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Adoption in the Seabird Island Band Nordlund, Elizabeth Anne 1993

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ADOPTION IN THE SEABIRD ISLAND BANDbyELIZABETH ANNE NORDLUNDB.A., The University of British Columbia, 1988.A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of AnthropologyWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIADecember, 1993Elizabeth Anne Nordlund, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilmentof the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Libraryshall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permissionfor extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes maybe granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copyingorpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed withoutmy writtenpermission.(Signature)__________________________Department of_______________________IThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate/ ‘H 3DE-6 (2/88)iiAbstractIn the past, the Ministry of Social Services and Housing hasplaced many native children from the Seabird Island Band, aSalish band in the Sta’lo Nation, in permanent placement oradoption off the reserve. Government agencies imposed a systemof child welfare that superseded Seabird Island adoptionpractices. The Seabird Island Band members would prefer to seethese children placed within the band through ‘custom’ adoption.In apprehension and placement court cases, the band social workerhas needed documented information defining ‘custom’ adoption, anddata regarding the benefits of this Seabird Island process. Thisthesis investigates and documents the process and results ofadoption on the Seabird Island Indian Reserve.This thesis begins with a brief history of Canadian adoptionpolicy as it applies to First Nations people. The thesis isbased on detailed taped interviews with Seabird Island Bandmembers who had experienced foster care and/or adoption. Thisfieldwork was the result of negotiation with the Seabird IslandBand to discover the type of research that they needed. Thethesis documents four kinds of adoption experience of the SeabirdIsland members: foster care, closed legal adoption, openadoption, and ‘custom’ adoption. In my analysis of theseadoption experiences, three main themes occur: (1) issues ofethnic identity, (2) power and the child welfare system, and (3)the definition and functions of ‘custom’ adoption.iiiThe thesis concludes that the imposed system of child welfarebased on Euro-western ideas of appropriate childcare may havedestroyed or seriously damaged some Seabird IslandBand members’sense of ethnic identity. As well, it may be a factorin thebreak-up of the extended family. ‘Custom’ adoption, as definedbySeabird Island Band members, offers an alternate model forkeeping apprehended Seabird Island children within the band.Open adoption, as defined by the pilot project documented, is analternative for those children who cannot be returned to theband. I have made several recommendations in the conclusion forthe Seabird Island Band’s consideration.H- HHH-It, 0 I-. 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H 0)—1---3 0).—’ 1:30 CD5 1”0) p-i-I <H0)0) 0) CDO U)0OrP I-h1CDC-.) or’CDP.. 0- rI’ H 0’C) 1:,- 0)It’r—---1—)CD.--I-I01k)H—JExiCl)3I’m0lp-p)1:i00D’I0)Irtt’H-IQ..I--’tiH-c-I-‘110CD0H-Q..J0)Oc-I-HrI-F-iI--Cfl,‘omoCDI-h‘-O.0)I-h‘:UC).P..•rI CD 0)0)’W-CDI-.rI-0)-p0-.SP..P..It’.-•00)0)ti..CDP-.ciH1:10’CD.0çtI-hmi)c-t-.H-.•-JH-i0-H-- c-I•H-•CD0‘-1--‘HCD--O.I-hC)-•U)-.C’). s::-•U) c-I()-.°.S(/)-••c-P 0...5—-‘---3--) (DO) )H-1I-’P..H-H-0)I—’NrI..CDH-IP._0C)CDC)1:1bc-I0)Iic-I-CDOOP..SI--.Ow0)0)P..CD 0p-siH-CD0 1:10)I—.-:I.P..•0• (I. H•0.Ii(fl.01 (r.ICJ)C) rI-cO 0)birtU)1H-0(I)P..H-H--‘I-i-.N00)0 Ilc-II-hHIOLI’11:1I—’OP..‘CDc-I-I--ICD-U)p.. I-I P.. H--0’-H--I--’ p... II CD’ 1:1viList of TablesTable I. Band Population, Selected Years57Table II. ADOPTION EXPERIENCES RECOUNTED BY INFORMANTS . . 70Table III. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY INDIANS ANDNON-INDIANS (1961,1962) 195Table IV. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY INDIANS ANDNON-INDIANS (1963,1964) 196Table V. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTEDBY INDIANS AND NON-INDIANS (1965,1966)197Table VI. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BYINDIANS AND NON-INDIANS (1967,1968) 198Table VII. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY INDIANS AND NON-INDIANS (1969,1970) 199Table VIII. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BYINDIANS AND NON-INDIANS (1972,1973) 200Table IX. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY INDIANS ANDNON—INDIANS (1974,1975) 201Table X. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY INDIANS AND NON-INDIANS (1976,1977) 202Table XI. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY INDIANS AND NONINDIANS (1978,1979) 203Table XII. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY INDIANS AND NONINDIANS (1980,1981) 204Table XIII. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY INDIANS AND NONINDIANS (1982,1983) 205Table XIV. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY INDIANS AND NONINDIANS (1984,1985) 206.IjTjtrJITJI1JH-H-H-H•H-HQQi.Q1-i-Ir‘1CDCDCDCDCDCDOLxi4C,)N)H222I:(fi)1xJCD‘1SP-.Ss1-i00b’H-bi)0Cl)CDCDP3H-CDIIrtrçti‘‘1r1H-HH-0<0<0txJ<HiCDH-iCDHiP3i-iP3CDCi)I—’I—!‘tI-’,TJ14Q.‘—i—.iP3S0)1tfi0)CD)PIQ.I-Q..IIH-CDH-CDH-0CT)0)01Sp3HiiCt-CtI—I•HCt-C)H-C)H-C)H-r1CDH-H-H-Hp_)-‘—‘W‘-C)‘-0I-c0)Hio0)I-cH-1IIEJiCDrt-CD0)CD1XJCDCD•H-H-HI-CCI-(I)0)CD0Ixjr‘10)0C)0H0CD0)CD0‘-0rI-‘—‘rI-cYrICDHCDCDHCD‘1I-’•051ii_aHi_0HbH-i_aH-I—’IP30)•H01CD-0tiltXI‘10)rI-HctLxii_a••o-c•H-HH-H-•0I0-C)H-HH-H-••rI-‘.0rI-•rIo:i•010•00•••HiI-h-Hi01.-Lx)Lx)N)H-N)Lx)N)H0H-viiiAcknowl edgmentThis thesis is dedicated to the members of the Seabird IslandBand. They gave me unconditional support in this research. Inparticular I would like to extend my appreciation to CindyMcNeil, who encouraged this work and gave me her full support.Her social work with the band has led to a renewed sense of bandidentity.I also would like to express my appreciation to the facultymembers on my M.A. committee: Dr. Nancy Waxler-Morrison, Dr. BillMcKellin, and especially to my supervisor, Dr. Michael Kew.Thank you for your guidance and valued suggestions during thepreparation and writing of this thesis. In addition, I expressappreciation to Dr. D. J. MacDougall, Faculty of Law, for hisadvice regarding adoption law in Australia.1Chapter 1Introduction“Adoption” refers to the incorporation of a person into anexisting family unit by a process other than procreation andbirth. There are several kinds of adoption practices. Mostadoptions take place between relatives; in North America, stepparent adoption (adoption by a spouse of a partner’s child orchildren of a previous marriage or relationship) is the currentmost common form of relative adoption. Sociologists and socialworkers use the term “blended family” to describe the familyformed as a result of step-parent adoption. New reproductivetechnologies have created the possibility of fetal adoption andsurrogate parenthood that have added new dimensions to adoptionprocesses and polices.When we think of adoption, we often first think of stranger ororphan adoption. In this form of adoption, the child has nogenealogical connection to the adoptive parent(s); the familyincorporates the child, a stranger, within the family unit. InNorth America, cross-cultural or trans-racial adoptionsby non-aboriginal families have become more frequent due to their lowfertility rates and over 90 percent of their out-of-wedlockchildren remaining with the birth mother (Eichler, 1988:260).Adoption of natives by non-natives causes grief for Indian peoplein Canada to-day. Government agencies have removed Indianchildren from their homes and reserves and placed them in nonnative homes. This practice has created a sense of powerlessnessamong Indian people and resulted in the adopted Indian child’s2loss of Indian identity and its connectedness to the band.In 1983, in Ontario, 37 percent of the children adopted were ofnative origin; they were taken from a provincial Indianpopulation of 2 percent. Similarly, in 1981, in Manitoba, 48.7percent of the children adopted were of native descent.Government agencies placed the majority of these adopted childrenin non-native homes. Furthermore, over a ten year period endingin 1979, in Ontario, 78 percent of the status Indian childrenwere placed in non-native adoption families (Eichler, 1988:263).British Columbia social services statistics for March, 1992,indicate that there were 6084 children in foster care; thirty-twopercent (1948 children) were of aboriginal decent (Thomson,1992). The Indians view this as genocide.Welfare agencies place so few Indian children with Indianfamilies because the agencies use non-native middle-classstandards to select both temporary and permanent placements.These agencies do not consider Indian standards for a safe,healthy, happy, loving placement appropriate. The Indiansrecognize that past and current adoption and apprehension policeshave meant that generations of children have been lost. Non—native parents have not made efforts to incorporate thechildren’s heritage, but instead, have imposed their culture onthe children. This means that not only does the band lose statusmembers, but the children lose their Indian heritage as well.Thus, rights and obligations such as names, dances, masks, andproperty rights cannot be passed down to the rightful owner.3Literature ReviewIn my review of relevant anthropological literature, adoption,foster care, and kin-fosterage have not been singled out for in-depth research. The following ethnographies and research papersprovide some data about adoption, foster care, and kin-fosterage:Hill-Tout, 1978a:43; 1978b:42,71,101—103; Hudson and Wilson,1986:439; Jorgensen, 1969:80; Teit, 1906:262; 1973:150—172,261—281,374-376; Ray, 1939:5,9. Some mention of adoptionin kinshipstudies based on the Inuit and South Pacific cultures is available (eg. Inuit: Burch, 1975:52-59,123-130; Guemple, 1979:11—102;Morrow, 1984:245—251; Balikci, 1970:108,122,123,150; SouthPacific: Scheffler, 1965:88,96—102; Weiner, 1988:37; Firth,1936:204,205,588—595; Sommerlad, 1977:167—177). However, mostresearch relegates the adoption of family members or theincorporation of strangers to a few paragraphs (eg. Barnett,1955:134-137,181; Duff, 1952; Leacock, 1949; Smith, 1945,1949;Suttles, 1987:17; Goody, 1982:38-54,180-181,250-255). Withregards to Salish Indian adoption, there is no anthropologicalresearch that focuses directly on the issues of adoption orfoster care.However, there is a vast amount of literature on adoption/fostercare in the social work discipline, also in psychology. In thesedisciplines, there is active debate on the merits of openadoption (a legal adoption where the identification of the birthparents is given, contact between the birth parents and adoptivefamily may be maintained, and where full family histories are4shared) versus closed legal adoption (a legal adoption where theidentity of the birth parents is withheld, no contact between thebirth family and adoptive family is made and where little or nofamily history is provided). The subject of North Americantrans-racial adoption has been covered thoroughly for Black andAsian children and less so for Indian children (eg. Day, 1979;Silverman and Feigelman, 1984:181-191; Gill and Jackson, 1983;Johnson et al, 1987:45-55; Allen, 1957).The American experiencewith American solutions is the basis of most of this literature(eg. Schapiro, 1956; Kirk, 1981, 1988; Small, 1987:33—41;Fanshel, 1972; Anderson, 1971; McRoy et al, 1988). There arealso a number of research papers written from a Canadianpoint ofview (eg. Sachdev, 1984; Kimelman, 1985; Ward, 1984; Johnston,1983; Eichler, 1988:237-373; Hudson and Mackenzie, 1981:63-88;Hepworth, 1980; Kendrick, 1990).MethodologyThe Seabird Island Band reserve, where this research took place,is located on the lower Fraser River, east of Agassiz, BritishColumbia. In 1879 government representatives created a reserveon Seabird Island for seven bands located between Yale and Popkumon the Fraser River. In 1992, there were about 330 statusmembers of the Seabird Island Band. The band is part of theSta’lo nation and is considered by anthropologists tobe part ofthe language group called Halkomelem. The band is composed ofboth Halkomelem and Nlkapamuxw descent members.I was determined that my thesis be useful to the people and my5choice of the Coast Salish was based on my particular interest intheir culture. I initiated this research as a result of mynegotiations with the Chief and band social worker. In 1989, Icontacted the Chief and asked if the band required any researchto be done, perhaps in the area of child welfare.The Seabird Island Band required the documentation of adoptionexperiences and the definition of “custom” adoption. SocialServices had removed many of their children over the yearswithout regard for native practices of child care. The bandmembers wished to return to “custom” adoption but said thatneither the Social Services Ministry nor the courts understoodwhat Seabird Island people meant by this term.Documentation ofband members’ experiences would give the Band Council the datathey need to argue for the returnof “custom” adoption.After a lengthy discussion with the band social worker, an Indianwoman employed by the band, I defined a thesis project that wouldallow me to complete the research needed by the Band Council.The band did not require a contract or a formal writtenagreement. We have a verbal understanding that I will give thema copy of my thesis, which will document these adoptionexperiences and define ‘custom’ adoption. It is a researchdocument that may be used by the band in court in adoption cases.I received permission to carry on this research project aftercompleting the “Request for Ethical Review” form, which includeda letter of permission from the Seabird Island Band Chief to6conduct the research and to conduct in-depth interviews with bandmembers (See 4, Appendices).The band agreed to give me the use of an office for privateinterviews. It had a comfortable seating arrangement for interviews and a table where I could place a tape recorder and microphone. I could use the electricity so did not have to depend onbatteries. The band social worker made the historical primarydocuments of the band available to me, also photocopies of theoriginal field notes of Marian Smith and Eleanor Leacock. Theyhad done field work on the Seabird Island Reserve in 1945. Anoffice clerk prepared photocopies of maps at no cost to me. Theoffice staff made me very welcome and between interviewsor atcoffee time, I spoke informally with them and other band memberswho wandered in. I travelled anywhere on the reserve thatIwished to and had permission to take photographs of anything.After my field work, the Chief took me on a tour of the reserveto show me the various historical and current points of interest;this tour put into context many bits and pieces of historicaldata that I had collected.In my initial discussion with the band social worker, I asked herto list everyone on the reserve who either had experiencedadoption or had knowledge of it. As the interviews progressed,informants named others who had experienced adoption; I thenadded those names to the list. I started with a list ofseventeen possible candidates. I suggested that I would want tointerview everyone on the list. I asked her if she would7introduce me to the first few people so that I could arrangeinterview times. The band social worker was extremely cooperative and helpful. Her workload was extremely heavy, yet shewas always available to me. She set up the appointmentswith theinformants and introduced them to me when they arrived at theband office. Periodically, over the seven week period (Novemberand December, 1989) that I spent on the reserve, I would meetwith the band social worker to discuss various questions that hadcome up and add prospective informant names to the list. When aninterview had to be done in a private home, she took me there,introduced me and then left. She shared some publications thatshe thought pertained to the research.I interviewed informants to obtain narratives of fostercare/adoption experiences. These interviews varied from thirtyminutes to two hours, depending on the informant. Some Elderscould only talk for a short period due to ill health.The interviews began with a brief discussion of the research andits application to the band and to my work. I then askedinformants to sign an “Informed Consent Form” (See 6, Appendices)and gave them a copy. I discussed anonymity with my informantsand assured them that I would use pseudonyms in the thesis.Informants were free to refuse to answer any questions with whichthey were uncomfortable. I explained that the tapes and notesfrom the interviews would remain in my possession and I would usethem for research purposes; I told the informants that shouldthey require a copy of their interview, that I would give them a8copy. I also indicated that the Band Council would receiveacopy of any papers or publications based on the researchand thatthe thesis would be available to the public at the University ofB.C. library.I taped and transcribed the interviews;all direct or indirectquotations in Chapter 5 come from these transcriptions. Thereference gives the tape identification numberand the date ofthe interview (eg. Z1O, Nov.4/89). Though it is true that thechoice and use of quotations may suggest my bias, I have made aconcerted effort to maintain the Seabird Island person’s point ofview. To provide context and maintain the authority andintegrity of the informants’ accounts, I have edited theinterview data for clarity and extraneous data only. Bracketedinformation [eg,( )]is paraphrased. Each account is an oralhistory of a person’s experience - a reconstruction of the past.Informants came from a cross-section of the band: elders, middle-aged, and young adults, male and female. The interviews weretwenty accounts of adoption experiences: custom adoption, legalclosed adoption, open adoption, and foster care experiences. Allinformants gave their permission to have their interviews taped.Field observations, slides, and files pertaining to my field workremain in my possession. I maintained telephone contact with keycontact people so that queries about data collected could beconfirmed.Over the years, Indian bands have dealt with self-determination9issues such as health, education, justice, and social welfare.Anthropologists should not take a parochial colonial approach tofieldwork. The needs of First Nation people must be consideredfirst in our research. We must ask what kinds of work the bandsrequire and negotiate with respect for their values. Negotiationmeans that the time frame for organizing field work may be moreprotracted, but it will help ensure that our work is moreresponsive to the people we study. Indian nations have currentcultural problems that require research. By negotiating to doresearch, anthropologists may receive the co—operation of thoseinvolved. The researcher has access to the band members and tothe primary documentation required. The anthropologist isworking with and for the Indian band, not doing anthropology tothem. Negotiated research is a pragmatic and practical solutionfor both the Indian band and the anthropologist.Types of Adoption ExperienceAdoption experiences of Seabird Island people are more extensivethan those of North Americans, generally. Kirk suggests that onein five persons in North America has had personal experience withadoption (Kirk, 1981:4). In the Seabird Island Band, almosteveryone has had some experience with adoption or apprehension.These experiences fall into four general categories: foster care,closed legal adoption, open adoption, and “custom” adoption.1. Foster CareFoster care is generally considered in the literature of social10welfare and sociology, to be a separate welfare issue fromadoption. To be placed into temporary or permanent fostercaremeans that social workers or government agents remove the childfrom the family and reserve. They then place the child inaprivate home, where surrogate parents, acting for the provincialgovernment, care for it.These parents cannot make any major decisions regardingthechild’s medical, educational, or psychological needs; a socialworker, acting on the government’s behalf, makes all decisions.The government gives parents a monthly allowance to cover thechild’s expenses. In an ideal world, an Indianchild would staywith a native family until s/he reached adulthood. S/he would beaware of her/his heritage and encouraged to maintain her/hisidentity. The home would be a safe, happy and loving place,where a child apprehended abruptly from its own family, couldfind security. The reality is that Indian children in fostercare may be passed through a series of social workers and non-native foster care placements.Over the years, the child may never feel secure and happy.Foster parents do not encourage the child to develop an Indianidentity and the child enters a no-man’s land, neither native nornon-native. S/he is left to wander eventually to the streets oflarge urban areas where kinship ties are forever severed.Because social workers are assigned case loads and are subject totransfers, they do not maintain the same files. Thismeans thatthe foster parents, Indian children and Indian band must deal11with a succession of social workers who must constantly up—datethemselves on the children who are their responsibility. Besidelack of security and stability, Indian children are aware thatwelfare agencies pay their surrogate parents to look after them.The children see fostering as just another job with no investmentin ties that would bind them into a family.Another aspect of fostering, is the use of group homes for olderIndian children who have already gone through a series of privatehomes. In group homes, the children are under the care of eithera team of non-native adults or group home parents. The childrenview the group home as a dumping ground for runaways and childrenwith substance, physical, or sexual abuse experience. Bothprivate homes and group homes are places from which to escape.The Indian child does not consider it a safe, loving, stable, andsecure home. Private and group homes usually are not geographically close to the reserve.The Indians classify apprehension for either temporary orpermanent placement as adoption. From their point of viewapprehension means the child is lost, gone forever. SeabirdIsland people often use the word “apprehension” where non-nativeswould use the word “adoption.”2. Closed Legal AdoptionClosed legal adoption takes place after social workers apprehenda child from the band and place the child in a temporary fosterhome. The children are the wards of the provincial government.12There is no requirement that native children mustbe placed innative homes. Recent changesin British Columbia policy nowstate that the social worker will try to find a suitable home onthe reserve first. Failing that, the regular adoption placementproceedings will place the child in a non-native home. Theregulations do not require adoptive parents to raise the childwith the knowledge of its heritage. However, social workers mustnow consult the band prior to placement.In the past, social workers did not give the band any informationabout the child. Because social workers use middle-classstandards for placement, they seldom place the children on thereserve. After one year, the child is legallya member of theadoptive family. The welfare agency does not release theidentity and location of the birth parentsand extended family tothe child or the adoptive parents. They do not tellthe adoptivefamily which band the child is from, so it is difficult to givethe child its Indian heritage. A status Indian maintains his/herstatus, but adoptive parents unconcerned with status rights oruneducated in the child’s rights may prevent the child fromexercising those rights.3. Open AdoptionOpen adoption is not yet available to Indian children, asageneral policy. The Seabird Island Band is participatingin apilot project under the auspices of the Ministry ofSocialServices and Housing. In this project, an Indian child for whomreturn to the reserve would be unsafe,has been legally adopted13by a non-native family. He is aware of his Indian heritage andhis adoptive parents encourage him to learn as muchas they canteach him about the customs of the Seabird Island Band. Thoughhe may not have contact with his birth mother, he has had visitsin his adoptive home by his sister. As well, he has visited thereserve to talk with an older sister. He knows about his birthfather’s recent death. The Band Council has appointed an elderto be his “aunt.” She maintains contact with the adoptiveparents so that both parties can be informed about the child’sdevelopment, the birth family’s situation, and changes at theband level. By using open adoption as described, the child issecure and happy in a loving caring family and aware of hisheritage. When this child matures, it is less likely that therewill be a no-man’s land for him to wander in. He will beencouraged to rejoin the band as an adult member, with his rightsand obligations intact.4. “Custom” AdoptionI suggest that this method of open adoption is necessary forthose children who cannot find safe homes within the band due tosubstance, physical or sexual abuse. However, many children needadoptive homes for other reasons. The Seabird Island Band wishesto return to what the elders call “custom” adoption. Thisadoption process involves either a close relative such as agrandparent, uncle or aunt, or a close family friend, who agreesto adopt the child. Band members do not exchange money or gifts,nor do they make formal contracts or court visits. The transferof the child is by verbal agreement. The child becomes a full14and equal member of the adoptive family, assuming the newfamily’s name. This child may receive names, masks,dances, andproperty from the adoptive family. The adoptive family usefamily kinship terms as if the child had been born into thefamily. Still, the child also will know who its birth family isand may freely visit them as it gets older. Thereis nointerference in the child’s up-bringing by the birth parents.Once the families make an agreement, the community recognizestheadoptive parents as the parents of the child. The parents’ roleis socially and symbolically constructed.The openness of customadoption is important because it is important to know the genealogy of band members. Secrecy would not allow membersto know therelationships of band members. “Custom” adoption would allow thechildren to retain their heritage, kin ties, and to beknowledgeable about their rights and obligations; it also would allowthe extended family to assume its role of care-giving.Of the above adoptive experiences, “custom” adoption is theprocess that band members wish to return to. Open adoption is analternative for children who cannot return to the reserve. Bothmethods allow the children to maintain ties to their birth familyand to their heritage. They allow the extended family unit towork together for the benefit of the child and the band. Neithermethod may be construed as genocide because the children are notlost to the band. The power and strength of the band ismaintained.15Some notes regarding this research:I use the ethnographic present in this work to discuss currentpractices and past tense to indicate past practices either priorto contact or since contact with other societies.Seabird Island Band members use the term “custom” adoption,already mentioned in this introduction, to define the childwelfare actions taken by the band members for the protection oftheir children. This specific usage will be placedin quotationmarks throughout this thesis. In the chapter detailing theadoption experiences of band members, the terms“apprehension,adoption, fostering,” and “foster care” are used interchangeablyby some informants. Because the informants did not differentiatebetween processes, it is difficult at times, to make sense of theinformants’ use of the terminology. The categorization of theexperiences should help define what kind of experience is beingdiscussed.As well, informants used several different expressions to referto the federal and provincial government agencies with which theyhave had contact. In the province of British Columbia, theMinistry of Social Services handles child welfare matters.Seabird Island people refer to this ministry variously as:“Social Services, the Ministry of Human Resources (M.H.R.), HumanResources (H.R.), the Ministry, the Welfare, theWelfare Department, the Social Department, the Welfare system,” and “SocialWelfare.” The Indian and Northern Affairs Canada ministry inOttawa, handles Indian concerns. Seabird Island people refer to16it variously as: “the Department of Indian Affairs and NorthernDevelopment (D. I.A.N.D.), Department of Indian Affairs (D.I,A.),the Department,” and “Indian Affairs.”I have used pseudonyms to ensure confidentiality for informants.Within the Seabird Island community, many adoption experiencesdetailed here are local knowledge. For the larger community,that is the people outside the reserve and the readers of thiswork, it serves no useful purpose to identify informantsby theirreal name.The Plan of the Thesis:Finally, an overview of the contents of this thesis seems inorder. Following this introductory chapter, Chapter Two providesa brief overview of Canadian adoption history, particularly as itpertains to First Nations people and some statistical informationon First Nations adoption. Chapter Three puts the Seabird IslandBand in perspective by providing a geographical, historical, andcurrent context. Chapter Four provides the data that resultedfrom interviews. It begins with definitions of the adoptionterminology used throughout the thesis, followed by a selectionof some experiences related by band members and a summation ofanswers to interview questions about adoption. Chapters Five,Six, and Seven contain the analysis. Chapter Five deals withissues of identity, loss of self-esteem and the feeling ofbelonging, and the effect of the loss of contact. Chapter Sixdiscusses power and the child welfare system. It is in thischapter that the effects of the current child welfare system are17presented. The loss of power and respect, foster care, grouphomes, separation of siblings, serial care, subsidization, andstatus of First Nations children are the main areas of analysis.Chapter Seven provides a definition of “custom” adoption onSeabird Island and analyses the issues of legalization of customadoption, validation of custom adoption, and cross-culturalcustom adoption. Chapter Eight summarizes the results of thefield work on Seabird Island, discusses the ethnographic findingsof the thesis. It also looks to the future by presenting issuesthat the Band Council is still working on such as lack ofadoptive parents, rejection, and the use of open adoption as analternative to closed legal adoption or “custom” adoption. Itcloses with recommendations for action. The remainder of thedata are placed in the Appendices. The Appendices offer examplesof the forms used for this research and a list of the interviewquestions.‘DCD0ODIt •0CDH -_o co0HMiCD0- Hg P3U)H-0<CDH• 0 U)0 çtHP3k I-.’ (flU) r1CDi—i-CDC) c-I 0HU).0I\) bJ I—’- CD Mi U) 0 ‘1 0 I-h C) P3 3 F-’- P3 0 H- 0 IiU)U)‘tiSClL.Q<ciC)HCD‘iiCDCD0CDHCDCDCD‘1P305)P3HCl)U)C)I—’P3P3C)C)CD‘—(1)cCL)CX)H(I)5‘tjH-I—iC)iF-’-I-’-EHHCOI—’U)U)H-P3IU)U)CDC)Cl-H-‘-<CDçtI—’H-çtH-H-H-U)U)C)Hr1CD0C)00H-ci)Hdl-0ci)HCDci)ir1I—’F—)LDçt)-.rtU)U)rJ0ClP3—C)CltYY’CDU)•U)3C)P3CL)CDiCDrti-I-t)0‘-<ClCI)C)i:-P3iC)CD0P3C)H-JH-CDU)Y’HiI-ICt0P3CL)3’U)CDdl-0H-Ji-I-iic),H-U)CDP3Cl‘—‘CDH-CDCt0P3-‘SClCD0CDçt-H-01’Cl1YH-100II)FlIiC)Ctci)U)H-‘Zigi.