nations search former residential school sites, find anomalies



WINNIPEG - Chiefs from two First Nations in Manitoba say their communities are still looking for answers after finding possible graves using ground-penetrating radar at the sites of former residential schools that were run by the Roman Catholic Church.

Sagkeeng First Nation found 190 anomalies in the soil and Minegoziibe Anishinabe First Nation located six. Initial data shows the irregularities fit some of the criteria for graves, but both communities say more information is needed.

The news was recently shared with community members.

“We are going to take our time and make sure we do the right thing,” said Sagkeeng Chief Derrick Henderson.

Sagkeeng’s efforts began last year. Residential school survivors shared their memories of areas they thought could have graves linked to the Fort Alexander Residential School.

The school was opened in 1905 in the community of Fort Alexander, which later became Sagkeeng First Nation. It ran until 1970 and had a reputation for abuse. Survivors told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about starvation and harsh discipline.

The community worked with a drone company which conducted ground-penetrating radar on three levels.

Henderson said it found two locations with anomalies. Neither is a known graveyard, but both were spots residential school survivors had pointed to on maps before the search began.

Henderson said leadership will be consulting with elders, survivors and pipe carriers to decide next steps to confirm whether there are graves.

“How do we start excavating?” Henderson pondered. “I probably have to bring in archeologists. There’s a lot of work to be done yet.”

When the information was shared with community members, they had a feast and ceremony, he said.

Many community members are struggling with unanswered questions as more anomalies are found, Henderson said. It will take time to find certainty, he added, and only after that can closure and healing begin.

“Now we know locations. Now we know there’s something.”

At the Minegoziibe Anishinabe First Nation, six anomalies are under a church on the site of the former Pine Creek Residential School, said Chief Derek Nepinak.

Survivors had asked that the area be examined because of “horror stories” about what happened in the basement of the church, he said.

The First Nation is treating the area like a potential crime scene, he said.

“We are searching for answers, but what we are doing is arriving at more questions,” he said.

Minegoziibe Anishinabe also hired a drone technology company that specializes in ground-penetrating radar. The company used a cart to perform a ground search under the church due to the confined space, a community notice said.

Survivors and community members have directed leadership to do another, more detailed radar search of the basement.

The community is still waiting for results from another area that is suspected to have unmarked burial sites, the chief said.

The Pine Creek school ran from 1890 to 1969 in a few different buildings on a large plot of land. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has a record of 21 child deaths at the school and survivors have long spoken about abuse at the institution.

Nepinak said the First Nation has gone through records and knows of dozens of children who died while attending the school but there could be others who are not part of that history.

Healing will take time, he said. The hope is that it will inform future generations.

“We want the truth to be told and the truth to be known.”

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering from trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2022.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Behind the Mask #60sScoop


The Behind The Mask art project has left a lasting impact on those participating on the project, helping them in their mental health journeys. (Katie Green photo)

Unmasking mental health liberates Vernon Indigenous woman

Taking a deeper look at controversial Behind the Mask mural project

As a victim of the ’60s Scoop Freesia has worn many masks throughout her life.

Identity theft, sexual abuse, drug addiction, sex worker.

Now sober and living her best life, the Vernon Indigenous woman has been liberated through a recent art project she was fortunate to take part in.

The 50-year-old Cree native is one of 11 people Behind The Mask – an art installation focused on mental health.

“I felt enlightened by the mask, trying to be a better person where I fit in society as somebody who is healing,” Freesia said. “It was like putting on my new mask. The mask is my higher self.

“It’s nice to know all those other masks, survival tactics, are off.”

Tired of hiding behind unhealthy masks, Freesia said the project helped her express herself.

“It represents forgiveness of those who hurt me, including me.”

And she enjoyed being able to create with others, including Sarah Lillemo, harm reduction coordinator at the Cammy LaFleur Street Clinic.

