Children’s Rights to Privacy after Adoption

Why haven’t the courts helped protect a minor adoptee’s right to privacy?

By Lara Trace

I am an adoptee, well past the age of majority, and because of my closed adoption, I had to climb a mountain and claw my way up to discover any details about who my natural family was. Records were sealed in Wisconsin. Growing up, I had no medical history. I did not share my adoptive parents blood or ancestry. Mine, on paper, didn’t exist. Even recently I told a surgeon I am not sure about most of my birthmom’s medical history, though I do know she died from complications of diabetes.

I have not stopped thinking about the post I wrote that APs need to stop blogging about adoptees. This is a looming hot issue concerning “privacy” for minor adoptees. At the MIT adoption conference, I heard it loud and clear. I’m sure many adoptive parents had not considered the ramifications of blogging about their children’s lives, especially when adoptees are still minors. The dangers of sharing on social media and blogs are REAL yet being ignored. APs are, in my opinion, in essence creating an “unsafe environment” for their child.***  A toddler cannot consent to having his or her life experiences documented on public spaces. (I predict someday some clever lawyer will take this on and attempt to sue an adoptive parent for publicizing and publishing an adoptee’s early private experiences, albeit from the APs perspective.) (There might already be stalkings and kidnappings due to the increased use of social media. You can find anyone with the click of a mouse.) (There was already one lawyer in CA suing adoption agencies for damaged goods – when an adoptee is ungrateful or not what the APs expected. This is what lawyers do!)

If someone must blog, then private password-protected blogs, shared between family members, is the only way to protect any child. Parenting blogs are one thing; blogging about the children you adopt is another.

Many adoptees have told me and related on social media, much needs to be changed about “adoption” – ending the lack of access to our own adoption files, having a copy of our real birth certificate, knowing our ancestry, our medical history and so much more….including an understanding of birth trauma, anxiety and stress disorders in adoptees.

My goal as a writer/adoption author/adoptee is to advocate for adoptees too young to advocate for themselves. I will do whatever it takes to make this issue understood from the adoptee perspective. (Add to this I teach blogging and a course on social media.)

In my foster care training in Oregon back in the 1990s, there was no mention of protecting a minor child’s privacy but people were not blogging and tweeting and Facebooking back then!

Yet there was plenty to read about confidentiality for birthmoms – if they chose not to tell anyone and gave a baby up for adoption – adoption agencies like Catholic Charities assured them no one would ever have to find out. The child (like me) would have a new identity and the records were sealed permanently.

This created a fantasy I had to deal with and live with as an adult. Until I met my dad Earl, I had no medical history or ancestry.

So much needs to change about adoption. It’s a complicated mess. For 10+ years, I’ve done research on adoption as a topic. I am not a lawyer. More and more is coming to light that “adoption” is not at all what we thought. Much of what we read is/was created by the billion dollar adoption industry so it’s their sale pitch, aka propaganda for adoptive parents (APs) and potential APs.

I am old enough now to advocate for those adoptees who can’t.  And I will.

If I run into APs and lawyers who get upset with me (or my blog) for voicing my opinion, get in line.


Here is a very revealing post from Jason on his blog concerning failed adoptions and the practice of advertising adopted children you no longer want: REHOMING:

Children For Sale: Get ‘Em While They’re Hot

His post

Hi Anonymous, Thanks for taking the time to comment. You’ve raised an important issue: every child should have a safe and supportive home. Do you advocate that only adoptive children who are in homes with parents unable or unprepared to raise a child be taken away? Should parents of biological children who are unprepared, unwilling, or unable to raise their children be allowed to offer up their children to better homes?

As we consider posting pictures or information about the lives of children on the internet, we must also consider the impact on the children (you are considering only the needs of potential adoptive parents). Does the internet have a right or need to know any information about these children? How might the children be impacted in the future with their personal and private information being shared with any stranger that comes across it?

