The affirmative argument is presented by April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive, the prestigious Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI), an organization with no ulterior motive or financial backing that would impact their conclusions. It is on point and factual, backed by extensive research of experts in the fields of child welfare and law as it relates to this issue conducted by DAI. Their position is in keeping with the AMA, The American Pediatric Association, and The Surgeon General, all of whom recognize the importance of a family medical history which adoptees are denied without access to their original birth certificates. The DAI’s position paper on access is available here and here.
I finished up my classes. The blogging and social media students were some of the best EVER!
The above post by author Mirah Riben is a MUST READ. It covers the arguments and is “on point” with my views… Follow the hashtag #flipthescript on Twitter for some of the best writing I have EVER read on National Adoption Awareness Month (#NAAM). Many adoptees have taken over the blogosphere this month. Their voices will change the world!
My friend Paula Peters and I met at the Native American Journalists Association years ago
Paula Peters is an active member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe based in Mashpee, Massachusetts and owner of SmokeSygnals, a media and communications consulting firm.
She is currently producing a documentary on nine Mashpee Wampanoag men jailed in 1976 for drumming and singing their traditional music. The Mashpee Nine were later acquitted and law enforcement held accountable for their actions. Mashpee Nine: The Beat Goes On will premier at the 2016 Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow in July, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the raid on the men.
An independent scholar of Wampanoag history Paula is also the Executive Producer of “Our”Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag Survival,” a traveling multi-media exhibit telling the back story of the colonization of Plymouth from the indigenous perspective.
A graduate of Bridgewater State College she was formerly a writer at the Cape Cod Times where she won numerous national awards for her journalism.
She lives in Mashpee with her husband, two daughters and elder mother.
About the FILM
During the summer of 1976 the revival of cultural and traditional values of the Mashpee Wampanoag was occurring at the same time tribal leaders and town government were clashing over land entitlement. An incident involving an over zealous tactical police force disrupting a group of traditional drummers and singers evolved into a high profile trial of nine young men arrested, eight Wampanoag and one non-native friend. Defended by one of the American Indian Movement’s most skilled and dogged attorneys the Nine won in a rare case of a court ruling against law enforcement. Court documents shredded, news accounts buried in microfilm, the case has faded into distant memory but the stories of the surviving Nine and those who rallied to their defense. What does survive is the tradition the Nine sacrificed their freedom for, even for a night, and fought vigorously to defend, the drum, the songs and the night. This documentary will resurrect that legendary incident and preserve the memory of those who experienced it for the generation now sitting at the drum, and those to come.
INDIGENOUS FILM FEST in New Hampshire: Nov. 6 and 7, 2015 READ MORE
How the Supreme Court and a divided Congress have stymied efforts by poor tribes to recover long-lost lands.
Custer’s long gone, but a hostile Supreme Court and divided Congress are still playing havoc these days with Indian tribes trying to get some of their lands back.
“With all due respect, there’s not anybody on the court who knows very much about Indians or Indian law,” says Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican who hails from the Chickasaw tribe. It’s little better in the House and Senate where the growth in Indian gaming has so poisoned the well that getting any relief for the tribes is harder and harder.
The immediate issue is how Congress should respond to a 2009 ruling in which the justices narrowed the mandate of the Indian Reorganization Act that has guided federal policy since the New Deal. In the process, the court effectively created two new classes of tribes under the 1934 law and cast doubt on decades of land conveyances approved by the Interior Department.
“They literally overturned what both parties and successive secretaries of the Interior thought was the law for 80 years,” says Cole.
But getting a simple legislative fix is anything but simple in Congress, as major stakeholders have seized the chance to demand larger changes — not just in IRA but also the direction of Indian gaming.
Indeed, the whole Indian lands debate in Washington has turned 180 degrees. The fight is less about the justice of returning historic territory and more simply cash — whether measured in the revenues gained from casinos or property taxes lost for local counties. From Oklahoma to California, rich tribes play the political system to protect their share of the gaming markets. Lost is any perspective on the hundreds of poorer tribes just trying to establish some economic foothold and homeland for themselves.
“You’ve hit the nail on the head,” says Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) with a rueful laugh. But defying the odds, this Yale-trained orthopedist and rodeo physician has set out to mend these old bones and try to end the impasse this year.
The early spadework has been done in the form of hearings and discussion groups held since Barrasso took over the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs last winter. A first draft of his bill was filed in July. A manager’s amendment is now in the works. And the Wyoming Republican brings two important assets: his Western GOP credentials and the learning experience of having watched past efforts fail.
“Anybody who thinks they can solve this on their own has to be kidding themselves. What we’re trying to do is put a whole group together,” he says. “We have draft legislation. We’ve asked for input … Nobody’s saying `stop the process.’”
Nonetheless, the political obstacles remain huge. And no debate in Congress goes more to heart of the American experience.
“We didn’t invade Europe. Europe invaded the tribes. And just because that invasion was successful doesn’t mean we no longer want the tribes,” said William Rice, a tribal member himself and co-director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Tulsa. “We never gave up our rights to self-government, we never gave up our rights to territory. We’ve been recognized as nations since the days of the Founding Fathers.”
Land is inextricably part of this calculus, not just for the property itself but the opportunity to establish a tribe’s identity and sovereignty. That’s why IRA was such a watershed event, and Franklin Roosevelt’s administration billed it then as a “New Deal” for Native Americans after the destructive policies enacted by Congress in the late 19th century.
Prior to IRA, the federal goal had been more one of forced assimilation, imposing new blood rules on the tribes as to who qualified as a member and breaking up community lands. Between passage of the General Allotment Act in 1887 and 1934, total Indian land holdings had fallen by almost two-thirds, from 138 million acres to 48 million. Nearly half of what remained was better described as desert or semi-desert.
The new IRA law sought to go in the opposite direction by promoting self-governance and tribal sovereignty. Stop-loss provisions were put in place to protect the remaining lands. Most important to the current debate in Congress, Interior was charged with supervising a new lands-to-trust process by which tribes could bring lands under their control.