“I feel like you really connected with the project,” Lillemo told Freesia, who has been sober since Sept 27, 2020.

Lillemo gathered the participants for the art project, led by Calgary artist Katie Green. She too was able to make a mask and have her photograph taken wearing it.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as excited about the project as the participants. The approved installation of these photographs blown up on the sides of buildings has stirred deep feelings among many area residents, calling the art ‘scary.’

“There’s nothing scary about it,” said Freesia.

The public backlash has hurt the participants and those involved. Freesia even thought that perhaps it was racially motivated due to her status.

Lillemo says those who aren’t comfortable with the art, “feel more comfortable hiding behind their keyboard and saying hateful things.”

There are others who are in full support of the project, and in the end, the goal of the art to spark a conversation around mental health has been reached.

The 60s Scoop refers to the large-scale removal of Indigenous children from their homes, communities and families and their subsequent adoption into predominantly non-Indigenous, middle-class families across the United States and Canada. This experience left many adoptees with a lost sense of cultural identity.


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Residential Schools: Canada’s Indigenous Shame | Between Us

Canada’s Residential School Legacy | Fly On The Wall

One Year after Kamloops Discovery of Unmarked Graves

Q&A: One year after Kamloops, push for answers continues

Al Jazeera speaks to Stephanie Scott about search for ‘full truth’ of unmarked graves at Canada’s residential schools.

Flowers and tributes are laid out in front of Kamloops Indian Residential School
Flowers and tributes are left at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, where the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered in May of last year [File: Nicholas Rausch/AFP]

Warning: The story below contains details of residential schools that may be upsetting. Canada’s Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.

Canada – A year ago this week, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced that “an unthinkable loss that was spoken about but never documented” had been confirmed.


Healing, remembrance as former boarding school crumbles |  

MOUNT PLEASANT — Children ran along the grounds, playing on the former grounds of the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School.

Long braided hair, ribbon skirts, and the practice of Anishinaabek ceremony such as smudging would have not been allowed 88 years ago.

On the anniversary of the institution’s closure, more than 100 community members gathered to recognize the suffering, strength and resilience of the children through a day of memoriam and fellowship.

The Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School operated for more than four decades starting in 1893, before its closure on June 6, 1934.

Now, seven crumbling buildings are all that physically remain of the institution which once kept thousands of Native American children.

Despite boarded windows and deteriorating brick, the structures remain standing, to give testimony of the legacy of the boarding schools felt deeply across Indian Country throughout generations.

Eleven-year old Harmony Wethington, a citizen of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, stood along the former girl’s dormitory.

She tiptoed on her white moccasins, and peeped through a window, hoping to catch a glance of the interior.

She could have been kept there prior to the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978 — it wasn’t until then Native American parents gained the legal right to deny their children’s placement in off-reservation schools.

Wethington said it was her second year coming to the memoriam.

“It’s a sad experience, but I am here to remember my family and all other families,” Wethington said.

Her great-great grandparents attended MIIBS, and other families also went to other boarding schools in the U.S.

The culturally significant clothing Harmony donned proudly was made by her grandmother, Jennifer Wethington, who said coming to the grounds is a visual reminder of what their family overcame from boarding schools.

MIIBS was just one of over 497 federally funded institutions identified that operated under U.S policies for more than 150 years where children as young as 4 were forced from their families, prohibited from speaking their languages and often abused.

According the first volume of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report, these institutions used “militarized” tactics to assimilate Native American children in environments described as fostering “rampant physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; disease; malnourishment; overcrowding; and lack of health care.”

Many children never returned home, and the Interior Department said that, with further investigation, the number of known student deaths could climb to the thousands or even tens of thousands.

“Each of those children is a missing family member, a person who was not able to live out their purpose on this Earth because they lost their lives as part of this terrible system,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, whose paternal grandparents were sent to boarding school for several years.

As previously reported, the U.S. documented five deaths of Indigenous children at MIIBS from 1893 to 1934.