<dl-CDCDH-lU)<Ct<CtCDCl50CI)H-CDH-‘HiCDiCD0dl-CDiH-tY’C)‘10H-H-U)H-C)I—’H‘1U)CDCtU)Iiii0y’iH-H-P3H-ICtU)Zjci)H-C)CDCDU)C)I—’C)0H-dl-0:3‘--U)çtc-I-H-U)CtH-H-P3,—C)I<3’H-P3Ct(P0CDiH-H-1,0CI)U)CI)0I-’CDIU)0C)CI)fU)HCtH-1tn<P3‘-<CtCtCDH-CD3jc-I-r(PClH-CD-5CD00ct0P3Ii0H-0HCI)C)U)HiHCDU)‘ZSCD‘tH-H-c-I-HC)H-c-IU)U)‘tU)CtCDCl)Cl)b’SH-C)c-I-HCD1—’H-Y’HU)IiCDLQ0CI)•0ClCD(PU)CtCtCI)(PIi‘-3‘tI0c-I-U)cCtIic-I-P-II-((-I-HCD‘Zp)HCD‘tiClCDCl)H-0P3IIU)SC)‘-<H-CtiIIP-ICD)U)H-CD-<ClHi-.U)CI))-i<c-ILI.U)C)P3c-I-C)CDCDCl)P31,0itYc-I-c-I-U)H-i-I--.c-I-HCD‘1(1)C)U)0Y0H-U)lP3H-çt,0Mi‘--‘CDCDC)U)bC)U)I--sH-C000H-it00CDbHiH-h(H,i-C)C)C)Cl)C)c-I-1))ci)0HiC)<‘1H-0DCtCDH-Z’U)MiP33CDitc-I-C)1H-<P3P3CDC)H-ClY’3p)H‘-b’‘-‘HiClU)it‘-CD(Ps—’c-I-ClCiCD1SCl00ClP3ci-U)U)U)P30C)HitYC)C)‘Z(pc-I-H-U)CDCD3CI)t7ClCDp)0P3CD<H-H-HP3H-IIil—‘—‘C)‘—‘CD‘ti‘—‘—‘CDU)U)U)iC)P3H-P30F-h‘1Ci)ClCliCD0itH-c).,C)tP3iP3c-t-l-(itClH-C)Cl)CDH-H-CDi,0HiHCUH-CDiH-HU)CI)CDCD0CDC)iiU)c-I-itP3CDiU)HSCiitP3-D’CD‘-—U)CI)0)C)1C)H-0CDIIitiP3—SQH-ClCI)00ty’iH-CD5iC)CDU)iHiCi‘—‘HU)0ClH-U)CL)dl-Clit‘-‘C0ci-HP3-5’U)P3P3I-hP3—H-‘—‘CD—ClHitCOU) c-I- 0 H H- C) P3 I ci) Cl Cl) c-I c-I- H El) c-I- H- C-) Q) I—’ txJ Ci) C-) 0 11 0 Ci LIH U) P3 it H- 0 U) Cl 0 it H- 0 H C) P3 CI) Cl ci)C) P3 it CD H I’)19birth parents, and adoptive parents have often superseded thoseof the child. Changes to social agency policy and practices suchas criteria for adoptive homes, criteria for placement ofchildren, and suitability for placement have put pressure on thesocial agencies to make decisions that have not always been inthe best interests of the child. Some adoptive and birth parentswant adoptive files sealed forever, putting their interestsbefore those of their child. In this brief overview of adoptionhistory, it is important to discover just whose best interestshave been served.Early in child welfare matters, common law gave the fathercontrol over the child; the child was his to care for as he sawfit; the state lacked absolute control. As laws were rewrittento provide for the equality of genders, either parent had controlof the child, thus maintaining the parent/child relationship.The state became increasingly involved in the creation andenforcement of child welfare laws. These statutory laws,concerned with legitimization and the care of children bothoutside and inside the family, were in direct opposition tocommon law (Schapiro, 1956:90). The family, once thought to be aprivate domain, has become a very public matter. The childwelfare policies of Canada now give the ultimate responsibilityfor the children to the state, rather than to the parent/s.In North America, adoption, formalized as a legal process, hasnot had a long history (See Schapiro, 1956:14-21). Privatedeedswere used in the United States prior to the ratification of adop20tion laws by states, beginning with the state of Massachusettsin1851. The Massachusetts statute• .provided for a judicial decree of adoption based onajoint petition of the adoptive parents, accompaniedby thewritten consent of the child’s natural parents” (MacDonald,1984:45). “By 1952, thirty-four states providedfor mandatory investigation by the State Department of PublicWelfare” (Schapiro, 1956:91).In Canada, adoption legislation dates from 1873 in New Brunswick,to 1896 in Nova Scotia, 1920 in BritishColumbia, 1921 inOntario, 1922 in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 1924 in Quebec, 1927in Alberta, 1930 in Prince Edward Island, and 1940in Newfoundland (MacDonald, 1984:45). In the New Brunswick statute,Canada’s first adoption law, a single adult or a married couplecould petition the court for adoption.“Written consents were required from the child, if over12years, and his parents, or if the parents were deceased, hisguardian. The judge had to be both satisfied that thepetitioners could ‘bring up and educate the child properly’and convinced of the ‘fitness and propriety’ of the proposedadoption... (There was no reference to).. .secrecy ofadoption records, an adoption probation period, or therequirement of a report to the court from a public officialon the suitability of the petitioners as adoptive parents”(MacDonald, 1984:45).In 1901, British Columbia passed the InfantsAct, which providedfor a Provincial Superintendent of Neglected Children. Shortlyafter, three Children’s Aid Societies were incorporated:Children’s Aid Society of Vancouver (a Protestant organization),Catholic Children’s Aid Society, and theVictoria Children’s AidSociety (non-sectarian) (New Families For Young Canadians, 1967).The British Columbia Adoption Act,passed in 1920, was“.. .similar to the much earlier New Brunswick legislation.It contained no provisions for secrecy of adoption records.No report to the court was required on the fitness of theadoptive parents, although notice of application for adop—21tion was required to be served on the Superintendent ofNeglected Children” (MacDonald, 1984:45).After the Second World War, government agencies took on a greaterrole within what had been the private domainof the family. Theposition of social workers became more prominent andcredible.People were willing to let ‘the experts’ make decisions that theythought would solve the problems of the community. When theprovincial government extended social servicesto Indianreserves, there was little concern that such an extension wouldadversely affect Indian people (Johnston, 1983:3).In 1950, the government established the Provincial AdvisoryCommittee on Indian Affairs. The Departmentof Indian Affairsprovided all health and welfare services.“The Provincial Welfare Branch did notextend its servicesto the Reservations except for the protection of childrenand for the investigations for the ‘FamilyAllowance Act”(Elmore, Clark and Dick, 1974:3).In 1952, the province and the Department ofIndian Affairsjointly extended services to the Indians of B.C. for delinquentchildren, adoption cases, and unmarried mothers(Ibid., 1974:3).The provincial government set a new policy in 1955 for theapprehension of Indian children; prior to thattime, theprovincial government apprehended Indian children if theDepartment of Indian Affairs requested theirhelp (Ibid.,1974:4). These changes set in motiona continual argumentbetween the federal and provincialgovernments regardingresponsibility and payment for Indian child welfareservices.This jurisdictional dispute hada bearing on the policies set by22provincial governments (Johnston, 1983:4).In the 1950’s, based on the social work philosophy of that time,government administrators decided that an adopted child shouldsever all connections with her birth family and become like andequal to a natural child. The new British Columbia Adoption Actof 1957 specifiedthat upon adoption, a child ‘for all purposes’ becamethe child of his adoptive parents and ‘for all purposes’ceased to be the child of his natural parents” (MacDonald,1984:47).This act was to cause irreparable psychological damage togenerations of adoptees, who, according to the Act, must looklike and act like the other members of their adoptive family withno recognition of the importance of maintaining their identity(Kirk, 1981). At this time, social workers began to match thephysical attributes of adoptees to those of the adoptive farnilies. The act of adoption was a big secret; the child’sparentage was often not revealed to the adoptee. Culturaldifferences were not recognized. Adoptive parents incorporatedthe child into their family, based on the similarities ofappearance and the similarities of the sketchy family historypresented by social workers. Adoptive parents and social workersgave no consideration to the adoptees’ need to know their connections with the past or their family of origin. This adoptionmodel excluded the adoptee from his/her birth right and the birthfamily from their child (Bagley, 1986:233). This model alsoexcluded adoptive parents who did not have the appropriatevalues, level of education, and economic status. The exclusion23model also excluded any opportunity for other models of adoptionsuch as aboriginal custom adoptionto guide practice.In Canada, recruitment of homes for visibleminorities began inthe 1960’s. These programs attracted whiteadoptive parents andthe number of inter-racial adoptions increased dramatically.“This is especially true in the western provinceswherenative children constitute approximately50 per cent of thechildren admitted to the care ofchild welfare authorities.Thus, of 137 status Indian children adopted in Canadain1965, 44 were adopted by Indians and 93 by non-Indians.By1977 the total number adopted had risen to 581, with 135adopted by Indians and 446 by non-Indians”(MacDonald,1984:55).Social Work literature refers tothe adoption pattern of the1960’s as the “Sixties Scoop.” Great numbers of Indian childrenwent into care under the auspices of theB.C. Ministry of SocialServices. At that time there was a large migrationof nativepeople from the reserves to theurban areas. This caused theloss of adults of child-rearing age from thebands. It alsomeant that those who moved to the urban areas lacked communitysupport. Many of their children went into care instead of beingcared for by the extended family on the reserve. On thereserves, those children who needed care, could not be placedbecause there were too few adults available toprovide that care.As well, the government closed residential schools for Indiansand the young adults who had been in the residential schoolsystem had reduced parenting skills.“In 1955 there were 3,433 children in the care of B.C.’schild welfare branch. Of that number it wasestimated that29 children, or less than 1 percent of thetotal, were ofIndian ancestry. By 1964, however, 1,446 children in carein B.C. were of Indian extraction. That number represented2434.2 percent of all children in care. Withinten years, inother words, the representation of Native childrenin B.C.’schild welfare system had jumped from almost nil toa third.It was a pattern being repeated in other parts ofCanada aswell. One longtime employee of the Ministry of HumanResources in B.C. . . .admitted that provincial socialworkerswould, quite literally, scoop children from reserveson theslightest pretext. She also made it clear, however, thatshe and her colleagues sincerely believed that what theywere doing was in the best interests of the children.Theyfelt that the apprehension of Indian children from reserveswould save them from the effects of crushing poverty,unsanitary health conditions, poor housing and malnutrition,which were facts of life on many reserves. Unfortunately,the long-term effect of apprehension on the individual childwas not considered. More likely, it could nothave beenimagined. Nor were the effects of apprehension on Indianfamilies and communities taken into account and somereserves lost almost a generation of their children as aresult” (Johnston, 1983:23).During the period between 1963 and 1969, there was a concertedeffort by the Adoption Placement Section of the B.C.Ministry ofSocial Services to find more Indian homes. They advertisedinformation about particular children, presentedarticles innative print media and used the media for promotions and publicrelations. They also participatedin a research project with theUniversity of British Columbia School of Social Work, heldmeetings with native agencies to stimulateinterest, andparticipated in the Open Door Society program directed towardsIndian adoption. These efforts met withlittle success due to anumber of factors. There was a high ratio of childrento adultsresulting from the migration off the reservesof adults in thechild-rearing age of 20 - 39. There was an increasein socialproblems, resulting in many children needing temporaryorpermanent foster care. The economy ofthe reserves wasrestricted and the size of Indian familiesprecluded them from25accepting more children. As well, there was alack of a centralsource of information on Indian homesavailable. (Elmore, Clarkand Dick, 1974:21).In 1971, “. . .a movement in the United Statesbegan to promote theplacement of native children with native families” (Lipman,1984:35). By the late 1970’s,First Nations leaders in BritishColumbia, expressed concern about the loss of theirchildren tonon-native adoptive families who did not placea priority onmaintaining the native child’s ethnicity and identity. Thousandsof native adoptees grew up without any knowledge of their cultural heritage or their rights and obligations as status Indians.In 1975, the report by the British Columbia Royal Commission onFamily and Children’s Law was presented. The Commission made thefollowing key recommendations:“1. The highest priority should be given to recruitingnative Indian adoption homes for native children.To reducethe financial impediments to adoption among native families,the commission recommended a program of short- and long-termfinancial subsidies. It also recommended outreach to nativecommunities by child welfare agencies, as wellas genuineefforts to recruit and train native personnel for employmentin the child welfare field.2. Although not prepared to recommend the exclusive adoptionof native children by native Indian adoptive parents,thecommission urged that an ‘ethnic release’ by natural parentsbe a precondition to adoption by non-Indian parents. Thiswould be similar to the ‘religious release’ required in somejurisdictions when the child is to be placed with adoptiveparents of a religion different from that of the naturalparent.3. The commission was aware of cultural traditions amongsome Indian bands that sanctioned custom adoptions. Sincesuch practices were frequently at variance with conventionaladoption with respect to inheritance rights and on-goingcontact between the adoptee and his natural parents, the26commission recommended that Indian custom adoptions beexplicitly recognized in provincial statute law, as hadearlier been done in the federal Indian Act and the ChildWelfare Ordinance of the Northwest Territories.4. To ensure that native children raised in non-Indianadoptive homes would be aware of their Indian status andculture, the commission recommended that non-Indian adoptiveparents be required, prior to placement, to take part in anorientation course in native Indian culture, designed inconjunction with Indian people. Such parents would also berequired at the time of placement to sign an agreement tofamiliarize the child with her Indian heritage.5. To ensure that status Indian children placed for adoptionwould at a later time be able to share in the activities andbenefits of Indian band membership, the commissionrecommended that the Provincial Superintendent of ChildWelfare be required to notify the Registrar of IndianAffairs in Ottawa of the child’s adoption, and the adoptiveparents of his registered Indian status and band membership”(MacDonald, 1984:56).Eighteen years later, the provincial government has implementedfew of these recommendations. Native personnel have been trainedfor employment in social work, but the training does not givethem the level of credentials (Master of Social Work) to besocial workers for the Ministry of Social Services, so they lackthe power and position to be effective agents of change. Socialworkers recruit native homes for foster care and adoption, butwhite middle-class standards for selection continue to be used.Social workers consult Band Councils before apprehension andplacement take place. Band Councils now have access toinformation regarding the whereabouts of their recently apprehended native children.Because the government did not change social policies toaccommodate the recommendations of the Commission, nativechildren continued to constitute the majority of children0irit7çtDiH0Di0U5rtDiDlCDJDlCDcC)c0<MiDi(DH-H-çt0Cl)I—’CT)10)CDU)i(UDii-H-H-ClMiCD(A)IiI-c.HcH-‘-DlooCDCDCDC)Cl‘—sCD()0Cl<U)0DiDiCDIci)CDDlir1iISDICi0)111—h11MiI—•H-Cl)DiCDHDiçt11CiS0U)C)H-(1)HII0U)H00CDDlDirtCl13’U)01-13’(1)fCDDiCD0OH-I--’CDr*CDCD:iCDY’0)H-CDCl<CliC)ctClI‘-<CDtIIICl)p—’Dl00:-O)H-CD(DClU)Difl)SiCD0H-Cl0)iCD(I)DiMi0Mi0Di011Cl‘‘—-‘r1iMi11H-r111CDC)-.MitY’Di—MiDi‘10MiCiiH-•c-i-DiDiH-H-IiOH-:-iio‘1—t-c-I-H-00Cl)Di0)H00U)Cit—IICDU)rZCD1<c-I-:1(JIOH-H-3’I—QClI01CDU)j3’C)IIiU)biH-MiI-lDiMiDi<DiI-C0iiCDIIc-I-c-I-r-JDi13’H-ClOO-’OClCD00Di<CDClDiC)H-H-U)0c-I-0—‘U)CDi—’0Ci)‘1DiH-13’Di‘—‘0U)Dic-I-c-I-y’0ClHCLH-H-U)H-’tJc-tiit1l13Cl)iH-H-<Di(I)CDCDj_f_0H--.Hirtc-I-U)DiCi)I--i0)‘.0103’CD11CDClHH-iH“ClH-c-I-13’U)13’000IQIH-DiOCDDi1111DilDi0DlU)0H-H-CDDi‘—jCi(D13’U)01-1-1Di11jClCD(DCl‘.0c-I-3c-I-C)rI-ClS‘1Di(DC)DiCDiiCD:Htr0l-c-f-•CDH’CD(-10U)Di‘1Mic-t-II0CLMiCl)CDCDI—’1-<Di..U)QU)y’H-CICDOCDCt-H0Di11U)c-,Cl)DillMi<H-c-I-0CD‘0CiI-c-I-MiDiI-oc--Di’ClOTJ)CDCDr-çUDi50(1)HCDIIH-c-I-CD3H-Y’H-55CDCl10CDDibiDii13’Mi.0U)‘-<HIi0I—’rtU)iDic-t-Di‘‘:-U)DlU),iH-13’CX)‘t$ci)<‘.0Mil—CD<0DiClrI-t5H-0r-t-Di0)Di(000)0DiCDDi5(1)(1)0Cl11c-I-H-c’0)1-1-•--ClC)c-I-000IiMi:•<DiU)CiU)OOCDCDIICDDiDiDi)30HU)—<CDY100CD513Clc-I-I--0113I-0 Cl)CDIc-I-DiH-0H-0)H-CDc-I-Y”-<lc-I-(T)C)0Di3Dl0l’c-I-H-CD‘-<ODICDDiMiCDH-H-Cl‘—‘‘—H-0‘0Di-DiU)iCD<OtT’ctH-CDU)H-•I—’H-Cl)Cl)13c-I-I—’c-I-H-H-H’H-Ti)DiII(I)‘0U)(-I-513’•Cl)I—’H-Dl13’5DiCDLC)0l-CD’H-0D)c-i.CDH-0Di‘1CDClc-I-l-0Dl11113DiCLCll—1Diic-IDl(Dll‘D)CDCD’—’’lDiCDCi0H-H‘-<U)C!)<CD3’C!)H-Cl‘ci‘—‘U)01-1CDH-13DlU)O‘tic-I-HCDDiCDCDCi-OI-—U)CDc-I-çI-I-:3ClCDC)0Di0itiMi0013Dil3’1U)CDOl(D’,-DlCl<CDDic-t-lH-DiSOMi1-lCDc-I-CD0H-U)c-I-U)‘.0H-0H-F-c011CDr1DlMiU)OllCD.—‘H-H-•0‘—c00Mi1-0CD(DH-CDc-I-5CDi01?)CDc-f-Cl13CD0CDCljjQ‘-‘.QflQc-t0MiU)H’10CDU)c-I-1-c-I-c-I-hc-I-5H-MiCT)U)Di‘—‘-3CD5c-I-J’CDU)‘U)c-I-DiH-O0<Dii—iHH-j0DiF-.c-IiH-H-yIICI)IIc-I-CDiH-JDic-tO11DiCDCl’TJi’—’H-’c-,Clc-I-iH-CD3oii’ClCDc-I-CD(DU)iO1-lClClUII-’-CDDi-<U)c-I-1—’DiCT—CDH-—U)DiCD0H-1-Dl-.0Clc-IxJHDic-I-DlDiU)c-I-I—’—‘U)Dic-i-c-I-DlCl)DlMicC)‘—Dl0:i0LI.Di(D3’D)H-H-(DIlII50C))Dill1-’MiIC)CLCi0CD5CTO0‘0Dic-I-H-I—’H1-1HU)Cl)U)Diit)(DOfl(D1-<H-iri-0rtCDH-CD:-,Di00<U)U)H-l)iOllDlSOl-’U)H-TC)113113H‘-<c-I-DiC)-’TCDH-c-I-U)DiCl’0—’c-t-c-t-OH-ClI—-’0‘.0H-‘.00ClClDiiO‘—‘CD0CDiF—’1Y’Dill0Di0)Cl)Cl)c-I-:-Dll—c-I-iH-o‘zCl)c-I-1Ii1.ClCDCi0‘t11oCDH’DiCiCl3’CD-‘0‘tCLCDc-I-5T’C)<Cl11II‘ICDiCDCDClc-I-Di—H-U)Dic-I-DiH-CT)Di<‘—IClCLH-(1)00•Toc-I-l0U)c-I-H-5CDc-I-CTDi0Ci)Mii-<Mi0c-I-c-I-0DlcDiIi3CD0CD[1CDClCl28in Ontario, the Fort Alexander Child and Family ServiceinManitoba, the Montagnais-Naskapi Indians inShe-shat-shit,Labrador, the off-reserve Metis and Creeof Sandy Bay,Saskatchewan (Johnston, 1983:112-118),and the Awasis Agency inNorthern Manitoba (Damm, 1992:53). The return of bandresponsibility for the children isjust one of the aspects that bandsare now dealing with in their move towards self-government.The rates of adoption for status Indians in Canadafor the years1961 to 1985 suggest that there is still an inordinatelyhigh percentage of Indian childrenbeing adopted by non-Indians(See Figure 1. next page). In British Columbia (Figure 2.),adoption by non-Indians remains high aswell. In Manitoba(Figure 3.), where recent changes have allowed Indian bands tomove towards custom adoption, statistics indicatean increasingnumber of Indian adoptive parents. The followinggraphs indicatethe number of Indian adoptions over a twenty-fouryear period(data for 1971-72 are not available). I chose British Columbiafor this comparison because this province has no institutedcustom adoption. Manitoba has made some policy changes thatincorporate Indian values, but customadoption is not yet legalacross the province.(See 2, Appendices for tables showing adoption ratesfor Indianand Non-Indian parents, 1961 - 1985).H C) Di Dl co (ii(I) z CD ti 0 Mi I—I C) H CD Ii 0 CDTLROiLLinr(mtnE:iiOPTe-,zrA)I.i(i0PTWfPc,i-NOF i-Ii—oPTE).5oo350300çt çt 0 Mi 0 CD I-Il Dl ti (D rt£OiRIf)j1Jfl))i.flTL/Uiv1LirNbdIC/-/IbF4iW(1i>INuMoktOf,vb,,11qLP1J.1,vJDiii,vboPiit’.I1 HIf)‘1 (I)N ct _yc-:H-5JC)Cl)——I.cciI—ti0 hI--iiC.1H-oa)ri l--()< (I)HI)j a) ‘1(1) C) Cs ci a)C-iL),qIbO /50 IZ0JI70- 0•-40 30.10.H N II U) C) C) a) L)) LO 0) LI-I1Lfl‘U7-NL/bv1jfl,J1’JO,I.’f’i/P1ISCnDi(-h) C—)ri LJr,iijlL1tf0P-rtIL]RJ-t.Ji’p-Tbr0-P&Ts‘-xikC(1)Mjc-_cuH-tTi0(VH-H-t-(ftçtooLtiI-11-4I---.:i.‘.0ILHo-ocu-’i—ad3ftIH-C)(—s(I)HD‘—s0)‘iici.(_51(i•(CD(I):if1ci. 0 ft CD ci.ML3F,..OFIJACuLioPYi)IL1iitII)J’>f\1()(III1AI(RNIAU)‘tHCs)ct(11i-t0t3rtDl-DiH-—C):3-HH-pii30iCDJ‘—)1iDiC)H-H-JCDiCD‘CCD‘tiCDCDCDCD‘—SoC)iH0CL)LtC)CDH-J)PlH,JCI0Hici-:•lHC)IiH-1tiPSH-C)HlC)(1CriH-0DiHCDCDCrLC)Di(I)Cl)C)0H-C)50CDDH-CDCDEDçi-P-DirEHCDDici-DlIiC)Di0H-CDH-‘tIH-0H-CDDiCr‘—HiCrH-ci-CDi0DiC)‘IiCDL.DiDiCiCDDlCrCrDiCDH-EDCr(1)iHDlCri)1DlEnCD—CDCD’-<H-yU)CDi—.H-DlCDEnCD‘—jCDH-Cr)H-H-CrC01—-SICDDiSEl)Hi0çl-H0Di10I—aci-HDlCr‘tCDC)H0CrjDi-)iCDCDCDH-Hii3CDCrCD‘ti—CDCDCDCD-C)CDi0O(DPICDCDE5C)CDCDCDC)H-ci-5IICDCDCl)CDH-IilJçt-CD00DiCDci-HDiHDiCDEl)UICDDiP-CI)••CDCDPH0CDCDDlIIHCDr0H-CDi1DiEn()P..CDDIci-Hiii-I-0H0CDEnDiiCDlCrHci-CD0H-DiLO()ci-C)H0CrH-El)(I)ci-CD00iCDC)CDCDHiLII‘—Di0:-—C)Di0ti:j-CDCDCD-.HH-HDiC)ICr1Dl‘10DiCrH-tJIC)DiH-HiCDCD1.H-HCD0HCDH-3H(_t-‘—‘CrCDOHi-—CrDiDiCD0DiCDLI‘tICDDiLICDCDLIH-C)i2LI3CDC)ci-CDci-Di‘tii--iCDCr-i-—CL)CDEl)CDDiCrDi0CD‘—aCDCr0H-H-H-0HC)DiLOCDH-CrHCrCDI‘tiCDCDH-Di‘—‘3NCrC)ci-H-CrDiCrCrLIH-0CDDiCDH-H-H-0)ICDLISLiLICD3Hi)LICDci-<LIHiDiCDLO5Y5H-Dli’DlCrH-CDCDDICI)LI‘tiCD‘-<-•ci-0:DiHHci-0DiCDLICDbHHiCDDiCrHDJHDctCDCDCDH‘-0ci-0CDCI)Hbci-CDCDHCDIDi‘-<CDLIIDiHLIC)CDCl)DiLO0CI)H-çtH-iDiCDC)0IiCDçt0:-Lici-H:•ci-ci-i—H-1H0Lici-iH-H-CrDiCDC)‘150HIDiDlDi0c-i-H-DiI‘1CDci-C)‘-<CDctcl0p..(D<DiLICrI1CDJCD:HiCrCCIHi‘-<ci-H-CDJ$2.iici-‘—F-CDCrCD0HiC)HH-HiDiCI)HiCD0‘—‘ZH-0H-H5H-H-HiH-‘t3H-EDI00CD(I)H5DiHCDH-Cl)DljOCDHCDU)H-LIDiH0‘—‘ci-ct-C)‘—CrCDHDIi(CIOOCDI—.C)C)LI‘—CDUIY0H-H-InHci-CDCtH-H-Cr‘tHciC)•HiH-Cl)CDiC)DlC)CrCI)H-H-Hci-H-Hic-I-‘—0DiC)•0CDH-H03LILO0CDC))Cr0CD17ci-55H-HiHiCrCDH-5CDCl)H-CDDiHEDCD50$2CrCrCl)5CDCl)0‘10Hi-0i—CDCr5Li•CD0CD00CrIICrH H-LIDiCrLiH0iH-:yH-C)CDtYIiH-CDPiCDCl):•c-i--<ci-C)H‘tDiLO(CI’—l)Hii—CD‘-<CDi-Hi:•Cr0tYHiCDCI)DiCr3H-Di$1C)-LIJHDiYCrH-DiHCrODIci-iC)CD0Di5HiCDciHiH-HiLIH-ci-JH-DiH-5ci-CDCrLQDiJDi0C)C)‘—0Di‘—i1Cri0yCDLIHiDi‘1‘—aLILICDCriH-H0CrCDCDC)‘—aCrDiLO1Cr0LOCDbIC)—ci-HYCIH-H,ci-ti(0(l)DlHLI-’ci-LIICD—H-CDCDHiIC)Di1YCrCDDiH-OHCDc-i-jCDCD(i3ci-CDCD0YJ5CDCDCrCDC)CDCDCDCD‘tIs—’CrHCr0H-CDoi5Cl)yHCr5p15CDi—a‘rjCDH-CD‘tiDi0CrH-‘-<c-i-DiCrH-0HiH:-0<5Y0Crici-0CD—DiH-Dip..CrDI‘—CD0Dic-i-H-HiCDCDH-DIHiH-<H-CrCr-CD00H-•C)<LICDCr0‘—iCDC)CDHi‘1H-CD00i00‘-<-CDHiHiCDI’) C) 0 Hi Li CD H 0 C) 0 Hi I—. H- C) Cr DI LI CrCD H LI 0 Cr H 0 0 I-. H- C) H CD CDC)) i-i33child despite the child’s right to know who theirparents are.“Legal practice ordinarily observes the doctrinethatanything contrary to, or in derogationof, the common lawmust be strictly interpreted. Inmost states,thereforeunless they have a statute expressly providingfor liberalinterpretation in lightof stated principles -- a verystrict interpretation is given the adoptionstatute, letter-by-letter, so that common law philosophyfavoring absoluteright of natural parents may prevail, in many casesto thedetriment of the child’s bestinterests” (Schapiro,1956:91).In addition, the offer of the adoptive parents totake the childin, creates another set of pressures onthe judiciary to considertheir needs beyond the right of the childto have the name oftheir birth parents.“As a principle and in the abstract, people agree thatadopted children should be afforded every protection, but atthe same time the notion still prevails that the offertoadopt a child is something intrinsically fine, stemmingfromunquestionably charitable, altruistic impulses, andthatsuch an offer should not be subjected totoo close inquiry”(Miller, 1951:46).Closed legal adoption maintains for the adult adoptee,themechanisms that the courts put in place to ‘protect’the child.By keeping files closed, the governmentis saying to the adultadoptee, “You do not have the right to the most fundamental andpersonal information about yourself.You do not have the capacity to deal with this knowledge.” An adult person whocannotlegally obtain basic documents relatingto her/his life, does nothave the same rights and obligations as other adultswithin thesociety.It is particularly important toadolescents to discover identifying information about their birthfamily. At this age they34begin to establish their sense of whothey are and how they fitinto their society.“In 1975, Sorosky, Baron and Pandor reviewed theliteratureon genealogical concerns and identity-crisis developmentinadopted individuals. They found a consensus inthesestudies that adoptees are more vulnerable thannonadopteesto identity problems developingin adolescence and youngadulthood” (McRoy et al, 1988:4).Open adoption for band members who cannotstay on the reserve and“custom” adoption for those who can, would help to alleviate anyconcerns for these children about who theyare and where theycame from. In another study, an adoptee felt thatwithout anyknowledge about her biological family,she could have no sense ofpersonal significance and identity (Ibid, 1988:5).“People who experience unresolved emotional cut-offsfromsignificant others are at a greater risk emotionallyandpsychologically than those who have resolved such cut-offs.Therefore, all adopted children should not only have goodparenting, but access to information about, and perhapseventually contact with, their biological families”(McRoyet al, 1988:5).Having information about one’s birth family gives childrena morecomplete picture of themselves. Questions like, “Who do I looklike? Who do I act like? Do I have siblings? Aremy parentsstill alive?”, can be answered more readily by adoptiveparentsin open adoption. Besides the previous questionsthat are likelyto be universal despite the culture of the child, FirstNationschildren have questions like, “Whichband do I belong to? Whatare the characteristics of that band? andWhat is my status inthat band? Currently,unless children are adopted throughanopen adoption or “custom” adoptionprocess, it is unlikely thatthey will receive enough identifyinginformation to establishtheir sense of identity withinthe non-native 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11F3DILirc-I-H-DiLYDIt-1-CDSDI‘—3CDDiDlDILiLiCD0c-I-‘Ti•DirtrLiDiSDirtrçtCDCDc-I-I-hC)Li3irCD0H-5CDEliI-hCDçtDIDiLitraoH-HI-hII‘104c-F5Li3I-ICDCDDIS‘--3LI3DIDiCDCDLit-(ci03DICDLi3it-(HCD‘IitrDIDiH-H-Li03Li03CDDILi0çtLiDICD 0(nI-hI--4Figure 6. Indian Bands of the Lower Fraser River(Jilek, 1974:5) 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a)57a) Dutt, 192:42(b) Bray, 1909(c) Duff, 1952:42(d) Duff, 1952:42(e) Duff, 1969:28c) EducationIn 1978, the Seabird Island Education Committee negotiated toopen its own school on the reserve. This school offered preschool and grades one to six. The Committee did not limitTable I. Band Population, Selected Years.1879 a 1909 b 1915 c 1951 d 1963 e 1989fPcpkurn 18 12 116 8 7Squatits 45 46 39 36--Ohamil 65 54 46 33 46 85__Skawalook 48 16 14 27 27 54Hope 25 82 93 96 116 208(Chawathil)Union Bar 96 69 58 49r}78}102I‘ Yale 267 75 24 94ISeabird Island* *1211212 243**380Total 564 288I468 492 542 877(t) Indian and. Nortb.ern itEairs, J39*reserve belonged jointly to abovebands**includes 165 children under theage of seventeen and 25 elders58attendance to Seabird Island residents as a bussing programbrought students from neighbouring reserves. Seabird IslandBandmembers had their choice about which school their children wouldattend -- the public school or the reserve school. Seniorstudents took the bus to public schools off the reserve. Themost recent report on school attendance (1984-85), indicates thateighty students were registered in the Pre-school to Grade sixprogram on the reserve and that thirteen band members attendedpublic schools; thirty-five reserve students attended gradesseven to twelve in Agassiz and three students attendeda privateChristian school in Agassiz. In 1986, the school on the reservehad eleven full-time and four half-time teachers.Nine of thefifteen teachers were native. The school taught to the B.C.provincial school curriculum standards with the addition oflanguage training in Halkomelem and an active native arts program. Band parents supported the school because of the culturalcontent of the curriculum, the proximity of the school to homes,and the small class size.In 1985, the band began a five year capital plan to build a newschool that would include kindergarten to Grade twelve. The bandhas placed a high priority on education (Seabird EducationReport, 1986). A new school, of unique design, opened June 4,1991. Approximately eighty-five students from kindergarten toGrade eight moved into this new structure, built by band memberswith sub-trade skills. There are six teachers, two Halkomelernlanguage instructors and three teacher aids. In September, 1991,Grade nine began; each subsequent year the next grade level will59be added until Grade twelve is reached. The school willaccommodate 220 pupils and fifteen staff members (Godley,1990:A7)Adult band members may receive high school up-grading courses atthe Fraser Valley College, where the band administration purchases seats directly from the College. For those bandmemberswho have registered at the College, there has been an approximatecompletion rate of 75 percent.d) LanguageSeabird Island has retained influences from both the Thompson andStalo cultures. The Sta’lo ties are more prevalent because ofthe geographical proximity of the Sta’lo Tribal Council memberbands. Some elders retain knowledge of the Thompson language;two Sta’lo elders are fluent in Halkomelem, the Salishan languageof the Sta’lo; one of these elders teaches Halkomelem in theschool.e) Social and Health ConcernsIn recent years, the band has declared the reserve to be a dryreserve so that the band can control alcohol-related health andsocial problems. Until recently, sexual abuse has been a hiddenproblem on the reserve; some band members thought it was only awhite problem. An educational program has been in place in theschool; counsellors encourage adults who have been the victimsof sexual abuse or who have been abusers to get appropriate help.In April, 1991, the Sta’lo Tribal Council negotiated with the60federal government, to have the controlof health care turnedover to the Tribal Council. The Councilfelt that through theircontrol, a more consistent level of care couldbe provided (TheVancouver Sun, 1991:B4).f) EmploymentBand members have cleared part of the island for farming.Thoseareas that are cleared, are leased to non-Indianfarmers forsilage crops and a sheep farm. In thepast, the band members rana dairy farm, which was closed because ofpoor sanitaryconditions. In the 1950’s, the main sourcesof employment werelogging, fishing, agriculture, and railroad work (Duff, 1952:12).Currently, there is a small amount of logging on theisland, butit is not a major industry.Band members work at seasonal jobs in the lumberand fishingindustries (eg. fishing, tree reforestation, and a fishhatchery); several band members work in constructionsub-tradesboth on and off the reserve. As well, band memberswork inadministration, education, and social workjobs. The BandCouncil employs a number of band members at the band-ownedrestaurant, store, card-lock gas outlet, andcattle ranch. Bandmembers own three private businesses (plumbing contractor,electrical contractor, and a gravel truckcompany.) Employmenton the reserve has moved from resource-basedoccupations toservice-oriented work.H-Cl)ct-C)H-C)Dl30t-iCl)1iC)i—hCl)E)b’Hic-f-I--IcL)i(1)CDClIIC)CDHi(D(I)CD00iiCDH0Cl)i—J’H-H-j—‘(-I-HCl)H-iCD0ci-Cl)U]CliC)10c-tCD0IIDl0CDc-f(I)I-’-3U)‘—‘(1)H-I—ac-I-(l)b’H(I)Cl0C)LCliHri-H-i—c-tU)0c-I-YHH-(I)i(U‘-<i--cCD‘t•H-i-iDiJU](1)HiCl)IIC)(I)H-Ii3CD<‘1Clici-U)Cl-HC)(1)‘-0Cl0Sci-C)-Cl)Clc-I-H-ct-0DiCl‘—3LO0‘i)HIICDLQ‘-<ictH-ct-(I)H-Hi-0H-rj-i-hCoCT)CDI—IC)CDI—QCr)DiI—f-cl—f0‘-<HUIiH-0CDC)Di.lDi)c-I-U](j)U]Clii—I-C)iC)U]c-I--iHI—IH-Cr)IIc-iC)0‘--aHClC)ClH‘-—iCxiDi(CrCDCDU]CDCDHH(DCl)Sc-PClHCDH-•DiZlH-H-P‘-<H-‘-<ct-bC)CD0—HiiDiDiCl)c-I-lCl)it--c-t-Dl0H-c-tHCl)HC)Di2-.Cl)CD‘-—if--‘—‘ClDi‘-<CU)c-f-CliCl)‘—aCDHc-I-‘—iH-ct-c-i--‘-3CD00CDc-t-H-—iH-c—i-‘—ClCD‘—aHci-HiH(I))cOC)iClH-c-f-DlCD(I):jc--t-10H-CliCDDict-‘tct-CDC)c-I-jcQH-c-ft5U]yH-U]c-I-lHi—i-i‘-‘ti—Cli(I)Di0Ht5DlCDClHC)c-I-ClILlCDCl0—CD(UCliCl)0ClC)H(I)(UH-(UDiU)HC)DiCl0C)C)HDiClS<c-i-Cl)ctHc-I-ii)CD-sCDU]DiCDtY‘Cict-C)0HDiClCDCDci-‘-<ClSCDCoCDU]DiH-iiCx(UCr)0H0-.I-C(U—C)CD‘Clc-I-.iCl(U‘CIH-Di0ci-(C)rDi‘—C)Cl-.