What baffles me–and endangers children–is when adults think of their needs and fail to reflect on what children need. In this case their is an enormous impact that you are failing to consider.

and:  Hi Anonymous, you’ve raised some important concerns about the foster care system, which is a different issue than what this post is about. I’m deeply concerned about what happens when the private and personal information about children is shared publicly. Children can have safe, secure, and supportive homes without their backgrounds being put up on the internet and shared with the world


*How to Help With Children’s Rights

By Bailey Richert, eHow Contributor

Children’s rights cover issues of health, education, labor, sexual exploitation and social justice.

The category of rights extended to children by such international laws including the United Nations’ “Convention on the Rights of the Child” treaties cover matters of health, social justice, sexual exploitation, education, disabilities and more. The rights of a child were virtually non-existant in the early 1900s, but they have grown significantly with the help of concerned advocates that have formed philanthropic organizations on the behalf of children the world over. Speaking for those who cannot defend themselves, these organizations strive to increase children’s rights through law, increase public knowledge of these rights and put the promised protection into action.



Educate yourself about what laws, both nationally and internationally, are currently in place to protect the varied rights of children. Read summaries of treaties ratified by various countries on child labor protection, anti-sex trafficking movements and heath care issues (see Resources). Give this information to friends, family and others who themselves are unaware of children’s rights issues.

Research organizations involved in children’s rights movements to gain an understanding of which ones cover which major issues (see Resources). Learn about their values and mission statements as an organization, and choose one or more which aligns with your own interest in children’s rights. Some of these organizations may include UNICEF (the United Nation’s Children’s Fund), Love146 (anti-sex trafficking) and ChildHopeUK (defending the rights of homeless children) among others (see Resources).

Donate to organizations you researched in step 2. Donations may be monetary. Children’s rights organizations need funds from members to perform administration operations, rescue operations, set up child relief programs to offer food and advertise their work to other potential volunteers. Donations may also be given in time. Volunteer with one of your chosen organizations to help work a promotional or educational event they are hosting in your area.

Volunteer to be an aid for a child with special needs. The right to services for special needs children is often overlooked, and there are opportunities both abroad and locally to help in this area. Find volunteer opportunities through Feed the Children, which focuses on education for children.

Volunteer your services as a working professional to children in need. Attorneys, doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and other professionals all have skill sets that may benefit a child.

Organize a public event, such as a concert, games night or potluck dinner, that will help raise money and awareness for the children’s rights needs in your area. Ask businesses to get involved in your awareness efforts. They may choose to donate funds or support you with office materials. Donate the event funds to your chosen organization, or give that money directly to a child’s home in need.

Write to your local government representatives about the importance of children’s rights. Ask specific questions about what their office is doing to further protect children from exploitation, unfair wages, malnutrition and unsafe home situations.

Read more :

I will end with Von’s comment on Adoptive Parents blogging about adoptees: The full exposure some adopters give to adoptees is seriously wrong and abusive. Some of you might remember the ‘Potty Wars’ and the ‘Slant Eyes Fiasco’ when adoptive mothers were adamant that their right to write whatever they wanted trumped the rights of children. Many claim they are not racist or abusive and that adult adoptees are over-sensitive and need to get a life, be prayed for or learn to be grateful. They pretend to pity us for our sad lives and state that their adoptees do not suffer and will not as we have. They know so little of the trauma of adoption and do so little to protect those they have adopted from further trauma. Anything posted is forever available and will undoubtedly be used by someone somewhere to bully, castigate, abuse etc because that sadly is the down side of our social media. Anyone who overlooks this is either naïve, stupid or deliberately abusive.

Lost Daughters: Why Adoptive Parents need to stop blogging about adoptees

TracesBookFINAL.inddBy Lara/Trace

On occasion I write a post on the Lost Daughters blog. In the past week, I had more than one friend send me a blog that was created by an adoptive parent that showed photos and personal details about young adoptees.  So I asked some of the Lost Daughters, who are adult adoptees, to send me links to posts that refer to APs who blog about their adopted children.