But after the land was returned to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan in 2010 by the state, volunteer researchers from the Ziibiwing Cultural center found evidence of 227 deaths attributed to MIIBS that were not reported in the school’s archives.

The search for the missing children remains underway, said Marcella Haden, SCIT Tribal Historical Preservation officer.

She said that plans under an amended deed agreement between the city of Mount Pleasant and the tribe will begin ground-penetrating radar on the land, but no exact date was given

Federal government used money from Indian Trust Funds to pay schools — even those run by religious organizations, the report stated.

While it doesn’t say how many were church-run. An earlier report by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition found that more than 150 were, about half each by Catholic and Protestant groups.

Further details state the government provided funding and other support to religious boarding schools for Native children in the 19th and early 20th centuries to an extent that normally would have been prohibited under rules of separation between church and state.

The Interior Department report, quoted a 1969 Senate investigation, acknowledged that “federal policy toward the Indian was based on the desire to dispossess him of his land. Education policy was a function of our land policy.”

Churches had clout with the government as well, it adds, and were able to recommend people for appointments to federal positions on Native affairs.

“We do this because they couldn’t,” said Lacey Kinnart, citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and descendant of boarding school survivors.

Her grandmother and great-aunts attended Holy Childhood as children, and other family members attended MIIBS.

“It is important that we recognize the generational trauma but it’s also just as important to remember the generational resilience and wisdom,” Kinnart said.

Kinnart serves as the programs and operations coordinator for the Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. It was her and her mother’s first year coming to the grounds.

“I’m humbled to be here among our community,” she said.

The day closed in front of the former boys dormitory, with traditional Anishinaabek jingle dress dancing, led by Punkin Shananaquet, citizen of the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Potawatomi Indians.

Shananaquet said the time was now to come together for the healing and protection of the future generations,

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

A life, a history, an author: S.P. Joseph Lyons shares his story

Image via KFPL.

Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL) will host S.P. Joseph Lyons for a live online discussion in JUNE. The Anishinaabe Algonquin author, speaker, and Indigenous education advocate intimately knows the terrible impacts of colonization.

According to a release from the library, Lyons is a ‘60s Scoop adoptee and intergenerational survivor of the residential school system, he endured abuse and neglect, turning to his imagination and creativity as a haven.

On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, Lyons will discuss Indigenous history, colonization, residential schools, the ‘60s Scoop, and intergenerational trauma. The event will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. over Zoom. Participants are welcome to ask questions as part of the Q&A following the main presentation, according to the release.

Register to participate at The library thanks the Friends of Kingston Frontenac Public Library for generously supporting this event.

KFPL said that Lyon is author of the DRUX series, Little Bear in Foster Care, Wolf Pup Misses His Pack, and the Nootau Tales trilogy; co-author of Rose’s Thorns; with work featured in collaborative and charity publications.

“Having Joseph with us is a great opportunity for our region to learn how personal and wider Indigenous experiences influence the creative process,” said Jake Miller, Librarian, Adult Programming. “Joseph can speak to the hardships experienced by Indigenous communities, especially in the last several decades. He’s an author to watch!”


Monday, June 13, 2022

The U.S. Army has begun 5th disinterment at Carlisle

Digging up children's bodies and past atrocity in Pennsylvania...

The U.S. Army has begun another disinterment 










at the site of the former Carlisle Indian Industrial School to reunite the remains of eight Native American children with family members.

WITF reports the children were from the Washoe, Catawba, Umpqua, Oneida, Ute, and Alaskan Aleut tribes.

It’s the fifth such disinterment with the remains of 21 Native American children returned to date. The school was operated by the Department of Interior from 1879 until 2018 with the motto “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.”

More than 10,000 children attended the school from approximately 50 different tribes and more than 180 died from hunger and disease.

Starting in 2016, some remains began being returned as tribes reached out to the Department of the Army.