‘—U]CD0c--t-Cl(U(UC)C)H-‘ClCit3H-(UC)H-005Ct)‘-—<0iU)C)<0U)Cl))2-0(U‘-<CDHci-‘-—iH-çiC)c’-•(UH-HU)DiiCDU]0CDHCDClDlHCIIHc-i-c-PU]c—i(1)c--f-CTC)Cl)U](UC)Clct‘-<DiH--CiClH-Cli(UiH-iH-U]U]Cl-)CT-Cr1jc--I-(UH0iHClIic-Pc-DiCIIH-Cl)H-0DiClCDU]c-I<U)0iClIi0<‘ClDi0CDHH‘—CDtJCliH-‘CllU)Cli‘CiHHi(U‘ClIT)U]‘—iH-Cl0CD<H-ClU)Clc-I-HCD0Clc-I-c-I-U)C)CT(UU):i(Uc-Pct-tCT0T0C)ct-I-C-‘U]-11ClCDCl‘1Di‘ClCDCT00c-t0C)0CDCTictCi—0ic-i-H-‘—0CDIICDDiDic-—CliH-(UU)T0UH-ClH-H(UiC)iClIClCfHCDCl)Clc-f-I-tiC)0H-‘CCCD0CfClClClII(UCUU]3DiU)U]NCl)Cl(Uc-I-C)HHc-I-‘1H-CiCli‘—‘H-c-—CD-.CD0‘—1DiC)TCT‘-<U)CiCDiic-I----.H-Cl)U]‘tiU)CiCD0—U]CDU)ClCTc-—Ii‘—DiC)i‘-<c-iU](1)CT)H-U)H-HCf(C)H-‘—ClTCl)‘1H-Di0Ci)U]3C)C‘-HC)Ci)CDc-i-DiHc-PU)0Clc--I-U)t—(DCl)—Cl)Di‘Clct-Di<Dlc-f-ct-Ci)0iU]TrCiCl)‘-<CDClDic-I-H‘Cl(C)c-I-00-.ClDlU]ic-f-HCTC)<0(ULQ-(I)HHic-PU]H-Cl0Cl)CIIH-‘—aU)H-c-CCDClc-I-‘-<TH-C)0H-C)IIjc-I-C)fDlIiCDCD‘-3c-I-tOc-I-Clc-PU)‘-0(UClCT0‘-00HiCl)ct(U0U]ClU)TDiTCDH-ci-TU]U]1-,C)H-0Yh-cCT(UCDCD<c-I-‘-‘1U)H(1)HiCDClDlCDCDCD(UH-0CD0DiDICii--c-ICDtO0HH-U]H-iClHic-f-HiDiU)I-CiHiiCl15Hic-I-0ct-U)(I)c-I-CiU]0H-Hc-I-0U)Clc-PH-C)0(C)c0H-U)C)C)c-P‘Cl(Ui-i(UI—’H-iU)c-I-Di‘--‘—aHCDTCi0DiCiU]C)‘—j‘-<Cl‘-—i‘—sHC)H-ClIC)CDc-I-Hc-f-Cl)Di0Dlci-H-(I)U]LJ-.0H-iClc-i-I—HC)H-(U3I—’3U]CiiYDiiH-‘—CD‘—i0H0CDCl]EDl0—CDCr)c-I-C)DiC)U]HDiCDDi0<01-liCl)iiH-Cl)CI)H-I—H-1JJ‘—iCDcc-i-jH-U)c-P-(UHC)CDc-’H-‘—a0CD‘-—l0IC)H-—t-I—•(T)0U]CDCDCT‘cDiC)0iHDlc—f-L00CDCiClH-‘—CTU)IC)U)i-h-Ic--I-CCI0U]H‘-<‘-—‘‘.2H0c-)(YcIC)HiCl(U‘-<c-c0H03 a ID 0 a I-a ID Di ID II (I) F-’It0 F-h E I-i- (0 ID Di 1:’ a 0 Di Fl F-’ IiItID 0ItIDu‘-3CDEnC)i::3•En0HC)5En‘t$En‘1Cr)ctH-C)0H-0oCD3DlDlçtEnDi 1HiCDCD‘t00‘iH-0En01EnçtçtYJ’EnH-CDCT)r1(DH-C)H-NbiHtt‘--i-C)CDCDlEn‘1-.HiH-0CDCi-CD‘—4‘--H (tCl)C)C0C):3CDCDEnE‘-—EnCDCD0DiHCi-CD(Cl‘-3CD‘-<0:-1I-ICDCi-EnEn0ci-LCCDH-fic-DiC)CD‘—iCDDiCl)(Cl‘1En‘1DiC)CDCDP-‘-co(1)0Hci-HiC ‘--sci-ci-Ci-CDCi-ci-H-H-H-(I)00‘1‘1CD0-.HiH-Hi0CD0Hi1Hici-j‘10CDciDi‘1CD:iCDCI-5CDEnH-DiH-l))C<ii1HiCDCi-çt00EnEnCD‘tiCEnIIci-I<H-OH-0ciCDi<H--.EnCDDiCi)HL0 Hi:ci-I-I0(11—b0ci-ci-(J)i-ri(I)0Hi—‘t5DlMiDlH-00CDci-5ci-En0C)EnCCDCDCDDiCDC)H-Hci-‘tiiCl)3C)1r3DiCDIi:i—0CDH-(C)C)‘—s‘1C)CDCDi50Ci-Di<C)-IL)(Cl3CDiCDDiEnDiC)H-‘1CD‘1CDLI)Di1ci-C)1IIci-C)H-C)EnCDI-C)0CCD-0DirCDH-I—C)HC)Dlci-0CDIIC)HiI—’I—.YC)H-CDCD0‘-3CDSCD0Di<HiIIIiJEnCD.0H-5ttCl)CD3HiCDDi0‘1CDH-i—EnI-iriC3En0ci-EnCD0En(11CD‘t3Hi550CDFDiEnCl)CI-00‘1C)ii-CDi0r<H-1ci-DlSCD3DiC)H-ciI-CCD3s1I-cDici-ci-3En‘0CD3ci-CDI-cY‘-I)Dici-EnDiCDCDCDHi1t3(I)ci-DiDi‘t0H-00CDIi‘—:3-51-Cr-ç<IIttjSCD0CDC)H-CDC)-.CDci-tCDC)Dl‘—((IJI-H-0C)-.Dl:-H-k<CDCD<‘1Cl)ici-I--IicibL)(I)Dl11H-En0<Di‘1-0-.HF-0‘-30LEnI—’0Hi3iCDC50i--iEçt(D-En‘1CD‘13çt3C)i-CDiEnCD:—CDCi)‘1‘10ICLtli-cCDEn0CDH(00CDI-CCDCDC)HiIT’Di‘TiI-IH-C)H-CDCDci-CSci-ci-C)Di11CDCD3DiH-3’H-t-‘-‘EnDl0-.ci-EnCDI—’H-C)‘tJ—H-CD3-C)-.ci-Dici-ci-DlI--.13C)CD(Cl0HI-Cci-ci-C)T’‘1CD0CD13-ci-0H-H-13ci-1313CDY’HiI—‘—‘‘-3DlC)ci-<CD0C13-H-CDci-(ClCi)5CDCCDDiDlC)ci-y’H-U)Cl)Dic‘113-CDH-EnCC)CDCDCDH-1Di0Dl3-ci-13H-‘—-‘TI‘1‘--‘DiHctC)-.C)Ii0-.‘-—<0H13’Dii-iDici-ci-<CD1313CDI-CD‘113’‘10-.13CDCDEnDlDi0DlEn0‘1MiC)-.0DiSCD(1)0130‘10CD‘TiHiCDEl)ci-IDiCt.IH-CDDlci.130-.rHd0(DC)CD‘TiEn131-Cci-CD0-.DiH-H0‘TiCT)0Iici-1313Dii-i-CDC)I-CH-IICDci-Ii0En1:3DiIiSDiCiHiCDci-HeiH-DlCDIiDiCDHiCD(Cl‘1EnH-CD13ci-0CDEn0H-Hi1:1H-5Nci-‘TICDIT’-130NCD11‘TiDi5ci-CD(1)13Dii-00-.13H-C)ci-CDH-En‘—313DiCL)13’ci-C)‘—iCD0CDCDli::I13Dlci-IT.131:3•’DiCDDiCD1313F--.5C)-.C) H-EnDiSCDH-13CDEnEn0-.50ci-CDHi1:3-’‘1CDEnci--<13’0-.(DCDH-EnNEnCD‘TiC)rC‘1CDU)CD(I)U)EnEnCHi—El)ci-13-Ci)El)DiCci-CDHiEn0ciT—’1:3’0‘—‘CDHi0H:i—cU)C) 1:3’ Di‘TIci- CD I--c(-h)64short term basis (temporary care) or on a long term basis(permanent care). In British Columbia, foster parents workforthe Ministry of Social Services and receivea monthly allowancefor the care of the child. The amount is supposed to representthe amount needed to house, feed, and clothe the child. Extrafunds are provided for sports and educational costs,dentalcosts, or other costs beyond the basic allowance provided.Foster parents who care for special needs children,receivehigher allowances to compensate them for the additionalcarecosts. A child in foster care may useher/his own name. S/hedoes not have inheritance rights within the foster family. Thechild is included in the family, but the child andthe fosterfamily understand that the child may be moved at any time.Infoster care, the child does not have to be like theother membersof the family; differences in appearance and behaviour areaccepted. Although a child in foster care may have contact withher/his birth family, generally, foster children do not havecontact with their natal family if they have been apprehended forprotection.Foster care may also be given in group homes. The children whoare placed in these homes are generally the older children orsibling groups for whom no appropriate home can befound. Manyof these children have been the victims of physical,mental,sexual, or substance abuse. They may act out theirfrustrationand psychological pain from these abuses and it is difficult tofind foster homes for them. A number ofthe children haveexperienced serial foster home placements, oftenmoving every sixDi‘—i(I)i-f0T))00i—blH-H-TJ)DiC)i5ILitI0Mili0Y0L30ci.CD0oH-0Cl)H-5H-UI0<00iocnioi-i-‘—aCDc—ci--00H-i—a0c-I‘t:0C)H-H-D0P3:Di0ILEnILCDF-I-P3ci-jc-iDiH-I-IU)c-I-iCDMi1I-ii-iI—I<t‘—cnc—I-EnCDoDic-i‘tiILH-hOD)CD0CDiH-0c1I-Cr)0Mi0Dipipi—H-0H-0H-‘0DiCDi50<-iDl3H-CDçI-I-.Di5Dict‘1YCDhCDH-c-i-(V0Dl‘Ic-i-c-iCDCDEnci.H-0H-iHIiILH-PJ’tILCDCT)ibiiCDic-I-CD<CDTi)‘1Dl‘-00ILCl)H-EniCl)0(?)DliDlCDILi-H-H-JILD)‘ti1QH-l-Hl-05CD‘—sciiMiCDH-CD1‘1CDCD0JCOCDH-DICDWO,0<EflCDi0C)EncC)iEn‘C)CDic-h--.c-I-TYc-irH-hic-I-CD0Cl)‘-<ci-Ti)H-01--tH-c-iCDIL00hIEn0‘1iEn‘—s_c-I-°CD<(-‘iCD0Ti)CDCDCCDH—MiCT)—Oct3CD—H-ctIhicthiILU)P3P3I:H-‘dEn0CDgcic-ii(I)CDEnILCOc-i-Enl-H-0D)CDH-CD‘IEnDiH-H-h—hIIH.fr(l)(f)MiDlCDDiD)lILD3(DEliCD0‘—i<Di0DliC)‘I<0()0En‘—Cl)H-$1r-(H-jhi‘CD‘SShiEnH-b—MiNOOMCDILEn0H-‘<CDH-oEnH-IL‘tHri’tj(Vhi(1)10En‘—sDiCDMi<CDCDH3c-DiP3H-,-i-ILCDMii-iCD•-0‘<iILoCDH-CDDlIL0H-Dl-.CDTi)DlILi—’0i-0‘-cc-I-hic-ic-i-C)En‘—‘0H-(DH<d<CDCD1DiDlIL0CD0JCl)En1En(VCDP1(I)Mi00ILH-ci-i-i-cc—i’c-iILDiUIci-Iih—ac-I-5H-U)c-iCDCDInc-iCDhiCDctEn Cl)_EnCDfEnCl)tflCDH-‘—3—c-iDiP3CDCDC).:-)H-iDMiIL00E‘IILc-i0c-ioio0—c)H-CDCD--0‘-0CD0CD5CDH-C)P3En3CDH-.ILILi-Ihic-i-DlCDCDhiD3-ihiDlc-iI-IH-00Cl)DlI-0YEn’-—D30iEnhiEnhiCDIL‘t5‘II—.QS‘-0CD01Cl)0‘-—0U)‘t50‘tiDlçIL0P3Mi0(DEflCDc-I-H-c-ic-i-‘tTCDCDiTDlCD0‘tic-i-CDhiMiJH-0P3P3c-i—i-<CD1:3-CD:::s0ILIi0H-HCDCDH-<i—Cl05hi•0c-1i-.ci’tc-i0:IH-ILH-(DLIP)c-i-c-I-0DlH-H-Cl0CT)0U)0(DDIO-oc-t-c-i-0DlEn5EnU)IihitY1S0H-DiICDILH-DiCT)CD0CDc-I-CDhi0c-I-EnDlh-ICD)‘—UI:-HU)H-.CDH-0ILDl‘-0Mi0CD0hIiEn‘Ic-I-CD•H-H-CDMiH-DiY’EnH-DlH-c-i_D)‘—En0Dic-ihiCD0h—’Mi‘,1’d0CDPi3JIL0CDhi‘-—DlCDhiDic-i0P3Cl0hi••U)c-iiC‘—-H-H-‘CClhic-iH-0hiD)()ty0tfl0hiU)<h—ICDi’05H-Di5iEnEn(VCDCDhiCD00—CDHii-i-c0H-CDEnD-’H-IL-c-iD1ILMiDi•ILMic-iH-c-iEnciODII)c-i-CD‘ti0c-iH-DiCDhiEnCDc-i‘-—.c-iCDH-ti’tjCD::y:3Dic-iH-c-i-P3CDc-iCDCDCD0DihiCT)Cl)C)iH-cC)hi5c—hH-H-1iiMihiUIhi‘-<H-0Cl)CDci0CD‘lCD_c-iEnc-iDiEn0MiCDiU)Mi5c-i-H-‘c-ic-I-hiMi0CD0U)Dic-i-CDU) c-i0-I (7166relations with her/his birth family. The childis incorporatedinto the adoptive family asif s/he had been born into it. Thecourts give the child the adoptivefamily name. The closed legaladoption process extinguishes all parental obligations,liabilities, and rights of the birth parent. All inheritancerights from the birth family are relinquished and the childnowinherits from the adoptive family. Because theinheritance lawswith regard to ‘unnatural’ children are oftenread quite strictlyby the courts, adoptive parents must protectthe right of adoptedchildren to inherit from the adoptive familyby specificallyincluding them in their wills. Theadopted child has no contactwith its birth family and has only a brief outlineof a familyhistory to connect it to the past.This history usually providesa minimal amount of medical information about thebirth family,the education level and religion of the birth parents, and a listof the interests of the birth parents. The social agencyprovides no identifying information about the birth family to theadopted child.Open adoption has been defined in various ways as Western societyhas moved to greater disclosure of birth records. It is a returnto adoption practices that pre-date the Second WorldWar. Openadoption can take a number of forms, depending on the socialagencies and communities that determine adoption policy. Themost candid of open adoptions generally means that the adoptedchild has personal contact withthe birth family and is able togain both family history and cultural knowledge from thatfamily.Variations on this practice involve written contactbetween the67adoptive family and the birth family, written contactbetween thetwo families through a third party, and/or more detailedfamilyhistories that provide the names of the birthparents. In openadoption, the adoptee takes on the adoptive familyname. Thelaws of inheritance for legal closed adoption apply to openadoption as well. Private adoptions, that is adoptionsthat havebeen arranged through a third party (usuallya lawyer or privateadoption agency) rather than through a social agency such astheMinistry of Social Services, tend to be more open than socialagency adoptions, as both sets of parents have more control overthe procedure.In this study, the term ‘openadoption?will be used to refer toa pilot project begun by the Ministry of Social Services. In aneffort to maintain a Seabird Island child’s ethnicityunderdifficult circumstances, the Ministry has found an adoptivefamily that has made a commitment to the maintenance of theadopteetscultural identity. The adoptive family teaches thechild as much information about his culture as they are able.The child maintains his status as an Indian and his right toproperty on the reserve. He has contact with birth familymembers, yet he also has a caring family off the reserve. Thechild may not return to the reserve for adoption because he wouldbe at risk. Social Services have arranged for a member of theband to act as a liaison between the adoptive family and theband. Adoption, so arranged, allows those children who can notreturn to the reserve for safety reasons, to keep their Indianidentity.68Social agencies, such as the Ministry of Social Services,under—stand custom adoption, as practised by aboriginalpeople in NorthAmerica. The term ‘custom adoption’ isused in the social workliterature with reference to Indian andInuit practices. Customadoption is legal in Canada for the Inuit peopleand someIndians. Though the term is usedin the literature, it is not arecognized legal form of adoptionfor most Indian people.Adopted native children must go through theclosed legal adoptionprocess. Open adoption for native children has notbeen widelypractised. Custom adoption as defined by the Inuit,usescriteria similar to open adoption. The child haspersonalcontact with her/his birth family andall cultural and familialknowledge is shared. In addition, the childis adopted by arelative, usually a grandparent, or a close familyfriend, ratherthan by a stranger.It is the incongruity and inadequacy of the administrationofchild welfare programmes that create problems for the familiesfrom the reserves. Seabird Island peoples’ experienceswith thechild welfare actions of the Ministry of Social Servicesareincongruent with their own cultural understandingof childwelfare. These two systems of child care are furthercomplicatedat the national level by Indian and Northern AffairsCanadapolicies. In the following accounts of adoption experience, itis evident that immediate change is required. Childrenshouldnot suffer these contradictions any longer.i—cp33U)InoP3tiClIi0CT)Cl‘10ClC)i‘-<ciDiH-InDiift0DiCDoftlH-i-hH-0CD0‘diiP3H,ClCDCDpitO0CDDiCT’rtftitJ>ClirDl0‘—a0C)CDHiCDCD‘t<Hi-i-cçtH-t(nH-H-Cl$oCD0CDHi(1)CliHi0H-Cl)C)H-t-ciHiCDH-U)lH-P3H-itOftC)ClH-H-H::5-0ctCDCl00‘tH-ciCDiClc—cMi0CDHiU)CLH-H-H0•C)iHiitMiP31DiCl)0H-<çtCl‘1CD0CDCT)CDxlDltL)l3H-iDiC)i0‘-<0Dl‘—a3Cl)‘-<ciUIçtociH-ctftplClU)H-H-N:3CDDiCDCT)iCDCD‘1tiHiClCl)DlC)0‘ta‘-coCDciP3H-lCDP3U)U)‘--ciciCDDi0CDC)CDiU)çtP3ctç‘tZDi‘-3U)C)‘tiC)CD1—i—L.QciH-‘tjC)00C)DiU)ciY’LI-U)Ii(I)Mi0P3CDCDHClH-‘tI<U)C)lN<ciH-CDci-CDH-CD0ClCl‘—‘—aClCD-CDHiH-Cl0Ci(t()DiU)ciCD‘—‘C)‘-H-CDU)0cnCiCDCDU)DlcC)Cl)P31QP3ftCLC)b00ctciH-It,H-cici-CDC)ClH 0C) P1It,ciCDCDl‘C)Cl0H- C) CD Zn0 Hi Dl CL 0 it H 0Cl 0 ci- H 0 L:rJ CD ci H CD C) CD (I) 0 1:1 C’) CD Di H- ci Cl I—’ U) P3 Cl:DiDlH-Ei--iMi‘tiC)ci-Hii-DiiCDc—iH-0iiCiDi0111H-Q‘tii-I-ItHiciCi0U)U)Cl)0CiCD‘tIU)CD0CDH-Cli-ctnCDH-CDciciDl‘1tH-H-lC)Cl-DiCI)CiciCl0CD0H-C)ClU)piDiH-HiCl)CD0CD0iDl0Ct)CDftii—aC)U)U)JftIt,iCl0ftH-DiCDClCDrtU)Clft>)Di0DiU)ci-iC)H-H-çtTY’i:5-P3CD‘t30HiCDY’000JCDDiftCDC)itftCDC)IiiiCDCLCI)ftciCDi-cC)CDiHDiCLH-S0‘1TYçtU)Cl)CDftIl)0CD‘If)I—’-‘-<CI)rt-U)>H-CDHi0YU)‘—iciQJ‘1P3<‘1C)CLCi‘C)SCT)ci-5C)(I)CDCD5(1)U)0H-HiciCDU)ci-ftC)cC)0CDECDci0H-ci0Y’‘——SU)C)CDClCD0DiU)CDC)ciH-0‘—Tnftft‘—i-C‘—‘ClitiDi(1)IlCDH-HitY’i00CDC)P3CliC)CDi-cCD00Dl‘-<5c-C)‘ticiCDi0lH-I—hii-CD<ftU)‘-0‘t‘-3Mift‘-3CDCl)iH-C)CDftY0‘—sH-DiMi0CDftCi0Di0P3H-ciCDCDi-hH-DiU)IiHi1Y’00Il)‘-0Cl)‘—‘CDU)tY’U)CD•CD‘—‘CiDlDi•‘CDDiU)HC)Cl-ft1<-‘c-Cl‘<H-ClciC).-I—Ii0CDClH’tY’-3C)CDHi0CliDiI—’‘—IHi‘ClU)P3i-<Y’0CibCl——0ci-•i—i‘—CD0Cl)‘—3U)ft00‘1H’U)C)U)Cl)YftCi‘tifti50i--DiHiCDDiCDCDftftit:-CDDlJ‘—3P3‘-C)H-H-Clb‘1‘1Y’H-iiT’lIiiCD‘—a‘-CHCl)CDHi0ftftftCl)Cl)C)-.t5CLCr)‘—i-cMiC)0U)XC)ftCl)Cl0p1H-U)5‘Cl‘Clft‘ClH-iC)ciciMiDlDlP3ciCD<CDCDCDftDi‘—4(1)CDci-CDiicC)CDci0(11‘—sU)—-‘CD‘1Cl‘-<CDC)H-H-‘ti•HiI—sci‘—0CDli--DlCl)DlCliH-I—h<0•ciiICDciCDClIiIi0H-P3r-JC)C)CL‘-3CD0ClU)CD‘—I‘—CiftCDCDH-yC)‘150MiCDU)‘-3CDU)tiiCD0Cl)itbiciCDU)-ftY’ClftciftH-DiClci-CD0CDtT1:3-jftc-C)CD0CDH-Dl55Y’DlDic-C)iClciiU)ciCl0H-CDU)i0—c-C)0c-C)Dii-CU)iH-ftH-ciHift—SCD‘-<P3ci-CDH-c-i-ciNH-0Di0CD0-’DiXCDC)DiCD‘ClCLCl)0Mi‘1CLDlftCl)CD5P3H-0<‘t,H-5<H-c-i-H-P3iiCDCDftiDlCulH-U)CD0cuHClHiU)ciH-iiCDIc-C)iciDiiCD0‘-<0‘-30U)CDClftciiDl0DlInci0050U)biIi‘-<Di‘CSIft‘--CDCliCDH-ClIf)70Table II. ADOPTION EXPERIENCES RECOUNTED BY INFORMANTSINFORMANTS ADOPTION APPROX FOSTER CLOSEDOPENICUSTOMPSEUDONYM OF: AGE CARE LEGAL ADOP ADOPNOW OF ADOP- TION TIONINFOR—ITIONMANT1 Randy self 65 XSmith (m)girl X2 Mildred 2nd 60 XRoberts cousin,I(f) male2nd Xcousin,f ema 1 eboy Xgirl Xnephew X1girl X4 E. girl 70 XAmes_(f)5 L.Howard cousin 55 X X(m)6 S.Jenkins cousin 35 X(f)7 Frances niece 40 X XJohn (f)nephew X X8 F.Masters self 68 X(m)9 Walters grandson 40 X(f)10 Walters grandson 40 X(m)11 Gladys self 45 XLittle (f)grandson X(f) female (m) male•11Table II. ADOPTION EXPERIENCES RECOUNTED BY INFORMANTS cont’dINFORMANT’S ADOPTION APPROX FOSTER CLOSEDOPEN CUSTOMPSEUDONYM OF: AGE CARELEGAL ADOP ADOPNOW OF ADOP- TION TIONINFOR- TIONMANT12 L.Duncan self 16 Xbrother 1 X Xbrother 2 X13 R.Smiley self 70X(m)14 J.White father 34X X(m)15 Hardy(f) cousin 35 X16 I.Duncan self 48 X(daughter 1 Xson 1 Xson2 X Xdaughter 2 X17 Y.Duncan self 29 X(f)niece 1 Xniece 2 Xbrother 1 Xsister Xbrother 2 X Xnephew 1 Xnephew 2 X18 N.Tom sister 1 48 X(sister 2 Xsister 3 Xbrother Xson X19 S.White father 35 X X(f)20 S.Parker son 29 X(f)= remaie m) = maie72a) Foster CareThe Seabird Island Band is concerned about the number of childrenwho have been taken from the reserve and placed in non-nativefoster homes. In the twenty in-depth interviews completed forthis project, seven informants described such foster care experience. These ranged from personal foster care to foster careexperiences of their children, siblings, husband, nephews, andnieces. The ages of these informants ranged from late teens tothe late sixties. All seven informants were women.Informant 12. (Z6, Nov. 14/89)Linda Duncan’s experience with foster care is typical for itspattern of serial foster care. She went into care at the age ofeight and is still in care at the age of sixteen. She has beenin six foster homes in eight years. She now lives on the reservewith her older sister, who is acting as her foster mother. Hermother lives on Seabird Island reserve; her father died inHarrison Lake.“(Social Services took me from my home when I was abouteight.) They took me out of my home on.. I don’t know..they took Steve, (my older brother) with me and Scott, (myyounger brother). It was kind of scary. Like I never..like I haven’t been out of the house.. like I wasn’t allowedout of the house.. it’s kind of scary living into a newhouse, having strangers showering you.. like I mean, youdon’t know these people they are bathing you, scrubbing youdown.. not even to know them yet. Well., I was eight, butthey still did it. I don’t know why. Coming out.. gettingthese clothes on.. and they’re not even mine.. Where am Igoing? Am I going home? Would I ever see my mom and dadagain? Questions popping into my mind. (My older brother)was there for awhile, but he took off. That’s why he’s athome now. He lives down (the road) and I live up here. (Idon’t see him.) I’m just starting to get to know my familyagain. I just came back (five months ago.) I’ve been goneever since I was eight -- about four or five years.I knowthey’re my brothers and .. my mom.. but then.. thenI don’t73know if I want to know them or they nice and what are theirfavourite things and what do they do.. Questionslike that.I lived with (one family on the reserve and then another.)After six or seven months I got shipped offto Agassiz toanother home. It was a white home (I felt) kind of likemore confused. Like.. why are they moving me around? Howcome I don’t have nobody around me? It was .. kinda okaythough.. Quiet at first, staying in my room, justgoingdownstairs to eat, going back up.. looking out the windowand thinking to myself, crying at night, wondering everything. (My little brother wasn’t with me. The reason Imoved to the second house was to get away from him.) CauseI was starting to hate myself.. because I was hitting him.So that’s why I wanted to move away. It hurts him but ithurts.. I’m not just hurting me, I’m hurting both.. I hadto get out of there for awhile. (It was better for awhile.)He ended up getting shipped off to where I was. Stayedthere for awhile. We used to live on the farm, there.. Ishowed him all the things.. all the names of the cows.. andthe dogs and.. tried to show how to milkwhile I’m learning.It was okay.. had fun. I was allowedout more often.. Inever felt part of their family.I just didn’t feel soright. Like arguing with a lot of kids.. and not talking toanybody.. all this.. I talked to the parents.. but thenwe’re always out and in, gone, working and something likethat. You could say I was sort of part of (thefamily) butthen just inside of me it didn’t feel right.They tried tomake me part of the family nice. That’s when(my brotherand I) got moved again. (We went) to Chilliwack.Got movedall the way up to Chilliwack. By that time, Iwas gettingused to moving cause I knew. . mostly every five or sixmonths when I get to know somebody then I’m gone again..Then I said to myself, what’s the use of starting to knowsomebody when you’re only going to get moved again. So..when this home in Chilliwack, I didn’t bother talking tothem. I just took off.. went wherever and came back. Butthen.. It was kind of getting harder on me cause.. don’teven know these guys for a week or two now and then I said,well.. I was thinking to myself.. Well, it’s kind of good toknow people like around you. . Probably meet a lot morefriends than just making enemies or just people. Whathappens if I stay here? And not having a good start withthem.. Now I might have to stay there permanently. I madeit bad in the beginning but then at the end time I was good.It was okay. I was the spoiled one. They make me feel likea part of home.. They had two other kids. We used to fighta lot though, but that’s called sisters. After a fewmonths, I went to Hope. (It was) different because there’skids at my age and a lot older. I was the youngest, though.But there’s kids.. teenagers like my age. . mostly boys. . Itwas okay. . (I stayed there) two years. . just about two years.I went on Canada Day, July first. I made it hard, eh.. Thatwas in my bad years.. like you know, stealing, staying uplate, lying. In those years. . that’s when I starteddoingall that stuff. So, I made it kind of hard for me. I get74along with them good, now. There was a lotof people,there’s ten of us, about there. Itwas just a group homefor teenagers, but then some kids spent nightsor stayedthere just to get a job or stay somewhere. Just the twoofus girls and the rest were boys. On. . June 16, Wednesdaynight, I think it was on the Wednesday. It was.. when Itook off. . was at lunch time. Then I came back afterschool.. picked up whatever I had in my locker.,and I told(the other girl), “Tell them at night time I’ll begone.”She wanted to come with me.. so I said I don’tthink so. Ijust didn’t want to be there no more. I wanted to be home.So (she) said I’m coming with her. I didn’tdrag her oranything. She wanted to come and I couldn’tstop her. Sowe went off, grabbed everything, whatever wasin our lockerand our teacher starts coming down the hallway. (The othergirl) went off this way and I took off this way andI saidI’ll meet you at our place.. our private place.. and wewent running and took off. Next thing.. about an hour afterwe’ve went.. cops, we heard them going this way, going downthis street. Oh no, cause we thought we couldmake itbefore dark. So we’re sitting here. . watching thesecopcars going slowly by. There goes one! Watchingthem. Wewent wandering around town. Nobody noticed. It was aboutdark time, I guess you would say about an hour after dark.The trains go by every hour and on the hour most likely. Anhour after dark because the train went by. Well, Iguessit’s about an hour . . bye. So we took off acrossthe bridgeand once we hit the road, we went down lower to the tracksand we took off down the tracks. We walked all the way downhere from Hope. We got here on Thursday at eight o’clock. Iwasn’t (hungry). I was too cold to be hungry. (Now I am)with my sister, my oldest sister. She has no kids. (Shehas two of my other sister’s kids.) She has me for permanently. She’s an approved foster home for me..for them toknow that I’m going to be safe. (I feel okay about it.)It’s just me and her having a hard time to knowing eachother still because I’m having a hard time.. thinking., doesshe love me or is she just taking me..I have been used justfor my money like some foster moms or parents have justtaken me. . because they wanted the money that they get forme. Cause they get eight hundred and some dollars for me.Just mostly for things like. . for my clothes, my allowance,the water I waste, the electricity that I use, all thisstuff and the things that broke or anything. (It’s important to me, knowing that she loves me.) If she don’t loveyou, then what’s the use of knowing her orliving with heror anything like that, cause it’s kind of hard toknow wholoves you or.. if they hate you or not.. canyou trust thisperson? Just most of.. some of (my foster parents)used mefor money. I was heart. . like a lot ofpeople are saying ifyour mom don’t want you, then nobody else would want you.It hurts. I don’t know if I want to love my mom because shegave me up when I was eight. She didn’t love me no more.(I know that) because the government., my socialworker(told me that.) She’s the one who put me upfor adoption75and (my younger brother) up for adoption. Just me, becauseshe wanted (my younger brother) back and I didn’t let her.The way I didn’t let was because when she came up to visitus she never gave me.. she just pushes me away and goes see(my brother).. and she wanted him back and I didn’t.. Ididn’t let her because when she came up, I make sure he wasgone or hiding. Because I didn’t want her to know him nomore. I didn’t want her to touch him, see him or talk tohim. Because the only reason.. she did that with all myother sisters, too. Because she said we’re just too muchpain in the rear end. . because. . when we get older they getpregnant... and then give it to your mom for responsibilities. I haven’t got that way yet and I don’t want onebecause if I get one when I’m not impaired (sic) for a baby,they take me away and my baby away from me and have it upfor adoption. I would feel hurt. So that’s why I don’twant anything right now. (I don’t know Indian ways of adoption.) I’m just learning how to be a Indian and what areIndians like. When I as eight years old, I didn’t knowabout adoption. (I would have liked it if people had asked)how I’m doing there, if I’m happy, if I liked to live here,would I like to stay here, how would I feel if I had to moveagain? (The social worker) just took me there, saying..like I don’t even say nothing. . it’s just a. . temporaryhome. Well, they say how do I like it, but then they justtell me that I’m going because.,. it’s only supposed to beonly six.. six months. I’m supposed to stay in a fosterhome until they find me a permanently foster home. Mypermanently foster home was in Hope. That’s why I stayed solong there -- two years, just about two years. The firstand only reason me (and my brothers) got taken away wasbecause of mom and dad’s drinking problem. Cause theynever., never bought no booze.. I mean like they bought alot of booze and less groceries and they went out and outand out and they just never fed us and we had to cook forourselves. So mostly I went to my auntie’s. That’s theonly reason that they took me out. . I have another reasonthat is personal. There’s certain ways.. cause someparents don’t want kids, some parents drink, some.. kidshave been verbally abused, sexually abused.. you know, urn..there’s another one. . ignored too. There’s different waysto settle them. Before I couldn’t concentrate.. on school..I used to get D’s, no farther than a C—, C+. Because Iheard so many things about Seabird, like the rumour aboutSeabird that.. kind of hard on me cause my dad’s dead. Mydad’s gone.. well, you know, died on December 28, 1987..shocked me cause I had a dream two days before he died.Coming back here still hurts because going to Harrison forswimming.. thinking that my dad’s beside me. Going to hisfuneral was kind of easier cause I.. last time when I was alittle kid.. I didn’t go to (my older brothers’ and youngersister’s) funeral, because I was a little too young. Istill feel sort of guilty to myself. It’s just carrying theguilt for so long. I got to see pictures of the funeral andfelt like I was just there. I pray for them every now and76then. I’m scared because who would I turn to after (myolder sister.) I know she loves me. She wouldn’t gothrough all this if she didn’t. She told me she wouldn’tcare.. if she didn’t get the money, but then she needs themoney, cause she’s hardly surviving right now. She hugs me.She tells me every morning that she loves me. She cares alot because.. (foster parents) don’t say be good, take careor.. they don’t talk to you, they don’t. . like, you know,give responsibilities., they just let you do whatever. Mydad was first. I only has three lights in my life., thatwas (my younger brother, my dad and the older sister wholooks after me now.)” (See 3, Appendices for additionaldata)b) Closed Legal AdoptionNo band members interviewed had been adopted using closed legaladoption. Of the twenty informants, eight persons hadexperienced closed legal adoption of a relative, for example,children, siblings, uncles, grandchildren, and nieces. Threeinformants (L. Howard, J. White, and S. White) referred to theclosed legal adoption of the same person. The informants’ agesranged from the mid-twenties to the seventies. Five out of theeight informants were women. The Band Council’s concern aboutclosed legal adoption is that the band members so adopted usuallyhave been adopted to non-native families and off the reserve.The children then lose their ties to the band and their culturalidentity.Informant 7. (Z8, Nov. 21/89)Frances John, an adoptive parent, relates her experience withclosed legal adoption. She and her husband adopted two childrenfrom separate families; the first adoption began as a “custom”adoption, but after three years, they legally adopted the littlegirl. Frances John is in her middle years.77“I was very young when I was in the hospital, eh. IhadT.B. I had T.B. of the womb, so I could neverhave childrenof my own. So. . I was married, this (is) my second marriagenow. My first husband was very upset causeI couldn’t havechildren. I didn’t tell him about it but I just assumedthat he knew so when I got withmy second man.. I made sureI told him when he asked me tomarry him, that I couldn’thave children. He said it was okay,he already knew that.So we were together for three years andthen his sister..she’s deceased now. Butshe had five children of her ownand she lost one and then she was having this lastone andshe said to me, ‘If I have a girlyou can take her.. andraise her as your own, but if it’s a boy, I want tokeepit. ‘ She lost a boy so she wanted another one.As itturned out it was a girl and the father came and toldmethat I can pick up the baby when it was ready. So..andthen the mother had changed hermind in the meantime but.. Istuck with it and I said to my husband, ‘Whatdo you think?’And he said, ‘Well, she did promise you.’ So we went andtalked to her again and she wouldn’t answer. So when it wastime for the baby to come home, I went and talked to thedoctor and he said okay. He thought it was safe enough forme to take the baby because mom was an alcoholic, eh. And,so I took the baby and she was underweight when shewasborn. She was born ahead of time so she was premature. Shewas four pounds seven ounces and whenI got her home she wasfive pounds seven ounces. So my husband wentand talked tothe mother and they agreed that I couldraise the child. SoI kept her for. . three years before we could finally getpapers done up to have her adopted. Cause we weren’t surehow we could do it without getting into trouble, eh. My momand dad had a lawyer that they used to go to all thetime,so they suggested him so we went to him and.. I told him thestory and he said we had to get the mother’spermissionwhich we did. We went and talked to her and(my husband)did all the talking.. cause he’s the brother so heconvincedher more or less to sign thepaper, eh. She signed thepapers and we legally adapted her that way. We didn’tevenhave to appear in court. The lawyer did all the work forus. He got the birth certificates done up and picked themup from there and then we just paid him for his duty,eh.And so that’s how we got (our daughter). And we moved nextdoor to where her real Mom was.And.. she came over..pretty near every day to visit with (our daughter).Wenever stopped her from seeing her,eh. (It was hard on us,a bit) cause (our daughter) would call her ‘auntie’ and Ithought kind of funny cause I knew it was hernaturalmother. (Our daughter) never found out till shewas sixteen. And she was really upset whenshe found out that Iwasn’t her natural mother. But I had to explainit to herthat we loved her as if she was our own and, otherwise wewouldn’t have taken her. I convinced her that wewere goodfor her, eh. And then when she satdown and thought aboutit she realized we must have loved herto raise her likethat. She was allowed to see (her mother) whenevershe78wanted. But, (my husband stressed to her that she wasn’t totell me how to raise her, then the mom would come over andspend time with her and hug her and hold her. And (mydaughter) would always call her (‘Auntie’), eh and then, (mysister-in-law), before she passed away, she came and thankedme for raising daughter the way I did. She said I did abeautiful job with her. So she said she probably would havedied if she had taken her. I thought that was great.”Frances John’s second experience with adoption involved the careand adoption of her sister’s baby boy. In this experience,Frances had to move faster than the social workers to legallyadopt the baby.