Here is the link to my post on Friday:

I added a few comments this morning like this:

I am reading these comments Kristi and others. Thank you everyone.
First and foremost, there isn’t a BLOG POLICE. This post is my opinion. In 2010, I was very surprised to hear this discussion from adoption professionals on blogging about adoptees in particular. I had not considered this myself.
Since 2009, I read blogs every day because I blog myself. When I was doing research back in 2004, the adoption industry had, hands down, controlled the adoption industry with books on how to adopt. There were 5,000+ books on adoption on Amazon and the majority were written by and for the adoption industry.
Then blogs and websites kicked off. Again, the majority of blogs were written by APs and adoption professionals. They dominated the discourse until blogs like Lost Daughters and Lost Mothers arrived.
Obviously propaganda is about managing public information, as adoption is a billion dollar industry and looks to recruit more parents to adopt, steering people to believe in the benevolence of adoption, to keep their income stream. I still find blogs about APs who just adopted and are fundraising again. It’s growing – not slowing – as a phenomena.
What deeply concerns me, as an adoptee, is you can find a blog by a blog address and date, years later. If you have adopted a child, these posts can be read by their peers and strangers. What APs do in offering personal details and their opinions, these are available for anyone to read, not just adults.
A blog post is a pulpit, a one-way conversation (until comments). APs may quote their children but that is not the same as consent.
Further expansion of blogs, especially by parents, is a deep concern to me and many others.
Should any child be exposed to public scrutiny?

Then the APs started to unleash on Facebook: (this is one thread)  Post by Adoptee Restoration.

I am not hurt that adoptive parents are calling me names — then telling me they have every right to post whatever they want about whomever they want whenever they want. That is their prerogative.  But as an adoptee, as I wrote in the post, I would have blown my lid if I had found personal information about my childhood on a blog.

I would have felt more betrayed and violated than hurt. I would have felt owned.


In the News: Slavery in Maryland, Islam, my new book Becoming


We had one heck of a week last week with Ben’s funeral in NYC on Tuesday. Suffice it to say, Ben had a wonderful send-off and is safely on the other side knowing he was loved and appreciated by many many people.

Here is a press release about my new book:  Becoming hits bookstores, #ReadFree on Pressbooks. (I’m designing the Blue Hand Books blog/website)

I will be back with an interview with a wonderful scholar-Ojibwe friend Carol Hand in the near future.

Here are some stories that interested me that might interest you! …XOX… Lara


In the News


Volunteers work Tuesday night in the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center to complete the Maryland Emancipation Quilt. The finished quilt will be on display in the State House on Nov. 1. (By Ryan Hunter, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Annapolis celebrates 150 years of freedom

By Ryan Hunter | Baltimore Sun Media Group | October 17, 2014

When President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that took effect Jan. 1, 1863, the document didn’t apply to Maryland.

That’s because Lincoln “did not want to turn off or anger those border states with slaves that had remained faithful to the Union — like Missouri, Maryland, Kentucky and Delaware,” said Chris Haley, director of the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland in the research department of the Maryland State Archives.

In fact, it was nearly two years later, on Nov. 1, 1864, that Maryland’s third Constitution actually freed slaves in the Free State.

To mark the 150th anniversary of Maryland emancipation, the Annapolis Commission on Maryland’s 3rd Constitution and the Abolishment of Slavery — also known as Annapolis 1864 — is hosting a series of events reflecting on the state’s antebellum past.

Read more:


The Islamic State Tries and Fails to Justify Slavery

By Lizabeth Paulat | October 18, 2014

 The Islamic State has released the 4th issue of their magazine, Dabiq, where they attempt to rationalize slavery markets and their rampant sexual abuse of Yazidi women.

 The magazine is a sleek and glossy creation, filled with propaganda and news about the ‘good’ IS has been doing in the region. The latest issue, emblazoned with the headline ‘The Failed Crusade’ has an article called “The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour.”

