As early as 1890 it has been documented that thousands of First Nations children were forcible removed from their homes. Between the years of 1941 through 1978 when the Indian Child Welfare Act was passed, we know that the entire First Nations people, was affected by state and private adoptions or foster care systems creating, post adoption, spiritual and mental health issues, resulted in high rates of depression, addiction, school drop out, incarceration and suicide. These institutions and homes were often brutal which added to the trauma of early childhood separation. Many mothers and fathers of these lost or stolen children still grieve the loss of their children. Now adults, they struggle with personal identity and a sense of belonging. The mental and emotional toll is evidenced in the high suicide rate, incaraceration rates and depression of adult adoptees. Many search for their family ties but do not know where to begin which increased the pain of separtation. The time has come to heal these wounds caused by "Forced Assimilation" and establish their sense of belonging to a spiritually rich family. I had a vision of a song for adoptees, an honor song that would help those looking to find their way back, I shared this vision with Chris Leith, Spiritual Advisor to National Child Welfare Association. He asked Jerry Dearly to make the song. I hope that song will also heal the loss of family members who have lost their children to the system. We know that when many of these youth were taken away, there was no Indian Child Welfare to develop family resources before adoption took place. It was a time of incredible oppression. Consequently many families carry this pain today. Parents pray quietly that their children are alive and healthy. This song is also for them. The song was sung for the first time at World Peace and Prayer Day,June 21, 2000 in the Black Hills. At that time Chris recongized the need for the Wiping of the Tears Ceremony to relieve the grief cause by this seperation of family and from our identiy as Indian people.
Sandy White Hawk,
Co-founder First Nations Orphans'Association
"Wucoicage ake un-ku-pi" Generation After Generation We Are Coming Home.
Sandra White Hawk
First Nations Orphan Association
International Foster Care Organization
14th Biennial Conference
August 7-13, 2005
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