Identity, Indians and THE MIX

tacosAs Adoptees we need to be flexible, open to the new, to synchronicities, to unlikely possibilities and to seeing the extraordinary opportunities we have, to deal with the losses, the traumas of adoption, to be who we want to be.  Identity, that ‘thing’ we have taken from us in adoption which is replaced by a new identity invented by our adopters, is not a fixed point in our lives. Identity is ours to create, we can be whoever we want to be, no matter who we were told we were. – Von Hughes (on Lost Daughters)


By Lara Trace Hentz

Identity? Oh yeah, baby. It’s so vast, so incredibly vast. In my new book Becoming I list some of my grandmothers (the ones who gave me blood and ancestry) because some are immigrants and some are Indigenous. I have so much interest in them, I can barely contain my emotions of enthusiasm and happiness that I finally know some of their names!

My cousin Cathy was asking me why some of our relatives hid the fact they are Indian. Well the past few posts I have on this blog might be a good indication. Savages? Not able to vote? Own land? Herded to concentration camps/reservations?

Cathy’s grandmother Bessie and my grandmother Lona are sisters – her grandmother claimed their mother (Mary Frances Morris-Harlow) was not Indian. I didn’t meet my grandma Lona. Yet Bessie’s father always said his mother was Indian and told his children and grandchildren.

My own dad told me his grandma Mary Frances was Cherokee. (We also have Shawnee ancestry.)

But how could a Cherokee/Shawnee be in Illinois?

After invasion, when colonies became the United States of America, Native Americans were very aware they were being denied basic civil rights. I know many readers are history teachers or history buffs, so you already know about the Cherokee Trail of Tears, etc.  Some of my ancestors were in Tennessee and Kentucky then were forced on the trail. Some made it as far as Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and stopped. Why? Because if they married white men, or married mixed-blood men who didn’t claim they are Indian, that meant they had a future.  If they had family already in Illinois that could also be their salvation!

I have many ancestors who lived and died in Pana, and that part of Illinois.  Where Illinois meets Kentucky was another Trail of Tears.  Where southern Illinois meets Missouri is the Trail of Tears State Park.  Illinois, particularly south-central Illinois is filled with street names like Nokomis, Pocahantas, Mowequa, Powhatan, Chillicothe, and many more. I do not believe this is mere coincidence. Many Indians in the East were moving and migrating as more and more colonists were encroaching – and somehow enough (mixed) Indians were in Illinois and enough settled in Illinois, enough to have an influence on place names. (The last time I drove through Illinois, my jaw dropped at all the Indian names!)

  • Illinois is an Algonquin word. Illinois – from the French rendering of an Algonquian (perhaps Miami) word apparently meaning “s/he speaks normally” (c.f. Miami ilenweewa),[13] from Proto-Algonquian *elen-, “ordinary” + -wē, “to speak”,[14][15] referring to the Illiniwek.
  • Chicago – derived from the French rendering of a Miami-Illinois word for a type of wild onion
  • Peoria – named after the Peoria Tribe which previously lived in the area
  • The name “Pana” is derived from the American Indian tribe, the Pawnee. Pawnee became “pani” or “slave” in the French patois or creole that developed in Illinois. This evolved into “Pana”,[3] now pronounced, however, [ˈpejnə].

Though I have not researched this, many mounds are also in this area! Many were plowed down but thankfully some still exist. Cahokia Mounds is located in Collinsville, Illinois off Interstates 55/70 and 255. My Miq’mac friend Alice Azure wrote a book about her visits to these ancient sacred mounds.

Why would Indians settle in Illinois?

Some were already there but during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to control the travel of all Native Americans off the Indian reservations.  Since Native Americans did not obtain U.S. citizenship until 1924, they were considered wards of the state and were denied various basic rights, including the right to travel.[WIKI 30] The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) discouraged off-reservation activities, including the right to hunt, fish, or visit other tribes.  As a result, the BIA instituted a “pass system” designed to control movement of the Indians. This system required Indians living on reservations to obtain a pass from an Indian agent before they could leave the reservation.[WIKI 31]

If I were Indian in the late 1800s, forced to walk hundreds of miles, I’d settle down in Illinois and find a nice man, marry and have my kids. Better than moving to Indian Territory/Oklahoma reservations where you couldn’t leave without permission and a pass.

So I will continue with my family research and try to find more of my grandmother’s stories, if they exist on paper. (I am grateful to have their names!)

My adoptee friend Patricia Busbee is also Cherokee-Shawnee and we have decided to start a brand new e-magazine THE MIX, so more of these vast and varied family stories can be collected and published.