The Army reimburses families for their travel to participate in a transfer ceremony. It also funds the cost for transport and reinternment. 

National Native News:


Editor Note: I think we should call places like Carlisle death camps and prisons - not schools. Schools don't usually kill their students and starve and torture them.  And the people who ran them (priests nuns, etc.) they all need to be PROSECUTED - no apology will ever do... Trace



May 24, 2018
Carlisle Indian School Teaching Kit

Thanks to a generous grant from the NHPRC, the Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center has developed a teaching kit for use in schools, libraries, and other educational institutions in the United States. The teaching kit is comprised of color facsimile reproductions of a variety of photographs, newspapers, and booklets dating from the years of the school’s operation, 1879 to 1918. A full inventory of the materials included in the teaching kit is available here, along with PDF copies of each of the items so that you can preview the content and even download your own copies, if desired. The contents of these teaching...

Read more


Friday, June 10, 2022

6 books on Canada's residential schools recommended by Duncan McCue and the Kuper Island podcast team



6 books on Canada's residential schools recommended by Duncan McCue and the Kuper Island podcast team

The new CBC Podcast series Kuper Island tells the story of four students: three who survived and one who didn't. They attended one of Canada's most notorious residential schools — where unsolved deaths, abuse and lies haunt the community and the survivors to this day.

Kuper Island is an eight-episode series hosted by journalist Duncan McCue. You can find it on CBC Listen or wherever you get your podcasts. 

To continue the conversation, Kuper Island host McCue and producers Martha Troian and Jodie Martinson connected with CBC Books to share some of the books that impacted them when reflecting on and researching the residential school system. 


LISTEN: Kuper Island


Missing Children and Unmarked Burials, vol. 4 by Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Missing Children and Unmarked Burials, vol. 4 document findings from The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (McGill-Queen's University Press)


Indigenous-themed podcasts offer richness, diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures

June is National Indigenous History Month and a time for learning about, appreciating and acknowledging the contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.CBC offers you a wide variety of Indigenous-themed podcasts, including the CBC Books podcast This Place, hosted by Rosanna Deerchild.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Hearing on Abuse of Native American Children | Breaking the Silence

May 12, 2022: The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples of the United States held a hearing to examine a recent Interior Department report…  


Breaking the Silence - Seeking Truth, Justice and Healing from Indian Boarding Schools

Dear Relatives,

We are thrilled to announce a day-long summit we are calling, Breaking the Silence, a collaborative event co-hosted by the UINOKT, the Shawnee Tribe, and NABS. This summit welcomes and encourages Tribal leaders, tribal councils, healthcare professionals, tribal museum archivists, boarding school attendees and survivors, and their families to attend and explore the historical impacts of the federal Indian boarding school policy in Oklahoma, Kansas & Texas. register


About the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
The mission of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) is to lead in the pursuit of understanding and addressing the ongoing trauma created by the United States Indian boarding school policy. The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, incorporated in June 2012 under the laws of the Navajo Nation. For more information, visit:


Monday, June 6, 2022

Alaska’s ‘failing, dangerous’ foster care system

Alaska’s child welfare system is failing, dangerous and routinely violates the rights of children, asserts a first-of-its-kind class-action lawsuit filed against the state Office of Children’s Services in federal court Thursday.

The 90-page complaint alleges that systemic issues have long festered in almost every facet of Alaska’s child welfare system, and asks a federal judge to order immediate and sweeping changes.

“There has not, in Alaska, been a comprehensive lawsuit (on this subject)” until now, said Mark Regan, an attorney with the Disability Law Center of Alaska, one of the entities representing the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of 13 child plaintiffs by a partnership of attorneys, including the Northern Justice Project, the Disability Law Center of Alaska, Perkins Coie and A Better Childhood, a national nonprofit headquartered in New York. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Office of Children’s Services are named as defendants.