“The second one was from my sister, the youngest one. Shecommitted.. well, she committed suicide. I think whathappened there was when she was carrying (the baby), she wassix months pregnant with him, and the father went to PrinceGeorge to look for a job.. cause that’s where his mom isfrom and his other two kids are from there, too. He wasplanning on moving (my sister) up and him and his brothergot into an argument over a hockey game. And, his brotherstood behind the door and when (my brother-in-law) came in,(his brother) put the knife and slit (my brother-in-law’s)stomach open and killed him instantly so (my sister) had nofather for her boy. and then so she raised him by herself,like, you know, with no mate and when she wanted relief fromthe child, then she would come phone us and ask us to go andbabysit for her. So we take him and keep him all weekend.We just loved him, eh, and we spoiled him rotten, not thinking we were going to keep him. Right from infant we used tokeep him, you know and she trusted us with him. It didn’tmatter low long she left him with us. We could look afterhim. But we both worked, too. . So. . when (the baby) reachedfourteen months old, then she phoned me one day and shesays. . Oh, in between the home visits with us, she startedasking me questions like, ‘If anything happens to me, Iwould like you to take my child and raise him as your own.”The first three times I wouldn’t answer her, cause shealways asked me when I was by myself and it was a hardquestion because she was much younger than me. Finally, theother sister was there one time and (my youngest sister)asked again in front of my sister and I said, ‘You know Iwill.’ I said, ‘We love (your baby), nothing will happen toyou.’ And about two months later, (the baby) was fourteenmonths old, then and.. then she was drinking with somefriends and they were hitch-hiking home and she jumped outin front of a car -- well they said she did. I have mydoubts about it, eh. That’s why I have a hard time sayingthat she committed suicide, cause I think there’s somethingelse there. Anyways, Human Resources was going to put up a79little bit of a fuss with us taking the child and cause hewas already awarded to them because of she was on socialassistance. Anyway, we had the child in our home already.When they phoned me and told me that she was gone, well, Ithought we have to fulfil her wishes somehow. So then Ididn’t wait very long after, we just barely got her resting,and I went into lawyers. I went to different lawyers inMission and they worked on the case. And they had quite atime with Human Resources and the Department of IndianAffairs. Cause they didn’t think that I.. It seemed likethey didn’t think I was suitable for the child because hewas a different.. he had a little bit different nationalityin him and he didn’t match with us cause his complexion isvery fair and he’s got cat eyes, you know, they changecolour with his clothes. I think they had different plansfor him, cause there were other people waiting and then Ijust came in there and took him, eh, and said okay, I’mgoing to take over. I was a little bit disturbed by (theirinterference). I was scared I was going to lose him and Idid promise her I was going to look after him. So it. . itreally did put a gap in my heart, like, you know, cause Ihad to fight for him, more or less. But, (it’s a good thingI didn’t wait) cause they could’ve just came and taken himaway from me. See, they were waiting for the funeral services to be over and Christmas, cause we buried her on thetwenty-fourth of December. They had to kind of wait untilthe holidays were over. But I went ahead in between theholidays and started the paper work and it took us about sixmonths to get it all legal. But Human Resources had to comeout and interview us to make sure we were fit parents, eh.I didn’t like it. I was really defensive. . cause my husbandand I both drank and it was.. my husband had just quit. Andthen when Human Resources came in they were asking us allthese questions. I was really afraid they’d find out I wasstill drinking. The questions they asked were mostly on(our daughter) and when she found out how.. that she wasadopted and all this and when I planned on telling (my babyboy) what came about. There were so many questions thatwere kind of hard for me to answer but I had to think ofgood answers so they wouldn’t.. And when I got through that,I was glad, because it took about three months before wereally knew whether we were going to get him or not. I puta lot of work into that boy, because he missed his mom. Hewas just old enough to know that she was all of a suddendisappeared. So I had to be very careful when I said ‘momand dad’, mostly, ‘mom’ . If I ever mentioned ‘mom’, Hewould start looking so. . cause once I tried to see if hewould call me ‘mom’ and then when he started looking, Ithought, oh no, I’m going to be up all night again. So Iquit that and I just waited for him to automatically call me‘mom’. By the sixth month he was calling my ‘mom’. Whenthe legal papers came through, we were really happy. Wefinally had it all legalized. But the lawyers went througha lot of red tape trying to get those papers done up properly because they went. . That we were natural blood to this80boy so there shouldn’t be any problem. So, now he’s 10years old. Oh, at the age of four was when he asked if Iwas his real mom or not and I couldn’t answer. I had a hardtime with it so he says, when he noticed I had a hard time,then he says, ‘Oh, Mom, really, I don’t really want to knowyet, anyway.’ So I figured some kids told him and he’sasked a couple of times after and he’s noticed the colouringin us. That my husband and I are both dark and he’s realfair and he’s kind of wondering why, I think. See, webelieve in the traditional spirits and things so I hadanother man come over and look at (my dead sister’s) pictureand he can talk to her and she told him to tell me not totell (the boy) for another month. . and then it was stoppedagain because.. my nephew committed suicide. So I figured,so (the spirits) worked that way to stop me again, so Idon’t know when I’m going to tell him. It’ll be soon, Iguess. (I’m kind of worried about that day) but I’m prepared for it, you know. I’ve been.. I’ve been trying toprepare myself. I’ve put an album together to show him whohis natural parents are and we have clippings from theirdeaths in there and I think he has seen, cause he can readnow.” (see 3, Appendices for additional data)c) Open AdoptionThere is just one instance of open adoption at Seabird IslandBand to date. The data presented represent the experience of theadoptive mother. The data from the interviews of the birthmother and the two older sisters of the adoptee are located inthe Appendices:3. The adoptee is now approximately seven yearsold. The adoptee is the youngest of a family of nine children,three of whom are now deceased.Informant 20 (Z20, Dec. 18/89)Sandy Parker is twenty-nine years old. She is a caring person,giving of herself for her children. She is knowledgable inrecognizing the needs of children and talented in providing themwith an holistic education seldom given in public schools. Sheand her husband understand the native sense of community andrespect for the land. The Parkers are non-natives who have81accepted the challenge of raisingScott in a white home whileteaching him native valuesand helping him to maintain hiscultural identity. They havetwo daughters, Kim and Nadia.“I was a single parentwith Kim. I was eighteenwhen I hadher. Dan and I met when Kim was two and a half. We weremarried when she was just over three.We’d been married ayear and a half I guess, when Nadia was born.And Nadiaseemed perfectly normal at first,we had no idea there wasanything wrong. When she was about a year old, she wasn’tdeveloping properly, she wasn’tgaining weight and growing.We realized that there was something wrong. Ittook untilshe was almost two to get a diagnosis.And Nadia has aterminal disease which is caused by a recessive gene.So atthat point, we decided we weren’t going to have any morechildren between us. Then she was about three when wedecided we wanted to adopt another childand there was noway I wanted another baby. . because. . she’s so much like ababy in her needs. . like basic needs of toiletry andfeedingand it takes hours a day just to meet those needs. SoIsaid okay, how about an older child. So we sort of setaminimum age of four, independent enough to get themselves..dress, be able to bath. . and you know. . withouta lot of oneto one help, and a maximum age of eight because we figuredafter that, the child is getting so old, they might notbondto you. The social worker said that finding a child in thatage bracket and alone, without siblings, would be alongsearch, because that’s a very popularage bracket, a lot ofpeople want kids that age. A lot of people..want only oneand not a sibling group and. . to findone without severelyphysical or even moderate physical disability or mentalhandicap or severe behaviour problems.. It would be difficult to find that child. Well, we applied in December,three years ago and we got through the whole home study andthen once we were approved, you know, it wasjust sort ofwaiting. She would give us bulletins and Scott was alwaysin it, but he was in it with Linda. We knew we didn’t wantto have a child older than Kim and really didn’t want totake on two, so I never considered him. And then I got aphone call one day from his foster care social worker, whosaid, would we like to come in and learn about him, findout what she could tell us and then possibly meet him. . Sothat’s what we did. I went in one afternoon and got all theinformation on him, came home, talked to (my husband) aboutit and we phoned her back and said we’d like to meet him.He knew.. why we were meeting with him, but he wasn’t told.He said to his teachers at school. He said, “1 think I’mmoving again.” And his teachers said why? He said, “ CauseI met somebody.” And there was absolutely nothing that wedid or said that would’ve indicated that to him but he knewbecause he’d been through it before. He’d actually beengoing through an adoption placement visits and then thepeople had decided no and he had been told that that’s what82they had been doing. And then he wastold that they haddecided not.. I didn’t find that out until later.We methim at Cultus Lake, just on the beachand played baseballand watched him swim and thingsand decided, yes, that wedid want to go through more visits.I guess it was thesecond time that he came over, his fosterparents broughthim to where we were living, justafter dinner. We talkedto his foster parents and it was after that, thathe figuredit out. So then, we told him, hecame for a weekend visitand it was Sunday morning and he wasn’tgoing to change intohis clothes. He hadn’t been toldexactly what we weredoing, you know. We were just sayingto him that we wantedhim to come and visit. Sundaymorning he wasn’t going toget dressed. There was noway on earth he was going to getdressed. It was because hedidn’t want to leave. Hefigured if he didn’t get dressed, hedidn’t have to leave.So finally, after struggling with himfor an hour we satdown and we said, you know, we explainedit to him that thereason we wanted him to come and visit was becausewethought we wanted him to come andlive with us. As soon aswe explained to him, he got up and got dressed. That wasit. Went home that night, I mean he was upset togo home,back to his foster parents but he was happy to come backthe next weekend. And it did help for him to know, to haveit all explained to him. That was one thing that didn’tseem to be. . a lot of explanations given to him.. I don’tthink his other moves he had any explanations. So we werereally really lucky. Not only did we find him, but he livesso close, that we could do a lot of visiting prior to himmoving in with us. It was good but it was hard on him. Hewas in a foster home. When he moved in with us, we were hiseighth home in six years. He was. . he was six and threequarters years old. The first two homes were with hisnatural family for a year and a half. I’m not even sure itwas a year and a half. Several papers I have are alldifferent. Linda says he was only six months old but someof the papers I have say he was eighteen months old.Anyways, he was in a foster home quite a long time, almosttwo years, so then he made many successive moves before us.Some were four months long and some were. . the longest Ithink, was nine months. He was moved out of the firstfoster home with Linda, they were there together. He wasmoved because. . I think, the foster parents just didn’t wantto provide foster care for anybody any more. So he wasmoved into another native home, near the reserve. And hestayed there for only about six months. Then they becamepermanent wards and they wanted them out of the native home.I don’t know exactly why but they moved them to a white homethen and they stayed there for exactly six months and then..They both enjoyed it there. They really liked it there.And at that point it was decided that Scott would go into..adoption.. searching for an adoptive home. Linda refused tobe adopted by anybody. So they were separated at that pointso Scott could be prepared for adoption and Linda could justcarry on with foster care. So that’s why they both moved83out of there. They didn’t want to leave one and move theother. So Scott moved to (another) home (in the area forfour months.) Then he was moved in with a single woman fornine months and then she was working, she got transferredbut he still lived here. And she was on the road so muchthat she didn’t have time for him. So she asked to havehim moved and he was moved at that point to another home. Itwas only half a mile away with a native father on a reserve,a native father and a white woman. They were just told thathe would be there for a short time. And she was justpregnant and having morning sickness. He ended up beingthere for seven months and he enjoyed it there. I think hehad a reasonably good time but they really didn’t want himthere. She was really tired and she was still working fulltime and she was pregnant. They wanted him moved and heknew it. The difficult time was. • we met him at the end ofAugust and we decided, yes, we wanted to go ahead withadopting him. So we were going through weekend visits wherehe would come to us Friday night and stay till Sunday night.Well, he was so mixed up he wanted to stay with us and he’dget taken back to them and then she started having troublewith her pregnancy so she got put in hospital, so he gotshipped to her parents in Chilliwack so he could continuegoing to school. And so he didn’t know if he was coming orgoing, the poor little guy. It was his fist year in realpublic school and he was just so messed up. He was a horrorat school. So he would be with her parents all week andwith us on the weekend. With his foster father hopping inall the time, in and out and that went on for over twoweeks. And then she had the baby and she came home with thebaby and he lived there.. another month, with visiting us onweekends. The social worker really wanted him to stay thereand not think that because the baby came, he had to move.She just wanted him to know a way ahead of time that thiswas coming up. He’d have lots of time to figure it out. Ittook two months of visits. What I wanted to do was get achild that had problems that could be resolved. I mean, wedon’t know for sure that we can. If we work really, reallyhard, will we be able to help this child get over thoseproblems that are caused by his past so that he will have abetter future? I call it potential to be typical. Becausehe’s not typical now, he’s two years behind developmentally,academically, socially, every way, even his growth. He wasreally small. So that’s basically what I was looking at.If I really worked hard with this child and gave him lotsand lots attention, will he really benefit from it or am Igoing to be knocking my head against the wall. I mean,because if you take a really mentally handicapped child, youreally can’t change their life that much. You can make itinteresting and comfortable, but they will never be typical.The same with the really physically disabled child. Ialready have a physically disabled child and I didn’t wantanother one. And so, yeah, I really, really looked at himin that way, can we help this guy? We figured for sure wecould. And I mean, there’ve been times since then that I84just think I’m not sure but then most days I’m quite positive that he’s making leaps and bounds. It’s just hard tosee sometimes. Some days, I’m saying to myself, would atypical child do something so stupid? And, it’s a goodthing that I have friends that have little boys and onefriend of mine says, “It’s just cause he’s a boy, it’s notbecause he’s Scott.” And I have to believe her. Because myoldest daughter. . she got a lot of attention when she wasyoung and she. . has always sort of been at the top of herclass. I taught her at home for four years. She has alwaysbeen above average and always had a good sense of what willhappen if I do this? Consequences, you know? He doesn’thave a sense of consequences. One of the wonderful thingsabout Scott, is he’s very affectionate. We had no doubtthat he would bond to us. Some kids you get past the age ofsix and they’ve been moved and moved and moved and moved.They’ve made the decision in their head that they’re notgoing to bond to anybody any more because they’ll knowthey’ll get moved. And he bonded to us quickly. I mean hedidn’t consciously make a decision that we’re okay oranything. but. . he felt good with us right away. . and he’salways been very affectionate. Actually, he was too affectionate. He was very insecure and so. . I swear in the firstweek, I had a million kisses when he came. He hung on me.He came for a hug and a kiss at least every two minutes.Some days, it was like getting his batteries charged? Sitdown on my knee and have a cuddle. And at school, the samething, I mean to extreme at school, good and bad. I meanaffectionate and the opposite. But at home, it was prettyconstant affection. It was really a nice thing because it’sa lot easier to take than trying to convince somebody or.trying to get that feeling from somebody resisting youtotally.. hands off! We had a good feeling bringing him in.and seeing him with Nadia. They just love each other. Theydid right from the start, I think they have this commonfeeling that they’ve both.. need a little extra. And he’llplay with her, like in the morning if she wakes up, he’ll goup in her bedroom and he’ll play with her. I mean, justbasically, he’s playing by himself and she’s just watchingbut he’s talking to her and they’ve gone on for two hourssome mornings, which is just what she needs because otherkids don’t play with her. And he’s always been one to bethere and play with Nadia and be affectionate with her,which is. . really, really neat to see. One of the reasonsI wanted to teach him at home is so I can spend a lot oftime on his speech and on his past. We actually study hispast and he’s doing a scrap book and I have his life bookand I have a photo album. And what we’re doing is westarted with now, talking about our home and then we wentback to his last home, and talked about what it was like tolive there. What he liked, what he didn’t like, why does hethink he had to move. And then he actually went and had avisit there overnight. Just to remember it all, and when hecame back, you know, we talked about the difference betweenfoster care and adoption. I want it to be really clear in85his head, the difference? We’vedone a lot of talking aboutthat and I think he has areally good idea now on what thedifference is. Because, now his fosterparents that he hadlast, have another setof boys living there. They’veactually had another set sincehe moved in with us, theyhave had one boy move inand move out. Now they have anotherset. So its becoming veryclear to him that kids only staythere for a little while and thenthey move. We’ve alwaysjust said you are here forever, you know. When youareadopted that means that you stay with that setof parentsforever. We’ll always beyour parents. You won’t have anymore new brothers and sisters,you know. It was neatbecause I take Scott to swim lessons and my older daughtertoo. And when he’s waiting for Kim to swim, he keptplayingwith these two little nativekids at the pool. I’d keeplooking at them thinking, now where have I seenthese kidsbefore. They are in a picture in his Life Bookthat one ofhis old foster parents sent. After he moved inwith us, Ihad the social worker contact all his oldfamilies and askfor pictures because there was verylittle in his Life Book,for me to refer to. One of them sent this picture.There’sLinda and Scott and this other littleboy and girl. Andthey all lived in the same foster home when hewas abouttour. They remembered each other, but they couldn’tremember their names. But they’d been foster brother and sisterfor three or four months. It was a bitof a shock to him tomeet Yvonne. We didn’t prepare him for it. I didn’t knowthat we were going to be meeting her. Sohe’s only everknown Linda and he knows that there’sa mother somewhere outthere. And he knows that his father died.When he was inone of his foster homes, he was playing outin the yard andsomebody arrived and handed him the funeral write-upandsaid, “Your Dad died” and left him standing there.So, hetook this to his foster mom and said, “My dad died.”We’reworking back through his families, and we’re only (as far asthe family he lived with when he was four.) I’m going rightback, I’m going to go through his natural family. I figureit will be another three or four months till we get there.And then I was going to explain to him that he has all thesesiblings and where they are and why he can’t see them. Imean not give him specific details or anything but just givehim an idea that they are out there and that maybe some day,he’ll meet them. But we don’t want him to know them and themto know him because they have too many problems. They haveproblems that we don’t want him to deal with. So, wehaven’t got to that point, so he really only knew aboutLinda, so when we dropped Linda off that day and he metYvonne, well, that was a total surprise to him. He reallyhad no idea, you know. Not only that, but she’s the sameage as me. That’s his sister? Like, he thinks I’m reallyold. I felt good about him meeting her. Like she was soexcited to see him, but I’d like him to see her some more.Just to know that they’re there because when he does come ofage, he’s a status native and he’s got rights on thatreserve. That’s why we want to keep him in contact with the86band. When we were out (to thereserve) for a meeting onetime, I got the feeling that (they) didreally understandthat we were adopting him andnot just foster care becauseof something (a band member) said.He said to the socialworker, ‘You take these children and you put themin fostercare, and you bring them up white.’He says, ‘Then they areeighteen and you drop them back ontothe reserve and theyknow nothing about reserve life. They’re notwhite, they’renot Indian, they have no identity.’He said, ‘They end upon skid row, cause they can’thandle it. They don’t haveeither.’ So that..you know, we had already decided forourselves that we wantedhim to know he’s native Indian andwe wanted him to know what thatmeans and we wanted him tobe comfortable being a native Indian.But we are notnative. So how do we do that? So we knew thathe had tohave some contact with this band, so betweenthe socialworker and ourselves we worked out that what we wanted wasbasically, continuing contact. Not daily,not weekly, oranything, but just to know where it is, some of the thingsthat go on there. . What I was hoping for was somethinglikea Big Brother. . some person we could findout there that wecould trust to take him and just dothings that you do onthe reserve. Or to be able to go to some festivals, or aburial or to play soccer with, something that is native,youknow, and only native so that he hasthis on—going memorythat he has always been connected to this reserve. . to knowabout it just to have the knowledge, so that when he doesturn eighteen, if he decides he wants to go there, he’s notlike a fish out of water, he’s got the knowledge to back himup, so he can be comfortable there. Cause if you’re notcomfortable there, he’s not going to stay. And I don’tnecessarily care if he goes there and stays or not. That’sgoing to be his choice. But, if that’s what he chooses,then I want it to work for him. I don’t want him to end upwith no identity.. feeling like he’s not white and he’s notIndian. Because growing up in a white home, he’s going tobe a lot of white. He is. Which, I don’t know if that’s abad thing or not. I mean.. I don’t think what we’re teach—ing him is bad. Actually, some of the social workers havesaid, the way we live. . our values and what we appreciate..they said we are more native than a lot of natives in thatwe care about the environment and we have a big interest innature. We’re not hunters and fishermen, but a lot of thestuff we do teaches respect for the land. What we’re tryingto do, is what’s best for him. It’s not easy. I mean, it’sa lot of work. I have to write these progress reports everythree months to the band, specifically tothe chief, herequested it. A band member has been elected to be Scott’sfriend. She will be his connection and should be abletotake him there. Just setting up the meetings and gettinghim there.. it is a fair amount of work. It’s only once amonth but everything else has to shut down in order to dothat. It was ourselves and the social worker that went outand said to them this is what we propose and they said yesit sounds like a good idea. Let’s try it. They were, I87think, quite interested in it. They don’t want to losehim.You know, he is a band member. I think itreally hurts themto lose their membership but they know theycan’t raise him.He can’t live there where his mother is right on reserve.So this is the best alternative, to have him raised hereand keep in contact. I’ve thought about (what wouldhappenif he decides to leave our family when he is eighteen.)Quite often if I’m angry with Scott, or disciplininghim,that’s when I think, is he going to hold this against mesome day? Like, is this building up in him, something thathe isn’t showing me right now? Because quiteoften, youknow, if it’s right before bed or something, and he gets introuble for something and then, you know, we’re tucking himin and we always. . always make sure things are resolvedbefore he goes to bed. And we give him his hugs and hiskisses. But sometimes he is not as affectionate back, likehe’s still hurting from being disciplined. And I’m thinking, is he laying in bed there, building up his thoughtsthat are going to build up over the years and then some day,he’s just going to go forget it, you know. You’re not myreal mom. You don’t love me and you used to swat me. Yeah,I definitely have thoughts and wonder what his decision willbe when he’s older. I think (the open adoption) might workbetter for us, because he’s already going to know aboutthem, and why he isn’t with them. And he’ll know what theirproblems are and I mean, he can see that what he’s got here,is better than that. I can give him specifics about (hisparents and the reasons he couldn’t live with them.) I’mworking on some little felt dolls that he can change, likeclothing and things. And we’re going actually to role-modelthem as we go along and some of them are a darker brown andsome of them are Caucasian. And I want it to be very clearto him, who he is. And why he’s here and why he’s notthere. The reason I am doing it is because I think it willtell him. . give him a good idea of who he is. . it’s going togive him that identity.. that I am native and these peopleare white and that even though I’m in their house, I’m notwhite, I’m still native. But they’re a good family and Ihave this other family over here and I have my whole bandand they’re native and I’m connected to them. I meanthere’s nothing wrong with being connected in both places..And I want him to know that. But I don’t want him to feelconnected in neither. I think it’s working so far. Knowingyour parents and knowing who they were (is important.) Openadoption can be a real struggle, too, in that you’ve got theemotions constantly. Your child isn’t mature when they getall this presented to them (as to) what this person is like.Basically, it went very smooth for us. Scott was first putinto our family under foster care because the process wastaking so long. We wanted him here and his other family hadjust had the baby and wanted him to move because they weretired. (It took six months before approval came.) I’mstarting to think more and more that special needs adoptionshould have more coverage, continuing coverage for thingslike dental care. Like it’s not my fault that he has88horrendous teeth, but it’s going to cost us thousandsandthousands of dollars to fix that problem.We’ll definitelypay it and get it done, you know. We’ll neverdeny himbecause nobody else is going to pay it. But I think itwould make it a lot easier for people to adopt kids if thosekinds of things were covered.”d) “Custom” AdoptionOne of the problems I encountered in dealing with terminology, isthat the meaning of the word “adoption” has been imposed on theSeabird Island culture. There is no appropriate English wordtodescribe “custom” practices. The words “adoption, guardianship,fostering, and stewardship” all have meanings thatareentrenched in the English language, but do not adequatelydescribe the child welfare actions of the band.On Seabird Island, some people refer to “custom” adoption whenthey talk about their adoption experiences. This term is notexclusive to one kind of process; it is used to cover a numberof child protection actions taken by the band members when achild’s parents can not care for them for a period of time.These actions include short term and long term care by one ormore extended family members, followed by a return to the birthparents or permanent care by an extended family member. The bandexperiences of “custom” adoption therefore are varied, but thewelfare of the child remains the basic concern. I couldfind noevidence of an appropriate kinship term ineither the Halkomelemor Nlkapamuxw languages for “custom” adoption. Fromtheinterviews that were conducted for this thesis, it is evidentthat Indian adoption practices did not end when the childwelfare89policies of the government wereimposed on Indian people.Of the twenty in-depth interviews conducted,ten informants hadexperienced what they termed “custom”adoption. Theseexperiences ranged from the informants’ own“custom” adoption tothe “custom” adoption of extended familymembers, such as father,siblings, children, husband, grandchildren, and cousins.Theseexperiences were equally divided between male and femalebandmembers. The ages of these members varied from elders tobandmembers in their early thirties. Informants with other adoptionexperiences, also recounted their knowledge of “custom” adoption.Informant 1. (Zi, Nov.2/89)Randy Smith experienced his own “custom” adoption by close familyfriends. At age sixteen, he discovered he was adopted. At agesixty-five, he discovered that his adoptive name wasnot recognized by the government.