Salish child
A Salish Native American child in 1910
Enlarge this image

Congress Granted Citizenship to All Native Americans Born in the U.S.
June 2, 1924

Native Americans have long struggled to retain their culture. Until 1924, Native Americans were not citizens of the United States. Many Native Americans had, and still have, separate nations within the U.S. on designated reservation land. But on June 2, 1924, Congress granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. Yet even after the Indian Citizenship Act, some Native Americans weren’t allowed to vote because the right to vote was governed by state law. Until 1957, some states barred Native Americans from voting.


If we weren’t citizens, what were we? …Lara


The original inhabitants of the area that is now Illinois included:

About Our Maps
*The Chickasaw tribe
*The Dakota Sioux tribe
*The Ho-Chunk tribe (Winnebago)
*The Illinois tribe (Illini)
*The Miami tribe
*The Shawnee tribe


Other Indian tribes that migrated into Illinois after Europeans arrived:

*The Delaware tribe
*The Kickapoo tribe
*The Ottawa tribe
*The Potawatomi tribe
*The Sac and Fox tribes
*The Wyandot tribe

There are no federally recognized Indian tribes in Illinois today.

The Indian tribes of Illinois are not extinct, but like many other native tribes, they were forced to move to Indian reservations in Oklahoma by the American government. You can find their present-day locations by clicking on the tribal links above.

Americans Like Heroes: Savages and Scoundrels

Savages? Oh yeah, I am a lovely savage

We Americans like our heroes, and we often resist or reject truth-telling, especially when it contradicts the sanitized version of history we learned in twentieth-century classrooms (mine in the 1950s or my mother’s in the 1930s). Paul VanDevelder understands the tension created when we are asked to reexamine the causes and consequences of government policies that resulted in the near-annihilation of the first peoples of North America. With the title Savages and Scoundrels, readers are forewarned that he is going to kick ass and take names.

Paul VanDevelder is no scold, however. He is a careful researcher, brilliant writer, and a scholar who cares deeply about the future of the environment and people who inhabit it. It is this commitment to the humanities, the ties that make us human, that runs through this book, as it did in his earlier book, Coyote Warrior, which concentrated on the story of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara peoples displaced by the building of the Garrison Dam in North Dakota.

The narrative begins with the unforgettable figure of Louise Holding Eagle, returning home from a shopping trip in May 1951 to find her family gone, her home, outbuildings, even the chicken coop, gone. How she and many others, including both Native Americans and their white neighbors, lost their land to the decision (declared by Felix Cohen as “not legally possible”) of the U.S. Congress and President Harry Truman to adopt the Pick-Sloan Plan, and forcibly take the privately owned and the trust lands in the heart of North Dakota’s agricultural breadbasket. More than ever, we need to understand where the roots of this betrayal of the treaty made at Fort Laramie in 1851 began. It is shocking how deep and widespread that root system was, from Thomas Jefferson’s removal policies for Indians after the Louisiana Purchase to Andrew Jackson’s disregard for Chief Justice John Marshall’s opinion protecting the Cherokee’s right to land in Georgia to the ultimate betrayal of Public Law 437 signed by Truman in 1947.

This narrative has its share of heroes, among them, John Marshall, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Jim Bridger, David Mitchell, Father Pierre DeSmet, and Felix Cohen. VanDevelder’s description of the “Great Smoke,” paints an evocative, compelling, heart-wrenching picture of the honest efforts of Mitchell, DeSmet, and Fitzpatrick to create a lasting peace with more than fifteen thousand Indians who traveled to Horse Creek in 1851 and signed the treaty there. Exactly one hundred years later, Louise Holding Eagle’s home and land were gone, soon to be inundated by the waters of the dammed Missouri to form Lake Sakakawea.

Savages and Scoundrels offers a readable, invaluable history of the government’s dealings with Native Americans and the very human and ideological prices that have been paid as a result. The timing of VanDevelder’s book is perfect. Not a month ago (2009), President Obama spoke to representatives of 564 federally recognized tribes at a White House Tribal Nations Conference. He promised, “You will not be forgotten as long as I’m in this White House.” At the same time, he recalled the federal government’s pattern of violating treaties, breaking promises, taking land, robbing Indian culture and language, and described the willingness of Indian leaders to attend the conference as “an extraordinary leap of faith.” This may be a signal of better things to come, but only if the U.S. Congress and those who elect them are also willing to learn the hard facts of this history, which VanDevelder treats so richly.