In the decades since, about 8 million acres have been added to Indian land holdings. But to the surprise of many, the 2009 court ruling said IRA only narrowly applied to those tribes that can prove they were both recognized and “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934.
It was a quirky little case, matching Rhode Island’s small Narragansett tribe against the Republican governor at the time, Donald Carcieri, and will have a place forever in the annals of Indian law. Just 31 acres were in dispute and it all turned on the legislative meaning of a single word: “now.”
But by ruling as it did, the Supreme Court cast a cloud over IRA and a much broader universe of land transactions covering thousands of acres more. Lawsuits have since popped up in states like Alabama. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) accuses the justices of imposing a “caste” system on Native Americans. Most striking is how raw relations are between the tribes and the court, once viewed as their protector.
The central question most often is where to draw the line between state and tribal authority, two competing sovereigns. It’s here where Native American professionals and legal experts say there has been a decided shift beginning with Chief Justice William Rehnquist and now his former clerk, Chief Justice John Roberts. In fact, the 2015 edition of the casebook, American Indian Law: Cases and Commentary, found that the Roberts court had decided 11 Indian law cases thus far and ruled against tribal interests in all but two of them, an 82 percent loss record.
“Every Indian lawyer, expert, close observer cringes every time they take a case,” said Joe Valandra, an attorney who has long been active in Indian affairs and gaming. “I will say there are folks on the Supreme Court who are reflexively anti-Indian,” said Matthew Fletcher, a professor of law at Michigan State University.
Robert Anderson once served in the Interior Department and now teaches law at the University of Washington and Harvard. He opts for the gentler-sounding: “anti-tribal sovereignty.” But the bottom line is still the same.
“They are definitely hostile,” Anderson said of the current majority. “It is all federal common law and the court is basically legislating through these decisions what the powers of the tribes are in the absence of particular congressional direction.”
“They are very protective of states’ rights,” Anderson said. “When Indian governmental powers run up against the states, they give a very hard look to the Indian powers. There’s a majority that wants to trim the Indian sovereignty back in favor of the states.”
Anderson’s description of the high court as “legislating” is telling here. And it illustrates what’s become a three-arena battle in Washington over who sets Indian policy.
The Constitution assigns that power foremost to Congress. But the current paralysis has created a void in which the court has been more aggressive on behalf of the states while the executive branch under President Barack Obama has championed the tribes.
This administration has sped up approvals for restoring lands to Indian sovereignty; more than 305,000 acres have been approved since 2009. And alarm bells are going off now in Congress over new proposed rules drafted by Interior to update the process by which tribes can seek recognition from Washington.
Leading the charge is Kevin Washburn, assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, a soft-spoken former law school dean who is of Chickasaw ancestry.
“I do think there is hostility among certain segments of Congress to tribal sovereignty in general,” Washburn says. “To some degree it’s a backlash against our own success. The Obama administration has done a lot of positive things for tribes and I feel this is a backlash against all the positive steps we have done.”
He welcomes Barrasso’s efforts at compromise. “We don’t agree with everything in it, but it looks like they’ve done some difficult thinking,” Washburn says of the Senate bill. “At this point after seeing so many efforts fail, I’m really grateful that someone’s willing to take up the task. He has bravely plowed forward.”
But there are flashes of anger in Washburn: moments which show his impatience with what he sees as the core injustice of the Indian lands debate and his growing concern that time is running out on the chances for a deal.
“You’ve not hidden your prejudices and I respect that … [But] I worry that your vision returns us to what some believe were the darkest days of Indian policy,” Washburn snapped back at Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) at a tense hearing before the House Committee on Natural Resources in May. And in an interview, Washburn mocks demands from Western Republicans that federal lands should be “returned” to the states by Washington.
“That’s just a misreading of history,” he says. “Most of it was not taken from the states. It was taken from the tribes. If they really wanted to return it, give it back, it would be given back to the tribes from whom it was taken in the first place.”
Navigating between the Supreme Court and executive branch, Barrasso wants Congress to reassert itself and address the issues at hand. He finds the court confusing but is frustrated too by Interior’s reliance on executive memoranda to map a path forward. From his experience, the tribes and local governments can work well together but clarity is needed to improve the process and avoid litigation for both sides.
“The idea is to add some certainty,” he says. “Because ever since the Supreme Court ruling, things have been pretty confusing for just about everyone … We want to allow tribes to take land into trust by statute, not by lawsuit and Interior Department memorandum.”
To give himself some running room, Barrasso broadly titled his bill, the “Interior Improvement Act.” Introduced in late July, the 15-page measure includes a retroactive provision to protect existing Indian lands from lawsuits born of the high court’s decision in Carcieri. But it would also tighten the lands-to-trust process going forward. Tribes would be required to be more specific about their development plans. Interior must give more timely notice to local towns and counties affected by the outcome.
“This goes beyond a fix,” Barrasso says. “This is a complete reform.”
That said, the challenges ahead are illustrated by the tangled politics of two states, California and Oklahoma, where the advent of Indian gaming has affected the landscape.
Total annual revenues for the industry nationally run near $28.5 billion, a number that dwarfs Washburn’s entire budget or tribal receipts from oil and gas revenues. But the dark side of gaming’s success has been the often poisonous tribal divisions it creates between the haves and have-nots. And this being Washington, the haves tend to be heard first.
In California’s case, public sentiment is running against further expansion of Indian casinos and some of the most successful gaming tribes are spending heavily to keep out new entrants — and perhaps block Barrasso.
This was seen just a year ago in the Proposition 48 ballot referendum fight, in which the “no” forces enjoyed a huge financial advantage and rolled up 61 percent of the vote against a new casino in the Central Valley that had been endorsed by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democratic state Legislature.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has tapped into this state movement and is out front demanding that Barrasso do more to rein in what she calls “reservation shopping” by tribes, who want access to urban markets far from their historic lands.
