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Couple Forced to Give Adopted Baby Back to Native American Tribe

Society & Culture  (tags: Ojibwe Tribe, Indians, Native Americans, American Indians, Ethics, Adoption, Children, children, americans, culture, society, child, dishonesty, ethics, freedoms, government, interesting, humans, news, rights, women, family, law )

- 3472 days ago -
The mother relinquished custody of Talon 24 hours after his birth, but later changed her mind. A lengthy court battle ensued, and the Leech Lake Band Of Ojibwe became involved.

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kat yazzie (400)
Monday December 15, 2008, 9:13 am
Please let me know if I need to post this article, will you? Thanks!

MadMud Artist (433)
Monday December 15, 2008, 9:32 am
This is heartbreaking. I pray Talon's mom gets help for her addiction. He needs love and a stable family unit. I feel very strongly for the adoptive parents as well. I find it hard to come up with the proper wording here. I feel mostly for the boy...His paramount here. I wish him a good and wonderful life always!

MadMud Artist (433)
Monday December 15, 2008, 9:33 am
I mean, his happiness is paramount here. um, fingers too fast for my brain, obviously!

. (0)
Monday December 15, 2008, 10:15 am
If the law was not followed in the adoption, then it should have been voided. If the law was followed, then the adoptive parents should have been able to keep the child.

How sad that the child has been placed in foster care rather than staying with the parents who loved him and cared for him as their own.

Barb K (1688)
Monday December 15, 2008, 10:42 am
I totally agree with you MADARTIST, I feel for both families. I couldn't stand it if after adopting Talon I was forced to give him back. Things like this make me want rip my hair out because I don't see a win-win situation. Thanks Kat, sadly noted.

. (0)
Monday December 15, 2008, 11:26 am
If this woman had a drug addiction and I'm not saying she got help but there's always that chance it can happen again. I'm thinking of this 6 month old baby. I want him to be happy and healthy. This will lat heavy on my mind for a long time for I have read so many other story's about things like this. I will pray for this baby. Thanks Kat

EDGE M (257)
Monday December 15, 2008, 1:54 pm

Past Member (0)
Monday December 15, 2008, 1:58 pm
I hope it works out for the best for the baby. Noted and forwarded Kat.

Jim Phillips (3257)
Monday December 15, 2008, 2:55 pm
What a mess...

TY, Kat.


Sheryl G (360)
Monday December 15, 2008, 4:01 pm
These cases are never easy when it involves the heart. I know there are laws on the books about Indian children not going to non Indian families for adoptions as too many Indian children were taken away on very flimsy circumstances simply because they were Indian. So I feel the problem does lay with the adoption agency that should of been fully aware of this law. It still doesn't help those who have their hearts broken...the only blessing is the child will not remember as he is so young.

Mary Neal (183)
Monday December 15, 2008, 5:35 pm
Thank you for this article. I think even early trauma has an effect on children and the adults they become. It must be tragic for even kids under age one to lose their parents and home and siblings. Just because I child is not old enough to say, "I feel abandoned," doesn't mean that is not what he will feel.

I could understand removing the child if he was being given back to a fit and loving parent. But he is not. He is being taken from a home where he is loved and protected and going to child services.

I wish they could strike another agreement, such as joint custody between the tribe and his adoptive parents, which would ensure that the child was exposed to his native culture, especially during Native American holidays and celebrations.

Wouldn't joint custody between the parents and his tribe accomplish the same thing, if the object of taking him from his mom and dad is to raise him knowing and appreciating his rich heritage?

That is such a beautiful child - did you see the eyelashes? Such a lovely baby, and obviously well cared for by his parents. Please consider joint custody!



Faith M (161)
Monday December 15, 2008, 6:08 pm
such a tragedy and Mary I agree with U -there is always room in the childs life 4 love also being in foster care on the reservation is not the same thing as being in a foster care here - he will be taught the ways of the tribe which he will sorely need in order to understand the things that will happen in his world when he is older because U see Native Blood calls and if there is no answer in the world around him he will be lost and confused and not know why--but as long as he has love he will be fine no matter where it comes from.

Vanda H (459)
Monday December 15, 2008, 8:10 pm
Noted..This is a hard for all parties involved.

. (0)
Monday December 15, 2008, 8:24 pm
noted thank you

Henry P (171)
Monday December 15, 2008, 8:27 pm
Noted Thanks Kat

Past Member (0)
Monday December 15, 2008, 8:52 pm
Noted.Thanks for sharing.