The second chance we have in this twenty-first century is with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ assignment from Congress to review for the first time the authorized purposes of the 1944 Flood Control Act that created the system of dams and reservoirs on the Missouri River, including Garrison Dam. The goal is “to determine if changes in these purposes and the existing federal water resource infrastructure managed by the Corps and Bureau of Reclamation may be warranted.” In the years that this multimillion dollar study takes place, the engineers and policymakers will have plenty of time to read Savages and Scoundrels and absorb its lessons. We cannot change our country’s history, but we are not condemned to repeat it. Paul VanDevelder has given us, in this remarkable book, the story we need to make a difference.

Janet Daley Jury is the former director of the North Dakota Humanities Council and retired editor of North Dakota History: Journal of the Northern Plains.
book cover

book cover

UPDATE: My new book BECOMING is all done (whew) – published as an ebook and soon paperback… (see header above for more info)  xox  Lara Trace

The Forced Adoption Scandal that shames Britain


not just America has problems with pedophile adopters

Originally posted on thecolemanexperience:

Snatched Children

If you thought for one minute that Britain is really as it appears to be, you’re very sadly mistaken.

Beneath the pomp and pageantry lies a network of paedophilic depravity, so vile and despicable, it literally beggars belief.

From the Elm Guest House scandal to North Wales care home abuse via Dolphin Square; to sickening Warwick Spinks and the Amsterdam connection; from Jersey’s Haut de la Garenne to Kincora in Northern Ireland; from the vile BBC to complicit police and government authorities; from MP’s through to the Royal Family themselves; the whole filthy lot of them are in on it.

If that wasn’t bad enough, we then have another layer of filth and injustice, via the secret court system and lying social workers who are deliberately snatching children from loving families to be fostered and adopted by total strangers.

Are the two scandals linked?

Most certainly, yes.

You see, according to the Forced Adoption website, a staggering…

View original 480 more words

Aboriginal women, girls targets for human trafficking, says new report


when human beings disappear, we ALL need to take notice

Originally posted on Warrior Publications:

CP train blocked in Toronto, March 12, 2014.

CP train blocked in Toronto, March 12, 2014.

Trafficking report found a deep distrust of the police among many aboriginal women and girls

By Steve Rennie, The Canadian Press, Sept 19, 2014

Aboriginal women and girls are easy prey for human traffickers because they are more likely to suffer from poverty, drug addictions and mental-health problems, says a newly disclosed report.

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The Inuit tales were right about those great big shy guys who came before

When science meets aboriginal oral history


University of Toronto archaeology professor Max Friesen with a cast of a Dorset tooth.

Marta Iwanek / Toronto Star Order this photo/ University of Toronto archaeology professor Max Friesen with a cast of a Dorset tooth.

In Inuit oral history, the Tuniit loom both large and small.

They inhabited the Arctic before the Inuit came, and they were a different stock of people — taller and stronger, with the muscularity of polar bears, the stories say. A Tuniit man could lift a 1,000 pound seal on his back, or drag a whole walrus. Others say the Tuniit slept with their legs in the air to drain the blood from their feet and make them lighter, so they could outrun a caribou.

But despite their superior strength and size, the Tuniit were shy. They were “easily put to flight and it was seldom heard that they killed others,” according to one storyteller in the book “Uqalurait: An Oral History of Nunavut.” The Inuit took over the best hunting camps and displaced the conflict-averse Tuniit. Soon enough, these strange people disappeared from the land.

This week, the prestigious journal Science published an unprecedented paleogenomic study that resolves long-held questions about the people of the prehistoric Arctic. By analyzing DNA from 169 ancient human specimens from Canada, Alaska, Siberia, and Greenland, the researchers concluded that a series of Paleo-Eskimo cultures known as the Pre-Dorset and Dorset were actually one population who lived with great success in the eastern Arctic for 4,000 years — until disappearing suddenly a couple generations after the ancestors of the modern Inuit appeared, around 1200 A.D. There is no evidence the two groups interbred.

The Dorset are almost certainly the Tuniit of Inuit oral history.

“The outcome of the genetic analysis is completely in agreement, namely that the Paleo-Eskimos are a different people,” says Eske Willerslev, a co-author of the Science study.

It’s not the first time his genomic research has synchronized neatly with indigenous oral traditions.

In February, when Willerslev and colleagues announced they had sequenced the genome of a 12,500-year-old skeleton found in Montana, the results showed that nearly all South and North American indigenous populations were related to this ancient American. Shane Doyle, a member of the Crow tribe of Montana, said at the time: “This discovery basically confirms what tribes have never really doubted — that we’ve been here since time immemorial, and that all the artifacts and objects in the ground are remnants of our direct ancestors.” The sequenced genome of an Aboriginal from Australia also revealed findings in line with the local communities’ oral histories, Willerslev says.

