Two Worlds: Lost Children of the IndianAdoption Projects is a new book about the campaign to break indigenous social structures byremoving the children: "Governments...paid agencies and churches to removeand Christianize children... and raise them to be non-Indian." Edited by Trace A. DeMeyer and Patricia Busbee,themselves adoptees, the history is told through chronicles by those who livedthrough it. Ethnic cleansing by Adoption projects take children awaypermanently, to assimilate them into non-Indian society via non-Indianfamilies. A common element of the stories is painful curiosity,children trying to figure out who they are, and why their biological parentsgave them away. What is learned maycompound the pain, when the child's displacement turns out to be a subchapterin the parent's (or parents') own survival struggle. The"stolen generations" is only part of the trajectory of Indiangenocide. Two Worlds shows that the pain of the non-Indian adoptive familiesoften compounds the pain of displacement. For whatever reasons--many arediscussed in the multitude of stories--adoptive parents may be trying to escapefrom their own pain when they take an Indian child into their homes. Those whotry a to fill a void or carry out a messianic belief by adopting an Indianchild cause pain that multiplies pain; everyone is scarred. As if all this pain were not enough, the stories tell ofa whole new world of pain that may open up at the end of the genealogicalquest, when the search for the past has led to the present: the pain ofre-assimilation; or worse, the pain of not being able to re-assimilate intoone's origin community.
From the Author
Adopting out Indian children would be as destructive as a war butit would last longer: it'd last a lifetime. The adoption program idea was notofficially signed like other treaties made in Indian Country. These uniqueadoption program records were sealed and not made public. (It was acknowledgedin an apology I heard in 2001. Read the Ultimate Indignity in this book.) Thegoal was adoptions would be permanent and closed, therefore adoption was usedas the ultimate weapon. Native children adopted by non-Indians would beAmericans and unable to open their records; and our tribal parents andgrandparents were victims since they would never see us again, or be able tofind us.
With the creation of Indian Adoption Projects and Programs, thisgrand scheme didn't make headlines. Their plan was not a war, not a signedtreaty, but an idea they hoped would catch on and spread. Selling Americans andothers on adopting Indian kids would be quite effortless. Essentially allsocial workers had to imply to parents was, "you'll save these poorIndians kid's lives."
Judgments fell on First Nations and Indian Country in a very bigway. This heavy-handed treatment and their adoption idea blanketed NorthAmerica in every direction. In Canada it's called the 60s Scoop. Indians were not told anything. Indian childrensimply disappeared at the playground or from their backyard or babies weretaken from hospitals. Some of our mothers were too poor and were pressured notto keep us. A big black government sedan was reported in many abduction storiesand it was not against the law or illegal. Some Native children were removed toresidential boarding schools. Others were placed in orphanages and fosterhomes, and others would be adopted.
But by the grace of Great Spirit, it failed. Indians who wereadopted do find their way home. The writers in this book are living proof. Weare still here and with these new stories, we make new history.
By the 1970s, Indian leaders took these serious concerns to theU.S. Senate, leading to the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.