“(Adoption in the old times) was just sort of a verbalagreement like, you know, between two parents like,eh.Like in my case, well, I was adopted here, too. In my case,my Dad had.. a. . tuberculosis and he knew he wasn’t long,eh,. . and there was. • a baby and I was just walking and..there was four of us. . so Brian Smith had. . his pick of..which ever one. Brian Smith was just a foster parent andthey were just good friends between the Smith’s and theDavidson’s. I’m from Chilliwack. He adopted me. (I tookon) his last name. (He was) just like an ordinary father.Well, he did what fathers are supposed to do, eh. Clothyou, feed you, and, . see that you get an education. Indianeducation plus.. going to school. All that.. like he taughtus how to trap. A matter of fact he picked up about fivechildren. He didn’t have any children of his own. Like Isaid they were good friends, those two families and. . Iguess there were two religions between them. Like my motherwas Methodist and my real Dad was Catholic. He wanted mebrought up Catholic and Lucy and Brian Smith were realstrong Catholics. Religion has some play in it.My Dad hadmore say in it than my Mother. Then I went to Catholic90school. Didn’t do me no good! Youknow, there was.. nopapers drawn up between.. like Indian Affairsor anything.There was just a.. like. . they’dcome around. . once a yearor whatever to add to theband list. There’s new peoplehere. . they came and registered them andthat’s how I becamea Seabird. There is onepaper just between Brian Smith andJohn Davidson. . it’s just a slipof paper like that. . . I gotit. It just. .authorizing BrianSmith to take one of hischildren and it was. . witnessed by Sam Jones.. at Seabirdhere. That’s all it was, justa. . few lines. (There was noceremony to bring me into theband.) Just everybodygathered here. . if there were any membersto be signed in.It was simple in those days. I wasaround eighteen monthsold. I don’t really remember. We never(had a name-givingceremony here). People went elsewhere todo it and wedon’t have a longhouse here. Some wantedto build a long-house and others said no. If theparents find (a name) orhear of one from their originalfamily that nobody uses anymore they transfer it over. Theyhave a big dinner. . andcall all the elders. They have to witness..this name wasgiven to him so nobody else can useit till he’s gone ortill he hands it down to somebody else. It’snever beendone much in this place around Seabird. Like Isay, we havetwo cultures. I didn’t have my name legally changedtill Igot my old age pension. I didn’t even know it. I went intothe army and they didn’t catch it there. Then whenIapplied for my old age pension, there was no such name intheir registry. I was registered at Seabird as Randy Smith.For my pension I was under Davidson from Chilliwack. Thereis a big family of them in Chilliwack. I didn’t even knowmy own relatives, you know, up to that time. I knew (aboutmy adoption). I found out when I turned sixteen,you know.My mother. . married a Davidson. We were making our familytree, eh. And it finally came out. I didn’t even know myown relatives. Well, I guess they knew all the time, butnobody told me nothing, you know. In them days I guesseverything was secret, you know, I couldn’t tell you why.guess they wanted a. . child for themselves and that was it.I didn’t really have contact with the Davidson family). Ohit was round about twenty—two or twenty-three. I met myuncle. He said he knew all about it. He started talkingand telling me about my Dad. Right to-day, you know theydon’t seem to be my.. family, you know. (They feel) likestrangers to me. I’ve got some half-brothers andsisters.And their children, they all call me uncleand I.. don’teven know them. One is a teacher here. Ijust got to knowher when she became a teacher. . It’shard. . Try to get backin the track again, you can’t. It’s impossible.A longtime. (That was) Wellington Band.Same traditions. All Ilost was property but I gained it here.(From the Smith’s,I inherited) land and their home. They didn’t haveanymoney to speak of. (The Smith’s werefirst comers and theDavidson’s were of the same class so Ididn’t changestatus). Well, I had to change my nameto Smith, that’sabout all I had to do. (Howdo I feel about It?) Well,91it’s so old now, it don’t bother me any more but Ithink Ilearned something from it, you know, because,I don’t liketo see a person lose what they got here. There’s 5,000acres of land here that belongs to the communityand aportion of that belongs to the child or the children to comeand, they own it.. and if they areadopted out, they automatically lose it. I think it’s changednow, really but.. Iknow they used to take you off the band list and..put youon a different list. Then you got to start from scratch,there. I think it’s wrong.. but to prove it is anotherthing. You can’t, you know. (Adoption is) not a secret to-day. I wouldn’t allow it, you know. I don’t agree.. Idon’t believe in adoption really anyway.. any kind.. I’dlike the child to agree upon it themselves, you know, havesomething to say.. in the adoption part of it.. because theyare going to lose their identifying name, for one thing,and. . then they have a share in the property here that’stheirs.. and if you adopt them away they change their name,you know. There’s no checking. I don’t know what I lost..well I gained, you know. What if I went to. . a white home..I would’ve lost everything. “(I am satisfied with my life.)Yeah, I mean I can’t change it now. I got a nice place tostay, I had a good bringing up. My father never went toschool a day in his life but he made sure.. that we all did,eh. Some of them are teachers. . (One of the things that Iwould like to say is that) I found out during my life spanhere the grandparents play a big role in bringing up thechildren., and I think that’s a good thing but in your case,in a white society, it’s very different I guess. I’ve gotsome white friends say, ‘What are you doing with all thesechildren? Why do you look after them?’ Well it’s our job.It’s what we’re put on earth for. They tell me, ‘No, no,no, it’s not. You’re supposed to be having leisure time nowthat you are old age.’ The house is too quiet, you know.But it’s been handed down all the way down the line. Grandparents bring up the children. They do the teaching role,you know. They teach the parents plus they teach thegrandchildren. Both. If they get mad, they correct both,you know. They think it’s the right thing. Brings thefamily together. Children.. That’s the only resource wehave, you know, that’s concerning Indian people. .We got tokeep it going. Our love for children is a big part of it.Like that gentleman there (Brian Smith), a lot of themthere. . they’d have fell by the wayside somewhere. Hecared, A big heart I guess that’s what it really is. I’dlike to see the population grow.. strong and healthy.”(See 3, Appendices for additional data)The following information is a summary of interview results onthe questions relating to genealogy, kinship terminology, rights,92obligations, inheritance, status, and name-giving. The majorityof informants were in agreement in their answers to the questions. Exceptions are noted.4.3 Genealogical DataInformants were asked to provide genealogical data at the beginning of each interview. Some band members could provide a verydetailed description of their family tree, while others struggledto remember immediate family data. One elderly informant indicated that grandparents choose the grandchild that appears tohave the best head for remembering; this chosen child is thentaught the family genealogical knowledge. Informants who hadbeen given this knowledge were able to recite a family tree thatwent back to the beginnings of the reserve. This recitationcovered seven generations. This information is significantbecause band members have to know the genealogy of the adoptivechilds family. Without this knowledge, adoption can not takeplace because, based on their marriage rules, they would not knowwho the child could marry.Informants were asked to provide the kinship terminology in theirdiscussion of their family history. The majority of informantsused kinship terms such as father, mother, sister, brother,cousin, aunt, or uncle to discuss their relationship with adoptedmembers. They usually then qualified their statement by indicating that this was an adopted brother, adopted sister, etc.Later, in the interviews about their experience, they didnotrefer to these relatives using the adjective “adopted”. Older93band members were more likely to refer to these family members as“my adopted sister”, my adopted brother, etc.” Seabird Islandpeople indicated the birth order relationship of their siblingsby referring to “my younger brother” or “my older sister”, ratherthan saying “my sister” or “my brother”. With oneexception, allband members with an adoption experience, referred to theiradoptive parents as “mom” and “dad” or “mother” and “father”.The one exception called all adults by their first name, regardless of the relationship.The genealogical information confirmed the wide prohibition ofcousin marriage. Marriage to cousins closer that fourth cousinis still prohibited. Band members prefer that marriages takeplace between people who are unrelated. Many informantsreiterated their need of the genealogical knowledge of familymembers; they have to know from where they come.4.4 Rights, Obligations, Inheritance, and StatusAdopted children have the same rights and obligations as natural-born children, according to informants. Many examples were givento support this assertion.The issue of heredity was more important to band members whosefamilies placed importance on the ownership of land. With oneexception, no one mentioned the inheritance of cultural objects,songs, or dances. The one exception was an informant who saidthat she had received her song from her grandmother; this wasnot a material inheritance, but a spiritual one. Without excep94tion, band members said that the land was passeddown from fatherto son, grandfather to grandson, or grandmotherto grandson.Informants indicated that women were expectedto “marry out” (eg.marry someone from another band); for thisreason, they would notinherit band land. Adopted Sons and grandsons received equalinheritances with natural—born family members. Informantsalsoindicated that children from other bands who were adopted onSeabird Island reserve, could inherit propertyfrom theiroriginal band.Without exception, informants stated that adopted childrenmaintained the same status after adoption that they had had priorto adoption. As well, all informants said that adoptedchildrenreceived the same treatment as other children in the adoptivefamily. The majority of informants said that adoption wasforever, meaning that the child maintained lifelong relationswith the adoptive family. Other band members who still held outhope that particular children would some day return to the bandfrom non—native adoptive families, maintained that the adoptionwas only for the time period that the child needed care and thatthe child would return to the band upon reaching adulthood.The majority of informants stated that in “custom” adoption, thechildren knew who their birth parents where and the children hadcontact with them. Those informants who were the exception, hadexperienced “custom” adoption processes that wereatypical (e.g.the child was not told they were adopted until they reached theage of sixteen). As well, the majority of informantsindicated95that the band knew of the “custom” adoptionof band members, itwas not secretive.Without exception, informantsindicated that grandparents werethe educators of the children.In “custom” adoption, it is thegrandparents who are first asked to carefor the children. Inthe last few years, because somegrandparents have not wished tocare for the children, aunts, and uncleshave become the primary“custom” adoption care-givers.4.5 Name-givingBand members have the right to receive Indiannames belonging totheir family; this includes anyone adopted into the family.Informants stated that name-giving ceremonies hadnot beenpractised on the reserve for some time. They indicated that thefact that the reserve is the home to both Sto’lo andThompson maybe partly responsible for this.Nora Tom indicated that,“It’s a great big potluck. Everybody’s invited. Have agreat big time and this child is the special child, youknow, even if it’s an adopted child or foster child. It’stheir day. . .but they can’t carry a sxwayxwey name unlessit’s in their background.”Randy Smith described how the name is transferred. He said,“If the parents find (a name) or hear of one from theiroriginal family that nobody uses any more they transfer itover. They have a big dinner., and call allthe elders.They have to witness.. this name was givento him so nobodyelse can use it till he’s gone or tillhe hands it down tosomebody else.”Mildred Roberts thought that the Thompson name-givingwas96different from that of the Sto’lo.She said,“(When it comes to naming ceremonies,)the Thompson Indiansare different than down here again. Upthere, they try togive you . , a person had passed away,a member of you fam—ily. They don’t want to lose that name,so they give it tothe child. Like my mother gave Bob White a name.They’rerelated but very distant. This name was just layingthere,like you say, waiting for someone to pick itup. So, ratherthan lose that name she gave it to him. As long as nobodyhad it and the person is dead.. Somebody wants to givetheirname, then they ask them if they wantthat name.”A comparison of Smith’s and Robert’s descriptionyields a similarity rather than a difference.SummaryIn summary, this chapter began with a discussion of theterminology of adoption used by social agencies.The words“apprehension” and “placement” describe the action taken bysocial workers to put children in care (under the supervision ofthe government). The terms “foster care, closed legal adoption,”and “open adoption” refer to three ways social workers may placechildren with families. The terms of the open adoption pilotproject that involves Seabird Island band members are describedbriefly.The interview data, which forms the main text for this chapter,presents the adoption experiences of Seabird Island band members.The data are organized following the social agencyclassifications of foster care, closed legal adoption, andopenadoption and the Seabird Island classification “custom”adoption.Four adoption narratives are presented in this chapter.I choseLinda Duncan’s narrative about her fostercare because it97provides the most detailed account of foster careexperience.Francis John’s account of the closedlegal adoptions of herchildren provides data on anumber of issues of adoption. Ichose Sandy Parker’s narrative abouther experience as anadoptive parent in the open adoption pilot project and RandySmith’s account of his “custom” adoption becausethey provide thegreatest depth of information.Based on the data presented, assumptions cannot bemade about therates of adoption in comparison with other FirstNations people.Based on the literature I reviewed andmy own knowledge, theincidence arid type of adoption experienced by SeabirdIslandpeople is about average compared with other bandsin Canada; itis not atypical.Adoption is not a simple subject to deal with. Thereare nouniversal adoption laws or policies in Canada. Adoption is notsimply the incorporation of a person intoa family. As well asthe process of incorporation, other issues such as kinship rules,rights, obligations, and inheritance must be considered. Forthis reason, interview data on these issues are presented.The purpose of this research is to discover what these adoptionexperiences mean to the people of Seabird Island. The data raisea number of questions regarding the adoption practicescurrentlyin use. Regardless of the adoption method, the issue of ethnicidentity of First Nations children is ofparamount concern. Theadoption practices now used by social agencies are dysfunctionalcti)H-H,‘10010CD0‘ti‘1tiCDb50CDtIDr1(JI—iH-IDç1o0SD-.ç-.CD0HiUi51)r-tcn<H-H-II)UIUi51)Q.(1)çt()5iCDLII)::5-51)IiUIHH-CDIisirt-i51H-0CDr-UI51)CDCDUI—l-U)t5CiH-‘1CDUi51)51)rt510o<CD‘1H-H-itTU)U)51)H-IT)U)I—-.Cl)Cl)CDCDi>U)o051)‘—i0i0H-i51)çt51IIH-(I)‘dr10H-51QCDlçt-.U)IDU)H-i110Hit’hj51)51)H-UIii11j()çt51Cl)H-rt-‘1H-‘-<c-’U)0-(I)ctiCDH-ri51CD—51)H-CDHçtU)H51)H-C)çtCDi00CDC)<1rtUICDCl)‘10CD‘CDc:CD510CD0(tH-UI:-I—H-içt-HCD0UIF-’-lJ•ri H- U)OctP..CDIiU)tQc-I-‘-3c-I-c-I-0-11-3CDCDP)P)3I))I-li0C),QctH-H‘t(1)C’)CDCDCDCDP3I—’CDH-Cl)iCD:ro2—.tiHCD1P)1Y2-.CDHiiCDI-CDII0IiLiDIC)CDH-(1)2-.U)I—h—CDCDH-LiCD‘1U)(I)JLiDIU)c-U)CDHiWLiH-0CD3<0c-PIf)IIH-0C)DiCl)U)CDCDH-CDOCDDIc-1DiLiHiSc-I-‘-<H-IiLic-I-‘--iH-LP..(3‘*—i-tiCDH-ij.0CD0CDDlc-I-CDH-H-000CDCDP-I0c-I-c-Pli‘—iI—bc-PH-(j)c-Ic-P‘—a0U)I-lCDH-3z0b0U)U)liP)Li-Hik<:-H-QIU)CDCD‘100DltTbT3CDH-LIiH-U)CT)HiDlCDCDDi00I-cIic-f-LOP..YH-iLi•Inci--.‘-—-.DlLiI-iCi)0H-.Hct,-CDCDI-00P1U)P..‘-<0jc-PiCD‘—•00DijI))QCDP..Ii)oxJt--i-3H-yID..‘QCL‘-<HiP..InIIH-°CD5c-t-c-I-L—r‘iCD)H-H-U)lct0c-I-CDU)DljLH0H-H<Inc-I-iip..pow00InH-U)CDH-C’)ci-IiUiH-U)-.ZnCI‘z:3ci-<9)H-l U)jQDlCDZLQU)p..0CDLiCDCDIC)CD‘—DlP10DlCD11Li1’iH-bc-I-c-I-iDl10Dlc-I-c-IllInSi-C1’---Cl)LOc-IZfl—(D<LiLiH-H-U)I—sU)1HiI—U)DiC)LOCDc-toCDLi0c-I-U)(I)c-I-‘—iCDDiYCl)U)(DliH-I-1U)P0iH-i-—-CD0c-1I-Cl)0InHiLi0c-f-HiH-CDDlP-LiLO’-(DiI—IP-IU)TH-H-Cl)c-PCDInCD(DInU)I-IU)Dli—Li.U)ic-I-p3U)CD::-CDIC)CD0‘--aCDCDH-rp..In0LiCD)00U)0000SiCDCfILiLi•‘tHiH-‘CDU)(iicH-U)c-t-CD0Hi‘—aI—LiH-U)c-I-U)CT):100Plc-I-CD0LiCDc-I-Li0P..U)H-0ECDl—b0UI‘-3H-P..0CDi0LiI—I0-.P..c-i-CDSiCDSiLi<tiCD:iDlU)OH-H-LiCD0U)DlDl•c-f-c-I-InHCCDI—lH-CDInSiCD0Ct)Hçi—0c-I-0xl(DCDH-H-•Q)<If)CDc-PLOc-I-1<HiP..U)Dl0DlHiInCDLi‘-‘0DlCD0LiU)—CDLic-I-U)H-CD(Cl0CDCDLiH-00U)IiCD•DiDl2-SiCDc-I-U)c-I-H-iHiCDc-I-CD-<CDJCDCDID0‘“P..U)CD‘-—c-I•H-U)2-..00c-P0H-<‘-<HiH-0c-Ic-i.iH-DiP.3LiCDI0CDCD:Lilic-f-CDpiI--.-LiInCDIClCDLi2-c-f-bC)k<Dl(ClH-•Cl)H-0CDCDc-I-Li‘-<J‘‘-<0CDDlH-c-i-2-.CD0U)H-00Inc-I-iin2-.CDCDDlDiCDLOCDCD<H-tj)H-1TjIllc-I-CD:it3I-IDlCDc-I-CDLiP..Lic-Pc-I-JH-p..Ii-.H-H-H-0Dl0H-CDLiCD‘-<CDic-f-0Li0-.Iilp1c-P..—.c-I-LiP..•..CDc-Pi‘-<Hic-I-0H-In‘-<2-..•H-Hc-I-I0InCDIic-fYHiCDc-PU)CDU)c-P--4(31E•H-H-NCDCDNCDCDCDH-OCDCDCD0oH-CD0SCD50H.H-00OH-CDH-5H--HCD0CDrH00H0)(DOçtCD0H-:-CD::-:-H-0H-05H0:-H-CDCDmoo-:H-H-H-HH---0:CDW05CD:-k<j0CDCD5CDH-rI-CDH-5H-CDH-CDCD5CDCD<0CDH--HflH.CD-CDCD-CDCDrI-H-0H-CD<H-CDCDw5rI-0OH-CDH-5H-CDoCDH-H-H-H-H-00:CD0CflCD<H-CDCDrI-0I-H-CDCDCD0CDH-0H-:-•.-00-CD0CD00.H-0CD50H-H-H-CD0H-•H:-H-CD•CD0<CDCDCDCDOH-H00CD00QH-CDH-CD••<CD00CD0:HH-0H-CDH-ooH-H-H-oCDCDCDCDIiHCDI-QCD0•:-CDQ50S:-CD0CDCDCDI—”.CDCDI•:(flH-H-0CD0H-flH-H•CDW0oH0CD0CDCDH-CDH-0CDH-CDH-CD0CDCDSSWCDCDWCD--00CDCD0o5CD0H---H-CD0000H-H0CD0.-H-H-rCDrI-o0(flHQ0H-0CD-CDCDCD:CDCDH-frCDH-0CD00oH-HHCD0H-•000CDCD00H-flIH-WCDCD05CDCD0Q0I-H-H-p-fl0CD)H-iSCDpj0H-5CDCD5CDoICD0CDrI-CD.0H-H-H-CDWCDCDCDCDCDCD0H-H.H-QCD0H-H-CD (13CDrtH-00H-0CDCDH-00:-(‘30CD00i•((1ctCDCD0CDI-hS0 0101“For the child, adoption always means aloss of relationshipwith emotionally significant objectsand a symbolic loss ofroots, a sense of genetic identity, and a senseof connectedness. Becoming disconnectedfrom one’s ancestry is perhapsthe loneliest experience known. It is like floatingin timeand space without an anchor. It means no belongingin a waythat all others belong. A pervasive senseof anxiety accompanies this experience of disconnectedness”(Small,1987:36)When the very basis of identitybecomes problematic for a child,the other stages of claiming one’s identity become verydifficult.It is the loss of the ethnic identity of childrenin adoptive andfoster homes that concerns Seabird Island Band members.When asocial worker apprehends and places a native childin a non-native home,.the cultural stripping is complete. The childis isolated from the environment of his people,where there wassome support and encouragement toinsulate him/herself fromthe opinions and judgements ofwhite people and institutions. It is difficult for any childto build a new identity, when taken into care, but when that child is native,andplacement means physical uprooting and eitherimplicitly orexplicitly expressed cultural devaluation, thestruggle foran identity is compounded” (Hudson and McKenzie, 1981:87).ifl Manitoba, a child’s right to ethnicityis affirmed by theManitoba Child and Family Services Act, 1985 that ensures that:“Where a child has a different ethnic or cultural backgroundthan the family in which it has been placed, that the childhas a right to knowledge of its own genetic roots. Adoptivefamilies, foster families, group homes, and institutionshave a responsibility to provide the child with informationand experiences which will foster personal pride. More thanthe above, every child entering the child welfare system hasa right to expect that its ethnic and cultural backgroundwill be given full consideration in theplans made forcare. The child has the right to expect the agency willmake every effort to place it in an ethnically/culturallyappropriate environment. The child has the right to expectthat the ethnic/cultural community into which it was born102will assume responsibility to make the necessary resourcesavailable” (Kimelman, 1985:31).Although this provincial government may recognize that the rightto ethnic identity is important, it is critical that adoptive andfoster parents ensure that there is a transfer of culturalknowledge. A recent Canadian study showed that adoptive parentsdid not make an effort to make themselves aware of Indian culture. Twenty-five percent of the adoptive parents did notdiscuss their native adoptee’s background with the child. Atleast twenty-five percent of these parents received nocounselling after the adoption placement (Kimelman, 1985:157).For those children who must be placed off the reserve, care mustbe taken to allow them to formulate the very basis of identity,to acquire an emotional rootedness; this will then allow them todevelop an ethnic identity as they mature. The band can play anactive role in the maintenance of an ethnic identity by remainingin contact with the child and its foster or adoptive family. Thechildren.critically need to have role models who are also Indiansand can accurately interpret and teach their mutual tribalheritage. Placing them in the same community context canhelp minimize culture shock and facilitate return home”(Ward, 1984:48).A problem with the high number of native children in care, isthat“. . . there is evidence to indicate that once native childrenhave been admitted into care, they are less likely than nonnative children to return to their parents. As a result,many native children grow up being so dislocated in terms of103their culture, their race and their family, that theyhaveno clear sense of their identity and nohome to which theycan return; the circle has been broken. The community hasbeen deprived of its right to regenerate itself”(Carasco,1986:114).A further problem exists with the cultural understandingsof howidentity is defined. The Euro-Canadian cultureconcentrates onthe rights of the individual. Thus, whena judge makes adecision about the welfare of a child, s/he is basing her/hisdecision on what is best for the individual; a judge perceivesidentity as something learned in the foster or adoptive home. Onthe other hand, Seabird Island people express concernabout therights of the band and the child’s identity within the group.Because judges don’t think about identity this way, they placeless importance on maintaining an Indian identity. Because thechild needs the band around her/him to find her/hisidentity,maintaining an Indian identity is almost impossiblein a non-native home.One way that we define who we are and wherewe fit within thecommunity is to use family memorabilia toremind us of the past.Foster children lose all sense of to whomthey belong. Becausethey are young and perhaps traumatized, they do not alwaysremember when social workers moved them and who theystayed with.For example, Linda suffered six moves in eight years. Shehas novisual record of those years, the way otherchildren do. No onehas saved photographs, report cards, swimming certificates,orother historical records to remind her of those years. Shedoesn’t know the names and addresses of her fosterparents andfoster siblings. It is as if she livesin an ahistorical world.104The ‘Life Book, ‘ a book used to record the names offamilies thatthe child has lived with and meaningful events, mentionedbySandy Parker, is only useful if the foster child and/or socialworker is conscientious about filling it out. Thereis no narra—tive record to remind a child of important milestones duringthose years. Foster children have fleeting mentalsnapshots oftime spent with people whose names they no longer remember.There is no one for them to ask about these images. Being infoster care may mean a child experiences several placements;s/he may have no record of this. With no history, no place tobelong, and no one person who is constant throughout their life,foster children feel rejected and abandoned.Adoptive children not only lose their history, but they losetheir name. Their birth name is the only link theyhave withtheir birth family and the band. Childrenwho have been adoptedas infants generally are given the name ofthe adoptive family.That name becomes their name and asthey mature, the name issynonymous with their identity.Mature adoptees often choose tosearch for their birth parent. When a childdoes not know theirbirth name, it is impossible totrace the location of their bandand their birth parents. The status numberthat Indian Affairsissues to their birth parent has a family basenumber that ispart of their personal statuscard number. Adopted children donot have access to this card until theyare of the age ofmajority. Indian Affairs changes the base number when adopteesapply for a status card to protect theidentity of the birthparent. On the other side of this issue, is theability of the105band registrars to search for children who havebeen adopted offthe reserve. There is no way of finding thesechildren whentheir adoptive parents change their birth name tothe adoptivename.As children mature and enter the teenage years, theysearch fortheir identity. Sachdev notes that“it is crucial in normal personality development that adolescents derive a sense of identity from the linkageoridentification with their past, and any interference withthis process is likely to result in identity confusion”(Sachdev, 1984:142).Those teens who suffer serial foster care or adoption, experiencegreater difficulties. The movement from one home to anotherseverely effects the adolescent’s sense ofidentity and self-esteem.“Abused by their own families, separatedrepeatedly fromhomes throughout their sojourn with the socialagency, theyfeel they don’t belong anywhere, to anyone”(Kendrick,1990:22).Informants recounted their experiencesof family members tryingto return to the band. It is becausethey have lost their ethnicidentity that their return is difficult.They no longer feelthey belong in the band because they experienceculture shockupon their return. Band memberswho have returned to the bandafter a non-native adoption or fostercare experience, have toget to know family members again and learnhow to be Indians.This is an uncomfortable experience for theyrealize that they donot know how to learn. Informants offered thisinformation withhesitancy, almost unwilling to speak aloudabout their feelings106of no longer belonging. Informant Linda Duncan commented thatshe didn’t know where she was from and who her relatives were.Ida Duncan lamented not knowing certain relatives before they haddied. Repeatedly, band members who had been placed off-reserve,suggested that they were just learning to be Indians. SarahWhite said that knowing how to be Indian could be re-awakened andremembered.Band members expressed a number of concerns about maintainingtheir adopted children’s ethnic identity. It is important forIda Duncan that her youngest child knows his heritage. She doesnot want him to lose his Indian identity. Ida wants him to knowboth realities in his adoptive family. Leo Howard noted thatadopted First Nations children face a clash of Indian and whitevalues that create alienation and conflict. He thinks thatmaintaining a native identity would help alleviate this conflict.Mildred Roberts thinks that knowing a relative is well-respectedby band members creates pride. Informants said that if nativechildren knew who their families were they would have pride intheir heritage.Acquiring an identity depends on having relationships withpeople, on having somebody to question. On Seabird Island, achild learns its identity from the hands that shape the child.If only for this reason, “custom” adoption must be legalized.(See Sachdev, 1988:142-145 for a comprehensive review of literature on loss of identity in adoption).1075.2 Loss of Self-Esteem and the Feelingof BelongingBecause the foster care process is lesspermanent, band membersexperiencing this process saidthat they did not belong in thefaster family. Most of their experienceswere as temporaryfoster care placements, which meant that social workers movedthem every six months, or more often. Frequently,the childrendid not know or remember why the social workers moved them sorepeatedly. Social workers put some band members into permanentcare, but they ended up moving often, even as permanent wards.This serial placement is extremely hard on the children. Lindaand Scott Duncan experienced this kind of placement. For thetemporary placement, social workers told them that they would bethere only for a little while, However, both foster parents andthe social workers indicated that permanent placement wasforever. The Seabird Island experience was that forever could bejust a year or two.Children in foster care become hardened to the incorporationprocess. Sandy Parker suggested that this is why she and herhusband would not adopt an older child. Linda Duncan’sexperience exemplifies this; she said that there was no usetrying to get to know her new “family” because she would just getmoved again. Later Linda recognized that she needed to tryharder to get along in this new family. She found that she couldbe happier, but just as before, after a few months, the socialworker moved her again. The children play a waitinggame.Foster homes are just a place to stay until you areold enough togo back home to the reserve or moveto the city. It is possibleI-hrtti)tb1T>)Hi-3DIi-3(I)H,CD)YHirIYC)Cl)CD)0rCDCD3H-C)CD00ICD0oCDCD0P.-)Li.i0TnH-Li.‘1P.)30Cl)I--Tni-‘tiI—a‘1H-CD‘1CDP.‘tic-I-Ti)CDc-I-‘oH-c-I-Hic-I-CD0•I3Qc-I-CDai-iDICt(DTi)J‘Cl‘1>0(I)c-I-H-‘1Hic-I-CDTnH-CDHCDCD:-H-))H-ClCDCD0CDCD:-0DITnP.)-)CDHClc-I-CliaCDClP.)CDC‘.)i-aCt(I)C>>CT)CT>3Mi:-CtH-CDP1YCDH-CDa3Q3CDIIbCDCD‘1H-0H-C)00‘-1Q)H-CDaCT)‘1P.)c-P0‘-<‘1XCD3T00P.)HiClCDc-i-CDH-)TI)‘ClaiHij0trLiTnc-I-Clc-I-CD‘VCDTnpIDClCDc-I-HiCDc-P‘-<0c-I-LiE‘1‘—0Cl)‘1Ti)CDc-Ill-‘ClLiCDZH-DIMiH-ClCD‘DP.)CDCl)Hi0oc-i-CDH-C)CDa0‘VLiTn)CDHiCD0H-H-IIiCDII‘10H-CDHiI-tiP.)Ti)b‘-30‘1LiaCDCDc-I-c-I-iiClCl0T3c-I-CDLi‘VP.)CDCDLi.H-c-i-<‘1IIc-I-H-CDTi)CD‘-C)P.)<Ti)LiCDc-I-c-PCDCD‘VC))’-Hir-H-III-H-CDTi)‘ClP-C‘1CD-c-Pa‘1ClCD—ClCDCDaaCDClLiCDIIP.)CT)Tnc-P0HiTi)0LiLic-I--H-Tnc-i-aH-l---iP.)P.)CDaClc-ICDLi0CDc-P.)H-’-<Li‘—CDTnk<LiTi)Cl)CD‘VCDH-‘-LiI-cDI‘-<CD0ClTn-H-‘VoTnDILiTn0P.)CtLiTi)CDc-I-IICDP.)CT)HibTi)‘1Ti)Li0CDCD‘-3HiCDCDH-‘-<Ti)CDCD‘ILi‘<‘TTI)3<i—cLiLiaCDi-cI-iTn0rc-I-CDHi’VCDP.)LiTn0ci-CDCCDTi)DIc-I-LiCDc-I-H-•‘VLioii-<Ti)—0CDCDM-LiLiCl)Cl)ClCDc-i-H-LiCD‘1H-iDiP10(l)P.)00:ic-I-QCD0LiCD>1P.)Cl)Cli-H-Ct0‘-3‘Vc-ICDLi>0ICtYLi‘—aCDc-i-i-C‘—CDCLH-Cl)<‘VCDLipia‘tiP.)CDk<c-I-Ti)1<0Tn‘—a10Ti)Ctaa>>,CDTi)CD‘—c-PH-CDCDP.)HiCDCDP.)DII—c‘1piP.)‘—TnCl‘—‘ClatycvLTnCt-.a‘ITn‘-cc0Tn0‘1HiTni--cP.)0CDCD’—MiCD0CDCD‘I‘VCDICDCT)LiLii-cCD’—-<0CDCtHiy‘Vc-I-Li.CD‘—cc-ClCDHLiHi1-1I—.LiCDP.)MiCDP.)‘1CDCDTnTn0CDCtIP.)H-TnP.)LiLiCD0H-çì.aCtDILiCtLiCDCDLic-’Li0c-I-c-P1i-CP.)LiCLc-PCDCDCl)CD0>oac-I-CDClH-CDTnClCDCDH-DI‘—•Tn—.0QCDH-CD0LiCDTn0DIDILiLiP.)CDH-3•IITnbP.)Hi‘—iTnClCDaci-LiLiHHi<III-bCIIIc-I-0H-CDP.)CDCD0T;yLiHiCDCDc-i-CtTni—iTnMiCDLiTnCl)00CD0CT)‘-<LiLi‘I‘--iCDP.)i—‘—CctCDCtHil-<CDHiLi0DITn‘1TYCDCD0DI0P.)CD0H-iH-0-cTnc-i-H-3CD13CDTn0‘Vc-I-CDc-i-aLH-‘-<CDP.)‘Vf‘—I-bic-’‘-<H->0‘CDCtuac-PH-TnCDLiLiCT)H-P.)Ti)P.)0Tnc-I-))P.)33P.)YHiP.)iP.)Tnc-IH-HiCDCtH-LQ-çci-P.)Ii-h>0Tn0‘—•aiDCD‘—iLiCT)c-ICDCDTi)Ti)CD>iI-CCT):-H-c-ICDTnc-I-Ctc-I-CLCD‘-C0c-ITn0CDYCtDI0c-f-‘1H-CDDIIICDaCDH0LiLiCDP.)CD0CDLiCDLiQH-çLH-Cl>0Lir—0CD—••109Gladys Little said she didn’t belong in her foster family. Itdid not take the place of her birth family. Havinga sense ofbelonging comes easier when social workers placechildren in ahome of the same ethnicity as that of the naturalparents. ForFirst Nations people, placement needs to be with the same band.Adults who have returned to the band after experiencingfostercare or adoption off the reserve, have a very difficulttimefitting into the band’s social system. They have notbeenbrought up with the knowledge of who they are andwhere theybelong. They become frustrated and angry because theyhave nomemory of a family history and no memory of family members,especially grandparents or great-grandparents. Theyhave nopatience with family members who repeat stories of longagobecause they have no part in these. Nora Tom relateshow hersisters and brother hate the other members of the familybecausethey can share the family history and the fosteredsiblingscannot. Tom says that her sisters and brother were robbed oftheir heritage and their sense of belonging. These adults,nowreturned to the band, are having trouble relating to theirkin.They cannot express the trust and love that would allowthem tobelong.Patrick Johnston notes the effects of apprehension on selfesteem.