Wolfweeps Pommawolf (251)
Monday December 15, 2008, 9:49 pm
This is a very painful situation for ALL.
I couldn't read another word of the racist comments on the article because it just made me angry.
I had to step back for awhile to gather my thoughts. it goes.
1.)...the childs wellbeing and health and happiness should be the primary comcern above all. Mistakes were made from the beginning, but this can be resolved of ALL if they stop and think about the child and keep the racist, preconceptions about Reservation life is kept out it. Being a jacka** with preconceived ideas solves nothing, and it hurts the child.


3.) Thousands of Native American children were robbed of their heritage by the Catholic church throughout the setting of the United States in our early history. They were forbidden to speak their own language, forbidden to dress, act or even speak their families names. They were manipulated into a white world without thought and care for their own feelings or even their existance.
That is why it is so important to try and keep Native children on Reservation if at all possible. This was a major screw up from the adoption agency, lawters and judge who approved this adoption.

4.) Now, that all being said and done, damage and hurt feelings aside..the child come first. All those that are involved need sit down and work together and make this work for the child, not themselves. Blend both worlds, and let all of them raise the child together in a shared adoption....let both the Natives and the adoptive family work together for the best of the child, and perhaps all will benefit, especially the baby....*S*

Pat kloeppel (87)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 12:31 am
Wow this is a very sensitive topic i totally agree with pommawolf what more is their to say then what pommawolf has already said you go pommawolf

Past Member (59)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 1:33 am
The baby seems so loved and well adjusted, it might be a big mistake to give him back to his birth mother, especially if she is unfit to care for the baby. Not a good situation though, coz if the birth mother cannot get him back legally, she may try to consider the other, not-so-legal option, and perhaps snatch him back. Though the baby is way too young to say what he wants, taking him away from the family he is so attached to and adjusted to would most certainly have a negative effect on his emotional wellbeing.

Sheila G (267)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 5:21 am
well said Mary. the baby is the only importance here, and his rights have been so violated. yes, this adoption agency did screw up big time, and the baby pays for this mess. I can't agree with giving a baby to a drug addicted mother, what life will he have? what about his safety? not to mention the parents who have loved him for so long, I swear this would take the life right out of me.
ty Kat, prayers for this beautiful baby.

Amena Andersson (187)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 11:17 am
What a bloody mess! No win wins possible here. Hope the babe survives and is able to grow to adulthood sane, healthy, and well-adjusted, regardless of which parents raise him. I like the idea of joint care by both sets of parents; but, how likely is that? Good luck, my dear babe.

Patricia McCaskill (139)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 2:28 pm
My heart breaks for the adoptive family. I know a couple that initially adopted a native american girl and when her bio Mom got pregnant again, she asked if her son could possibly be adopted by the same couple and fortunately they financially could and were overjoyed to give a baby brother (for real) to their little daughter.
These children got the love, care and schooling they needed to continue on, the girl now a young woman is in college and the boy is following in her footsteps. How horrible if they had been yanked from this loving family.

Patricia McCaskill (139)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 2:34 pm
yes, wrongs were done to the Native Americans, young being taken from their homes, being made into 'whites' etc etc. every culture every race has had this done. Let us not make the whites the bad guy here. I have had Navajo Indian friends since I as in my 20's and the majority of them left the reservation because of how bad things were there and the lack of any future. They made their way out of a bad situation insted of staying and living in poverty or yes, drinking themselves to death. My one friend beat her drinking problems, her brother didn't and did what many Native American males do, commit suicide by walking out in front of cars. The childs best interest comes first. I am sure the adoptive parents would have let the child know of it's racial heritage. (does anyone worry about an Irish child being reared without knowing the heritage of it's forbears. Let us forget the old wounds that all our forebears carried and just make sure the children get good homes with healthy families and not end up in foster care or being raised by the system.

Patricia McCaskill (139)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 2:40 pm
and please excuse all my typos. Strong feelings here due to personal involvment in similar situations and also being tired of each ethnic group pointing the finger at the other for past wrong-doings. Heck of all groups in this world woman-kind is the one that should be screaming the loudest as regardless of what culture she came from she was the second-class citizen.
I'd quote John and Yoko but I'd get blaste for using a non P.C. word.

Luv ya all for the fire in your hearts no matter the cause.

