New Short Film on Maine Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Lots of good information here.

Press coverage here.

The longer movie is due out in 2017, but it’s very nice to have this short film and supporting website available now as an antidote to all of the Goldwater blitz.

Op-Ed in The Hill’s Congress Blog on Maine TRC and ICWA


ICWA and its guidelines recognize that indigenous children have a right to maintain their cultural and familial relations, and that tribal governments have a sovereign right to protect their children from wholesale removal.  At its core, ICWA is about keeping children with their families and communities, which is why it has been recognized by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and other national child welfare groups as the “gold standard for child welfare policies and practices in the United States.” These aims are consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the United States endorsed in 2010. And the aims are as important today as they were forty years ago when ICWA was passed, given the ongoing issues in Maine, South Dakota, and elsewhere in the United States.

From Doctrine to Discovery Event, June 25-26 in D.C.

Information here.

The workshop ‘From Doctrine to Declaration’, hosted by the University of St Andrews, Scotland and the College of William and Mary seeks to bring both the Christian Doctrine of Discovery and the UNDRIP into the public forum of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, to discuss how the rights of Indigenous Peoples can move forward in the United States. In particular, the workshop highlights those issues currently facing Indian Country that result from the continued existence of the Christian Doctrine of Discovery – including child welfare, environment, treaty rights, federal recognition, and education – and that in reality have the potential to be addressed by adherence to the UNDRIP. This workshop brings leading, mostly Native, advocates, academics and practitioners together with an invited audience of policymakers, think tanks, grant-making foundations and non-governmental organizations for this much-needed discussion.

Report Released by the Maine Wabanaki-State Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Here. (78 pages, pdf).

We further assert that these conditions and the fact of disproportionate entry into care can be held within the context of continued cultural genocide, as defined by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. In particular, the convention notes that genocide means “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” We posit that Article 2, Sections b and e –“Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group” and “Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” – apply to what Wabanaki communities face here in Maine.
This, too, we found to be true: providing and sustaining preventive support to Native families might be of the greatest use of all. One Wabanaki service provider commented, as did many, that tribal people view child rearing as the responsibility of an extended network of kin and connections. This person noted that the best way to help children is to “strengthen families as a whole and communities as a whole to be able to step up and care for kids when things aren’t optimal in their home lives so they don’t ever even need to enter the system.” (11/4/14)

Many of those who work in the state child-welfare system share this exact desire. When reflecting on the process of being involved with the Commission, a DHHS supervisor wrote, “This has been an amazing journey to bring truths to light. To bravely state fact, to move through and past pain toward healing. My vision for the future is a strong family system without the need for foster care.” (4/9/15)

The report ends with 14 recommendations, and comes out amid tensions between tribes and the state over fishing, water quality standards, and jurisdictional concerns.