“As currently implemented, there is effectively no limit to where a tribe may propose a casino,” she wrote in an Oct. 1 letter to the committee. And Feinstein proposes to reopen the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and insert tougher language that would require tribes to show a “substantial, direct, aboriginal connection” to any lands that are taken into trust for gaming.
A former mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein’s roots in local government make her naturally sympathetic with the added burdens on county officials imposed by the casinos. But her critics add that she and her allies are pulling up the draw bridge after they have already gained advantage on the other side.
In fact, the senator’s husband, investment banker Richard Blum, held an important stake in the Perini Corp. from November 1996 to January 2006 — a window during which Perini profited from major contracts to build some of the biggest tribal casino projects in California. And the “no” forces in the Proposition 48 fight received large contributions from some of the same tribes, enriched by their own casinos.
A Feinstein aide said she had no involvement in her husband’s business dealings and keeps all her assets in a blind trust. But there’s a significant overlap between those casino tribes that helped bankroll the Proposition 48 fight and the client list for Ietan Consulting, a prominent Washington lobbying shop on Indian issues.
Ietan’s principals share past ties to the Clinton administration, which was aggressive in promoting the spread of Indian gaming. But Ietan has since promoted what it calls the “Aboriginal Lands Coalition” — a collection of often wealthy tribes that fear gaming’s image and their own profits could suffer unless more is done to prevent new casinos far from historic lands.
The coalition has yet to endorse Feinstein’s language outright but clearly shares common interests with the senator and worries about the direction taken by Barrasso thus far.
“Allowing tribes to `leap-frog’ other tribes for better gaming markets would undermine public support for Indian gaming,” said Larry Rosenthal of Ietan. “Tribal leaders have met with Sen. Feinstein to discuss their concerns about off-reservation gaming outside a tribe’s aboriginal lands.”
Oklahoma has its own set of haves and have-nots, but the politics break very differently than in California.
That’s because the often-preferential treatment enjoyed by a handful of dominant tribes has allowed them to largely corner the gaming market at the expense of the often-poorer Plains Indians. For these haves, the top priority for any Carcieri fix is to make it as broad as possible, then to protect their gains from future legal challenges.
This is seen in Cole’s own Carcieri bill introduced in the House in July and quickly matched by a companion Senate measure put forward in August by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas).
Like Barrasso, Cole includes a retroactive section protecting against lawsuits. But he goes well beyond Carcieri and would ratify “any action” taken by the secretary on past trust deals quite apart from whether the tribe was recognized in 1934 or not. “It was drafted as broadly as possible,” an aide confirmed. “To address as many `fee-to-trust challenge scenarios’ as possible, and avoid further litigation on the issue.”
Cole’s approach has won the support of the Chickasaw tribe, which dominates the Oklahoma gaming market and has grown to be a major political contributor at the state and federal level.
“The Chickasaw Nation stands with Indian Country in urging Congress to enact a clean fix to the Supreme Court’s Carcieri decision,” said the tribe’s long-time Gov. Bill Anoatubby. “We appreciate the efforts of Tom Cole and Sen. Jerry Moran for introducing legislation to accomplish that goal.”
Cole insists his bill was not tailored for any Oklahoma interest. And in Congress, he is well-respected as a voice for tribal rights far beyond his home turf. But Cole also likes to tell his colleagues: “Just remember when you are involved in Indian wars, be on the side of your Indians.” And his legislative language clearly serves the Chickasaw.
That’s because legal questions still hang over the tribe’s huge gaming empire, built on a series of rapid-fire land deals approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the first decade after passage of IGRA in 1988.
Because all such land-to-trust approvals constitute a “federal action,” an environmental impact analysis is typically required under the National Environmental Protection Act. Yet records show the well-connected Chickasaw often received categorical exemptions from BIA, even though the newly-acquired land was clearly being converted to a very different purpose.
A second legal question arises from how the BIA enforced the tougher standards set by IGRA for gaming on lands brought into trust after 1988. Here again the Chickasaw benefited from an expansive view of what qualified as “former reservation” lands in Oklahoma and was therefore exempt under Sect. 20 of IGRA.
An early draft rule circulated by the BIA in 2006 defined “former reservation” lands as those that are “within the jurisdiction of an Oklahoma tribe and that are within the boundaries of the last reservation for that tribe in Oklahoma.” But the jurisdiction clause was later dropped after the Apache tribe of Oklahoma quoted back BIA’s own language in challenging what grew into the Chickasaw’s Chisholm Trail casino in Stephens County.
The history of this case is telling of what still angers the poorer Plains tribes who have felt squeezed out of the gaming market. The lost revenues compound the inequities in how federal aid is distributed among the tribes.
Records indicate the land itself was acquired by the Chickasaw in 1992 and brought into trust soon after in 1993. The property fell within the old treaty boundaries, but the Apache argued that the Chickasaw had not exercised jurisdiction prior to the purchase and therefore did not meet IGRA’s standard for what constitutes Indian lands for gaming.
When BIA nonetheless signed off on the compact, the Apache brought suit. A federal judge remanded the case back to BIA in 2007, saying the administrative record is “so lacking in substance that it fails to provide a satisfactory explanation” to support the approval.
The following year the jurisdiction language was dropped from the final BIA rule without explanation. In 2010, the agency again approved the compact in a lengthy solicitor’s opinion that cited the less restrictive definition of a “former reservation.” In a final twist, the same 2010 legal opinion cited a tribal police substation on the site as evidence of the Chickasaw’s jurisdictional claims. But that station didn’t even exist at the outset of the case.
For sure, history played a big hand in how the Oklahoma gaming market took shape. The old Chickasaw treaty lands included a wide swath of southeast Oklahoma, near key highways and customers from Texas.
But the fast pace of BIA approvals also helped. In the 23 years from 1985 to 2008, an estimated 16,915 acres were brought into trust by BIA’s eastern Oklahoma regional office, according to government numbers requested by POLITICO. That’s almost three times the 5,713 acres conveyed into trust in western Oklahoma since 1980 — a much longer time period.