Linda B (1)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 7:07 pm
Being a single white mother of Native sons, much as it breaks the heart for the white family involved, the child must have the tie to his native ancestry. It is a tie that will never be broken, and there will not be peace in the future for him if that tie is broken. I remember the face of my 3 yr old looking to me to fix what he saw. Even at that age, he saw things that I could not see. Owls outside his window, and the sentinel that I only learned of many years later of from a Shawnee Medicine man. I am white for heavens sake, and I could never explain to my oldest son the visions that he had. When he looked to me for answers, I had none. The hawks circle over my youngest. The owls follow my oldest. Why? Can someone of white origin ever explain these things? They were both raised completely in the white world, yet they are native by a bond that will never be broken. My youngest jokes that he is one with the earth. He says the trees will rise up and protect him. When he was angry with his friend once he said "May a tree fall on you." and a tree fell and almost hit his friend that same day. Native born to a white parent, and always something has been missing. The money and security provided by white parents can never substitute for that strong tie to the ancestors. It is not for the good of the child if that tie is broken.

Kathy W (299)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 7:14 pm
Yes this is a very sad situation. I think these people should be able to keep the baby. There can be stipulations, visitation, definately learning about his heritage, being involved with reservation, (when he's alittle older, of course)... I don't know.. I wish them all luck and hope no matter how it turns out, the interest of the baby is at the forefront, and he will be safe, happy and well.
Thank you Kat.

. (0)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 7:15 pm
But, Linda - do your sons not also share your own ancestry?

American Indians are not a different species - they are human, just like you and me. Any connection a child feels towards any part of his own ancestry is put there by society - not biology. It's a bond of implanted expectations.

Locan Sleeping-Squirrel (209)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 7:28 pm
Lindsey, I have to agree with Linda. For the record I am not native but she is speaking of the spiritual wellbeing of her son. It has been a long hard road but I feel fortunate that my parents understand it is my embrace of my spiritual guides that have set me free to be alive and have an ability to help others.

Linda B (1)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 7:37 pm
My sons share my ancestry and are half white, but you don't understand. The things my baby saw were not anything he was taught. He was never around Natives. The blood tie is strong and frankly quite scary for those like me who have never been around it. From the time he could speak, he told me of the visions. The owls, the owls, always the owls. He was afraid of what he saw and I could not explain it. He sees this creature called the sentinel or watchman also. The Shawnee Medicine man said that if he sees the sentinel and the owls, that he has a calling on his life and will not have peace until he follows it. He may be half white by blood, but he is not white at all. The youngest does not have visions so that is easier for sure. Still the hawks circle him. He is a lovely boy. One with the earth he calls it.

There will be trouble if the baby is separated from his tribe.

Linda B (1)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 7:51 pm
Sorry I misspoke; it was a Shoshonee Medicine man who explained the sentinel. Shoshonee are a tribe from the North where the Kiowa are said to have originated from. My sons are of the Kiowa tribe and part Apache. Their father's father is unknown, but from the things that have happened I think he may have been a Native from the Montana area.

Deborah N (37)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 8:19 pm
I feel strongly for the Adoptive parents.. but I think the Government is a big fake.. its so easy for them to give a baby back to the Native Americans BUT when it comes to other stuff closer to the heart (land,horses,respect,& the lists goes on..) they have excuses for.. I agree that the baby should know what his heritage is & be part of that Proud heritage.. But I feel for the adoptive parents.. I feel the baby is better off with them then an adoptive home.. the love they have for them is as a son & parent.. so many adoptive homes can't give the love that one lil'baby of 6 months would need.. I am not critizing the Native American Adoptive Home.. just that if its like the Whites they have problems too. I think they should do whats BEST for Talon.. & not whats best for the mother.. & the father.. will it really doesn't say how old the mother was or if she was married.. being a father means a whole more than getting a girl pregnant... I am totally for the Welfare of the Baby.. & what is best for him.. it might be a mess but I think its not being treated fairly.. nothing is said about the family situation.. just the mother wants the baby back & that the father didn't give his okay for the adoption.. I know that a mother can abort without the consent of the father so why not giving up her baby without the fathers consent.. I don't understand this at all..sorry

Rion W (17)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 9:34 pm
sad :(

Amy W (7)
Tuesday December 16, 2008, 10:18 pm
I can not imagine a more difficult moment.

It is understandable that an Indian American tribe wants to keep it's tribe as pure as possible and retain its "family" and heritage, lineage and traditions for future generations. I respect this portion of the situation.

Taking an adopted child out of a loving home... not abused, well-cared for and placing him with a new family that is not his "parents", marginal at best. Would suit the child to have shared custody with the tribe, spend weekends with them and learn the heritage in a shared fashion? He probably won't remember much of the transition one way or another but the adoptive family has got to be hurting something HUGH!

Hope that the adoption family still keeps in contact with their precious son.