“The effects of apprehension are often as painful for theparents as they are for the child. This may be particularlytrue for Native families, who, if anything, are more childcentred than many non-Native families. Often, difficultiesthey may have been experiencing are further aggravated.110Problems of alcoholism and emotional stress can beexacerbated when a child is removed,which, in turn, increases thelikelihood of other children beingapprehended. For manyNative parents who alreadyhave low self-esteem, the removalof a child is but another confirmationof their feeling ofworthlessness” (.Johnston, 1983:60).When the judges decide that a parent is notfit to look after achild, the parents lose their self-respectand the respect ofothers on the reserve. However, when ajudge refuses a personthe right to foster or adopt theirsiblings, the person suffersboth loss of self-esteem and a feeling of powerlessness. YvonneDuncan, a foster parent to her sister, is frustrated thatherfamily has disintegrated and she is powerless to prevent it. Shehas little confidence in her ability toparent. This is based onher experiences with the social system.Sandy Parker is trying to make Scott feel thathe belongs onSeabird Island. She knows that when hebecomes eighteen, he hasthe choice of returning to the band. She is determinedthat ifhe makes that choice, that he will feel comfortable thereand hewill not lose his identity. Scott’s mother wantshim tounderstand that he belongs on the reservewith his people and hebelongs in his adoptive family. She wants himto feel connectedin both places.5.3 The Effect of Contact onIdentityIn all the adoption experiences, it is loss of contact thatappears to be the most important aspect for the informants.Without contact, they do not know what has happened to family111members and they do not know wherethese family members are.This need relates to theirneed to know the genealogy of thefamily. Because of adoptionand foster care off the reserve,many families have missinggenealogical data. Of course, italsoconcerns them because they careabout family members and they donot want them to losetheir ethnicity.Loss of contact by the birth parentsin foster care and adoptioncases is also a concern on the reserve.For parents who havelost their children, no contactis likely with any of thechildren apprehended andplaced off the reserve. Some of theseparents have indicated that they have not evenseen a recentpicture of these children. When thesocial workers apprehend andplace the children on the reserve, contact can bemaintained.The parent knows that the child is welland they can see thechild growing and developing. Forchildren at risk, the birthparent has rio contact, however, it shouldbe possible for fosterparents to send information and pictures to birthparents via asocial worker. The birth parentis entitled to know how theirchild is and what they look like. Several informants, whoserelatives had been placed off the reserve, wishedthat they couldsee pictures of these children.Because of family separation, many informants did not know theirfamily; they said that they were just learning who was in theirfamily. They expressed regret at not knowing family memberswhohad died. Randy Smith said that he has had a hard time gettingto know his birth family.112Loss of contact also means that important family information isnot always given to a foster child or adoptee. For SeabirdIsland Band members, it is important to know what has happened tofamily members, especially when a death has occurred. Scott’sbirth mother has expressed her concern that he does not know ofhis father’s death, yet his adoptive mother recounts how he wasinformed of his father’s death while he was a foster child.Scott’s sister still feels guilt because she was not on thereserve when her father died; she refers to hearing rumoursabout his death. “Custom” adoptees would know about this type offamily information immediately.Maintaining contact takes a concerted effort by adoptiveandfoster care parents. The first battle is to deal with thepsychological feelings of the parents. Maintaining contactforces them to share the child with the birth parents. In thenon-native community, this is difficult because the parents havebeen socialized into thinking that no contact should be made.For native communities, maintaining contact is part of theirdefinition of the adoption and foster care process. For themthe cessation of contact goes against Indian values.Maintaining contact with grandchildren who have been fostered oradopted off-reserve is a concern of band members, Gladys Littlethought she had lost her grandson because the Ministry of SocialServices apprehended him. She was fortunate that her daughtercould adopt the baby. This closed legal adoption enabled thisfamily to maintain their ties. The child will be brought up with113his native heritage intact.Open adoption allows the children involved to feel that theymayhave contact at any time. This is important because it isthiscontact that will keep them together as a siblingunit as theymature into adulthood. Linda Duncan is happy knowingthat shemay speak with her brother and visit him.5.4 GenealogyRemembering the genealogy of the band members relatedto thefirst-corners is particularly important to SeabirdIsland people.The recitation of the genealogies of the first-cornershelps toprovide a sense of the past. The ability to trace yourconnection back to the first people who settled on the islandgives you high status in the social system on the reserve. NoraTom described her role in her family as the “dictionary.”It isher responsibility to remember her family’s genealogy. Suttlesnotes that“families with proper traditions gave their children, oftenindividually and secretly, sniw ‘advice’ consisting oftheirgeneology and family history, gossip about other families,and rules of proper behavior” (Suttles, 1958:501; 1990:465).Band members recite their genealogies with pride because they canremember and because they know who their relatives are. Adoptedchildren often do not have that information. Many informantsindicated their frustration at not knowing who their relativeswere. They were embarrassed because they could not recite theknowledge that they knew was important to remember. This is part114of the birth-right of every person, to know wherethey have comefrom. In “custom” adoption and open adoption,band members haveaccess to this knowledge because Seabird Island peopleacknowledge its value.Another reason that genealogies are important toSeabird Islandpeople, is that the marriage rules definewho you can and cannotmarry based on who your relatives are. Leo Howardnoted thatchildren were reminded often of whotheir relatives were so theywouldn’t go around with unacceptable people.Not knowing who a child’s family is, is grounds for notadoptingthe child. Mildred Roberts had the opportunity toadopt butbecause the social worker could not release the child’s familyhistory to her and her husband, they decidednot to adopt him.She didn’t know where he was from or who his dadwas. She wasunable to help the child without this information.On Seabird Island, everyone who can be remembered in a recitationof a genealogy is a relative. Seabird Island peoplemay refer tothose far-removed from the extended family as friends; thus afriend’ who may “custom” adopt instead of an extendedfamilymember is likely to be, for example, a sixth or eighth cousin.The informants know that the ‘friend’ is related,but eithercannot be bothered to work out the exact relationshipbecause itis too far removed or they are not sure exactly howthe person isrelated but they know there is a blood relationshipat somelevel.115Knowing one’s genealogy provides anoral history that places aband member within a particular class.To make a claim of beingan aristocrat or noble, a band membermust prove that claimthrough his/her genealogy. To haveno knowledge of one’sgenealogy is to ‘know nothing’ . Persons who know nothing do nothave a high ranking place withinthe band.5.5 Role of Elders inAcquiring IdentitySeabird Island people respect and value theirElders. Thesegrandparents play an important role in the Seabird Islandcommunity. It is their job to bring the childrenup. Oneinformant related how his white friends teased himabout havingto look after his grandchildren. He said thatit was his job.Another informant described how the roleof the care-giver tochildren is repeated generation bygeneration.A concern of informants was that the Elders get depressedbecausethey do not feel useful in the band. Informantssaid that theElders should get more involved withthe children and become moreactive in the role of care-giver and teacher.One Elder whoactively participates in the care of hergrandchildren said thather grandchildren made her feel important.The above issues of loss of identity, loss of self-esteem and asense of belonging, and loss of contact may be ameliorated bygenealogical knowledge passed down by oral tradition. It isherethat the Elders can play a very important role in the well-beingof the children of the band. Social agencies require a new modelso that apprehended children are no longer cut off fromtheiridentity.116117Chapter 6Analysis of the Adoption Experiences:Power and the Child Welfare SystemThis second chapter of analysis deals with the effects of thecurrent child welfare system on band members. It provides ananalysis of the data dealing with foster care, group homes,separation of siblings, serial care, subsidization, and thestatus of adopted Indian children.The current adoption policies are imposed by the dominant Euro-Canadian population. Until governments legalize “custom”adoption across Canada, this imposition will continue. Theadoption policies are part of the colonialism that has takenplace in North America. Hudson and McKenzie argue that theproblems of child welfare on reserves follow “a conflict model ofsociety” (Hudson and McKenzie, 1981:65).“The lack of commonly shared values, and the historicalsubjugation of native people by a white, European basedeconomic and social system can be fully understood only inthis context. Here attention is given to the strugglebetween an intruding society with its own culture, and anindigenous society with markedly different values and objectives” (Ibid., 1981:65).The Indian Act expressed and facilitated a process that createddependency of Indians on the federal government. This act, an118example of structural colonialism, controls the power anddecision-making of indigenous people. It is the people of thedominant group who benefit by this control, as native people havebeen unable to decide for themselves how they will use their landand resources (Ibid., 1981:65).“The missionaries, the educational system and the healthsystemwere all oriented to objectives associated with culturalcolonialism” (Ibid., 1981:65). This included separatingchildrenfrom their bands and forcing them to recant theirIndian culture.On Seabird Island, the informants who had experienced residentialschool or long stays in tuberculosis wards suffered suchalienation. A modern day method of devaluing the cultureofFirst Nations children has been to apprehend the childrenandplace them in non-native foster or adoptive homes. Not only hasthis process devalued the culture of the Indian people, it hasmade the Indian people feel unqualified and inferior as parents.Informants experiencing apprehension often mentioned that theyfelt that they were not good enough to be parents. Oftentheseapprehensions took place because the Seabird Island homes did notmeet the white middle-class criteria set by the child welfareagency.The power in the child welfare system has resided withthedominant group, not the native people. Until recently,governments have not asked First Nations people to participate inchild welfare decisions about their children. Seabird Islandpeople said that though they have the opportunityto make119suggestions about the child welfare plans for band children,their suggestions go unheeded. They consider this processa shamand said that the Ministry holds discussions to proveto thepublic that the Ministry is listening, yet the SeabirdIslandpeople do not have the power to make the changes they want. Forover twenty years, First Nations people have been tellingthegovernment that “custom” adoption must be legalized. Governmentstudies have made the same recommendation yetthe change has notbeen made.As First Nations people have empowered themselves to gain somecontrol over their lives, the colonial relationship is breakingdown. Professional people in education, health and law recognizeNative methods of education, healing, child care, law andgovernment as valid. To complete the decolonization process,First Nations people will move to self-government. Before thathappens, government agencies must take care of the needs of thechildren. If Seabird Island Band takes responsibility for theirchild welfare matters, one part of the complex process by whichtheir culture has been devalued will be reduced.6.1 Demography of an Imposed SystemThe effects of an imposed system of child welfare are welldocumented in the social work literature, and in the accountsinformants for this research provided about their experience witha system that has failed not only the Indian children of Canada,but the non-Indian children as well. The following BritishColumbia statistics show the tremendous increasein the numbers120of Indian children takeninto care.“In 1955 there were 3,433 childrenin the care of B.C.’schild welfare branch. Of that numberit was estimated that29 children, or less than 1 percent of the total,were ofIndian ancestry. By 1964, however, 1,446 children incarein B.C. were of Indian extraction. That numberrepresented34.2 percent of all childrenin care. Within ten years, inother words, the representation ofnative children in B.C.’schild welfare system had jumped fromalmost nil to a third”(Johnston, 1983:23).With the 1975 B.C. Royal Commission Report on ChildWelfare andextensive amounts of research completedon the subject of fosterand adoptive care, it could be expectedthat the percentage ofIndian children in care would have dropped significantly.However, this is not so. The statistics forBritish Columbiaindicate that there has been very little change, at leastnotenough to suggest that current childwelfare policy issuccessfully working for the childrenof this province. InMarch, 1992, there were 6084 childrenin care in the province ofBritish Columbia. Of this group of children, 1948children (32%)were racially classified as aboriginal; tobe classified asracially aboriginal, these children haveto have either a motheror father of native origin (Thomson,1992). Thus, in the twenty-eight years since 1964, the proportion of Indian children in carehas declined by only 2.2 percent.6.2 Loss of Power in a ColonialSystemBand members with experience in adoptionexpress a loss ofcontrol in their lives. They say that outside agenciesmakechild welfare decisions without any concern forIndian values.The women who have had babies taken away feel robbedandviolated. They suffer a great deal still,even after more than121twenty years after these apprehensions. Even now, with the bandhaving an opportunity to make recommendations in childwelfarecases, band members, male and female, express a senseof loss ofcontrol and power. Young women knowwhat too often happens tobabies born out of wedlock. Linda Duncan said,“I don’t want one (a baby) because if I get one when I’m notimpaired (sic) for a baby, they take me away and my babyaway from me and have it up for adoption. I would feelhurt. So that’s why I don’t want anything right now.”Seabird Island informants tell of their lack of control in theprocesses they are involved in with the Ministry of SocialServices. The Ministry has taken a paternalistic stance,believing that they know what is right for the children involved,without accountability to the band. When band members have goneto the Ministry offices to enquire about Seabird Island childrenin care, the Ministry has shown a lack of concern forthe familyfrom which the children were apprehended. When an apprehensiontakes place, there are at least two parties involved;bothparties, usually the parent/s and the child/ren, needhelp fromsocial services. The child’s needs come first, especiallyif thechild needs protection, but it appears that the Ministry showslittle respect for the rights of family members. Thisgoes backto the problem that government agencies now have control of thechild as opposed to the family having control.It appears that some decisions have been high-handed. When oneinformant went to the local office of the Ministry ofSocialServices to discover what had happened to her son,the Ministry122representatives gave her the runaround.They gave both the childand the birth parents inaccurate informationto convince themthat both parties were geographicallyseparated by great distances, so they would be discouraged fromsearching for eachother. At this time the child waseighteen, one year youngerthan the age when they could reach eachother through the activeregistry in Victoria. The socialagency does not exist just forthe child. With some compassionfor the birth family, the socialagency could have explained thenew passive and active registryand helped the birth parents to locate theirson. Giving therunaround to people is not an ethical stance. Partof the frustration in this case, is the position ofpower that the Ministrytakes versus the lack of power ofthe child or birth parents.When Seabird Island Band members have taken control,the resultshave been positive. For example, the Bob White adoptionwasdifficult because he had a white father anda native mother.Band members considered him white. When his grandfatheradoptedhim, he could not foresee that when thechild maturedhe would beasked to leave the reserve by the other band members. Becausethe grandfather had power on the reserve, hecould legalize theadoption and have his grandson made an Indian.Frances John had to take controlwhen her sister died and left aninfant to be cared for. Because Frances movedquickly enough,she thwarted the Ministry of Social Services inits attempt toapprehend the child. The Ministry claimsthat before theyapprehend a child, they ask all relativesif they will take the123child. Frances John’s account tells a different story.6.3 Loss of RespectHaving respect for others and oneselfis an important value ofthe Seabird Island people. One way that band members maintaintheir existence is through their relationships with others.Losing respect is a key factor in the breakdown of relationships.The extended family bring children up to have respect. Whenthechildren face apprehension followed by placement, it has beentheir experience that they are not treated with respectby thesocial agencies or foster parents.In Linda Duncan’s experience, her foster parents lackedrespectfor her as a person. Here is a child, used to living on thereserve, suddenly taken from her home. She tells of beingstripped, showered, and scrubbed by strangers, and then givenclothing to wear that was not hers. Her foster parentsdid notafford her the privacy that a child might expect. How much extraeffort would it have taken to be aware of a child’s feelings andbe sensitive to the trauma that was taking place?For some Seabird Island children, their experiences withsocialworkers indicated a lack of respect by workers for the children’sability to understand what was happening to them and thechildren’s need to know what other actions the social agencywould take. Children placed into care have questions that needto be answered. Linda Duncan was scared; she lacked answers tohelp her with her feelings. After apprehension, she didn’t know124where she was going and why she was moved. She didn’t know ifshe would ever see her parents again. Sandy Parker found outthat Scott knew he was going to be moved again because hementioned it to his teachers. After a family turned him down foradoption once, he was much more aware of what was happening tohim than his social worker realized. It is hard to know just howmuch to tell a child because the worker does not know if theplacement is going to work out as planned. For a child who hasbeen involved in several placements, it seems important to letthem know what is going on. The child has had enough experienceto expect no permanency and to realize that change is about tohappen. Not to tell the child, is to leave the child’simagination open to worry that something is going to happen thatis worse. Sandy Parker’s recounting of Scott’s failed serialfoster placements makes it plain that Scott needed to know whatwas going to happen to him next. After the adoption move, he wasinsecure because he didn’t know when the next move was going tohappen.Robert Smiley noted his concern for the children who haveexperienced failed foster care and rebelled. He stated that theyhave no respect for themselves because of the way theyhave beentreated in care. These children lose their ethnicity and they canfind no place to belong in either the Indian or white society.Social agencies do not appear to make a connection betweenthenumber of Indian people in prisons and the number ofIndianchildren placed in non—native care.125“The John Howard Society reports that at least 75 percent ofthe inmates in Canada’s institutions were known to childwelfare authorities and that over 80 percent of thispopulation were both abused during childhood and becamewards of the state during their childhood or adolescence.Among this population, gross underachievement and loweducational attainment are the norm” (Kendrick, 1990:68).Robert Smiley believes that there is a direct connection becausehe visits the native inmates, many of whom he says, have experienced failed foster and adoptive care as children.As a matter of survival, the Seabird Island people also respectthe land. The land is their resource for food, clothing, shelter, warmth, and as leased land, it provides income for the band.The Seabird Island people see the land as a legacy that will behanded down to the children. Some band members used “custom”adoption to ensure that a parent could control who inherited theland. This is especially true for those adoptive parents wholacked biological children of their own.6.4 Foster CareNearly every informant had knowledge or experience of fostercare. Often they experienced not only the apprehension of achild and the initial placement with a foster parent, but theyalso experienced adoption or serial foster care of the same childor another family member.As informants recounted their experiences, one startling thingthat came out was that many of them did not know why the Ministryhad taken away their children. Upon further investigation, itappears that the Ministry gave them reasons, but those reasons126did not make any sense to them. They lived in a child-centredculture where seeing to the needs of the childwas paramount tothe survival of the band. For example, Nora Tom was living athome with her grandparents. Several extended family members plusher husband also shared this home. The Ministry took this youngmother’s baby before she could even return homefrom the hospitalbecause there were too many people living in thehouse.Nora Tom also noted that the criteria used had no bearingonIndian values or way of life. The reserve nurse didnot considerher qualified to look after the baby because the nursethoughtthat she was a dependent under the care of her grandparents.Nora defined good parenting as giving love, havingpatience,providing security and safety in the home, and providing food,clothing, shelter, etc. Each informant questioned thecriteriaused by child care agencies to apprehend a child; inparticular,they questioned the criterion that defined neglect.Few of the informants had their children returned to them;theMinistry fostered many of these children off thereserve.Consequently, this has resulted in the loss of children whoareband members of Seabird Island. As well, when the Ministryapprehended children from the family, the band members had littleor no counselling to help them deal with the problems thathadnecessitated the apprehension in the first place. Forexample,Ida Duncan and her husband needed alcohol abuse counsellingwhenthey were in their twenties, long before the Ministry apprehendedtheir last child. Without their children, the Duncan’sappeared127to move towards a greater dependence on alcoholresulting in adeterioration of their health and eventuallyMr. Duncan’s death.6.5 Foster ParentingSome informants have made a point of providing foster careon thereserve because the Ministry had apprehended them aschildren offthe reserve. These informants are determined tostop the genocide of band members. Mildred Roberts, long past the Ministry ofSocial Services’ maximum age requirement, still triesto help thechildren. She wants them to know their relatives.Depending on the informants’ experiences,many band membersexpressed concern over the criteria for choosing foster andadoptive parents. There was apprehension about participating inthe home study process. Many members said that the home studywould find that they were not good enough to beparents. NoraTom said that it was degrading to have her home checked. Becausethe band is a small community, there is local knowledge aboutsocial problems and attempts to right them. Band members saidthat they would lose respect if they failed a home study.Because they value respect by others, some band members would notallow themselves to be put in the position of being turned downfor foster or adoptive parenting.There was also the concern that only perfect homes would bechosen. The band members know that the Ministry does a thoroughinspection of prospective homes. Band members expressed anxietythat the Ministry might find out something in their background128that would prevent the Ministry fromfinding them acceptable.Some members even worried that somethingmight be found that theydidn’t even know about. One informant indicated that when arelative requires care the Ministry should not be involved.Informants also suggested that they were afraidthat during thehome study, they would not have the ‘right’answers to theMinistry’s questions. Frances John saidthat if she didn’t thinkof good answers, the Ministry would takeher baby away. Bandmembers are aware of the Ministry of Social Services’criteria.Randy Smith noted that he had to have a bankaccount and a goodcredit rating to be an acceptable fosteror adoptive parent. TheMinistry did not accept many band members whowere good choicesto be foster or adoptive parents because these band membersdidnot have money saved in the bank or they had a lowincome. TheMinistry felt that they could not afford to havea child in theirhome.This is a major problem with all minorities, not just Indians.In North America, it has been difficult for minorities to adoptor foster children because of their low economicposition in thelarger population. The social agencies assume that low incomemeans inability to parent. Because a middle-class incomestandard is used to determine the acceptability of foster oradoptive parents, low income minoritiesare not chosen forfoster/adoptive care placements (Kirk, 1988c:59;). TheUnion ofB.C. Indian Chiefs has also noted that thisis the case fornative people. Its report states,“The format of Adoption Application,Background Study and129investigation process is intimidating and/or perceived asunnecessarily discriminating toward Indians of lowersocioeconomic status either in the forms themselves or theapproach of the worker involved” (Elmore, Clark and Dick,1974:23).Informants stated that they did feel intimidated by the socialagency home study and investigation. They were concerned thatthey would not be able to answer questions correctly. They saidthat there were ‘right’ answers that would make them acceptable.One reason that Seabird Island people prefer “custom” adoption isthat there is no investigation by the Ministry of Social Servicesto determine if they are fit parents.Lack of parental experience is also a factor that causes frustration on the reserve. A key problem for Yvonne Duncan is that shetried to assume custody of several family members and was unableto because the courts did not recognize her parenting experience.Yvonne was the oldest of nine children. Because her alcoholicparents could not or would not care for their family, Yvonne hadto assume the responsibilities of a parent and look after heryounger siblings. It is extremely frustrating to see members ofyour family disappear off the reserve when you feel you canprevent it. In “custom” adoption, the children would haveremained on the reserve, perhaps with Yvonne. Linda Duncan alsoplayed the role of “mom” to Scott, her younger brother. It isthat very strong bond that now helps to make the open adoptionwork for both families. Scott will always have Linda as hisconnection to the band and his family. Linda will always lookout for Scott, though he is off-reserve.130Age is another factor considered by the Ministry. This criterionmakes little sense in a culture where many care-givers are intheir fifties and sixties. One informant said,“The Ministry’s standards have to be young enough to carefor the children and financially able to care for the child.So that takes the grandparents out of the picture andprobably about seventy-five percent of the extendedfamilyout of the picture.”Besides the need for participation from the grandparents, thegrandparents need to be needed. When the Ministry tells thegrandparents that they are too old to care for a child,it is aninsult not easily forgotten. Sarah White pointed out that thegrandparents live at a slower pace that allows thechild todevelop at their rate.Seabird Island people are concerned that criteria for adoptiveand foster homes are based on material values, such as thosevalues of the Euro-Canadian society. The Ministry’s physicalrequirement of houses and the financial criterion are examples ofthese concerns. Many informants indicated that the values thatwere important to them concerned love, compassion, safety, and acaring attitude.6.6 Off-reserve Foster HomesSeabird Island Band members have a legacy of fostering experiencethat is not easily dealt with. The Ministry sent someof theirband members to off-reserve foster homes where the fosterparentscriminally mistreated the children. Nora Tom recountstheexperience of her sisters and brother, who the Ministrysent toa home where they were horse-whipped, sexually assaulted,and131given rotten food to eat. Itis hard to imagine the horrors thatthose children faced. Not only did thesechildren lose theirIndian identity as mentioned by Tom, butthey lost trust in otherhuman beings, they lost a sense ofbelonging, and they lost theirself-esteem; they also lost theirfamily. It has become veryapparent that this is not an isolated experiencefor fosterchildren, especially native children (see Kendrick, 1990). Nowords can make this case better for the children involved,butthe Ministry of Social Services can be made to be accountable forthese atrocities. These are strong words, but very firmmeasuresmust be taken to protect the children. Had the Ministry giventhe grandparents extra funding or extra help to deal with thelarge family that needed care, perhaps then, these children wouldnever have suffered from the Ministry’s ineptness.Was thisdoing the best for the child?6.7 Group HomesSome group homes do not afford the child a caring, lovingenvironment in which to develop. Kendrick notes thatat this point, there is less attempt at socialization,the emphasis is on control, punishment, containment -- notimprovement of the child but protection ofsociety”(Kendrick, 1990:54).Group homes for native children are not usually geographicallyclose to reserves. This makes it difficult for family members tomaintain connections to the children from the reserve. The lossof kin connections may exacerbate the loss of identity andethnicity. A group home on the reserve could meanno physical132move off the reserve. If the group home was on the reserve, thechildren probably would have a sense of permanence. They wouldmore likely have a family to return to instead of going to urbanareas. They would likely know their family, being able to visitthem at any time. Possibly, they would retain their Indianidentity and they would not be exposed to other children who hadgreater problems to deal with, such as drug abuse. Yvonne Duncanin recounting her experience in the residential school, describeshow she became involved with the use of glue, marijuana andalcohol. Sibling groups might not be separated and the childrenwould not likely have to suffer serial foster placements. Olderchildren could stay in their peer groups, as they could attendschool with their friends on the reserve. A group home on thereserve could possibly give the Band Council the opportunity totrain and hire band members as house parents.6.8 Criteria for Group HomesMany band members said that the Ministry of Social Services usestoo strict criteria for house parents. This is another exampleof the Ministry using white middle-class standards when thosestandards are not important to the culture involved. The BandCouncil began the process of creating a group home on thereserve; it followed all the guidelines from the Ministry, butthe project had to be given up when the Band Council could notfind house parents that met the Ministry’s criteria. Randy Smithsaid, “All their rules were not important to us.” The BandCouncil had qualified house parents, but because these parentshad not gone through a Ministry course, the Ministry would not133accept them, He expressed concern over the fact that because noone on the reserve fit the Ministry’s criteria, the band wouldhave to go off the reserve to find house parents. This didn’tmake any sense to him because he thought that the children“should have house parents that they know. . .