“Without a doubt,” the class-action lawsuit represents the biggest opportunity for foster care system reform that the state has seen, said Marcia Robinson Lowry, the director of A Better Childhood and a longtime litigator on child welfare issues.

DHSS and the Office of Children’s Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.

The state of Alaska has long known about the magnitude of the problems in its child welfare system but hasn’t acted to fix them, the lawsuit alleges.

Robinson Lowry’s organization, A Better Childhood, has filed similar class-action lawsuits seeking to reform child welfare systems in nearly a dozen other states or jurisdictions, including Oregon, Indiana, West Virginia and New York City. Some states, such as Oklahoma, have made improvements based on court orders. Many of the lawsuits are still in progress.

Alaska’s child welfare system “is not the worst,” said Robinson Lowry. “But it’s certainly not good.”

Some of the biggest problems in Alaska, according to the lawsuit: OCS worker caseloads are too high, sometimes three times the national average. Turnover is at a crisis level, topping nearly 60% annually and leading “mission critical tasks to go unmet,” according to a legislative report cited. Children are shuffled between foster homes too much. And Alaska Native children, who make up nearly two-thirds of the youths in foster care, aren’t provided with Alaska Native foster homes or other services, violating the Indian Child Welfare Act and “often inflicting deep wounds of cultural loss in the process.”

“All too often, children in OCS custody face unnecessary institutionalizations, inappropriate placements with non-relative foster families, and unconscionable delays in receiving timely health screenings and interventions,” Regan, with the Disability Law Center of Alaska, said in a statement.

The complaint includes stories about the Alaska plaintiffs, including a 16-year-old girl who’d lived at six different foster placements since 2020. Twice, the Office of Children’s Services sent her to residential treatment centers, where she reported being overmedicated and sexually abused by another child.

The lawsuit describes OCS placing children in North Star Behavioral Health Center, a locked, for-profit hospital in Anchorage, for more than 30 days “based on lack of other placement.” Another foster youth was allegedly called a racial slur and hit by their foster parent. That child is still in the same home. A sibling group of five racked up more than 40 placements between the group — within one year.

Other reports, lawsuits and audits have documented similar problems with the Office of Children’s Service.

The lawsuit seeks a court order that would force major reforms, including ordering the state to reduce OCS worker caseloads; meet federally required time limits for children’s case plans; provide licensing and financial support to extended family foster placements so more kids can live with relatives; and ensure that care recommended for kids in their case plans actually happens. Children with disabilities would need to get services in their home communities. And kids couldn’t be put into hospitals like North Star simply because other foster care placements weren’t available.

How those changes would be funded or implemented is less clear. Other states have made concrete changes as a result of lawsuits, Robinson Lowry said. She cites Tennessee, which has reduced the number of children in institutions. Oklahoma eliminated shelters where some children were sent because foster placements weren’t available.

“Class-action lawsuits can have a major impact on child welfare systems,” she said.



Class-action lawsuit says state is failing Alaska foster kids

Under the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, child welfare agencies are federally compelled to work as hard as possible to house Native foster ...
The year of the graves: How the world's media got it wrong on residential school graves
Most important of these efforts were the widely publicized undertakings of the 2008-2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), ...


Friday, June 3, 2022

Adoption Abortion Stem Cell Debate

I am adopted, and I am pro-choice. So please hear me when I say this: adoption and abortion are not interchangeable. Adoption is not the solution to abortion.  KEEP READING

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Buffy Sainte-Marie Tiny Desk Concert

 NPR Tiny Desk Concert with Buffy Sainte-Marie


"Tiny Desk at home? I kinda live on the road!" the legendary Buffy Sainte-Marie exclaims one song into her high-spirited set recorded a few miles outside Toronto at the beginning of the 81-year-old's umpteenth tour. Sainte-Marie has always been a wandering soul with a fierce sense of direction. The four songs she performs here with her touring band span her nearly 60-year career, connecting her righteous protest songs – including "Universal Soldier," as relevant today as it was when it became an anthem during the Vietnam War – to the love songs that have soundtracked countless slow dances. This set is a kind of Sainte-Marie primer, touching on her early days as the 1960s folk revival's brashest innovator and her mid-career turns writing country and pop hits like this set's smooth closer, "Up Where We Belong," which won her an Academy Award for best original song in 1983.
Buffy is an adoptee, too. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Find a Shelter in Indian Country