Emerald W (8)
Wednesday December 17, 2008, 4:52 am
First off, 95% of the comments here are knee-jerk emotional reactions slanted by personal perspectives. The article is not objective or fair, as is the case in 99% of what the main stream media manufactures, I mean publishes, each day in this country. I am 1/2 white and the rest Comanche/Mexican/Native Mexican. There is a special Federal Law protecting Native American born children. Adoptive parents are made aware of this by the lawyers prior to signing the papers and therefore this was a risk. To condem the Tribe for their interest/actions is a bit short sighted. Liberals are the first to say it takes a village to raise a child, here we have a strong village willing to do so. The birth parents may turn their life around, may not, the foster family is within the Tribe and the childs blood siblings are being looked after as well. The law is in place to protect the Tribe's identity, culture, and heritage period. Natives do not think like Europeans, never did and never will. Our values, emotions, and bonds are different. My ancestors routinely captured and incorporated other Natives and Mexicans into the Tribe to retain the culture and help keep the Tribe strong. Native Americans do not adapt the European standard of race identification. By all rationale neither do Americans, as Obama is called a black man when he is only 50% black and 50% caucasion, why is he not a white man? The Tribe will be looking after this child. The law stands to protect the largest minority in American society from the largest majority, if you wish to appeal the law of protecting the weak from the manipulation and abuses of the strong then you might as well repeal all the Civil Rights laws passed in the 1960's and 1970's as well. Stop speaking from the heart and being manipulated by the media giants who sell "news" for ratings and publicity to justify their existance. The law is in place, presidence stands, and while unfortunate all sides knew the risks.

Emerald W (8)
Wednesday December 17, 2008, 5:05 am
The above post was taken from the GMA, website comment board and reposted here.

The reason that I reposted it here is because it is the best expressed concern for cultural identity, and that it is vital for everyone to understand that.
As much as the adopted parents want to imply that they did not know the truth going into the adoption is NOT TRUE. They knew for an absolute fact that this would be a reality before they even signed the adoption papers.
The media has taken the story and used for pure media hype, and as an end result NOBODY stopped to think about the childs right to his identity.
All are concerned about the parents feelings. Yes it matters. But it matters that the child is first and ofremost the most important.
These agency that opedrate placing Native children have done this injustice for years, and 99% of the public are ignorant of this fact.

But the parents knew for a fact that this was a possibility going to into this adoption, and they are not the victims here. Yes they have feeling, but they are not being honest claiming they are not aware of the situation they now find themselves.

Claudia Tapia Guerrero (1)
Wednesday December 17, 2008, 6:36 am
Thanks for sharing!
Adoption is such a hard subject...
The only thing we must care about is children's safety and love receiving.

. (0)
Wednesday December 17, 2008, 6:40 am
Odd, Emerald, that you would mention that your American Indian ancestors "routinely captured and incorporated other Natives and Mexicans into the Tribe to retain the culture and help keep the Tribe strong" and appear to accept the concept of kidnapping and removing other people from their own cultures as a valid way of retaining the culture and strength of your own ancestors' tribe. Sounds an awful lot like the justifications used by my own white slave-owning Southern ancestors in trying to rationalize how slavery kept their own culture and economic strength alive.

You're quite right - most of us "white people" do think differently - because we tend to look at what is best for the individual. Because, in general, we believe no person should ever be forced to give up their own rights for the cultural benefit of the group.

I have agreed from the start that if the law was not followed then the adoption should be voided. That is a given. What I would like to see is a change in the law to reflect the fact that a child's wellbeing should be paramount. Always. In every case.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday December 17, 2008, 10:40 am
I must agree Lindsey, in this situation no one wins.

