National Native Children’s Trauma Center Essays

The NNCTC is publishing a series of essays on Native child welfare, ICWA, and boarding schools. They are all available here.

In the most recent, Patrice Kunesh reflects on her own family history during this time of boarding school listening sessions and investigation by the federal government.

In January 1888, the year before North Dakota would become a state, their middle daughter Josephine, my great-aunt, was born on Battle Creek in Dakota Territory. When she was nine years old, Josephine was sent to Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, where she was trained in domestic skills. Upon her graduation in 1909 at the age of twenty-one, her mother Nellie presented her with a beaded valise, a small suitcase, depicting the 1863 Battle of Whitestone Hill on one side and the Lakota’s last buffalo hunt in 1882, two momentous losses of life and livelihood for the Lakota people that Nellie had witnessed.

Draft Guidance on the Native American Children’s Safety Act

Here is the Dear Tribal Leader letter, the guidance, and the request for comments on it:  Draft Guidance for NACSA

This bill and guidance puts certain requirements on tribes, tribal courts, and tribal social service agencies regarding foster care placements and background checks. There have been concerns about the feasibility of the requirements, primarily related to tribal access to individual state databases for the required checks. Here are the important listening session and comment dates (I have to assume that’s March 16, 2018, not 2017 for the written comment deadline):

Statewide Listening Sessions with Native Peoples in Massachusetts

Press release here:

(Boston, July 9, 2015) – UMass Boston’s Institute for New England Native American Studies (INENAS) and Suffolk University Law School’s Indigenous Peoples Rights Clinic are pleased to announce a year-long, statewide project, Massachusetts Native Peoples and the Social Contract: A Reassessment for Our Times.

Supported by a grant from Mass Humanities, the two organizations will host four roundtable discussions and listening sessions in areas of the state with substantial Native American populations.

The goal is to bring Native peoples’ voices to the forefront, engaging Natives in Massachusetts in looking at the past, the present, and the future through the lens of the social contract between the state and Native peoples whose homelands are within the borders of the state, and discussing issues affecting tribal members and the communities.

In conjunction with tribal leaders from tribal communities, INENAS Director Cedric Woods and Nicole Friederichs, director of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Clinic, will lead the roundtable discussions and moderate the listening sessions in Worcester, Boston, Mashpee, and Amherst. The first session will be held in Worcester Public Library on August 29, hosted by the Nipmuc Tribe.

All are welcome to attend these important events; there will be an opportunity for those present to share their thoughts.

The four roundtable discussions will he held:

  •   Worcester Public Library- August 29, 2-4 p.m.
  •   Mashpee Wampanoag government building, Mashpee- October 3, 4-6 p.m.
  •   UMass Amherst, Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall, Rm. 160 (Next to RootsCafé) – November 5, 6-8 p.m.
  •   North American Indian Center of Boston, 105 South Huntington Ave. Jamaica Plain- March11, 2016, noon to 2 p.m.


Randall Akee: “The press for Native Hawaiian federal recognition is presumptuous”

From the Hawaii Independent. A response to this news.

An excerpt:

In moving forward, what should be done? The process for Federal recognition was a knee-jerk reaction to the Rice v. Cayetano decision. Surely there are other legal strategies and plans that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and State officials can undertake to protect the OHA trust assets and Native Hawaiian entitlement programs. In the 14 years since the decision, the trust and programs have survived without a serious attack. It should be noted that political winds change all the time and there is no absolute certainty with Federal recognition either. For instance, during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s the US Federal government’s policy was to terminate the legal and political existence of some Federally recognized American Indian tribes in California, Oregon and a number of other US States. During the Civil Rights era of the 1960s and 1970s, the US Federal government made a significant change in that policy and worked to empower tribal governments. However, it is impossible to guarantee that future US Federal policies will not shift back in that direction again.