Today, public records of how much the state of Oklahoma collects in fees from each of the 30 tribe’s gaming operations are a good measure of who is enjoying the most revenues from gaming and who is not. The Chickasaw alone accounted for 35 percent of this in 2015. When the Cherokee and Choctaw gaming operations are factored in, the numbers show that just these three powerful tribes account for almost two-thirds of the market shared with 27 others.
“They essentially created a land rush for the preferred tribes who were given special locations to start to grab the market way ahead of everybody else and before the rules were equally applied,” said Richard Grellner, an attorney with a long history of representing the Plains Indian tribes. “Everything since then has been to move the goal posts to protect what was previously done.”
Given his own Chickasaw ties, Washburn must recuse himself from matters now involving the tribe. He remains proud of its success but admits too that fairness is not always served by the growth in Indian gaming.
“It’s not fairly distributed, that’s the heartbreak of it, “ Washburn said. But he then adds: “The fact is everybody used to be have-nots.”
US title to the land depends on legal fiction, crafted by the colonists to benefit themselves. Under the ‘Doctrine of Discovery’, which had its origins in the Crusades and underpinned the pioneering navigators of the 15th century, ultimate sovereignty over any pagan land belonged, courtesy of the Vatican, to the first Christian monarch who discovered it. Embraced by imperial powers around the world, the doctrine was adopted by the US Supreme Court in 1823. The US did not rely on Papal Bulls alone, however. It also extinguished the land title of the continent’s first peoples by treaty, executive order, and federal statute. – Claudio Saunt
I’ve said it often, but it bears repeating: Every day I think I’ve reached the bottom of the abyss in terms of what adoption represents; every day that abyss opens up, and I find myself in freefall yet again.
…Our DNA, along with pure reason and logic, points in a direction antipodal to that of “nation-state” and “national identity”. If we think about it for two seconds, we can readily admit the offense of identifying with those who wanted to be rid of us. This is the flip side of the racism we might be fleeing from our places of acculturation; but it is no more valid for seeming to validate us. As hard as this might be for us to do, it seems now vital to me that we shed the very thing we might hold most dear as we consider return and reunion.
On the morning of October 25, 1886 a train pulled into the bustling maritime city of Pensacola. Onboard were 16 Apache warriors, but unlike many who visit here today, these men were not here by choice. They had been hunted down, captured and dragged against their will by the U.S. government to one of the nation’s most battle-hardened military fortresses — Fort Pickens — and locked behind bars.
This is a lesser-known chapter in American history that is often glanced over, or even skipped entirely in school textbooks. Over the past century, Hollywood and television have portrayed Native Americans as savages and propagated harmful stereotypes of their culture. But this detriment of an entire people didn’t begin in Hollywood or on T.V. It had its roots in reality.
129 years ago this week, just three days before the worldwide symbol of freedom — the Statue of Liberty — would be dedicated, the train…
When I saw the pictures of two teenagers, Turner Lupton and Nicholas Ross, on the front page of the September 16, 2015 issue of The Wewoka Timesarrested on a marijuana charge, I was revolted, because of the disaster this can be to their young lives.
I am 84 years old and never smoked marijuana or taken any illegal drugs in my lifetime. Yet, when I see such the dumb, stupid laws still on the books that fill our jails with people who have harmed no one, not even themselves because of a harmless plant, that George Washington is believed to have once raised as a farm product, I am disgusted with the stupidity of it. This is an action that only fills the pockets of the prison-industrial complex. We should be growing hemp that can be used for many industrial products.
We saw what happened with prohibition a couple of generations ago. It created a crime cartel we are still fighting. Have we learned nothing? I am ashamed that Oklahoma still arrests these two young folks and probably set them on a lifetime of crime. Instead we pat a cop on the back for such an arrest that has prospered the prison-industrial complex. Sure he has done his duty but why do we still have such laws on the books that like prohibition have created a criminal industry.
We must change the laws that are feeding the prison industrial complex or change the lawmakers who fail to act and yet still tolerate the real criminals, brokers and banksters on Wall Street who have done so much more damage to our people. While we are at it, for the sake of justice, why don’t we do away with the death penalty that causes too many innocent people to perish because of career climbers trying to make a name? We need a panel of professionals with citizen oversight to review the cases of all those in prison. Those deemed no longer a danger to society should be released to half-way-houses for training and rehabilitation to society. Also let’s do away with private prisons that make money on people’s misery. Incarceration is a state responsibility that should be answerable to our elected representatives, not private corporations. The money saved on housing prisoners could be used for education that cuts down on the number of people who go to prison. As children are trained, so they become.
Both the Democrat and Republican parties have become corporate toadies that have passed laws so that these financial crooks can get away with their crimes. We must get rid of the warmongers and corporate toadies and put new people in office that will look after the people’s interest.
Let’s not demonize our kids who may think that smoking weed is cool. Consider the effect that their identification with names and photos on the front page of the newspaper will have on their future. We need to support young people in the criminal justice system and help them to turn their lives around. Let’s hope these kids, Lupton and Ross, get an understanding judge who will not spoil the rest of their lives.
Copyleft 2015 J. Glenn Evans
(Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)
J. Glenn Evans
Founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a nationally syndicated weekly radio show, and is author of four books of poetry: Deadly Mistress,Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems and Buffalo Tracks, author of three novels, BrokerJim, Zeke’s Revenge and Wayfarers with The Last Lumber Baron as a works in process. Evans is a former stockbroker-investment banker. Part Cherokee, native of Oklahoma.Lived in Seattle 54 years and since December of 2014 has resided in Olympia, Washington. Worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain – The Story of a Cowboy Angel with Mark Miller and co-starring Slim Pickens. Evans, an award-wining poet and in addition to poetry books and novels, has written numerous political essays and is the author of several local community histories including a history of Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Has been published in many literary Journals. Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
In 1994, for a whopping $500, Earl Bland and I did a DNA test/blood-draw in Springfield, Illinois. Within a month, we knew it was 99.9% certain that Earl was my biological father. Happy? Of course!