Thanks and noted

Emerald W (8)
Wednesday December 17, 2008, 2:05 pm
your trying to compare apples and oranges. Thousands of years of co-existance, and non co-existance among their own cultures that have nothing to do white cultures, and Native Americans did not capture and make slaves of anyone unless you have documented fact of such. Besides, what existed before Eurpeans came along has nothing to do with U.S. governmental interference since its trying to control Native Americans from the very beginning. Even where white children were assimulated in Native way of life they were treated as if they Native family, and not outsiders. They were assimulated into their own culture and way of life. Your info..wherever you've gotten it is not fact. Not North American Native Nations at least. Kidnapping among their own tribes in Native American, but BEFORE THE WHITE EUROPEAN INTERFERENCE. Again, apples and oranges.
And here is how your so-called assimulation worked out so well. How did so many people not know of the Native American history when you were all in school? No, wait a minute, much of what is truth is left out of U.S. History because it does not place our government in good light at all. ANd why should it be taught? But many would think that it would be an effort to learn at least. So trying to compare generations, and thousands of years of Native American culture long before European conquered North America is a long shot being that the Native Americans survived for thousands of years without interference. Apples and oranges. This will never justify the once again interferrence in Native American right to self determination.
Interference into the Native American way of life was a failure from the beginning. It was and still is based on European divide and conquer. Not a success because the Native American cultures never were willing to give up their right to self determination.
A wonderful movie about Native American stories and history is "Dreamkeeper's". There is a story of a red headed Texan child raise by the Kiowa.
And a PBS special that can be seen online at:
The Americanization policies said that when indigenous people learned American customs and values they would soon merge tribal traditions with European-American culture and peacefully melt into the greater society. For example in the 1800s and early 1900s, traditional religious ceremonies were outlawed and it was mandatory for children to attend English speaking boarding schools where native languages and cultural traditions were forbidden. The Dawes Act of 1887, which allotted tribal lands to individuals and resulted in an estimated total of 93 million acres (6,100 km²) leaving Native American hands, and the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 were also part of these policies.
Early European colonization of North America, 1513-1600
From the moment Christopher Columbus set foot in the West Indies the cultures of Europe and the Pre-Columbian Americans have struggled to coexist. Often Europeans took up the role of conquerors, most notably in South America and present day Mexico, where the expeditions of Spanish conquistadors such as Francisco Pizarro (Inca Empire) and Hernán Cortés (Aztec Empire) are known for their unambiguous belief in European superiority.
Juan Ponce de León is regarded to have been the first European to reach the lands which would become the United States, reaching present day Florida in 1513.[1] Further expeditions by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (1528), Hernando de Soto (1538-42) and others further explored Florida and southeastern North America. Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's expedition (1540-1542), which began in New Spain (Mexico), reached as far north as present day Kansas. These expeditions invariably led to clashes between the Spaniards and Native Americans and many of them ended with the destruction of the explorers. Yet these expeditions had lasting results. The Europeans made a substantial foothold in Florida. Horses were introduced, which would significantly alter the mode of life of many Native American tribes. Lastly, and most significantly, small pox and other diseases, passed by both men and livestock, were introduced to the Native populations. Many of these populations were without immunity to the diseases, and by the time European settlement became extensive in the 1600s, large portions of the Native population had been destroyed.
British colonization of North America began with the settlement of St. John's, Newfoundland as early as 1497. It officially became England's first colony in 1583. The abandoned Roanoke Colony (1585/1587) was the only other official colony until the early Seventeenth century, when a number of new colonies were founded, including Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the United States.
French colonization of North America began in c.1524 when King Francis I sent Giovanni da Verrazzano in search of a northern route to the Pacific Ocean. After failed attempts in 1564 and 1598 the first successful French colony was Acadia, established in 1604.
The Europeans as a whole seemed to view the land as unoccupied by any meaningful peoples. While some came only to settle and land, others came to "conquer and govern"[2]. Regardless, from the first meeting, the governments of Europe dealt with the Native populations as peoples to be subdued and mollified, not as existing entities such as they viewed themselves, and thus they could justify settling in the Natives' lands without permission, using the superiority of their technology to gradually push the existing cultures from any land they desired
Europeans and Native Americans in North America, 1601-177
Eastern North America; the 1763 "Proclamation line" is the border between the red and the pink areas.
In this period European powers fought among themselves to acquire cultural and economic control of North America, just as they were doing in Europe. Native American tribes were often used as auxiliaries in the North American armies of England, France and Spain. In order to secure the help of the tribes, the Europeans would offer goods and sign treaties. The treaties usually promised that the European power would honor the tribe's traditional lands and independence. Many Native American tribes took part in King William's War (1689–1697), Dummer's War (c. 1721-1725), and the French and Indian War (1754–1763).
Britain, as the dominant power after the French and Indian War, instituted the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The document set a boundary separating the Native American country from that of the European community. In part, this justified complete control of lands on the European side, but did not effectively prevent individual Europeans from continuing to migrate westward.
As in the past, military/diplomatic and economic force was applied by Europeans and European governments to secure control of more territories from Native Americans. For further information see European colonization of the Americas.
From the Native American perspective, European control of an area, meant a dramatic change in their lifestyle. Many Native Americans did not survive.
The United States and Native Americans, 1776-1860
The struggle for empire in North America caused the United States in its earliest years to adopt an Indian policy similar to the one devised by Great Britain in colonial times.[3] They realized that good relations with bordering tribes were important for political and trading reasons, but as had the British, they reserved the right to abandon these good relations to absorb the lands of their enemies and allies alike as the agricultural frontier moved west. The United States continued the use of Native Americans as allies, including during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. As relations with England and Spain normalized during the early 1800s, the need for such friendly relations ended. It was no longer necessary to "woo" the tribes to prevent the other powers from using them against the United States. Now, instead of a buffer against other "civilized" foes, the tribes often became viewed as an obstacle in the expansion of the United States.

