The Taking of the Wabanaki Children.
Our next terrifying tale deals with the cultural genocide of Maine's Indian children, where Child Protective Workers snatched native children from their homes to be assimilated into white culture via the foster care system and boarding schools. Many of these kids were unfortunately abused while in the system.
"Kill the Indian, Save the Man."
~ Capt. Richard H. Pratt
On May 24th 2011, Governor Paul LePage and Maine's Tribal Leaders signed a declaration of intent to start a truth and reconciliation process between the tribes and the states child welfare system.
The goal of the truth and reconciliation project is threefold, according to Passamaquoddy tribe member Esther Attean of the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. The project will establish a common understanding of the experience of the Wabanaki people in dealing with the state’s child welfare system, promote emotional and spiritual healing, and improve the delivery of state services to children and families, she said.
The plan was to create a Truth and Reconciliation Committee to visit and collect stories from tribal members whose lives were affected by being removed from their families and cultures and shuffled around and abused in Maine's Foster Care system, due to earlier policies suggesting that children be assimilate into white culture.
Maine’s policy regarding Indians was to assimilate them into the dominant society, a process that has its roots in the federal boarding-school program defined by the slogan, “Kill the Indian to save the man.” In Maine, Native children were removed from their homes and tribes almost 20 times more frequently than other children placed in foster care. During the past century across the country, some children were put up for adoption, others were sent to boarding schools where a number died from neglect and abuse, and still others were placed in foster care. The truth and reconciliation process will encourage Wabanaki people to come forward and share their childhood stories of abuse and neglect. The idea is to work—through acknowledgement of the wrongdoings—toward healing and reconciliation, reparations and institutional reform to ensure that the abuse and neglect never happen again. The TRC may include public testimony from the victims, comprehensive reports by the commission and policy recommendations.
Maine became the first state that would acknowledge this practice of Cultural Genocide.
Maine is the first and only state to focus on the impact of child welfare policies on Indian communities and their children — policies historically designed to “kill the Indian, and save the man.”
5 Commissioners were chosen to lead the inquiry.
And the story continues...
- Wabanaki child welfare commission selects executive director
- Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation commissioners set first visit to tribe
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission begins hearings on Indian child welfare
- Fostering forgiveness: After Indian ‘takings,’ both victims and perpetrators need healing
- Panelists talk with Maine tribes about trauma of foster care, separation from families
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission broadens effort to expose decades of Wabanaki children being put in state care
- Maine outreach groups to educate, learn stories of incarcerated Native Americans
- $800,000 federal grant to aid at-risk children awarded to Passamaquoddy Tribe
- Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission and Maine-Wabanaki REACH
They have apparently come to some sort of a conclusion.
- Maine Native Americans share stories of children taken away
- Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Reconciliation Commission Shares Investigation Findings
- ‘Without our children, what are we?’ Maine cited for removing Native kids
- Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC to Release Two Years of Findings
The TRC Commission has released their report.
- Native Americans’ report reveals history of ‘cultural genocide’ in Maine
- Maine Voices: Study gauges harm to Native children
- Maine owes Wabanaki people sovereignty, respect. It’s long overdue
- The Stolen Children of Maine: Native Wabanaki Seek Truth, Reconciliation Amidst a Cultural Genocide
- Forced Removal of Native American Children From Parents Exposed in 13 Minutes