 In the article they question why Yazidis have been allowed to exist amongst Muslims as they worship the fallen god Iblis. The Islamic State says that because they are not considered Muslims it is absolutely justified by Islam to enslave and ‘use’ (read: rape) them.

 However, that’s not actually how Islamic theology works and to understand this, we need to take a good hard look at these religious passages in the context of the time.

 Read more:

Former AIM member pleads guilty to accessory in Anna Mae Aquash (Mi’kmaq) 1975 murder – given suspended sentence


important update

Originally posted on Turtle Talk:

Rapid City Journal – November 8, 2010

Thelma Rios pleaded guilty Monday to being an accessory to the 1975 kidnapping of American Indian Movement activist Annie Mae Aquash, three weeks before she was scheduled to go on trial on charges related to Aquash’s murder.

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NYTs: No Prison for Theft of Indian Artifacts


grave-robbing as a past-time, REALLY?

Originally posted on Turtle Talk:

“Culturally accepted pastime”?!?!

From the NYTs:

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A defendant in the sweeping federal prosecution of theft and illegal trafficking of American Indian artifacts received leniency Wednesday when a judge rejected the government’s request for imprisonment.

Prosecutors sought a minimum 18 months in prison for the defendant, Jeanne Redd, who instead got three years of probation and a $2,000 fine for her conviction on seven felony counts of plundering artifacts from tribal and federal lands. Ms. Redd, 59, pleaded guilty in July and surrendered 812 boxes of artifacts.

The judge, Clark Waddoups of Federal District Court here, also sentenced Ms. Redd’s 37-year-old daughter, Jericca Redd, to two years of probation on three similar felony counts. She was not fined.

The women, of Blanding, Utah, were the first to plead guilty among more than two dozen defendants caught up in a two-and-a-half-year sting operation. They were also…

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Remembering Vine Deloria

Published on May 8, 2012

American Indian author, theologian, historian, and activist Vine Deloria, Jr. talks with documentary film producer Grant Crowell about American Indian politics and academic freedom, and recent controversies with certain academics claiming American Indian ethnicity for political gain (including Ward Churchill). Recorded from Vine Deloria’s home in Golden, Colorado in 2005.

In The News: Slavery, Nobel Prize, The Price of Memory, Malala

In the News


Kailash Satyarthi, the founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, has dedicated his life to the struggle against child labour. Photograph: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

Kailash Satyarthi: student engineer who saved 80,000 children from slavery

 Clar Ni Chonghaile,, 10 October 2014

Indian children’s rights activist hails Nobel peace prize as an honour to young people ‘whose voice has never been heard’

Kailash Satyarthi says his heroes are the children he has saved from slavery. The Nobel peace prize winner, 60, has been credited with helping to free about 80,000 children from bonded labour since he started his advocacy in the 1980s. He says the Nobel prize “is an honour for my fellow Indians and for all those children whose voice has never been heard before in the country”.

Described as a tireless campaigner for children’s rights, Satyarthi founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) – “save the childhood movement”, roughly translated from the Hindi – in 1980. The organisation has sought to educate the tens of thousands of children it has rescued, reintegrating them into society. Satyarthi has led rescue missions for children and others working in bonded labour in manufacturing industries, surviving several attacks on his life in the process.

Read more at:


 ‘The Price of Memory’ to Premiere at Montego Bay Cultural Centre

National Gallery of Jamaica | 2014-10-07

The Montego Bay Cultural Centre and National Gallery West are pleased to present the Montego Bay premier of the documentary film, ‘The Price of Memory,’ on Saturday, October 18, starting at 7 pm. Filmmaker, Karen Marks Mafundikwa, will be in attendance at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, Sam Sharpe Square, to introduce the film and to answer questions afterwards. The event is free to the public but donations are welcomed in support of the Montego Bay Cultural Centre programmes.