Benjamin Hawkins, seen here on his plantation, teaches Creek Native Americans how to use European technology. Painted in 1805.George Washington and Henry Knox believed that Native Americans were equals but that their society was inferior. He formulated a policy to encourage the "civilizing" process.[4] Washington had a six-point plan for civilization which included,

1. impartial justice toward Native Americans
2. regulated buying of Native American lands
3. promotion of commerce
4. promotion of experiments to civilize or improve Native American society
5. presidential authority to give presents
6. punishing those who violated Native American rights.

Robert Remini, a historian, wrote that "once the Indians adopted the practice of private property, built homes, farmed, educated their children, and embraced Christianity, these Native Americans would win acceptance from white Americans."[6] The United States appointed agents, like Benjamin Hawkins, to live among the Native Americans and to teach them how to live like whites.

“ How different would be the sensation of a philosophic mind to reflect that instead of exterminating a part of the human race by our modes of population that we had persevered through all difficulties and at last had imparted our Knowledge of cultivating and the arts, to the Aboriginals of the Country by which the source of future life and happiness had been preserved and extended. But it has been conceived to be impracticable to civilize the Indians of North America - This opinion is probably more convenient than just. ”
—-Henry Knox to George Washington, 1790s
Indian removal
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 characterized the US government policy of Indian removal, which called for the relocation of Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river. While it did not authorize the forced removal of the indigenous tribes, it authorized the President to negotiate land exchange treaties with tribes located in lands of the United States. The Intercourse Law of 1834 prohibited United States citizens from entering tribal lands granted by such treaties without permission, though it was often ignored.

While the Indian Removal Act made the relocation of the tribes voluntary, it was often abused by government officials. The best known example is the Treaty of New Echota. It was negotiated and signed by a small faction of Cherokee tribal members, not the tribal leadership, on December 29, 1835, resulting in the forced relocation of the tribe in 1838. An estimated 4,000 Cherokees died in the march, now known as the Trail of Tears. The following is a quote from Charles Hicks, a Tsalagi (Cherokee) vice chief on the trail of tears, from August 4, 1838.

"We are now about to take our leave and kind farewell to our native land, the country that the Great Spirit gave our Fathers, we are on the eve of leaving that country that gave us is with sorrow we are forced by the white man to quit the scenes of our childhood... we bid farewell to it and all we hold dear."
In the decades that followed white settlers pushed further into the lands set aside for Native Americans, eventually spanning the United States from Coast to Coast, leaving no tribe untouched by the overpowering influence of white farmers, traders and soldiers.
Office of Indian Affairs
The Office of Indian Affairs (Bureau of Indian Affairs as of 1947) was established March 11, 1824, as an office of the United States Department of War. It became responsible for negotiating and holding fulfillment, at least on the Native American part, of treaties. In 1849 the bureau was transferred to the Department of the Interior.
In 1854 Commissioner George W. Manypenny called for a new code of regulations, noting that it was rapidly becoming evident that there was no place in the West where the Indians could be placed with a reasonable hope that they might escape molestation. He also called for The Intercourse Law of 1834 to be revised, as its provisions had been aimed at individual intruders rather than at organized expeditions. Succeeding Commissioner Charles Mix said in 1858 noted that the repeated removal of tribes had prevented them from acquiring a taste for civilization, while in 1862 Secretary of the Interior Caleb B. Smith questioned the wisdom of treating tribes as quasi-independent nations. It was in the era of this changing thought that the policy of Americanization began to grow support and begin to be put into practice.
The Americanization policy
The movement to reform in Indian administration and assimilate the Indians originated in the pleas of people who lived in close association with the natives and were shocked by the fraudulent and indifferent management of their affairs. Gradually the call for change was taken up by Eastern sentimentalists and reformers. Many of the reformers were Protestant Christians and considered assimilation necessary to the Christianizing of the Indians. In 1865 the government began to make contracts with various missionary societies for the maintenance of Indian schools for teaching agricultural and mechanical arts.
Grant's "Peace Policy"
In his State of the Union Address on December 4, 1871 Ulysses Grant stated that "the policy pursued toward the Indians has resulted favorably...many tribes of Indians have been induced to settle upon reservations, to cultivate the soil, to perform productive labor of various kinds, and to partially accept civilization. They are being cared for in such a way, it is hoped, as to induce those still pursuing their old habits of life to embrace the only opportunity which is left them to avoid extermination
Within this brief excerpt of the State of the Union, the "American" view of the Native Americans is evident. However, after decades of persecuting the Native Americans, destroying their villages, wiping out the entire population of the buffalo, and forcing them from their land, Grant proposed a peace policy in this address. Within this policy, land west of Arkansas and Missouri and south of Kansas was given to the Native Americans in 1830 and called "Indian Territory".
Yet, this policy was not adhered to, as the United States began to confiscate the western portions of the Indian Territory and began to resettle the Native Americans that lived there. In 1889, Congress authorized the opening land seized from the Indian Territory for homestead settlement, and a year later Congress passed an act that officially created the Oklahoma Territory.
Suppression of Religion
One way in which the United States Government was able to repress the Native Americans was to convert them to Christianity and suppress the practice of the Native religions. The United States used a tactic of fear in order to achieve this, as "spiritual leaders ran the risk of jail sentences of up to 30 years for simply practicing their rituals" [6]. The practice of jailing Native American spiritual leaders did not end until 1978, when the Freedom of Religion Act was passed. The goal of the United States Government was to get Native Americans to completely assimilate to their culture, a practice which was referred to as "making apples", as they would still appear red on the outside, but making them white on the inside.
However, despite the passing of the Freedom of Religion Act in 1973, several practices of Native American religion were still being stifled. For example, the Peyote Indians named their tribe after the peyote cactus, which is central to their religious practices. The peyote cactus was banned by the government, however, due to its powerful hallucinogenic effects, and thus was still outlawed to be used by the Native Americans. It was not until the Native American Free Exercise of Religion Act of 1993 was passed that the Peyote Indians could lawfully use the peyote cactus in their religious celebrations
Native American Education and Boarding Schools