When it comes to ethical genetics, NOW I am still concerned about the co-opting (and theft) of our DNA data by FBI/Police/Big Science/BIG PHARMA. As you know there are new floods of adoptees using DNA tests since states are still NOT opening our adoption records or helping us locate our own families.
How do THEY get this information? When an adoptee uses a DNA test to find their parent(s), for example.
Years ago I published a review “BLOOD FOR MONEY” about the film Leech and Earthworm.
Ever wondered if genetic research is being done on Indigenous people? Absolutely and often without their knowledge. The film “The Leech and the Earthworm” chronicles the new Columbus – a genetic scientist who wants to map your genetic identity, and will even steal to get it.”
One interview that stands out is with Larry Baird, leader of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribe of Vancouver Island, Canada, who was outraged to find out that DNA samples taken from over 800 tribal members almost 20 years ago for arthritis research were taken to Oxford and used for other purposes without their consent.
The companies 23AndMe and Ancestry.com will collect your DNA sample, charge you money to tell you who you are related to (and your ancestry) — BUT they are under no obligation to keep this private. As far as I can tell they use this data to sell your information, and of course profit from it. (Always follow that money, right?)
“Long before Ancestry.com got into the DNA game, it had ties to the Mormon church. Its owners were two Brigham Young University grads who had made their fortune selling Latter-day Saints publications on floppy disks. Access to Ancestry.com was free at LDS Family History Centers, and recently the company signed a deal with the church’s genealogy non-profit, FamilySearch.org.
“Ancestry.com’s huge advantage over services like 23andMe is its age; since it has been collecting ancestral data about its users for decades, it knows health information not just about its users, but about their great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents. SOURCE
AND NOW THIS: Cops use DNA to catch suspects in Cold Cases
“Outside the consumer realm, though, 23andMe has had some victories. The company’s massive database landed it some megadeals with pharmaceutical giants Genentech and Pfizer earlier this year, and last month, it launched its own drug-discovery lab, 23andMe Therapeutics.”
If this is the edge of science, we need MORE, not less, regulation… Trace
I will end with this essay by the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism
SOUNDING THE ALARM in 2000:
Indigenous Peoples Critical of The Human Genome Project
Nixon, NV– Scientists representing the publicly funded Human Genome Project, and the private venture, Celera Corporation, announced today they have completed a rough map of the human genome. The human genome consists of two sets of 23 chromosomes, with each set containing a total of 3 billion chemical units.
“This announcement, and genetic research generally, raises serious issues of concern to indigenous peoples,” said Debra Harry, Northern Paiute, and Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism. She says, “Now that the sequencing project is complete more scientists will turn their attention to human genetic diversity, which includes the collection and study of the DNA of indigenous peoples. This is likely to result in patents on the genetic inheritance of indigenous peoples, and possible manipulations of their DNA, which violate the natural genetic integrity of their ancestry.”
Brett Shelton, Lakota, an attorney, and IPCB’s Director of Policy and Research states, “Therefore, indigenous peoples need to first obtain information about genetic research likely to be done in their communities. And, indigenous peoples need to assert their sovereign right to control genetic research activities that affect them. They must set limitations and enforce them when research activities affect their peoples.” The IPCB has developed a model ordinance for tribal governments that can be used to govern scientific research in tribal jurisdictions.
Harry says, “I’m concerned that this furthers the hype for more genetic research. The public is lead to believe this will lead to cures of human diseases, however, cures are not going to be realized anytime in the near future if at all, since most human illnesses are a result of complex interactions between genes and the environment.”
“Genetic research of this scale hurts, rather than benefits, indigenous peoples because it diverts public funds away from direct health care and prevention programs.” She says “the millions of dollars spent on human genome sequencing has diverted attention away from far more current and pressing public health needs. The same amount of attention to insure we have access to basic health care, clean water, safe foods, and a healthy environment is an effort from which we would see real benefits.”
Several critics of the current widespread emphasis on genomic research have noted that economic oppression, not genetics, is a major cause of illness in minority/ethnic communities. Harry notes, “An emphasis on genetic research will pose no benefits to vast numbers of the American public, whose health problems are a product of contaminated environments, and economic poverty, not inherited diseases.”
Dr. Jonathan King, Professor of Biology at MIT and a member of the board of directors of the Council for Responsible Genetics states “We are concerned that the emphasis on gene sequences will be used to imply that genes are at the basis of a variety of human disease and conditions, when in fact the great body of evidence, establishes that the majority of human ill health is not inherited but is due to external insult including pollution, infection, inadequate or in appropriate diet, physical accident, or excess stress or social disruption such as wars.” King further adds, “We note that preventing damage to human genes from carcinogens is a far more effective public health strategy than allowing the disease to develop and then attempting gene therapy. ”
Other scientists criticize the reductionist perspectives in the search for genetic causes and cures of disease. Dr. Stuart Newman, Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy New York Medical College and a board member of the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism notes, “Although there are potentially beneficial uses for the information gathered in the Human Genome Project, there is also the great threat that this information will be used to persuade people that they are not good enough, biologically. This will be justified by promised improvements to human health, but unless carefully monitored and regulated, this emphasis on genetics will have a divisive effect, whereby those categories and groups of people that have traditionally been marginalized will now learn that their genes are inferior and need to be improved.”
There are many potential negative aspects of human genetic research which are not being widely discussed in the general public, yet have serious social consequences such as genetic discrimination, or the hazards posed by genetic engineering. These are serious questions that have not been addressed, and require public debate and democratic control.
This work brings us closer to a future where the human genome can be privatized, not to benefit people’s health but to fatten corporate profits. Already, patents have been filed, and then later abandoned, on the DNA of indigenous peoples from the Solomon Islands and Panama. The U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office (PTO) actually approved a patent on the cells lines of a Hagahai man from Papua New Guinea. The patent was granted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health in March 1994. In late 1996 the NIH abandoned the patent. However, the Hagahai cell line is now available to the public at the American Type Culture Collection as ATCC Number: CRL-10528 Organism: Homo Sapiens (human) for $216 per sample. This trend is likely to continue as new potentially profitable genes are identified in indigenous populations.