Filmed over the span of eleven years, ‘The Price of Memory’ explores the legacy of slavery in the UK and Jamaica and the initiatives and debates surrounding reparations. The film starts in 2002, with Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Jamaica as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations, when she is petitioned by a small group of Rastafari for slavery reparations. The film traces this petition and the first reparations lawsuit to be filed in Jamaica against the Queen, while interweaving stories of earlier Rastas who pursued reparations and repatriation in the 1960s.

The filmmaker travels to the UK, exploring the cities which grew wealthy from slavery and the British monarchy’s legacy of slavery, and follows the debates about reparations in both the Jamaican and British parliaments. ‘The Price of Memory’ premiered at the 2014 Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival in late September.

More information at:


Introducing: Beyond Trafficking and Slavery

Neil Howard, Genevieve LeBaron, and Cameron Thibos  6 October 2014

 ‘Modern slavery’, ‘human trafficking’, and ‘forced labour’ are all issues of major political and media concern. Barely a day now passes without some sensational story. Governments everywhere are passing legislation, civil society interest is rocketing, and ever more consumers are asking questions about how their products are made.

Yet for all this attention, how much is actually known about these phenomena? We’ve no shortage of anecdotal stories, but reliable information is in seriously short supply. Mainstream media is quick to present ‘modern slaves’ as living under exceptional circumstances, but it’s often impossible to distinguish their lives from those of people living under ‘ordinary’ capitalist exploitation. Why is this? And why is it that ‘protection’ policies governments put in place so frequently do more harm than good?

These are the kinds of questions that we’ll be exploring over the coming week, and that Beyond Trafficking and Slavery will be answering over the coming year.

Read more:



Modern-day slavery in focus
This website is supported, in part, by Humanity United. It is editorially independent and its purpose is to focus on modern-day slavery


Congrats to Malala on the Nobel Prize to be awarded in December! Read HERE

I’m working on a new interview with a new friend Carol Hand who blogs many things I care about…. like identity and Indian Country… BE BACK SOON… Lara/Trace

Raible: Latest Gazillion Voices article

Another way of putting it is this: There is no “post-adoption” until we have ended adoption, once and for all. Just as the boarding school experiment for Native American children has been discredited as genocidal, just as the Indian Adoption Program has been disbanded… so too, I anticipate that the transracial and transnational adoption experiments will be replaced by a much more just and humane practice that is less about the business of selling children (and in the process, disrupting extended families of color), and more about ensuring justice and care for the most needy and vulnerable—namely, poor women of color and their children around the world…

via Latest Gazillion Voices article.


I had to share this! Let this sink in…END and ABOLISH ADOPTION – and this is my post for the week, too…Lara

An Open Letter to Focus On the Family and iCareAboutOrphans Regarding Orphan Care


I am someone who was adopted before ICWA and am very glad to read this

Originally posted on Ethical Christian Adoption:

I write this with a heavy heart after doing a lot of research.

I have always used Focus on the Family as a resource for so many things and had share articles with many of the Christian community at large.

But while doing research into the ethical adoption movement, I have realized that you like many others, are falling desperately short.    Like many Christians, you are talking a terrific game about caring for orphans, but when looking into the speakers you have brought to speak for you, I was stunned and horrified.

The name that horrified me was Johnston Moore, of the group “Home Forever” which has become quite the name in orphan care with their push for adoptive parents for foster children.    On the surface this sounds like an amazing scriptural idea, until you start doing research into what measures he wants to implement.

Moore is one…

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“shoulders” – now WE are many

Prepare to be inspired by Shane Koyczan’s new Blue Dot poem

It’s week three of the Blue Dot tour, and it’s been an amazing experience so far. People have turned up for community events, and filled our event venues to hear David Suzuki and others speak, perform and share stories. The energy is electric.

And then Shane Koyczan takes the stage. And we all fall under his spell.