Pupils at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Pennsylvania (c. 1900)An Indian boarding school refers to one of many schools that were established in the United States during the late 19th century to educate Native American youths according to Euro-American standards. These schools were primarily run by missionaries. It has been documented that they were traumatic to many of children who attended them, as they were forbidden to speak their native languages, taught Christianity instead of their native religions and in numerous other ways forced to abandon their Indian identity and adopt European-American culture. There are also documented cases of sexual, physical and mental abuses occurring at these schools.

Attendance in Indian boarding schools generally grew throughout the first half of the 20th century and doubled in the 1960s (10). Enrollment reached its highest point in the 1970s. In 1973, 60,000 American Indian children are estimated to have been enrolled in an Indian boarding school. Several events in the late 1960s and mid-1970s (Kennedy Report, National Study of American Indian Education, Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975) led to more emphasis on community schools. Many large Indian boarding schools closed in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 2007, 9,500 American Indian children lived in an Indian boarding school dormitory . This includes 45 on-reservation boarding schools, 7 off-reservation boarding schools and 14 peripheral dormitories (9). From 1879 to the present day, hundreds of thousands of American Indians are estimated to have attended an Indian boarding school.

Non-reservation boarding schools
Native American children were often separated from their families and people when they were sent or sometimes taken to boarding schools off the reservations. These schools ranged from those like the federal Carlisle Industrial School, to schools sponsored by religious organizations to some created by non-profits such as the founding of an Indian school that became Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire in 1769.

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School founded by Richard Henry Pratt in 1879 is one example. In a speech he gave in 1892, he said "A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him and save the man."

Pratt professed "assimilation through total immersion" and contended that, as schools like Hampton Institute had educated and assimilated African Americans, removing students entirely from their cultural surroundings would result in their assimilation. In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, the Carlisle curriculum constituted of vocational training for boys and domestic science for girls, including chores around the school and producing goods for market. In the summer, students were often outsourced to local farms and townspeople to continue their immersion and provide labor at low cost. Carlisle and its curriculum would become the model for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and by 1902 there were twenty-five federally funded non-reservation schools across fifteen states and territories with a total enrollment of over 6,000. Although federal legislation made education compulsory for Native Americans, removing students from reservations required parent authorization. Officials coerced parents into releasing a quota of students from any given reservation.

Once the new students arrived at the boarding schools, their lives altered drastically. They were given new haircuts, uniforms, and even new English names, sometimes based on their own, other times assigned at random. They could no longer speak their own languages, even between each other, and they were expected to convert to Christianity. Life was run by the strict orders of their teachers, and it often included grueling chores and stiff punishments.

The following is a quote from Anna Moore about the Phoenix Indian School.

"If we were not finished [scrubbing the dining room floors] when the 8 a.m. whistle sounded, the dining room matron would go around strapping us while we were still on our hands and knees."
Additionally, disease was widespread due to insufficient funding for meals, overcrowding and overworked students. Death rates for Native American students were six and a half times higher than other ethnic groups.