Numerous patents have been granted to both public and private interests for partial or full human genes. For instance, Celera has applied for 6,500 gene patents (1), while Incyte has filed patent applications covering 50,000 individual human genes (2). In order to stop the privatization and commodification of the human genome, several citizens groups are calling for national legislation to mandate the US Patent and Trademark Office to cease granting patents on human genes, and to exclude living creatures, their genes or components from the patent system.
Genetic engineering also poses risks for humanity because human biology can be manipulated in a manner that redefines what it is to be human. For example, Maori tribal members in New Zealand were horrified to learn they were subjects of transgenic experiments where their human DNA was inserted into sheep. Apparently one elderly tribal member was persuaded to sign a consent form on behalf of the entire tribe. “The thought of human (Maori) and animal genes being mixed was totally abhorrent and offensive both culturally and morally.”(3) This experimentation was carried out by PPL Therapeutics, the commercial arm of the Roslin Institute which holds the patent on cloning technology for all mammals. This incident highlights the potential for human genetic manipulation when mechanisms for oversight, control, and accountability are lacking.
Newman comments, “Some scientists and writers have indeed begun to advocate remaking human biology using the new genetics, and predict that those who are unable or unwilling to make use of these technologies will fall by the wayside. A few organizations have taken up the fight to protect society from the negative uses of this project. Some scientists, physicians, and entrepreneurs will try to play god, and think they have the right to redefine life. The public has to understand this and set limits.”
The Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism is organized to assist indigenous peoples in the protection of their genetic resources, indigenous knowledge, and cultural and human rights from the negative effects of biotechnology. The organization encourages indigenous peoples to pay critical attention to genetic research, and to establish laws that protect their resources from exploitation. More information on the work of the IPCB can be found on their website at www.ipcb.org.
1. Celera Press Release “Celera compiles DNA Sequence Covering 90% of the Human Genome”, January 10, 2000
2. Incyte Press Release, November 22, 1999 PRNewswire
3. L.Pihama, C. Smith, Hands Off Our Genes: A Case Study on the Theft of Whakapapa (Maori lineages), International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education, University of Auckland 1997
This is in response to the “call for replies” to a recent article inThe Atlantic. This type of “false equality” in terms of discussion leaves out certain basic premises that cannot be so easily overlooked.
There are some huge glaring problems inherent to the discussion on adoption as you are positing it. Primary among them is the mythology dating only from the 1950s that adoption is about family creation. The history of adoption is one of social engineering, deracination, extirpation, dispossession, displacement, and disinheritance. In this light, to speak of the adoptee as having “issues” is to gloss over what is truly being manifested: A healthy resistance against an alien and alienating society that has seen fit to destroy not only the adoptee, but her family and community as well. Because the audience of The Atlantic is made up of those in the adoptive class, reading between the lines of this story gives us a different take that might go as follows: “You, the adopting parents, are not responsible for the failure of your children.”
That this maps on to every loathsome trope of “feral children”, failed blank slates, reverting to form, degenerate DNA, “bad seeds”, etc. ad infinitum and then some should give us great pause. It was Charles Loring Brace who, as the founder of the Children’s Aid Society, and describing the children who would be sold as chattel into indentured servitude via the Orphan Trains, referred to these “orphans” as “street Arabs” of “the dangerous classes”. The vestigial aspects of adoption practice thus carry forward and taint anything done in its name. It’s time for the adoptive classes to right the societal inequalities that allowed them to adopt in the first place. Anything else is just so much running in circles. Adoptees, as well as our original families and communities, are growing increasingly tired of listening to discussions that so willfully and balefully miss the point.
My friend Rae shared a story in Austria news that a father had kept his own daughter locked in their basement and he raped her and she had his children, many children. Finally by a miracle she was discovered and was released and is living in an institution with her children. Real life, in this century? Sadly, yes…
Please read about the feral children exhibit..
October 7, 2015 | Life |
Abused, degraded, and rejected by their parents, these chilling staged photos show the shocking reality of what it’s like to be a feral child.
“Feral Children” is the latest photo-project by German-born, London-based photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten. This newest series of staged photos takes a darker look at growing up under unusual circumstances.
“As a mother of two young boys I was appalled and intrigued in turn the more I learned about these cases,” the photographer said. “My initial reactions were to question how parents could lose and especially neglect their child. My maternal instinct went into overdrive when I considered how these babies, toddlers and young people experienced their lives alone or in the company of wild animals.
“I then admired the fortitude they must have shown to survive such isolation and extreme circumstances, weather, hunger, illness. In any of the circumstances that I have read about, it completely overwhelms the boundaries of my comprehension.”
Out of this morbid fascination grew inspiration. Fullerton-Batten resolved to recreate the unfathomable scenarios experienced by a variety of mythologized feral children, visualizing what to many is too unusual to even imagine.
Over the weekend, author and university administrator Wab Kinew, Rwandan genocide survivor Eloge Butera, Broadbent Institute director Jonathan Sas and 19 honorary witnesses to the TRC issued a call to action, urging Canadians to “make reconciliation an election issue.” Kinew told Maclean’s he remembers NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau “immediately in front of news cameras” after the tabling of the TRC report. “When it was politically expedient to jump on the stories of my father, of our ancestors, I remember them being there.”
“At this late stage, it will certainly be difficult to insert reconciliation into the conversation,” says Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “Time’s a-wasting; and the opportunity has almost passed.
“The reality is the federal government has been largely responsible for causing this harm, and the chaos that results lies in their lap. And to a certain extent, they are a bit confused—looking for direction, continuing to dither while they try to gauge the public appetite.”
Another gross injustice has been committed by the leaders of our country. We who believe the dream of America is to stand up for justice, a sacred commitment not to be brushed aside. What our forebears have done we cannot help, but what we do today is within our power to change. When we become aware of these injustices, we must act even if our power is limited to speaking out with our own small voice.