Shane video screencap

Shane created the original poem, “Shoulders,” for the Blue Dot tour. It’s full of joy, hope and challenge (and it will make you laugh out loud). When Shane performs it, he lifts the audience to their feet. Poetry, like music, connects people in a powerful way.

It’s my pleasure to share Shane Koyczan’s Blue Dot poem “Shoulders” with you today.

“There will be no other thing as worth saving as this. Nothing more important, nothing as precious. This is home.”  

We knew, as we developed this Blue Dot tour, that we Canadians love the natural beauty of our country. We knew that a huge majority support the fundamental right to fresh air, clean water and healthy food. We wanted to ask people to stand up for the places we all love – but we also knew that many of us are frightened and worried by the problems we face. As Shane says, “This pale blue dot, this one world, is all we get.”

What helps us get past our fear? Inspiration, connection, hope and beauty. The artists, writers, musicians and poet who have lent their support to this movement help us experience our story in a different way. Because this is truly about something we all share. The right to a healthy environment is where all of us are one.

“Somehow, we will do this; we can do this. We can be the new chapter in our story.”

As Shane says, “Having to commit ourselves to change is a scary prospect for anybody.” But we have done it before. And as we watch people join us — more than 45,000 already signing the petition, buying tickets for eventssharing the messagedonating and volunteering to help protect the people and places we love — we can see that there is such power in our hope.

Please share Shane Koyczan’s video widely, and join us in any way you can. Now we are many, and this chapter has just begun.


Tovah Paglaro, Blue Dot Tour Lead

Seattle Changes Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Seattle Replaces Columbus With

Think about what we don’t know


FYI: Lynette Mullen is a local freelance writer and project manager. A chance discovery of court records from 1862 ignited her passion for history; learning about the indenture of Native Americans in California during the gold rush further fueled this interest. She is honored to be able to share this information with the TedX audience.

I read Colorado students and teachers are protesting now that history curriculum is rife with errors, inaccuracies, not teaching America’s own atrocity. If we don’t teach truth and history, we are doomed to repeat it… Lara

Our family tradition: GIVING and #GoodThinking4AllOurRelations

By Lara/Trace

Instead of religious holidays, which often cause credit-card debt and only recognize a single day of celebration, my family is “GIVING” which happens all year. If we have something to celebrate, we simply do it!  We don’t need a calendar to be generous. We made it our mission to give bigger tips to minimum wage workers.

For years, I’ve belonged to FREECYCLE, our local chapter, who offers a variety of items, so if a person needs items or has items, they can post on the groupsite. If we have an item, we give it. It’s liberating to know my lamp, tea pot or houseplants have a new owner.

I save up special items for elder friends (like yarn, fabric and audio books) and send them a surprise. We send our granddaughter surprise packages of books often. We know she loves to read actual books (and of course she has a Nook.)

We give wrapped presents and give when we feel like it – and we do honor friends on their birthday but we celebrate BIRTHDAY MONTH.

I am sharing this with you because you can create a giving tradition in your own circle. It doesn’t have to be one day a year. Think about it…. With the holidaze fast approaching, let’s not fall into the capitalist’s trap and make giving a daily thing, not once or twice a year.

Also, this fall we plan to honor friends by giving gifts through Heifer since most of us have enough “stuff” and it’s better to help those in Third Worlds when it truly benefits them. I just gave a chicken through Heifer.  Good Thinking 4 All Our Relations organization will receive a money gift from us this year. We have enough “stuff” and there are many who don’t have anything.

Start a new tradition. Generosity is good for you and for the people who receive.

Good Thinking 4 All Our Relations Addresses the Needs of Impoverished Tribes, the ‘Seemingly Forgotten’

Eisa Ulen (2013)

Food insecurity, access to quality health and dental care, resources to provide mental health support: For far too many people across Indian country, these barriers to optimal health are the norm, a way of merely getting by that is more similar to life in so-called third world countries than here. When diapers, fuel, underwear, even indoor plumbing are extravagances beyond the financial reach of Natives in need, Goodthinking 4 All Our Relations steps in to fill the economic gaps that separate the people from better, healthier living.