The Meriam Report of 1928
The Meriam Report, officially titled "The Problem of Indian Administration", was requested by and submitted February 21, 1928 to Secretary of the Interior Hubert Work. Assessments found the schools underfunded and understaffed, too heavily institutionalized, and run too rigidly. What had started as ideals about education had gotten subverted. It recommended the abolition of "The Uniform Course of Study", which taught only white cultural values; having younger children attend community schools near home, though older children should be able to attend non-reservation schools; ensuring that the Indian Service provide Native Americans with the skills and education to adapt both in their own traditional communities and the larger American society.

Lasting effects of the Americanization policy
While the concerted effort to assimilate Native Americans into American culture was abandoned officially, integration of Native American tribes and individuals continues to the present day. Often Native Americans are perceived as having been assimilated. However, some Native Americans feel a particular sense of being from another society (see Diaspora and fourth world) or doesn't exactly belong in a primarily "white" European majority society, despite past efforts to socially integrate them. In many studies and statistics they are considered as simply another minority of the general American populace, not as the individual semi-sovereign entities they remain according to the treaties that were signed between tribes and the US government. The following quote from the May 1957 issue of Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, shows this change in attitude.

"The place of Indians in American society may be seen as one aspect of the question of the integration of minority groups into the social system.

. (0)
Wednesday December 17, 2008, 3:01 pm
I was merely quoting you, Emerald. Not stating facts gained elsewhere. I quote again: you stated that your American Indian ancestors "routinely captured and incorporated other Natives and Mexicans into the Tribe to retain the culture and help keep the Tribe strong". I was merely asking why you felt that to be such a benign practice and failed to criticize it.

I did not say that your ancestors made slaves of those people they captured (I merely compared the justifications for slavery and the justifications for this particular practice). Obviously your ancestors merely kidnapped them and forced them to remain with the new tribe as members of the tribe. Removing them from their own families and culture and forcing them to be made part of another family and culture to suit the needs of the new tribe.

Sounds a little like the subject of this news article. Children being raised in a culture that isn't their own.


Emerald W (8)
Wednesday December 17, 2008, 3:47 pm

First of all I couldn't understand as to why you said that "my people" routinely captured, then I see that you misunderstood the previous post above. You are "quoting another poster on the GMA website. Not ME.
The comment was posted by a user on the ABC GMA website, and I just brought it here and reposted it here. Read the post again, and then go to the url, and read it again as well as other comments on the GMA website.
It pays to read every comment here before jumping to conclusions....I posted below the comment after the one you are talking about and said that I reposted here along with the url in hopes that people would go READ other comments about this issue on other websites.
Big difference indeed. If you can't see the difference then you can't see it at all.
First off, 95% of the comments here are knee-jerk emotional reactions slanted by personal perspectives. The article is not objective or fair, as is the case in 99% of what the main stream media manufactures, I mean publishes, each day in this country. I am 1/2 white and the rest Comanche/Mexican/Native Mexican. There is a special Federal Law protecting Native American born children. Adoptive parents are made aware of this by the lawyers prior to signing the papers and therefore this was a risk. To condem the Tribe for their interest/actions is a bit short sighted. Liberals are the first to say it takes a village to raise a child, here we have a strong village willing to do so. The birth parents may turn their life around, may not, the foster family is within the Tribe and the childs blood siblings are being looked after as well. The law is in place to protect the Tribe's identity, culture, and heritage period. Natives do not think like Europeans, never did and never will. Our values, emotions, and bonds are different. My ancestors routinely captured and incorporated other Natives and Mexicans into the Tribe to retain the culture and help keep the Tribe strong. Native Americans do not adapt the European standard of race identification. By all rationale neither do Americans, as Obama is called a black man when he is only 50% black and 50% caucasion, why is he not a white man? The Tribe will be looking after this child. The law stands to protect the largest minority in American society from the largest majority, if you wish to appeal the law of protecting the weak from the manipulation and abuses of the strong then you might as well repeal all the Civil Rights laws passed in the 1960's and 1970's as well. Stop speaking from the heart and being manipulated by the media giants who sell "news" for ratings and publicity to justify their existance. The law is in place, presidence stands, and while unfortunate all sides knew the risks.
Posted by:
JyBravo1970 1:15

. (0)
Wednesday December 17, 2008, 4:04 pm
Sorry, Emerald. Since your comment didn't have quotation marks around it, I assumed it was your own words.

Wolfweeps Pommawolf (251)
Saturday December 20, 2008, 7:01 am
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