“ In thissituation, the band’s criterion places what is best for the childahead of what is best for social welfare administrators. RandySmith also expresses his frustration with the rules of the Ministry of Social Services. It is an insult to band members to betold how to look after their children. The root of the problemis that the power and responsibility for child welfare need to begiven back to the First Nations people and they need to be giventhe resources to manage it.The Seabird Island people have lived for centuries on the foodthat they have hunted, fished, and gathered. Yet, when theMinistry of Social Services came onto the reserve, they indicatedthat this diet that had sustained the band from the beginning,was no longer acceptable to serve to children in a group home.This is another example of the ethnocentrism of the socialagency. The Ministry gave the band menus that used foods thatthe band did not regularly eat and which band members consideredjunk food. Respect is an important value of the band. TheMinistry showed great disrespect for Indian values by insistingthat something so basic as diet had to be changed. With aconsideration for Indian values, the Ministry could havesuggested a typical meal plan for house parents to prepare thatincorporated all the foods that band members use.1346.9 Seabird Island Criteria for Foster and Adoptive HomesSeabird Island members know what criteria they woulduse if theywere in control of foster care and adoption. They would base iton the person’s ability to parent, the example s/he set,thestability of her/his relationships and her/his ability todiscipline, love, trust, and understand. Band members know thefamilies on the reserve better than the Ministry. All membersinterviewed said that the band chief and council were qualifiedto choose appropriate foster and adoptive parents for bandchildren. Informants expressed concern that even when theMinistry has consulted the band, that band recommendations havebeen over-ridden by the Ministry; the band sees the Ministry asholding the power in all child welfare decisions. All informantssaid that Indian criteria for good homes should be used becauseMinistry of Social Services’ criteria are ethnocentric and do notconsider the cultural differences of minority populations. RandySmith suggests that the Ministry should make it part of theirresponsibility to inform the child in care where s/he comesfrom.6.10 Impact of Separation Of SiblingsBecause it is difficult to place groups of children inadoptionor foster care homes, sibling groups have been broken-up by theMinistry of Social Services. This has resulted in thetotal lossof contact between family members. When familiesare distressedto the point of having the children apprehended, thereare oftenstrong bonds between the children who support each other throughthe trauma they face. The act of apprehension and separationoften tears apart that bond and causes psychological problems.135By not keeping sibling groups together, the Ministry denies thechild the memory of her/his family and takes away from that childthe concept of what a natural family is. This process hasdestroyed many Seabird Island families.Many informantsindicated that in their adoption experience, they wereseparatedfrom siblings. Some informants have never found thesefamilymembers; others, having found them, face distant angry brothersand sisters who were tooyoung at the time of apprehension toremember why this process happened. Some informants acknowledgethat they know where their siblings are, but they do notwish tobe in touch with them. The apprehension process destroysfamilies; it is in direct opposition to the values Seabird Islandpeople have about respect for others and the importance of themost basic unit of kinship, that of the mother and child.Mildred Roberts, willing to adopt sibling groups, expressedfrustration at the Ministry of Social Services who refusedtoallow such an adoption. In this case, it was the mother of thefamily in need who asked Mildred to take all the children.Mildred Roberts has never understood why the Ministry refusedher. She saw several families torn apart because the Ministryseparated siblings.It is likely that Mildred and other informants suffering the sameexperience, did not meet the criteria set down by the Ministry ofSocial Services. Economic status, age or the number of rooms intheir houses could have been factors in the refusals. Suchcriteria are not based on Indian values. It’s tragic that white136middle—class values for protection of children have destroyed thevery lives they were trying to save.The social costs that occur because of family separation, such aspsychological and justice costs, seem to be more than the extraassistance needed initially to maintain the family. Forinstance, Terry Hardy describes the separation of five siblingsunder the care of their grandmother. With extra helpin the homeand appropriate subsidization, perhaps the children couldhavestayed in the grandmother’s home so that as they grew up, thechildren could give each other support and love.Social workers separated sibling groups when the Ministry sentthe children to residential schools. Ida Duncan recountshowsocial workers split up her family after her father died (anolder brother went to Sechelt and a sister and brother went toKuper Island). How can this woman ever put her family historytogether? This kind of separation is a violation of the child—centred values of the Seabird Island people.6.11 Effects of Serial CareIt seems strange to use the expression “in care” when the typicalfoster care placement has resulted in the child feeling that noone cares for it. Apprehension and placement, much like divorce,do not form a single childhood trauma that will be healed by time(Wallerstein, 1991:233). Instead, from the informants’perspective, it is an on-going situation that will affect theirlife from childhood through to adulthood. Serial placement137exacerbates the trauma. Informants who recounted their feelingsabout the serial placements, often mentioned that no one caredabout their loneliness, their fears, their hurt. They alsoindicated that though their life was difficult within theirfamily, a move away from the reserve was worse for them than ifthey had stayed within the extended family. The children recog—nize that by staying in the extended family, they would know therules and they didn’t have to fear that they would be thrown out.They would have a place that they could call their own. An off-reserve placement does not provide them with a sense of security.The feeling of rejection and loneliness that foster childrenexperience is partially related to the way the Ministrysets upthe foster care system. Both foster parents and foster childrenknow that foster care is not necessarily a permanent situation.“Bonding -- the emotional attachment of a child to a trustedadult, usually the mother -- considered the most significantpsychological element of a child’s development, is activelydiscouraged in the majority of foster parent -- childrelationships. The children are only guests in their ownhome. The state, that vast web of agencies, departments,offices, and sub-departments, is the actual long-termparent” (Kendrick, 1990:11).Linda Duncan’s experience leads her to define foster parents aspeople who don’t care about their foster children. Each time theMinistry places a child in a temporary home, the social agency issetting that child up for failure; if the social agency deemsthe birth home no longer a good place to live, the child has aright to expect that the alternative will be both safe andpermanent and that the agency will act promptly to ensure this.138The Kimelman report on child welfare for the provinceof Manitobastated that children had the rightto a healthy, safe environ—ment, a right to family, a right to express themselves,and aright to have “expeditious procedures” (Kimelman, 1985:28).Seabird Island Band members expressed frustration about thediscontinuity of lawyers and the lack ofpromptness in childwelfare cases. Often, the courtshave held up a custody oradoption case for months while band memberswent over the casewith yet another new lawyer. Band members indicated concernabout the time the courts took to set court datesand completecustody and adoption hearings. While the courts movein slow andponderous fashion, the children involved inthese cases remain inlimbo.6.12 Permanency PlanningUntil Seabird Island children who require fostercare or adoptioncan remain on the reserve, some changesneed to be made to thepolicies that determine what happens tothem in care. What Ihave termed serial foster care or serial adoption has been termed‘drift’ in some of the social work literature.Concern has beenexpressed that with little stability or continuityin the careprocess, the children suffer psychologically. Theaccounts ofadoption experience of the Seabird Island people document thisdamage. These children needed a sense of permanencywith theirfoster parent; this has not been their experience.Recently, inthe United States, the term ‘permanency planning’ hasbeen usedto describe a process by which the child is assured of remainingwith one family for the duration of their care period,or assured139of remaining with their birth family in their homes (FeinandMaluccio, 1984:205). Preplacementpreventive services for thebirth family, subsidized adoption, and periodic case reviewsareused to implement this kind of plan. There is a concertedeffortto reunite children with their birth families. In permanencyplanning, the child has a legal status withinthe family thatcreates a sense of belonging and creates the psychologicalchild—parent bond that leads to self-esteem and identity. As well,thechild is no longer considered a ‘second class’ person with noreal status within the family or community. Feinand Malucciosuggest that permanency planning may lead to what they term‘half—way adoption’ (Fein and Maluccio, 1984:211).“Those youngsters who cannot live with their biologicalparents.. - may be ‘adopted’ by a family who will careforthem. they may still visit and feel connected totheirfamilies of origin, but will have their center of stabilityand permanence in the ‘adoptive’ home.,. The more open andflexible approach to adoption isresponsive to the universalneed of parents and children tocontinuity, identity, andhuman connectedness” (Feinand Maluccio, 1984: 211).This ‘half-way’ adoption is little differentfrom subsidized openadoption or subsidized custom adoption.6.13 Council of EldersSeabird Island people believe that if the Ministryallowed thecommunity to take back their responsibility for child welfare,the children and the band would be better off. Rather thanasking the Ministry of Indian Affairs to make decisions for them,they would prefer to take problems to the community wherediscussion followed by consensus would provide the solution.Informants suggested the formation of a Council of Elders,140similar to one operating in Chilliwack, as a way to bring thecommunity back into the decision making process. Prior tointerference by the government agencies, the Chief and Elderssolved problems; they talked to the families who wereexperiencing difficulties. The band worked together to deal withproblems. Now, following Indian Affairs policies, the band hasdivided up the responsibilities that the Chief and Elders had andhired band members to work in the band office to take care ofeducation, employment, health, and social work matters. SarahWhite commented, “It’s not working because they are separatingall the parts of the body.”6.14 SubsidizationFoster children know that their parents receive money for lookingafter them. When a child experiences serial placements, asidefrom the feeling of not belonging, s/he feels exploited. Thechild may believe that the foster parent is only fostering forthe money and that the foster parent lacks interest in thewelfare of the child. Linda Duncan is not sure if she is withher older sister because her sister loves her or because hersister needs the money. This cynical attitude comes more fromLinda1s experience of serial foster care than her concern thatsomeone receives money to help cover the cost of raising her. Ifthe social agencies provided a subsidy for adoptiveparents aswell as foster parents and practised permanency placement,children like Linda would not have such negative experiences.There is little doubt that more families on Seabird Island could141offer their homes for care, especially for siblinggroups, ifthey could receive a subsidy. This view is supportedby Ward(1984b:254)The practice of the Ministry of Social Services has been thateven if foster parent-foster child bonding has taken place, thatrelationship will be broken if an adoptive placement can be made.If what is best for the child’ is not a myth, then permanencyplanning should ensure that the child stays with a successfulfoster parent under a subsidy and that the foster parent isallowed to adopt the child so that the foster parent has therights and obligations of a parent. Subsidized adoption givesparents the right to make decisions for their child and creates agreater sense of responsibility in raising the child as opposedto foster care where stewardship is practised.Subsidization would offer the band an alternative to havingstrangers take their children into care. Foster parents have towork to provide for their own family. When a caring fosterparent is on a reserve and when they would be willing to fostermore children if they had an additional subsidy, it seems prudentto use this opportunity to give care on the reserve, rather thanhaving the child go off-reserve. Terry Hardy tells of herfrustration at having to give up foster children because of thedemands of her job. She would have preferred to stay at home tolook after both her own children and her foster children.When adoptive parents accept a child into their family, they also142accept the medical and dental coststhat that child will incur.If they were supporting theirown biological child, then theywould be responsible for the health of that childfrom conceptionon. Adoptive parents have no controlover how the birth parenttreated the child before the Ministryapprehended the child.Thus, many adoptive parents must payextremely high medical anddental costs to look after theadoptive child. That they arewilling to care for and love the childshould be enough. SandyParker suggests that such costsshould be subsidized to make iteasier for prospective adoptive parentsto accept children withspecial needs.6.15 Status forAdopted Indian ChildrenAn Indian child who is adopted off the reservemay never knowher/his status as an Indian. The adoptiveparents have the rightto inform a child of its status. Thoughsocial agenciesrecommend that the child should be told,the Ministry does notcheck to ensure that this is done. Accordingto the Indian Act,application for status must be made by the age oftwenty-one. InBritish Columbia, status registration must be completedby agenineteen. This is a concern of the SeabirdIsland people. Whenapprehended children are not registered withthe appropriatestatus number, the band loses members. Thosechildren who arenever told about their heritage, rights,and obligations as bandmembers and as Indians, are the‘lost children’ that informantsspeak about.The status card is the method the Indianand Northern Affairs143Canada uses to identify Indian people who are entitled to receiveservices from the government and the band. I.N.A.C. assign astatus number to the head of the household and the minor childrenof that household have a status number that uses the familyhead’s number as a base. Upon reaching the age of majority, theIndian child can then apply for its own number. A status childadopted by status parents retains their status. A non-statuschild adopted by status parents does not gain status.However, I.N.A.C. does not issue a status card for those minorchildren who are adopted off the reserve to non-status parents.The concern is that if a card was to be issued, theconfidentiality of the child’s adoption would become publicknowledge.“Whenever a status number is assigned, the number and nameappear on the Band list. The list is posted in aconspicuous location, as required by the Indian Act.. . In asmall Band, the birth identity of the newly registeredmember could already be known or easily traced”(McGillivray, 1985:439).The reason that Indian Affairs does not notify the children oftheir rights as status Indians is because Indian Affairs believesthat the adoption by non-status parents meets the obligations ofthe Department. The adopted Indian child does not give up allher/his status rights or treaty benefits upon adoption.McGillivray argues that because Indian Affairs does not informthe child and parents of the child’s rights and status, thatIndian Affairs is in breach of its mandate. She says,“DIAND does not ensure that the adopted child’s treatyrights are protected or lawful obligations met. This mac-144tion may result in involuntary enfranchisement. The childwho is unaware that he has status cannot apply for statusrecognition, and is effectively enfranchised without choiceand without receiving the financial settlement made uponenfranchisement” (McGillivray, 1985:447).There is a way that non-status adoptive parents may get theinformation that they need to enable their child to be aware ofits status and rights. McGillivray says,“Adoptive parents may apply to the Registrar on behalf ofthe child, giving all information they have about the adoption, including birth name and date. The Registrar willwrite confirming the child’s Indian status and confirm thechild’s Band membership. The letter accesses all financialbenefits and some educational benefits, including post-secondary education assistance. The letter will not accessmedical benefits as only a status number accesses the Indianhealth card” (McGillivray, 1985:463).A booklet entitled Adoption and the Indian Child was produced in1980 by Indian Affairs for the use of adoptive parents who arecontemplating adopting an Indian child. While it does presentsome information on definitions of status and non-status Indiansand the rights of status Indians, it contains a great manyerrors. It does not provide enough information for adoptiveparents who have adopted an Indian child and who wish to providethat child with the information s/he needs to have some kind ofunderstanding of her/his heritage.The model of child welfare that is now in place is not workingfor the children. The power to control the child welfaredecisions for Seabird Island Band should be returned to thepeople of Seabird Island. “Custom” adoption, used by the SeabirdIsland Band prior to the imposed child welfare model currently inpractice offers an alternative. The next chapter of this thesisoffers an analysis of “custom” adoption.145Chapter 7Analysis of the Adoption Experiences: “Custom” AdoptionThis chapter presents an analysis of SeabirdIsland “custom”adoption. The analysis begins witha definition of “custom”adoption and its functions, followed by adiscussion of issuesrelating to “custom” adoption, such as a child-centred community,validation of “custom” adoption, thelegalization of customadoption, and cross-cultural examples of customadoption. Thischapter ends with a discussion of theadvantages of “custom”adoption.7.1 Seabird Island Band’s Definition of “Custom”AdoptionSeabird Island people define “custom” adoptionas the process oraction of caring for a child or childrenwhose parents are unableto care for them. This care may be of short or longtemporaryduration, after which the child or childrenreturn to the parent.It differs from child-minding or babysittingin that the parentaks the adoptive parent to take full responsibilityfor thechild or children and make all parental decisions. “Custom”adoption is also the permanent care of a child or children whenthe parent can no longer care for them. The grandparents areusually the care givers of the grandchildrenin “custom”adoption. This care is not related to any child welfareinterference on the reserve by the Ministry of Social ServicesinBritish Columbia. Because there are few grandparents who can146give this care now, uncles and aunts or closefamily friends alsoact as care givers in the “custom” adoption process.It is alsothe experience of Seabird Island people,that a child may movefrom extended relative to extended relativefor “custom” adoptioncare.Band members complete “custom” adoption throughverbalagreements. There is no use of the judicial system andno paperis used to record the exchange. The one exception to thiswasthe “custom” adoption of Randy Smith whose father gave writtenauthorization for his adoption. This adoption occurred whenFirst Nations people became concerned about validating “custom”adoption so they would not get into trouble with the IndianAffairs Department; Randy Smith’s birth father thought thatthepaper he signed would be legal enough for the Department. Thereis no exchange of money or gifts. The child knows her/his birthparents and often calls them by their first name. Knowledge ofthe adoption is public on the reserve. Adoption is not a secretprocess with closed files and no access to genealogicalinformation. This openness is necessary because it allows theband members to know the genealogy of each member. Because ofmarriage rules and incest taboos, adoption secrecy cannot bemaintained. “Custom” adopted children may freely visit theirbirth family. Children who have been “custom” adopted refer totheir adoptive parents as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ and use the terms‘sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin’, and ‘grandparents’ torefer to their adoptive extended family. Band members substitutethe stronger relationships and kinship terminology of father and147mother for the extended relationships of grandparent, uncle, oraunt, and cousins become siblings. The birth parents do notinterfere with the upbringing of the child because the communityrecognizes the adoptive parents’ role.In “custom” adoption, thechild takes on the family name of the adoptive parents and hasfull inheritance rights and obligations as theiradopted child.The child may be given an Indian name at a name-giving ceremony;“custom” adoption does not preclude this honour.As well,“custom” adopted people may receive dances, masks, andproperty.Both children and adults may be “custom” adopted by bandmembers.“Custom” adoptees retain their status within the band; theyremain in the same class that they were in prior to the adoption.Retention of class status occurs because adoptive parents onlyadopt children within their class. Though children may beadopted by non-family members, it is more typical that a familymember would adopt them; the term ‘family’ may refer to fifth toeighth cousins. Seabird Island people practised “custom”adoption before contact and it is still practised to-day.7.2 Function of “Custom” Adoption“Custom” adoption allows the children to learn from other familymembers. “Custom” adoption creates alliances between thesefamily members and shares the responsibility of bringing thechildren up; it also functions as a solution for dealing withfamilies in crisis. “Custom” adoption provides the grandparentswith the companionship of a child and the child, when old enough,helps the grandparent with daily work. The grandparents play asocializing role in the band. The band members view the children148as a resource of the band and “custom” adoption isa way ofsharing resources which strengthenskinship ties. Seabird Island“custom” adoption also allows band members to passoninheritances. Today, “custom” adoptionallows the children ofthe band to remain on the reservewithout the Ministry of SocialServices intervening.7.3 Who Are the ‘Real’ Parents?Seabird Island people place a high valueon the parenting skillsof band members. In Euro-Canadian adoption,the child is seen tohave a ‘real’ parent and an adoptiveparent; the use of theterms ‘natural parent’ or ‘real parent’indicates that the adoptive parent is unnatural. On SeabirdIsland, the peoplerecognize the adoptive parent as the parent, perceivingit to beequal to and not less than the natural parentof the child. TheSeabird Island people share the role of parent. This means thatone person cannot be defined as a more ‘real’ parentthananother.7.4 A Child-Centred BandAll informants indicated that the children of the bandwere ofspecial importance. One said that the children were the powerand strength of the band. Seabird Island people see theirfutureconnected to the well-being of the childrennow.The issue of methods of child rearing is one criterionthatsocial workers use to apprehend children from the reserve.Social workers have apprehended childrenbecause in the workers’149view, they were not being properly cared for. Informantssuggested that social workers from the Ministry of SocialServices did not understand that the Seabird Island people had adifferent approach to child rearing than the approach used byEuro-Canadians. Patrick Johnston, referring to First Nationspeople in general, notes some of those differences.“A pacifistic approach to child rearing meant that Nativefamilies adopted other means of socializing and discipliningtheir children. It was believed that children learned byimitation, so the concept of the adult-as-role-model wasfundamentally important. The development of positive andappropriate behaviour in children was fostered by publicopinion and the use of community approval or disapproval.Humour and teasing were employed as a means of discipline inboth Indian and Inuit society” (Johnston, 1983:68).Many informants stated that Seabird Island was a child-centredcommunity. By this they mean that it is a community where seeingto the needs of the child are paramount to the survival of theband. Seabird Island people place a much value on theirrelationships with other people in the Seabird community. Theirmethods of child discipline are people oriented rather thanrelated to objects such as money or careers.Because Seabird Island is a child-centred community, the bandmembers find the negative adoption and foster care experiences ofband members incomprehensible. One informant noted,“(The participation of the Ministry in child welfare)changes a lot. Where it used to be child-centred, it iscare-giver centred. The needs of the child used to be thefocal point. Like the child needed you. Nowadays, its..the care giver needs this child so she can get money to dothis and this. . . It’s changed the whole focus of the way itwas.”Informants do not recognize care decisions made for them as inthe best interest of the child or band. The band wishes to150return to “custom” adoption so that the community can makedecisions for the children. They see this process as preferableto the present process where a social worker, the courts, and theparent decide what will happen.7.5 Validation by Closed LegalAdoptionBecause governments have not legalized “custom” adoption, thoseband members who have used this adoption process usually formalized the adoption by completing a closed legal adoption. Ofthesix cases of closed legal adoption documented, three cases wereinitially “custom” adoptions that band members validated byclosed legal adoption. These “custom” adoptions could notbelegalized any other way. Had the government legalized “custom”adoption at the time, the parents would not have gone through theclosed adoption process.There are several reasons why parents choose closed legaladoption. For the parents of young children, “custom” adoptionat the present time may leave the children and family unprotected, whereas the closed legal adoption does not. Band memberssuggested that they worried that the Ministry of Social Servicescould come in at any time and take away their children unless theparents legalized the process.For older children or adults, band members followed “custom”adoption with closed legal adoption to protect the adoptedchild’s status within the band or to protect the child’sinheritance, usually property on the reserve. The Bob White151closed legal adoption is an example of this strategy.Another reason families have decidedto go through closed legaladoption is that after having a child in theirfamily for a fewyears through “custom” adoption, they discoverthat this processhas not been legalized in Canada and they feel they havetolegalize it. Informants suggested that withoutthe validation ofthe “custom” adoption, they might be cut off fromassistance fromIndian affairs or other government agencies.Leo Howard said,“Now, for custom adoption, they usually signpapers, eh,Get custody, family allowance, transfers, and someof themare now adopting them legally.”One “custom” adoption informant was upsetto find that, though hehad used his adoptive family namefor sixty-five years, thefederal government did not recognize it ashis real name. Hisadoptive parents had not validated his “custom” adoptionby alegal adoption, therefore as far as thegovernment was concerned,he was not adopted. This is one problem with“custom” adoption;since the legal system refuses to accept“custom” adoption as alegal process, the children and adoptive parents willbe forcedto either validate the adoption by goingthrough another adoptionprocess or remain in an illegal relationship.For First Nationspeople, this is untenable. It makes no sense to redotheadoption when according to their practices, the child is legallyadopted.7.6 Legalized Custom AdoptionThe legality of “custom” adoption is a grey area in Canadian law.152Both Inuit and Indian matters fall under the Indian and NorthernAffairs Canada jurisdiction, yet there is one customadoption lawfor some Indians and all Inuit and no custom adoptionlaw formost Indians. This situation could be called discriminationbecause aboriginal people living in the Northwest Territories,Quebec, and parts of Manitoba may custom adopt legally,whileaboriginal people in other parts of Canada may not.In Canada,most of the custom adoption cases that have reached the courtshave not been successful for First Nations people(see Carasco,1986:111-138, for legal discussion of cases). Thereare severalfactors involved in these decisions.To begin, the court system in Canada is based on the Euro-Canadian notion of the importance of the individual. In adoptioncases, the decision is based on what is in the best interestsofthe child as an individual. Therefore, the court doesnotconsider any legal argument with regards to the needsof a race,culture, or community. When an Indian band claims that the childmust be kept within the band for the survival of theband, it isarguing against the primacy of the individual. Towin such anadoption case, the band must prove that it is in thebestinterests of the child to remain on the reserve.Another factor is the assumption in inter-racial adoptioncourtcases, that we are moving towards a pluralistic societythroughinter-racial marriage and adoption. This kind ofassumptionimplies that concerns over the ethnicity of children in interracial adoptions is of inconsequential importance. Thisis a153continuation of the idea of assimilation that Indianscallattempted genocide. A review of custom adoptioncases heard inCanada indicates that the court has not consideredethnicity akey factor in making decisions. Because thereare few studies ofadult adoptees who have experienced trans-racial adoption,thereare few data to assess in order that one might determinetheconsequences that Indians have experienced and called genocide.The courts have decided that aftera child has been with anadoptive parent for a period, it is the loving relationshipthatsolidifies the union; the courts have not seenloss of ethnicityas a contributing factor to failed adoption or social problemsonce the child moves into the teenage years and beyond.Indianbands which have tried to have children custom adopted have seenthe courts give the children to non-native fosterhomes oradoption homes because ethnicity was not an issue for thecourts.Carasco notes that a report to a governmentminister indicatedthat the placement of Indian childrenin non-native homes did notimprove the well-being of the child. Instead, Indianadopteeswere unhappy, rebellious, and exhibited anti-social behaviour.Carasco notes,“It is ‘obvious that a major reason.. . is thatthe nativechild is a product of an ancient, deeply-rooted NorthAmerican culture, which is in almost every respectsignificantly at variance with the present Euro-Canadianculturalpatterning” (Carasco, 1986:115).I suggest that by not recognizing the consequences of transracial adoption, the courts have contributed tothe destructionof the Indian culture.In the 1960’s, custom adoption was legalized in the Northwest154Territories for both Indian and Inuit people. In the Re Katie’sAdoption Petition (1961), the court recognized that theadoptionlaws of the time were not working for the Inuit. In thejudgement, the judge indicated that the Inuit should be allowedto retain those practices that have worked for them until theyare prepared to accept a change to Euro-Canadian practices.TheJudge further stated,“In particular, although there may be some strange featuresin Eskimo adoption custom which the experts cannotunderstand or appreciate, it is good and has stood the testof many centuries and these people should not be forced toabandon it and it should be recognized by the court”(Justice Sissons in Morrow, 1984:246).Now, an Inuit custom adoption is legal after a simple affidavitis given to the Social Services Department (Johnston, 1983:96).The court does not approve or disapprove the custom adoption, butmerely certifies that the adoption has taken place in accordancewith Inuit practices.