American Indian adoptees deal with painful past and family separations

Camille Erickson - Indian Country Today

This comprehensive article from Indian Country Today explores the history of family separation in the Indigenous communities in the United States, including the forcible placement of Native children into boarding schools in the 19th century, the "Indian Adoption Project" of the 1950s and 1960s, and the current overrepresentation of Native children in the US child welfare system. The article highlights the rate of child removals of Indigenous children in the state of Minnesota in particular and includes some personal narratives of young Indigneous people who were removed from their families and placed into foster care. It also provides some background on the US Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a law passed in 1978 which "takes a step toward remediation of past wrongs and sets statutes that agencies must abide by to respect tribes’ rights to self-determination in matters of child welfare," and the ways in which this Act is under attack today, including a U.S. District Judge ruling that parts of the law are unconstitutional. The article underscores the need for more Native American foster parents, as well as the need to uphold the ICWA and address the "trauma caused by forcible removals and assimilation."