“Scientists are sitting around and academically discussing different theories about peopling of Americas, and you have all these different views on how many migrations, and who is related to,” he says. “Then when we actually undertake the most sophisticated genetic analysis we can do today, and this is state of the art, genetically — we could have just have listened to them in the first place.”

He was laughing when he said that. But he and many others are serious when they say that scientists need to revaluate the weight they give traditional indigenous knowledge.

“This is a pretty common theme. It’s really surprising that scientists and general commentators don’t appreciate the knowledge collection and transmission of indigenous peoples, given the wealth of knowledge about medicine, physiology, geology, earth sciences, wind patterns, ice fluctuations — the incredible scope of knowledge that indigenous people have and have sustained them in North America for tens of thousands of years,” says Hayden King, director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University and a member of the Beausoleil First Nation on Georgian Bay.

“It defies logic that this knowledge they’ve generated and transmitted wouldn’t be accurate and helpful in myriad ways.”

Respecting indigenous knowledge is about more than boosting research — it’s an attempt to redress systemic wrongs.

Most people today are aware that European theorists in previous centuries created racial hierarchies that justified the dominion of white men over various types of “savages,” including Africans and Native Americans. But the mistrust between scientific researchers and indigenous communities continued to fester well beyond the era of bewigged gentleman-scientists.

In 1989, Arizona State University researchers began collecting blood and genetic material from members of the Havasupai tribe for a study on diabetes. But the samples, which were collected with vague informed consent, were later used for research on schizophrenia, inbreeding, and migration. A tribe member discovered the other research by accident, and the Havasupai sued successfully for damages and the return of the samples.

The court battle over Kennewick Man, an ancient skeleton, was drawn-out and poisonous. Tribes far and wide, from the Maori to the Hopi, are suing museums and universities for the repatriation of human remains and artifacts. And between these headline-generating events lie uncounted examples of an extractive relationship between science and indigenous peoples, experts say.

“Researchers would go to indigenous communities and take what they needed and then just leave and never come back,” says Ripan Malhi, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who works with North American First Nations communities.

In recent years, indigenous groups and researchers have pressed for a more equitable and just relationship — and some point to a successful model in one Canadian jurisdiction.

When Nunavut was created in 1999 on the basis of the largest aboriginal land claim settlement in Canadian history, the agreement also mandated the creation of the Inuit Heritage Trust. Among its many activities, the trust reviews all permits for archaeological activity in Nunavut and requests for analysis of Nunavut-derived human remains. University of Toronto archaeologist Max Friesen, a co-author on the Science paper who had a rare Dorset tooth in his office, obtained permission for DNA analysis from the trust, as did Jerry Cybulski, the now-retired curator of physical anthropology at Canadian Museum of History, where many more specimens sat.

“We make sure the communities have an opportunity to comment on applications for permits. We’re making sure Inuit have a voice when it comes to issues that relate to their culture and heritage,” says the Inuit Heritage Trust’s Lynn Peplinski.

That voice is especially important when it comes to sensitive issues like the treatment of human remains. This summer, the archaeological team searching for remains of the lost Franklin expedition is reburying bones excavated last year, as per the trust’s request. (Willerslev’s team reburied the 12,500-year-old skeleton in Montana at the behest of local tribes).

Peplinksi is the manager of the Inuit Heritage Trust’s Place Names Program. When European explorers “discovered” the Arctic, they named landmarks after people. But Inuit rarely do that, Peplinski says. For years, the Place Names team has been criss-crossing Nunavut trying to speak with Inuit elders and capture the original Inuktitut place names before they, and the information they contain, are lost.

“The reason they named places is to communicate with other people about what they found at that place,” says Peplinski. “It tells you so much – it tells you where animals are, where hazards are.” The program has gathered 9,000 original place names, which are slowly being confirmed as official and rewriting the cartography of Nunavut.

In the genomic world, some scientists are trying to forge more collaborative relationships with indigenous communities. Malhi, the University of Illinois molecular anthropologist, says he was inspired early in his career by how the Canadian Museum of History’s Cybulski approached his practice.

“You wouldn’t just go there, get what you wanted, and leave, you would go back on a consistent basis to report results and see what community members are interested in studying,” says Malhi.