Formed in July 2009 “under the jurisdiction of a covenant with Creation,” Goodthinking 4 All Our Relations provides “warmth” in the form of blankets, coats, clothing and shoes, as well as diapers, infant care products, and personal hygiene products “to Native children and elders who are most in need,” says Alex “Kisa” Jimenez (Hopi), the organization’s founder and executive director. Jimenez emphasizes the spiritual aspects of the volunteer work he and his staff do. Indeed, he identifies spirit as the force that compelled him to found the organization.

“Goodthinking 4 All Our Relations was formed because our Grandmothers are crying and praying every night for our help,” he says. “After many years of traditional ceremonies they came during ceremony and whispered: ‘For far too many years our people have been suffering in severe poverty. Elders freeze to death in winter. Our children are ending their lives. Because of these conditions, and the residuals of these conditions, it is time to make a change.’”

After this spiritual revelation, Jimenez says, “Our founding members went into the ceremonial place. We prayed about the hurt, the pain, the fears, and insecurities we were still dealing with many years after our youth. We were those children. We understand the hardships. We lived it.”

According to Jimenez, spiritual leaders helped him go through sacred ceremonies “to ask for guidance and help. When these Ceremonies were completed, Goodthinking 4 All Our Relations began to address, and meet, the needs of the seemingly forgotten and the overlooked children and elders in Indian country.”

With a mission to “advance quality of life while promoting social dignity though relief of the poor, the distressed and the underprivileged, honoring all paths of cultural and spiritual traditions,” Jimenez says, Goodthinking staff members participate in traditional ceremonies, honor the teachings of the past, and seek the guidance of elders in the work they do. Jimenez believes basic necessities must first be met among the dispossessed in Indian country, to empower people with the tools to begin to disentangle themselves from the ties that bind far too many. Only after they have food, clothing, adequate plumbing and shelter, will people be able to effectively address the deeper issues that cause suicide, health disparities, domestic violence and substance abuse.

Unlike other organizations that, Jimenez says, might have to go through bureaucratic levels of red tape or that might lack funding, Goodthinking 4 All Our Relations can help people in immediate need, like a mother and her children who have run from a domestic abuse situation with only the clothes on their backs. Jimenez’s organization can get them clothing and other basic necessities right away.

Goodthinking 4 All Our Relations has other initiatives in place, according to Jimenez, including the implementation of community gardens. He and his staff, “are working on delivering bee hives,” he says, and adds, “we are currently working on establishing TSA’ POW UM (Healing Together) a ‘traditional’ teen suicide intervention program.”

With zero dollars received in corporate sponsorship or government grant funding, Jimenez says “We raise our hands in thanks and prayer to all the individuals who have donated funding, ‘warmth,’ and their services.”

This non-profit is sponsored by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, the Snoqualmie Tribe, the Chehalis Tribe, and the Squaxin Indian Tribe. According to Jimenez, each sponsor not only provides Goodthinking with financial support, but also provides “a voice in the process of carving out a path for creating future programs.” Goodthinking 4 All Our Relations also has a Private Executive Board, Jimenez says, that “is comprised exclusively of tribal elders, who are spiritual leaders, who make the final decisions.”

The organization also has a small, unpaid staff, according to Jimenez, that is “comprised solely of volunteers, including our grant writer and publications specialist, and our website specialist.” Jimenez says this structure insures that “all donations and funding” go “directly to the Elders and children in need.” Of course, more funding would allow the organization to help more people. “We are working to eventually receive the funding that will enable us to hire staff to assist us with our mission,” he says. “This would allow us to provide more outreach and programs.”

“We at Goodthinking 4 All Our Relations,” Jimenez says, “understand our people are in a very serious situation, we take our people’s suffering in severe poverty very personally. After all, they are our family, not just someone on this or that rez. Not just another damn Government statistic or numbers on a fact sheet to get grant funding.”

