We must understand history to see where we’ve been and where we are today to face the future.
The effects on STOLEN GENERATIONS are still being felt in 2012. In Indian Country, Native adoptees are still called Lost Birds or Split Feathers or Lost Ones. Many adult adoptees are still lost to their families and tribal nations. A lost child will remain lost with sealed adoption records. Today’s legislators and lawmakers obviously do not know or recognize the crimes committed against Indian people that still affect us.
As I discussed in my books, many children were stolen, literally abducted. This was legal since it was done with the government’s approval, programs and funding. Those social workers who drove to reservations and snatched children were never charged with kidnapping. Some siblings were taken but then split up in foster care and later adoptions. How did this serve the children? It didn’t.
Some Native mothers were pressured in hospitals to give up their newborn babies to social workers (some were nurses and nuns) trained in mental humiliation. These heartless individuals were not criminally prosecuted for coercion or harassment of these mothers.
We could ask why these Indian mothers were not offered financial assistance instead to keep and raise their own child. The adoption agencies (run by states and various religions) and social workers were paid to place untold numbers of Indian Children and made their careers and money doing it. They were not there to help Indian mothers; they were there to get the baby. This is how pure greed took over their adoption practices. Social workers worked like Mafia to get what they needed. Long lists of people wanted to adopt and the Adoption Mafia had to fill their orders with new babies, no matter what.
Great crimes against Indian people, first taking land then children, went on for centuries and tribes were losing. After years of trying to stop it, finally in 1976, Indian leaders went to Congress and told them what was happening to their children which lead to the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. There was never prosecution of the real criminals.
No one will deny that some Indian reservations are places of great poverty, a condition they didn’t create but one they were forced to adapt to and survive. Even today it’s a struggle but Indian people have retained some of their ceremonies, languages and cultures on these reservations and they want future generations to retain this. They want their children to live their culture.
Finally, I ask those people who adopted us, did you have any idea what was happening to Indian people and their children? Did you know about the wholesale removals of Indian Children now described accurately as cultural genocide? Did you even inquire as to why this baby or child was given up? Did you investigate or ask to meet with our parents? What did the adoption industry or social workers say to you about this? Were you complicit and aware of the adoption industry’s Indian Adoption projects and programs?
These are real crimes and atrocities against Indian People yet no one involved has been charged or put in prison?
When details of the Indian Adoption Projects were sealed and files were closed after adoptions, a child would not have his/her name or tribal identity anymore, with their birth certificate altered and falsified. Tribal membership might exist for some adoptees on paper but with secrecy and sealed files, the adult adoptee would never know or be able to find out. It appears that was the plan. Until adoption records are opened and Native adoptees know their family name and tribe, a crime is still being committed.
When adoptees do return to their tribes, some find rejection. Why? Adoption changed us. We do not know our language or know our history or culture because adoption erased it. That is not an adoptees fault yet no one is ever charged with the crime of forced assimilation via closed adoption?
Today there are non-Indians lobbying to end the Indian Child Welfare Act. This group of non-Indians feels they will be better parents to Indian children. They want no restrictions in order to adopt Indian children. Their attempt to change federal law must not happen. Indians must stand together to prevent this group from the only law that protects children from the Adoption Mafia.
(I will be on Jay Winter Night Wolf’s Radio Program on Nov. 30, at 7 pm (Eastern Time). Listen in at http://www.wpfwfm.org)