Malhi is the director of a summer internship program that offers Native Americans training in genomic techniques and a forum to discuss the ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding genetic research on their communities. He has also found collaboration crucial to his own research. In First Nations on the west coast of British Columbia, Malhi discovered the same uncommon mitochondrial DNA signature carried by Native Americans in central California. Was it a relic from migration routes dating to the initial peopling of the Americas, a hot topic for scientists, or the result of more recent movements?

“Elders in the community had stories they had heard from their elders when they were young, about how they would travel long distances down the coast,” Malhi — suggesting the second scenario. “You want to go back and talk to community members about your results and the patterns you’re seeing, because they have insights you could have never imagined.”

COSEWIC, the committee of scientists responsible for the at-risk status of endangered wildlife in Canada, added an Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge subcommittee to sit alongside those dealing with mollusks or arthropods. In July, the journal Ecology and Society published a groundbreaking research collaboration between the Heiltsuk people in British Columbia and scientists. The research, “guided explicitly by principles from Gvi’ilas or customary law,” used non-invasive hair sampling on grizzly bears to describe an undocumented population of animals that showed early evidence of declining numbers.

Evidence of progress in no way means harmony rules in relations between aboriginal groups and scientists. The Navajo Nation, for instance, instituted a moratorium on genetic research in 2002 and relationships with researchers remain tense.

Researchers and natives alike also warn that science and storytelling or other forms of indigenous knowledge should not be conflated. Each has something to offer the other, but are very different things.

Oral histories, for example, are never clean and easy narratives. Pamela Groff, an Inuit woman and program manager for the Kitikmeot Heritage Society, found the results of the paleogenomic Science to conflict with the Inuit history she had learned from elders, archaeologists, and her own research. Her understanding was that Inuit had come 5,000 years ago, and had mingled with the Tuniit.

“Different regions have different stories,” she said. “It’s always interesting to see new things come out, especially when it relates to my people. I thought we were here for a lot longer. It’s something we can pass on now.” Another researcher questioned whether anyone could say the Tuniit “are” the Dorset, given the mythologies built up around the former.

And while native American knowledge of ecosystems is nothing if not evidence-based, given thousands of years of observation, it is a system of information that doesn’t always synchronize with science.

“Indigenous people used to talk about rocks having a spirit . . . scientists would question that philosophy, but if you think about long term evolution of rocks, they move, they migrate, they change shape. There’s an essence to them. That kind of observation can only come from this long-term, long-tenured existence in a single place,” says Hayden King.

“It’s an issue of scope.”

Effing brilliant writers, changing names, Becoming

By Lara/ Trace

OK, I had my 9-9 birthday and survived it on a SUPER MOON.  In numerology, your life is four phases. When I hit this one, age 58, (yikes) I started my fourth.

But lately, so much anger has been pouring out of me! Not because of a birthday… It’s because I have lost a good friend Brent from a heart attack, and my other friend Ben is in the ICU and we don’t know if he’ll make it. I have never cried so much – at the drop of a hat – even TV commercials – especially dogs, I cry, cry, cry. I’m not complaining. Hey, I can feel. I feel so much, it’s like I can’t turn it off! I had trouble feeling anything for YEARS – like I couldn’t feel- and when that changed, the “feeling floodgates” opened. That is where I am today. (The Moons can trigger emotional outbursts, too. It can make some people crazier than usual.)

Just so you know: My name change is official.  30+ years ago I changed my name to Trace – first it was Tracy Ann on my fake birth certificate. Earlier it was Laura Jean Thrall on my real birth certificate.  Getting done with DeMeyer – that took longer (writing with a name does that) – which was EGO – on my part. Many adoptees I know are doing the name change right now – it’s going to be a BIG trend, I predict!

I was talking with a childhood friend and told her if I had not opened my adoption at age 22 – I’d be dead. This is absolutely true. Adoptees who committed suicide, I get them and know why. Living like that, blanked out, no identity, can kill you. Not being able to know the truth or find your people, that can kill you. I can’t sugar-coat it. I can’t say I was grateful. I’m not grateful. How can anyone be grateful for being abandoned, erased, then lied to? (In my case I was rejected by my own mother Helen when I found her.)

If I had my real name when I was adopted, a clear explanation of why I was abandoned/put up for adoption, that would have helped.  If my adoptive parents could have told me something real, true, it would have helped ME handle what happened. If they knew about adoption and what it did to me, I seriously doubt they would have done it…   I wrote this before: I shut down. Switched off.  Nothing was real. I was a fixture of my own imagination!  This is no way to live, believe me. When I found Helen, and she made her choice to not meet me, I chose something else and met her family, not her.