From StrongHearts Native Helpline

There is a severe resource gap (see current Resource Impact Summary) impacting the ability of tribes to address intimate partner violence in their communities. Presently, there are 259 Native-centered service providers that are culturally appropriate for Native Americans and Alaska Natives; and that includes only 62 shelters nationwide. In addition to the Native service provider database, through an invaluable partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, StrongHearts’ advocates have access to more than 3,500 non-Native service providers in the U.S. 

What You Should Know

Shelters prioritize clients based on the lethality of their situation. That is why it is important to share all of the lethality concerns in your situation. Consider the following: 

      Has the perpetrator increased physical or sexual violence?

      Is there a history of strangulation, or threats of suicide or homicide?

      Are you pregnant?

      Are there weapons in the home?

Overcoming Challenges

A shelter can be very overwhelming if you have not been in one before. It’s important to differentiate between shelter types. 

Avoid saying the word "homeless" when looking for shelter. When fleeing an abusive relationship, be careful not to say you are homeless. This could result in being referred to a homeless shelter instead of a domestic violence shelter. A shelter for unhoused people can be used in a pinch but if you are a survivor of domestic and sexual violence it’s best to seek assistance from an intimate partner violence service provider. They will be more informed on your situation and rights and will likely have other services available for you.

It’s important to be aware of who may work at the shelter for your tribe. Indian Country is small, and a relative or a friend of a family member may work at your tribal shelter. If you feel like there may be a conflict of interest or you feel unsafe, you may want to seek shelter on other tribal lands if they allow citizens of other Native Nations.

If you have no other options you may consider staying at a non-Native shelter. You can still receive other services from a Native provider. If you stay in a non-Native shelter, it may be a good idea to ask about using your traditional medicines. Some shelters may have rules about smudging or using traditional medicines/herbs inside or on-premises.

If you struggle with substance abuse, it may be difficult to avoid other users. Be aware that although the shelter may have rules around substance use on their campus, oftentimes these rules are ignored. It’s important to be aware that this may happen and find a system to help keep yourself in check may be part of your safety plan.

If you have livestock, farmlands or even ceremonial duties in your Native community, it may be difficult to reach out to a shelter because of your responsibilities. Be aware that although these are all important, your safety is also important and should be prioritized. It can be helpful to reach out to your trusted community network to get assistance to care for your livestock and farmland or make arrangements to get support from other community members to help with ceremonial duties.

You may need to seek help from more than one organization to get all of your needs met. Don’t be afraid to seek more than one resource. Depending on how comfortable you are with churches, they often offer programs to help with bill payments. You can also use and search by zip code to find local resources for assistance, food, health, housing and employment. Oftentimes depending on what's available, you can find various programs that offer grants to help you get back on your feet.

Native Parents and Children

Shelters offer little privacy for families. If you have children the best shelter type for you is a transitional housing facility. They are often long-term, which means you will not need to leave every night and they help set you up with permanent housing when you're ready to leave their program.

Don't be afraid to have a conversation with your children to make sure that they understand what is happening. They should have the space to have their feelings validated and understand that they are not at fault for what is happening. Talk to them about your ground rules. It can be challenging to a parent in a new environment with different rules and other families with varying values. Remember, our children are sacred beings and can help bring healing into our lives and our communities.

Native Men

Very few Native-centered shelters are able to house male victim-survivors though several do offer non-residential services for men. Sometimes a shelter may be able to help support a survivor with a hotel room, legal advocacy or counseling services and case management. It can vary from shelter to shelter so it’s always best to clarify what services they are able to offer men.