He identifies the people of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota; the pueblos of Nevada; the Covelo Reservation in Central California, at Hoh River on the Northern Washington coast; the Lower Brule Indian Reservation; the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota of the Great Sioux Nation; Hopi’s mesas in Keams Canyon, Arizona; and Kykotsmovi Village on the Kewa Tribe’s Reservation in Arizona; Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico; the Navajo Nation, the Duckwater Paiute Reservation in Nevada, the Pima of New Mexico, Fort McDermitt Shoshone in Nevada; and other children from many of the 566 federally recognized tribes, living in unbelievable poverty as those his organization serves.

“What we have witnessed in spite of the conditions is our people wanting to be educated, wanting to succeed, wanting to keep their dignity, when it seems as though nobody cares,” Jimenez says. “It’s the not wanting to give in or give up and the willingness to better themselves we see as prevalent. With all the issues above we see our people wanting to survive and grow and live with Honor and Dignity.”



Indians are not dead or your mascot

Washington Football Team Has a ‘Disregard for Basic Human Dignity,’ Says Native American Author


Photo: Beowulf Sheehan / PEN American Center

Louise Erdrich happens to be both an award-winning Native American novelist and an avid sports fan, so who better to weigh in on the ongoing “controversy” surrounding the Washington football team’s continued use of a racially insensitive team name and logo? “This controversy is not a controversy,” Erdrich told Intelligencer last night at PEN’s Literary Awards Ceremony shortly after she was awarded the prestigious Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. “It’s a done deal. This is over.”

Erdrich had strong words for the Washington’s ownership: “It’s more than a stereotype, it’s an insult, and they don’t have to perpetuate it,” she continued. “By doing it, they’re beginning to look more and more backward and their regard is going to fall. They could do so much in terms of leadership and in terms of gaining respect for doing the right thing by simply changing their logo.”

Other award-winners last night just happened to include brothers Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru for their investigative reporting in League of Denial, which explores the NFL’s ignored history of traumatic brain injuries.

“This is a certain part of pro sports that really, people have had enough of,” said Erdrich of both scandals. “I’m a great Vikings fan. I’m from Minneapolis, you know, and my whole family are Vikings fans … It’s heartbreaking and sickening to everyone. So the Redskins is just more of the same. It’s more of the same disregard for basic human dignity.”

How should fans respond to a league that sees no problem using a racial slur as a team name and covers up a long history of serious injury among players? Put away your wallet, and get out your pen and paper. “I think sports fans should say no, and they should say no with their bucks, and they should write their letters,” Erdrich said. “You know how much a written letter sent through the post means now? It means a lot. Nobody does it anymore. So get out your pens and pencils, buy a stamp and an envelope, and write a letter.”

From Lara: Indians are not dead or your mascot, so please stop thinking it’s an honor… Thanks!

Nation to Nation: 17 Great Nations Keep Their Word

Published on Sep 23, 2014

This special symposium celebrates the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian’s landmark exhibition, Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations, and the notable book of the same title that accompanies the exhibition. In this segment, Susan Shown Harjo speaks on the panel topic, “Great Nations Keep Their Word.” Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee), president of The Morning Star Institute, a national Indian rights organization founded in 1984, is a writer, curator, and policy advocate who has helped Native Nations recover sacred places and more than one million acres of land. Since 1975, she has developed key federal Indian law, including the most important national policy advances in the modern era for the protection of Native American ancestors, arts, cultures, languages, and religious freedom. A poet and an award-winning columnist, her work appears in numerous publications, and she received the Institute of American Indian Arts’ first honorary doctorate of humanities awarded to a woman. Dr. Harjo is a founder of the National Museum of the American Indian and has served as a guest curator and editor of this and various museum projects.

This symposium was webcast and recorded in the Rasmuson Theater of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. on September 18. 2014.

Suzan is a friend and fellow journalist! …Lara Trace