We adoptees have to survive so much, from the moment we arrive.  It’s a minefield of emotions. Adoption can kill us or make us strong. I chose strong.

I want mothers to know – no matter what religions or adoption propaganda says, don’t do it. Don’t put your child up for adoption. Just don’t.

All the years your child is with other parents, you can’t turn back the clock. You won’t get them back the way you want or might expect. It can’t be undone.

Again, this is how I feel. I don’t speak for all adoptees….Lara

Lately I saved up some of the BEST effing writing on adoption (links below)

***The Only Words I Have Are Effwords here

I’ve had it. I’m so tired of the constant, self-justifying drone of “not MY adoption” and “My baby was left by the side of the road/is a Real True Orphan/was totally gonna die.” So fuck international adoption. Fuck “We didn’t know.” And if you can’t do the amount of homework and research to add someone to your family that you’d put into buying a used car, then fuck you and fuck your expectations of sympathy.

***Trigger Happy: Adoptees Who Are Successful Even When Living Triggered – Part 2

***Legalized Lies – Colorado OBC – LINK



P.S.: I am wrapping up my brand new book BECOMING (as Laramie Harlow) and will post on this blog when it’s done. I started it about two years ago and it has lots of true stories, funny stories, some prose.  It definitely has some thoughts on adoption, too. Here are 11 reasons why you’ll want to read it >>>HERE

BONUS:::: Here are a few interesting websites to peruse…

What Doctors Don’t Tell You:

Audio Fix:

This audio report from BBC News looks into a “telepathy breakthrough” made by neuroscientists at Harvard University, who demonstrated how technology can be used to send a mental message from one person to another without any contact between them.

Narcissism: In the first half of Coast to Coast Radio Show, Professor at the University of Georgia, W. Keith Campbell , discussed the epidemic of narcissism in our culture. He defined narcissism as having a grandiose or inflated sense of self– being a “legend in your own mind,” and thinking that you’re better than other people or better than you really are. Narcissism is a trait that most people have some of in their life, but when it reaches a certain level, it can be diagnosed as a disorder or condition, he said. There are certain signs that become more evident over time such as people always turning the conversation back to themselves, as well as an arrogant attitude, or a brazenness about self-promotion.The trait appears to be on the rise– two thirds of college students in America in the 2000s had narcissism scores higher than the average student in the 1980s, he reported. Social media and “selfie” photography are newer tools that narcissists sometimes use to promote themselves or make themselves look good, he added. Narcissists sometimes make for good political leaders, and many US presidents of the last century have scored high in those traits, Campbell noted. They can also make for good partners, as long your interests and theirs align– if they don’t, that’s when narcissists may exploit or hurt people, he cautioned. Are you a narcissist? Take this quiz to find out.

Battle For The Net

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

Disturbing Truth about the History of Our Education System (watch today)

This is a clip from Schooling the World: The White Man’s Last Burden. Thanks to the generosity of the film-makers, (until Sep 9th) you can watch the full film online for free and in HD!

Watch it here while you can:

Video clip link:

Filmmaker’s site:

Like our Facebook page for more: Films For Action

Featured Image -- 10296

My birthday


this is how I feel too on my birthday

Originally posted on adopteeidentityrites:

It’s my birthday.  Sixty five years ago my mother expelled me into the world.  I had just spent nine months getting to know her intimately, and my brain was wired in preparation to meet her.  But it was not to be.  I arrived in the world and was whisked away from everything I knew.  There would never be those familiar smells and sounds and tastes that would have provided a secure foundation for relationships in future.  I would forever feel lost and abandoned.  My primary relationship with my mother was severed, torn asunder at birth.

People say ‘Happy Birthday’.  And I know they mean well.  And I want to be happy.  But I want them to recognise this is the day my body screams out at the loss of my mother.  How do they expect me to celebrate this enormous loss and grief?  I think of my mother, and what it…

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In The News: Slavery

The Economist’s review of Edward Baptist’s book on slavery and capitalism sparks a firestorm – and a retraction

The Economist’s review of “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” by Edward Baptist, along with the magazine’s retraction:

And some reaction:

And a review from the Los Angeles Times:


Boston’s bright light: The African Meeting House

Trymaine Lee MSNBC September 5, 2014 (photo above)

 BOSTON — The city’s bad reputation for race relations has been well-earned. In the mid-1970s, when Massachusetts moved to desegregate its public schools through a busing program, white Bostonians erupted in violent protests and riots. The Boston Red Sox were the last major league baseball team to integrate. And Massachusetts was the first slave-holding colony in New England and played a central role in America’s early slave trade.