We will never have a better world until we start addressing the injustices that exist in our present world. An injustice to one is an injustice to all of us. That includes correcting the long suffering injustices that have come forward from the past.
A good example of these long suffering injustices is the Duwamish Tribe on whose land all of Seattle rests. The well-known Chief of the Duwamish Indian Tribe, Sealth or Seattle, befriended the early pioneers instead of putting them to the spear that he could easily have done.
As their numbers in Seattle grew, the invaders got the upper hand. They passed laws that said no Indian could live in Seattle. All were forced to move out of Seattle, with the exception of Princess Angeline, daughter of Chief Seattle. She was tolerated a few years until her death on May 31, 1896. The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs claiming responsibility for the Indians allowed the city of Seattle to get away with this gross injustice of forcing the remaining members of the tribe to seek shelter with other tribes.
The same Federal Bureau continues to deny the Duwamish official recognition because they claim the Duwamish have not been a continuous tribe with an unbroken line of leadership. This problem was created when Seattle forced the Duwamish to leave their homeland without providing them the promised reservation.
The present members of the tribe are blood descendants of the original Duwamish who lived here thousands of years and they include the great-great grandson of Chief Seattle, Ken Workman, and the great-great-grandniece, Cecile Hansen, who has been the chairman of the tribe for over 40 years. The tribe has built a longhouse, with the help of descendants of the early pioneers replacing the one previously burned by the Whites.
President Clinton’s administration had granted recognition to the Duwamish. Then Little Boots (Bush) withdrew the recognition. Now Obama’s administration has gone along with Little Boots and again denied the Duwamish Federal recognition. We the people, especially the people of Seattle, should be outraged at this injustice. To help rectify the past injustices done to the Duwamish people, the City of Seattle should by proclamation grant recognition to the Duwamish and perhaps even better grant them one of the major parks as a reservation, actually a postage stamp compared to what was taken from them with no compensation. This could be a prelude to further efforts to get the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to grant them recognition.
Let’s quit being hypocrites and start demanding that the injustices perpetrated by our government and our criminal justice system be corrected. Recognition of the Duwamish is a good place to start. If the bureaucrats say the present law ties their hands, then change the law. That’s what we pay our representatives for—to make laws that provide justice for all.
About 2,000 years of going without a land base and central national leadership certainly did not keep the Jews from reconstituting themselves as a country fully recognized on the international scene. Therefore through with no fault of their own with less than 150 without a land base and central leadership, the Duwamish should not be denied recognition after they have reconstituted themselves.
Please write to your Congressional representatives and have your friends in other states do the same to rectify this injustice now by granting recognition to the Duwamish and to stand up for Indian rights in their own state.
Copyleft 2015 J. Glenn Evans
(Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)
About J. Glenn Evans. Founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a nationally syndicated weekly radio show, and is author of four books of poetry: Deadly Mistress,Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems and Buffalo Tracks, author of three novels, BrokerJim, Zeke’s Revenge and Wayfarers with The Last Lumber Baron as a works in process. Evans is a former stockbroker-investment banker. Part Cherokee, native of Oklahoma. Lived in Seattle 54 years and since December of 2014 has resided in Olympia, Washington. Worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain The Story of a Cowboy Angel, with Mark Miller and co-starring Slim Pickens. Evans, an award-wining poet and in addition to poetry books and novels, has written numerous political essays and is the author of several local community histories including a history of Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Has been published in many literary Journals. Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
LET US NOT FORGET TO CELEBRATE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ DAY, 12 OCTOBER 2015, WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES DEFENDING THEIR HOMELAND AND WHOSE SURVIVORS’ CULTURE, PARTNERSHIP WITH MOTHER EARTH, IS VITALLY NEEDED TODAY TO SAVE US ALL
Sherrie Eldridge, self-proclaimed expert on adoption and an adoptee
Daniel’s post is spot-on… he writes:
“The narcissism and egotistical God-delusion of certain adoptive parents is very telling. You haven’t saved anyone when, like a pyromaniac firefighter, your economic and political class caused the very fires that you then claim to have “saved” us from.
And as our voice gets louder, it can only be hoped that first and foremost, children like the one you castigate here (Sherrie) will find like-minded souls to help ease the punishment of “parents” like yourself. And then secondly, that these, the worst remnants of the voice of the status quo of adoption, the criminal profiteers of adoption, the revelers in adoption misery; these, the vestiges of the 1890s, the Baby Scoopers, the Orphan Trainers, will finally be drowned out. Once and for all.”
[In 2010, Eldridge received the Congressional Angel in Adoption Award from the Honorable Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana. She and Bob traveled to DC to receive the awards.]
NOTE: I ran into her religious rubbish on a yahoo group. She’s authored many books, collected many followers and markets herself as an expert to adoptee and adoptive parents. I call her a dangerous kind of person, propaganda-demonic. …Lara Trace
Hey everyone! I want to thank all the readers (new ones too) and those who comment – a hearty hug to all of you! I have a few BIG projects I’m writing and you’ll know more when they are all done…
So we all survived four blood moons – hooray – not sure why the cults were predicting the end times. It’s the time for the 8th Fire and we are fast approaching it.
The Prophecy of the 8th Fire
They will come to a fork in the road. One road will lead to Materialism and Destruction…..for almost all living creatures….The other road will lead to a Spiritual Way upon which the Native People will be standing…This path will lead to the lighting of the 8th fire, a period of eternal peace, harmony and a “New Earth” where the destruction of the past will be healed
In the Seventh Fire prophecy of the Anishnabek, each of the seven fires represent an era in human history. We are now in the time of the Seventh Fire. The task of the people of this age, including the Anishnabek and other red people, the yellow people, the black and the white, is to come together through choosing the road of cooperation. Without this, there will be no Eighth Fire, or future for Natives and others.
One person who talks about the Seventh Fire is Grandfather William Commanda of Maniwaki…as an Algonquin elder, he holds three wampum belts, one of which is the Seventh Fire Prophecy belt which was made in the 1400s. His understanding of the prophecy was received from Ojibwe people in Minnesota, Michigan and northern Ontario, and through his own family, which has held the belts for over 100 years.