Native LGBTQ2S+

Within the 2S+/LGBTQ+ community, intimate partner violence occurs at a rate equal to or higher than that of the cis-heterosexual community. Additionally, they may have concerns about being outed, not having inclusive restroom facilities, not being addressed with the correct pronouns and facing bias from other residents and staff members may prevent them from seeking a placement in a shelter. If you identify as a part of the LGBTQ2S+ community and are seeking shelter, here are a few questions to consider asking:

      Ask questions about sleeping arrangements, restrooms and privacy so you know what to expect

      Ask if there are any additional accommodations for your identity

      Ask if the staff has training in working with the LGBTQ2S+ community

      Ask about the safety and complaint procedures

If you experience bias or feel unsafe in the shelter, notify staff immediately and file a complaint.

Shelter Tips

Choosing to seek a shelter may be a part of your individual safety plan. Be aware that sometimes shelters are not immediately available and your safety plan should include some additional options while going through the process. Shelters can be overcrowded and Native-centered shelters may take some time to get into for families. 

Important things to consider when seeking a shelter: 

      It can take a while (and a lot of calls) to find shelter space.

      If there is an emergency shelter directory in your area, our advocates may suggest contacting them directly to help you find a vacancy. These directories maintain current information on all of the shelter vacancies in their area so calling them can be easier than calling each place individually.

      Despite the potential for uncertainty, be respectful of shelter advocates during the intake process. They only want to help you. Speaking to a StrongHearts advocate before calling the domestic violence program may help you navigate some of the challenges.  

      Remember that some shelters won't serve people who live out of the county, or out of state. If you desire to relocate to a different county or state, some shelters require a referral from the local shelter. Call the out-of-county/state program to learn more about the policies for accepting survivors.  

      Call the shelter two to three times a day to check for space. Bed availability changes very quickly every day and many times it is given out on a first come, first served basis. Ask the shelter worker to recommend the best time to make a return call.

      In the event that the shelter becomes undesirable, refrain from talking badly about it when speaking with a new shelter.  

      If the shelter is full, shelter workers may be able to provide motel vouchers or know about alternative options at other nearby shelters.

Multiple needs require multiple programs which take time and considerable effort on the part of an advocate, please be as patient as possible. Our advocates are working hard to keep you safe.

Staying in A Shelter

Every shelter is different so get clarification on rules beforehand so there are no surprises. Some may have different rules on cell phone use and curfews.

Discrimination and/or mistreatment by shelter staff is not okay and there may be a way to address a grievance through proper channels. Contact the state domestic violence program to ask if there is a way to address the issue or file a complaint.

Avoid the drama. It’s good to find support if you can but recognize this is only temporary and sometimes it’s best to keep your head down and get the services you need. It’s hard living in a place with so many varying perspectives so be aware there may be conflicts among your new neighbors. 


Stress can greatly impact your health so it is important to consider self-care. Participating in self-care activities like exercise (if safe to do so), eating healthily, counseling and journaling could be helpful. Be gentle with yourself mentally and physically. Connecting with your cultural pregnancy practices during this time can be uplifting. Also, you can practice resilience by smudging, praying or sitting with your traditional medicines.

StrongHearts Native Helpline

If you consider leaving an abusive partner, StrongHearts Native Helpline can help you with safety planning and finding a Native-centered shelter.

StrongHearts Native Helpline is a 24/7 culturally-appropriate, anonymous, confidential and free service dedicated to serving Native survivors, concerned family members and friends affected by domestic, dating and sexual violence available by calling or texting 1-844-762-8483 or clicking on the chat icon on

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Haudenosaunee boarding school survivors seek justice New York news | NOELLE E.C. EVANS | WXXI | June 10, 2021 “...

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OUR HISTORY: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects

back-up blog (just in case) (updated 6-21-2022)

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.