But there’s another side to the racial history of this much-maligned city. It played a historic role in the abolition of slavery and helped shape the lives of many of the important historical figures of the time.

Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison founded his Liberator Newspaper in Boston which called for “the immediate and complete emancipation” of all slaves in the United States. Prince Hall, a black abolitionist, stalwart defender of equality and the father of black Freemasonry, was a pillar of Boston’s black community and used the city as a launching pad to feed the national abolitionist movement.

Read more:


Note: I’ll be back posting next week… birthday break…Lara

Mount Polley mine tailings spill nearly 70 per cent bigger than first estimated


tragic news – had to share

Originally posted on Warrior Publications:

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Rethinking the “Angry Adoptee”


human trafficking is adoption too

Originally posted on elle cuardaigh:

Rethinking the “Angry Adoptee”.

Thank you to “Red Thread Broken” (not to be confused with The Tangled Red Thread) for this post. It is something I get a lot, usually by people who want to shut me down. They don’t even realize that’s what they are doing. I express an opinion on a subject I feel passionate about, and if I show even the slightest bit of emotion, I get, “You really don’t need to be so angry.” They are uncomfortable because my speaking up makes them think about something they don’t want to face.

Sometimes you need to get angry. There are things worth getting angry about. Unethical adoption is one of them.

The writer’s answer to her cousin’s question, “Are you angry you were adopted?” could have been my own. No, I’m not angry I was adopted. But I am angry that adoption has become so twisted…

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Children of the Powwow: Changing The Way We See Native America

Copy_of_ASU_POWWOW_497By Terra Trevor
SOURCE: 09/02/2014

When I was invited to lead creative writing classes for elementary school children I discovered that the teachers, the children and their parents had a desire to learn more about American Indians.

Since November is National Native American Heritage month, too often teaching the rich histories of Native Peoples is braided together with Thanksgiving, which does not offer an accurate history of Native America. This limited view also does not humanize the otherwise “vanishing race” and share the stories our people would like told.

The children explained to me that they had few opportunities to meet and talk with American Indian people. Their quest for a deeper understanding then developed into an idea to take the children to a Powwow, and they asked me to lead them into a day of drumming, dance and regalia.

While we planned our journey, thoughtful questions the children, teachers and parents asked allowed me the opportunity to share my perspectives on the importance of dismissing the stereotypes of the stoic warrior, the Indian princess, the uncivilized. I helped them understand that many of the old photographs we see in books are only pictures, and that even in the olden days many American Indians didn’t live the way they looked in the photos. I explained that when American Indian people are compared to these old photographs and stereotypes outsiders often tell us that we don’t look Indian. How do we counter this predominant notion and change the way Native Americans are viewed in popular culture?

My inspiration came from Project 562: Changing The Way We See Native America by Matika Wilbur. Project 562 creatively addresses and remedies historical inaccuracies, stereotypical representations, and the absence of Native American images and voices in mass media, and the national consciousness.

We decided that our starting point, and our goal, for attending the powwow would be to help the children counter stereotypes and increase their core understanding of what it means to be Native American in America today, and to place new authentic and accurate images in their mind.

By no means do I believe that I am an expert regarding powwows, or have expert knowledge of Native American people. Learning is a lifelong pursuit. What I know comes from growing up Native American.

Before we traveled to the powwow I sat down with the children and with their parents, and told them the stories I am sharing with you now. My hope is that if you have never attended a powwow, or have a wish to understand more, and about dismissing the stereotypes, you will feel encouraged.

Powwow is a modern-day word. All of the Elders I know tell me that before the First World War they were called gatherings. After the corn was all dried, pumpkins sliced and the wild plums brought in it was a time for giving thanks. When the food was together for the hard winter months and when the work was all done they gathered. After World War I these “gatherings” were held to honor those servicemen who came back.

Today a powwow is a reunion for many Native families, clans and tribes spread apart in different cities or reservations. There is the exchange of news, ideas, song, and dance, Native fashion, style and art, and it’s a time when Native people reflect on traditions.

Personal Reflection: I am gathered with friends and family under a bead blue sky, my shawl is folded over my arm, and although we’ve been laughing and joking all morning, now we are quiet, silence is our conversation and it tells me more than words. We are careful to sit a safe distance away from Eagle feathers and dance regalia, and we don’t touch anything that belongs to someone else.