He speaks of the fact that the white race was welcomed by the Anishnabek, and it was hoped in the time of the Fourth Fire that the white race would come wearing a face of brotherhood, and that the Anishnabek and whites together would form one mighty nation. This did not happen and the white race chose the course of destruction and death.
The Seventh Fire is not just a time of reclaiming spiritual teachings; it is the time to use those teachings to help correct the imbalance felt in the circle that is the world.
We are seeing huge corrections every day. So with that, I ask that you pray peace and think good thoughts. All the events we are seeing are signs. Each of us has the responsibility to heal ourselves. Then we’ll be good. xox
In the News
150 Years Later How Are We Honoring the Memory of Reconstruction? With the Worst Kind of Irony.
History News Network
by Adam Arenson
With fanfare and trumpet calls, the Civil War sesquicentennial came to an end in April, with ceremonies marking one hundred and fifty year since the surrender of Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S Grant at Appomattox Courthouse.
Yet the Civil War did not completely end that day—many Confederate generals took months more to be captured or surrender, and U.S. troops kept Texas and other southern states under military occupation through 1866. During the contentious Reconstruction years, Confederate soldiers fought on, in Ku Klux Klan dens in the South, as authority-defying outlaws wilding the West, and as entrepreneurs attempting to maintain their slaveholding ways in enclaves from Mexico, to Cuba to Brazil. Soldiers from both sides extended their careers by bringing total war against American Indian nations, decimating the original people of North America once again, to make room for an expanding and newly reunited United States.
The Reconstruction amendments brought a final end to slavery, the greater enforcement of civil rights through the 14th Amendment and congressional action, birthright citizenship, and the guarantee of the right to vote for every male citizen—revolutionary changes that shape our society to this day.
New Books Analyze the Photographs of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth
By Eve M. Kahn
New York Times
Sept. 24, 2015
Two of the most famous 19th-century African-Americans, Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, commissioned formal photographs of themselves as part of their public relations strategies. Books expected out this fall reproduce virtually every known surviving portrait of them and explore their defiance of stereotypes of victimhood.
Truth, who was illiterate and born into slavery in upstate New York, shrewdly copyrighted her photos and marketed them for about 40 cents each including postage. In “Enduring Truths: Sojourner’s Shadows and Substance” (University of Chicago Press), the art historian Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, analyzes Truth’s sittings for a half-dozen photographers.
hmm—– I wonder: Are Wall Street too-big-to-fail Bankers those psychopaths?
“Psychopaths are every bit as rational as any human being, if not more so, because they don’t have the noise of human emotion,’’ says Dr. Stephen Porter, Professor of Forensic Psychology at the University of British Columbia. “Psychopaths do know right from wrong in the ‘cognitive’ or rational sense, and even do as well on moral-reasoning tasks in the lab setting as the rest of us.” Many psychopaths are highly skilled at mimicking normal human emotion, using charisma, manipulation and intimidation to satisfy their own needs. No wonder the psychopath is so hard to detect.
Psychopaths love chaos and hate rules, so they tend to thrive in the fast-moving world of business, says Dr. Paul Babiak, a psychologist from New York City. “They have traits similar to ideal leaders. You would expect an ideal leader to be narcissistic, self-centred, dominant, very assertive, maybe to the point of being aggressive.” They are verbally abusive, subject to rages and totally lacking in empathy or remorse, all of which makes them natural predators. The Psychopath Next Door provides a chilling and provocative examination of those in our midst who act without conscience. And we’ll hear from those whose hope is to one day discover a treatment for the psychopath — a term coined in the 1880s whose literal meaning is “suffering soul.”
And who knew about this guy? I am mailing him a bag of dead pens!
Recycling Pens is as Easy as 1,2,3 Recycling used pens is the easiest thing in the universe and many have sent their used pens in the mail from all over the world. Many have come from the United States, and as far as England, Australia, China and Thailand to name a few.
Fifteen years ago, Pope John Paul II apologized for hundreds of years of violence and subjugation that the indigenous peoples of the Americas suffered at the hands of Catholics. Pope Francis, speaking in Bolivia, followed this up in July by expressing remorse over the cruelty committed against the indigenous peoples of the Americas. “I say this to you with regret: Many grave sins were committed against the native people of America in the name of God,” he said. “I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offense of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.” So why is he set to canonize someone whose actions would seem to fly in the face of such encouraging words? This week, during his first visit to the United States, the Pope is expected to canonize 18th-century Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra, who arrived in 1769 and founded nine of California’s 21 Spanish Catholic missions. The problem is that Serra is also documented as being an extreme and unapologetic abuser of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Coast..
My adoption story received a lot of views and was a create way for me to finally pour out how I saw and felt during the course of those events in my life. It was a trying period and no one can really say they understand what I went through because there was only one Korean kid walking in those shoes. I am thankful for such support during those times, my family and mother in particular helped me to see there are reasons for living even in the darkest of hours. It is just very hard to know that when you are living those moments. I was adopted when I was 3 years old, left on the street with my sister by our mother in front of a police station in Busan, South Korea. I did not find out about the part of the story involving my sister and birth mother till I was eighteen years old and was on a trip to Korea with a group of adoptees that were also adopted through Holt International. It took me 9 years and one suicide attempt to get over it all and I can’t actually say I honestly have moved fully forward. Do you ever? I may still write more on my adoption other than the few articles I wrote on it. It would make a good novel, but sometimes you just don’t feel like reopening a door over and over.
I think in many ways blogs are windows into our hearts. We allow people to see our feelings, emotions, and sometimes our personal stories because we feel the need to share without actually physically sharing. We press that publish button and that post is sent out into the web and we half fear, half hope that someone will read it and care enough to respond. That the response back will somehow matter. That is what I hope when I publish any article on my blog and I also seek out other bloggers that feel the same way. Simply because we are unsocial in the real world, and I really wouldn’t fully label myself as unsociable but more on that later, doesn’t mean we cannot still find connections that broaden our world.