A powwow runs on “Indian time” which means that it will begin when all the drums and dancers are ready. When everyone is ready, first there is a Ground Blessing. Then the flag bearer’s lead in with the American flag, the state flag and an Eagle Staff. Next the Grand Entry; the dancers represent many different tribes. After all the dancers are in the arena a Flag Song is sung, a Prayer is offered, followed by a Victory Song. I feel the heartbeat of the drum. Hundreds of Indian people wearing soft moccasins are dancing. Men, and women carrying babies, boys and girls, and the Elders who barely move staying close to the earth.

The drum is one of the oldest memories an American Indian has, it has always been with us, and is the single most important element of a powwow. The dance arena or arbor is sacred and is respected, like the inside of a church. Many Native families travel hundreds of miles to attend powwows across the continent. Time and distance are not relevant; it is the renewal of traditions, which is of paramount importance. It brings a long heritage back into the framework of real life.

While growing up I was taught each person has her or his own personal observance for dancing, drumming, singing and for being present at a powwow. Native people gathered around the arena are not observing — we are participating as we form a circle around the drums, singers and dancers.

Visitors are always welcome, but powwows are an Indian event and are usually not directed toward non-Indians. Listen carefully to the Master of Ceremonies; this is a time for utmost respect. Ask before you photograph.

It is polite to ask permission from the dancers before you take a picture if they are away from the arena. It is necessary to ask because some do not want to be photographed due to our longstanding traditional beliefs. Throughout the day I ask the children to close their eyes, and listen to the drums, and to imagine what it might have been like hundreds of years ago.

Multiple times throughout the day I also take the children to meet my friends, so that they will have an opportunity to see and talk with American Indian fathers holding sleeping babies, and American Indian mothers laughing, while braiding their children’s hair. I want them to see happy Indians laughing and joking with each other. Humor is an important American Indian cultural trait. We believe it is of key importance not only to laugh, but to also be able to laugh at ourselves. I want the kids to see American Indian children eating popcorn, being silly and playing the same games all children play. And then they had an opportunity to see those same children change into their dance regalia, have their hair braided, faces painted, and prepare to dance.

I want to provide stepping-stones for the children so they can begin to see that American Indian people have respect for our traditional ways, and that we are also real people too, who drive cars, and work as doctors and teachers. To show the children that American Indian mothers and fathers are also regular moms and dads who cook dinner, help their children with their homework, play baseball, and go out for pizza, and that we are not relics from the past.

Most of all I want the children to understand that Native Americans are Native Americans, even when we are not dressed in beadwork and feathers.

I tell the kids that we are here to honor the past and be proud of our future. I share with them the stories my grandmothers told me about how each person is a link to history, and that when it comes to powwows some Native people chose to become drummers, others become dancers, but even those of us who are watching and listening, that every American Indian person at the powwow is connected, and is making a statement that American Indian people are still here. This is our celebration of life past, present and future.

First published at Speak Mom.

Author’s Note: Native American? Or, American Indian?
There is no agreement among Native peoples. Both are used.

Related Posts:

Thankfulness and Rewriting History
Happy Thanksgiving: An American Indian Perspective

Mount Polley: A wake-up call for Canada’s mining industry | Science Matters | David Suzuki Foundation

Mount Polley: A wake-up call for Canada’s mining industry | Science Matters | David Suzuki Foundation.


Here’s what I know: a rich guy who lives in Florida is drilling test holes in the Penokee Range which threatens the Bad River Ojibwe Tribal Nation rice beds and Lake Superior. These are my relatives and your relatives.  This is my lake and your lake.  How many mining disasters will it take for ALL of us to say NO – ga wiin?

mining disaster

The Privilege of Grief


“What happened to Michael Brown’s body was a profound failure: of institutions and systems meant to serve, of the human heart’s ability to feel compassion and see itself in the suffering of others. Yes, I am talking about racism and classism and compassion all together. There is so much data on how race creates inequality in the United States and how white people benefit from it that I know we aren’t stuck here because we need more information. We don’t need more information; we need to admit how that information plays outs in our lives and be with the uncomfortable feelings that arise.”

True, true, true

Originally posted on Unstoppable Wholeness:

It was easier for me to travel across the whole country and claim my partner John’s body than it was for Michael Brown’s mother to cross a few feet of pavement in Ferguson, Missouri.  

John was killed in a car crash in Montana while I was home in Massachusetts.  We are not sure when it happened.  Was it late at night or early in the foggy morning?  The car went off the road and into an irrigation ditch.  It came to a halt upside down in the water, partially obscured by a tree.  Much later in the day, someone noticed something odd and called the police.

A local police officer and a State Highway patrol officer responded.  They saw John’s body suspended in the water.  You don’t survive long in the water so they must have suspected he was dead, but still they jumped into the ditch, into the…

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