“The court order becomes a useful document for estatepurposes, as well as for regularizing birth certificates andmothers’ allowances. Because it is declaratory only, ofcourse, it can be given at any time after the event, evenafter a person reaches her majority” (Morrow, 1984:249).The province of Quebec also recognizes aboriginal custom adoptionas legal. Currently in Canada, there have been precedent-settingcases but custom adoption as a universal legal practice has notoccurred.in British Columbia, the courts have interpreted adoptionlawsstrictly regarding the definition of ‘parent’. In the“Mitchell”decision (1984), where an adoptive parent of a custom adoptedchild brought action under theFamily Compensation Act, the court155rejected the case becauseVT.in all cases dealing with customary adoptions, theadoptions had been validated. Without validation, theadoption did not confer legal rights or obligations on theadopted child or the adopting parents. The court held‘reluctantly’ that a ‘parent’ of a child who is adopted bycustom, but whose adoption has not been validated under astatute or ordinance, does not have the capacity to sueunder the Family Compensation Act. The ‘Mitchell’ decisionplaced a different interpretation on the customary adoptioncases from the one generally understood. According to thatdecision, adoption by custom is not in fact adoption asunderstood by the Adoption Act. The term is meaninglessthen because unless a custom adoption is validated, there isno adoption and no change of status” (Carasco, 1986:130).Yet, the British Columbia Royal Commission on Family andChildren’s Law, completed in 1975, recommended that thegovernment legalize custom adoption in B.C.Recently there has been some movement towards recognizing theneed for native adoptees to have contact with the native community, but governments have not translated this recognition intolegalizing custom adoption across Canada. The courts havediscussed the definition of custom adoption and the role of theband in custom adoption (see Carasco, 1986:127 re Natural Parentsvs. Superintendent of Child Welfare, 1975). There appears to beenough precedence across Canada to justify legalizing “custom”adoption.In 1985, the province of Ontario passed the Child and FamilyServices Act, which recognizes that,“wherever possible, services to children and their familiesshould be provided in a manner that respects cultural,religious and regional differences... (and) that Indian andnative people should be entitled to provide, wherever possible, their own child and family services, that all servicesto Indian and native children and families should be pro—156vided in a manner that recognizes their culture, heritageand traditions and the concept of the extendedfamily”(Carasco, 1986:133).The passage of this Act means that preserving the child’scultural identity is now an important part of the considerationsthat the court must make in deciding what is best for the child.However, there is still no provision in this newact to makecustom adoption legal. It is likely that the courts willneed atest case to make custom adoption legal in Ontario. It appearsthat to deny custom adoption in such a case would be an actioncounter to the intention of the Act. (Carasco, 1986:111-138).One informant from Seabird Island suggested thatwhen an adoptivehome is unavailable, that the band should make a tribal adoptionso that the child can remain on the reserve. This wouldbe a“custom” adoption where the child would stay with several bandmembers over a period of time. Other Indian bands attempted thiskind of custom adoption by going through the court system. Theresult was that the court did not recognize the band as a parent;the court was only willing to place the child with• .a couple who were willing and able to meet the society’sstandard as to housing, maturity and parenting capacity”(Carasco, 1986:127).The court does not consider the Indian band a legal entity so theit could therefore not apply for guardianship.7.7 Comparison to Other CulturesThe kinship process of adoption is universal and though differentin some ways, other cultures use adoption processes that are verysimilar to “custom” adoption as discussed here.157Though ethnographers of the various groups of Inuit people defineslight individual differences of custom adoption, both Inuit andIndian custom adoption practices may be considered similar inpurpose and practice (See Baliksi, 1970:108,122; Guemple,1979:34,33,90; Burch, 1975:53,129).In Australia, the Aboriginal communities have experienced similarchild welfare problems to those of the First Nations people inCanada and, as in Canada, governments have imposed the adoptionprocess on the Aboriginal people without consideration forAboriginal child welfare processes (Picton, 1986:159; Sommerlad,1977:170). Serial foster care, where foster parents changed thechild’s name several times without adequate record keeping, meantthat the child became ‘lost’ and return to the child’s birthparent became impossible. Aboriginal people have expressed theirconcerns about the use of white standards for foster and adoptiveparents, loss of ethnic identity, and the paucity of Aboriginalcare givers (Picton, 1986:158,159; Sommerlad, 1977:170). Aswell, social agencies eliminate many Aboriginal people fromconsideration as care givers because social agencies requireparents to be legally married; Aboriginal practice has been tolive in permanent de facto relationships that the courts do notsanction. (Sommerlad, 1977:171). As in the experience of FirstNations people, in Australia, a majority of the people needinglegal aid have a history of institutionalization,repeated fosterings or adoption by white families”(Sommerlad, 1977:168).Sommerlad notes that“the concept.. .that children belong to a collective unit158rather than to their parents is...derived from traditionalaboriginal social organization wherethe children were caredfor by the combined efforts ofa number of relatives, bothmale and female.. . In their methods ofchild-rearing aborigines emphasize undemanding security andthe physical demonstration of affection rather thandiscipline, training andmaterial comfort. . . In their view,if a child is well loved,it is well cared for, and parents cannot justly becriticised for their poverty, forthey do not consciouslydeprive their offspring of arightful due of material care”(Sommerlad, 1977:171,172).The Australia Aboriginals fear cultural genocideas well. Thisstems from their concern that theirfight for survival as adistinct culture will lose the support ofchildren who have beenadopted by white families (Sommerlad, 1977:174). In1976, anAustralian adoption conferencerecommended that Aboriginal peopleset up their child welfare agencies. Aboriginalchild welfareagencies have now been opened in the states of New SouthWalesand Victoria (Picton, 1986:161; Sommerlad, 1977:175).Thepurpose of these agencies is to increase the numberof placementsof Aboriginal children in Aboriginal families. The 1986Australian Law Commission did not recommend theinstitutionalization of custom adoption, but did givesupport tothe Aboriginal child welfare agencies (Chishoim,1987:71;Commission Report, 1992:128).In West Africa, Goody documents a kinship pattern that sherefersto as kinship-fosterage that the Gonyapractice. (Goody,1982:38). Between the ages of fiveand eight a son leaves hisbirth parents and lives with his foster parentsuntil he marries.The foster parent is either the mother’sbrother or the father’sfather or elder brother. A daughter may be takenby the father’ssister; a second daughter isgiven to the wife’s mother. In a159comparison of Gonya children, Goody found that many fosteredchildren had come from homes where death or divorce had brokenthe parent’s marriage (Goody, 1982:42). Kinship fosterage servesthe purpose of providing training, companionship, and service tofoster families as well as maintaining kinship ties (Goody,1982:46).Murdock provides a brief description of Javanese adoption.Adoption there is confined to people who have no biologicalchildren of their own. Adoptive parents complete no legalprocess except for the registration of the child with the headman. The child has the same rights ‘legally, socially, andemotionally’ as a biological child and retains equal rights ofinheritance (Murdock, 1960:103).Scheffler describes an adoption process in Choiseul Island thatis also very much like the Seabird Island “custom” adoption.When parents die, children there are adopted; they do notusually change their descent group affiliation as other familymembers adopt them.“If someone other than his immediate kin adopts a child andeffectively assumes the role of ‘parent’ then the childpurportedly acquires secondary membership in the adoptor’s(sic) descent group. He does not thereby lose the right ofmembership in any other group to which he is relatedconsanguineally” (Scheffler, 1965:102).Firth describes adoption practices in Polynesia that are similarto “custom” adoption. The children have full rights, accept newnames, are adopted by family members, have contact with their160birth family, and are considered to belongto the group ratherthan just to the nuclear family (Firth, 1936:204-205, 588—595).He defines the functions of these adoption practices as a meansto ensure a male heir gets his inheritance, add members to thefamily, pay obligations to a spirit, ensure social unification,acquire resources, retain property within the family, and toprovide companionship (Ibid.). As well, in the Trobriand Islands(Weiner, 1988:37) and in Borneo (Miller, 1928:60),adoptionpractice is based on similar criteria to those of Seabird Island“custom” adoption practices.7.8 The Advantages of “Custom” Adoption“Custom” adoption allows the child to retain her/hisculturalheritage. The child is not removed from the family, the valuesand customs that the child understands are maintained, and no newsystem of understanding is imposed on the child. Kinship tiesare preserved and the community supports the child as s/hematures. As well, a child who is “custom” adopted retainstherights of a status Indian on the reserve and can becomeknowledgable about those rights and the obligations of a bandmember. Besides the benefits to the child, “custom” adoptionallows the extended family to assume its role as care givers.This is particularly important to the grandparents. Some informants expressed their concern for the welfare of the grandparents;band members referred to them as ‘depressed’ because they hadlost some of the respect reserved for Elders. This may be due inpart to the fact that they have not playedan active role in161teaching the children and in providing care forgrandchildren.A return to more active use of the “custom” adoptionprocess asopposed to the social agency adoption processes would returnanimportant role to the grand-parents. “Custom”adoption alsoprovides the children with the contactwith their birth familyand it allows the band members ‘to know theirrelatives’. In“custom” adoption, the birth parents, adoptive parents,and theadoptee do not have to suffer from the fears of theunknown, suchas not knowing where they came from, why they wereput up foradoption, and how they are now. Thechildren and adults can geton with the business of developing strong loving relationshipsbecause they do not have to fantasize aboutwhat ‘really’happened. They have their birthright and it is acontinuousprocess.162Chapter 8Conclusion8.1 Summary of Results of Field WorkThis thesis answers the following questions: What are theadoption experiences of the peopleof Seabird Island? What dothese experiences mean to them and how can theychange adoptionto suit their community?I conducted this applied anthropology projectusing a negotiatedresearch model. The purpose ofthis model is to work with acommunity to provide research thatthey require while satisfyingthe requirements of academic research. Seabird IslandBandrequired the documentation of the adoptionexperiences of theband members and the definition of“custom” adoption. The twentyin—depth interviews provide a representativesample of bandadoption experience.I have documented the adoption experiences of informantswhorecounted four types of adoption experience:foster care, closedlegal adoption, open adoption, and “custom”adoption. Of thefour kinds of experiences, the open adoption processis atypical.The open adoption is the result of a pilot project involving anon-native adoptive family and a Seabird Island childwho is atrisk. In this adoption, the key concern is theability of boththe band and the adoptive parents to maintainthe child’s163identity and ethnicity. Open adoption as defined for the pilotproject provides an alternate care process when a child is atrisk on the reserve.The analysis of these adoption experiences focuses onthree areasof concern of the band members: ethnic identity, power and thechild welfare system, and a definition and discussion of “custom”adoption. The imposition of Euro-Canadian methods of childwelfare has challenged the Seabird Island band’s very survival.Band members with Indian values that give importance to family, achild-centred culture, the role of Elders and respect, struggleto survive against the pressure of the dominant society toconform to Euro-Canadian values. I have documented theeffectsof an imposed system of child welfare that has failed thechildren and their families. Band members question the criteriaused to both apprehend and house the children. Loss of identity,power, and status are the results of this failed system.I have documented and described Seabird Island “custom” adoption.Band members, fortunate to be “custom” adopted, retain theirIndian identity, ethnicity, and status. They suffer lesspsychological trauma because they maintain contact with theirbirth family, adoption family, and the band. “Custom” adoptionallows extended family members to retain their roles as caregivers. “Custom” adoption is not legal in British Columbia,therefore, some band members have validated it with the closedlegal adoption process. The right to “custom” adopt means theright to survive as Indian people.1648.2 EthnographicFindingsIn this thesis I make several contributions to the understandingof adoption processes, kinship, and the Seabird Island people.1. For the Seabird Island people, the term “custom” adoption isinclusive, that is, the process incorporates several child careresponsibilities over both short and long periods of time. Thiscare may be of short or long temporary duration, after which thechild or children return to the parent or it may be permanentcare. It differs from child-minding or babysitting in that theparent asks the adoptive parent to take full responsibility forthe child or children and make all parental decisions. In theEuro-Canadian culture, the termsadoptioniis exclusive, that is,it is confined to permanent care only.2. The Seabird Island people do not construct a lineal structureto describe their kin relations and genealogies. They refer totheir kin structure as a webbed circle that overlaps and interconnects with other webs of extended families. The immediatefamily (mother, father, children, grandparents, uncles, andaunts) is at the centre of the web rather than the individual(ego).3. The Seabird Island people refer to relatives far removedas‘friends’4. In adoption research, there are few studies that documentthefeelings and experience of the adult adoptee. Inthis thesis, I165have contributed to the knowledge aboutthe inner world of theSeabird Island adult adoptees’experiences and what thoseexperiences have meant to them.5. I suggest in this thesis that the acts of apprehensionandadoption do not form a single childhoodtrauma that may be healedby time. Rather, these acts impinge onthe ongoing life of thenative child and the results of the trauma maycontinue to eruptduring its adult life.6. In the view of Seabird Island people, the childbelongs to theband and s/he is the responsibility of band members; s/he is aband resource. In custody cases, the court bases itsdecisionson defining the psychological parent. There are few longitudinaladoption studies and no longitudinal adoptionstudies thatinvolve minorities. There is no research that providesproofthat one parent is better than more thanone parent (Wallerstein,1991:232). For this reason alone,the courts should be open toaccepting other notions of family not basedon white middle-classcriteria. “Custom” adoption onSeabird Island provides a groupof parents who have the best interestsof the child at heart.When a child belongs to the band,the band should be able toadopt it. The “custom” adoption modelmay be considered aslegitimate for custody court cases.7. In this thesis I have described“custom” adoption as it ispractised by the Seabird Islandpeople.1668.3 Concerns for the Futurea) Child Welfare Problems for the BandYvonne Duncan notes that one problem she faced when she and hersiblings went to her uncle’s home to live, was the large size ofhis family and the small size of his house. As much as they werewelcome there, there just was not enough room for them tostay.There are 165 children up to the age of seventeen on SeabirdIsland. This is forty-three percent of the population. Withlarge families and standard single family housing for nuclearfamilies, there is little room for extra children who need care.This is one problem that needs to be planned for should the bandtake over child welfare responsibilities.When a band works very hard to bring a child back to the reserveand arranges for foster care or adoption, it is not likely thatthey worry about what will happen if the parent leaves thereserve. One such parent does worry about this scenario. TerryHardy asks,“What happens if I decide to leave? Am I going to loseher?”This is a valid question and it needs to beaddressed in the bandpolicies regarding child welfare. Isit in the best interests ofthe child to take the child away from theparent if the parent ismoving to another reserve?Another issue that needs to be faced by prospectiveadoptive orfoster care parents is that of the effectthat adoptees or foster167children have on the family alreadyat home. Terry Hardy notes,“It’s hard to foster. You’reexposing your own kids to hardkids and your kids don’t understandwhy these kids use badlanguage and know more thanthey should. You protect yourkids from this and then theygot exposed through fosterkids.”Should the band take over allthe child welfare matters that arenow the Ministry’s responsibility,the issue of the children atrisk will be a problem. A solutionmust be found that willensure the safety of the child.This may mean that the childwill be adopted off the reserve,perhaps through open adoption.The problem is that the reserveis a small community where it maybe difficult to find a home farenough away from the birth hometo ensure that the child is in arisk-free home. Yvonne Duncan’sexperience in trying to have custodyof her siblings is proof ofthis problem. Perhaps the solutionwill be to look for aneighbouring reserve where the childhas relatives. The SeabirdIsland people refer to their kinshipconnections as a webbedcircle that overlaps and interconnectswith the circles of otherfamilies over a large geographic area thatextends far beyond theboundaries of the reserve. Inthis structure the immediatefamily (mother, father, children,grandparents, uncles, aunts) isat the centre of the circle, not the individualor ego (seeSuttles, 1987b, 1987c, for a discussionon communities andkinship ties; see Miller, 1989, for a discussionof networks).The Ministry has often treated the bandsas separate entitieswhereas the bands are connectedto each other by a web of kinshipties.168Several informants expressedconcern that the band could noteasily take over their childwelfare responsibilities becausethere is a paucity of acceptable homes.Other band members saidthe opposite; they indicated that thereare lots of families thatwould be willing to take inchildren who needed care. It appearsthat the kind of criteria used bythe band to determine safe,loving homes is at the crux ofthis problem. If the band usedthe criteria used by the Ministry of SocialServices, there wouldlikely be a shortage. This is because age and financialrestrictions eliminate many band members from caring forchildren. However, if the band uses their criteria based onSeabird Island values, there are likelyto be enough homes forthe children in need of care. Several informants suggested thatthe number of homes available, would depend on the level ofparticipation of the Ministry. The band members do not wish togo through a home study process.b) Rejection, a Universal ConcernAdoptive parents have a universal concern, well-documentedin thesocial work literature. They worry aboutwhat will happen whentheir adopted child finds out they are adopted.Even thoseparents who have very liberal views ofadoption express concern.Their prime concern is the rejectionof the adoptive family bythe adoptee. Experience has shown that ifparents are honestwith their adopted children fromthe beginning and if they givethe children a loving upbringing,the children will remain partof their family forever. This doesnot mean that the child willnot express interest in searchingfor her/his birth parents or169actively search for them. The child is entitledto her/his birthright, that is the information aboutthe birth parents. Thisconcern crosses cultural barriers.On Seabird Island, informants who had lost childrento apprehension off the reserve, expressed concern about thereturn of achild. They were afraid s/he would rejectthe Indian values andIndian heritage. Part of that rejectionmay entail amisunderstanding of the circumstances of the apprehension.Onthe other hand, non-native mothers who had adopted or fosteredSeabird Island children worried that the child wouldreturn tothe band and reject their adoptive family. Nora Tom indiscussing her son’s foster mother, notes,“She’s a very nice woman, but she’s stingy of him.She’sscared to lose him. That’s what she’s afraid of... That’sthe first thing she said to me when I met her.‘Don’t takehim away. Don’t take him away. He’smy son. He’s my son.’I said, ‘He’s our son.Sandy Parker has thought about what will happen if Scottdecidesto leave his adoptive family and return to the reserve.Shesays,“Quite often if I’m angry with Scott, or disciplininghim,that’s when I think, is he going to hold this againstmesome day?... (Is he) just going to go forget it, you know.You’re not my real mom. You don’t love me and you used toswat me. Yeah, I definitely have thoughts and wonderwhathis decision will be when he’s older.”It is universal for adoptive mothers to be worried about therejection of an adopted child; this is also true for mothers andtheir biological children.170c) is Open Adoption a Solution?One argument used by proponents of closedlegal adoption is thatby keeping the detail of the adoption secret,you do not have toburden the adopted child with potentialconflict. There is abelief that the knowledge about havingtwo mothers is too much tohandle for the adopted child. Inopen adoption, the child hasthis information from the very beginning.Sandy is dealing with a child who has survivedmany failed fosterhome placements. Sandy Parker hashad much work to do to makeScott understand that he is not goingto move any more. Scott isa small child who can’t remember howmany foster homes he’s beenin because there were so many. She is attemptingto help Scottdeal with this history by having him make scrap booksabout hisfamily. She has requested that the socialagency help her bycontacting former foster parents for picturesand remembrances ofhis time with them. She had arrangedfor him to make shortvisits to these foster homes so that he can rememberwho thepeople are. Part of this work is to remind Scottthat the familyhe is with now, is different; he willnot have to leave in sixmonths. Sandy has his Life Book as up todate as possible.Sandy feels a responsibility for teachingScott the ways of theSto’lo people. Therefore, she has madesmall dolls that she andScott can role model so that he can understandthe differentkinds of family he has. With the helpof the band and a socialworker, she has set up a contact person in the band, who willhelp to teach Scott about his culture. If “custom”adoption for171children at risk had been an option, Scott would beon thereserve with his younger sister. But since it is not an option,yet, this open adoption pilot project is the best alternative.There are few parents who are willing to put in such an effortinto working with one child when they have to take care of thedemands of family. Scott is fortunate to have foundnew parentswho have this energy and dedication. Scott’sbirth mother shouldknow that he is happy now.8.4 Recommendations to the Seabird Island Band CouncilIn applied anthropological research, where the researcher worksfor an agency or culture, it is important to make recommendationsbased on the research so that the agency or culture canuse theresearch effectively. With that in mind, I make the followingrecommendations to the Seabird Island Chief and Council. Irecognize that some recommendations will require major changes inthe child welfare services that now exist. The band has recognized this need for change; I hope this research will assist themin the tasks they undertake to improve their community.As indicated in the history of adoption in Canada, severalagencies have been formed to return child welfare services toIndian bands, using a variety of models. The Awasis Agency ofNorthern Manitoba (Awasis) has developed a comprehensive childwelfare service, fully funded by both federal and provincialgovernments (Damm, 1992:55). Provincial legislation providesforthis new approach to child welfare that is based on the beliefs,customs, and values of the Elders in each northern Manitoba band.172Awasis does not include customadoption as named in their frameof reference, but two defined adoptiontypes, that is ‘spouse orgrandparent adoption’ and ‘extended familyadoption’ (Damm,1992:59), are equivalentto the “custom” adoption model aspractised by Seabird Islandpeople. To date, in BritishColumbia, the Ministry of SocialServices has entered intoagreements for the developmentof First Nations family and childservices with four groups: theNuu—Chah-Nulth Tribal Council, theMacleod Lake Band, theCarrier-Sekani Tribal Council, and theSpallumcheen Band (Ministry of SocialServices, 1991:7). Thesepeople have set a precedent in this provinceand Seabird Islandband has several models from which tochoose. I recommend thatthe Seabird Island Band strive for the application of oneofthese models.I recommend that the Seabird Island people ask the Ministry ofSocial Services to work out a joint plan for transferof childwelfare responsibility to the Band Council. Toaid this process,I propose the following subsidiary recommendations:1. That until the Band Council assumes social welfareadministration and operation, that the chief andcounciltake a more active role with the Ministry in tellingchildren from the reserve already under care wherethey comefrom, that they have rights, obligations,status, andproperty, and that they are welcome to returnto the reservewhen they are released from the supervision of theMinistryof Social Services.1732. That the Band Council ensure that NO sibling group isseparated upon apprehension unless it is a memberof thatgroup that is the cause of the apprehension order.“Custom” adoption offers social workers the optionofkeeping the sibling group together. “Custom” adoptionmaintains the structure of the family. Thefamily is morebroadly defined, so there is greater support at thecommunity level for the care of a group of children.Thechildren stay with family members, on the reserve,so theynever have to break the bonds between siblings. Should asibling group be divided among a number of families, theyare still connected and in contact with each other.3. That the Band Council ask the province of BritishColumbia to institute custom adoption by requiring the BandCouncil to present an affidavit confirming the “custom”adoption to the provincial court office (this being similarto the requirements of the Northwest Territories).4. That the Band Council contact and request Schools ofSocial Work to include the First Nations “custom” adoptionmodels in their curriculum, that they encourage and supportthe hiring of aboriginal faculty members, that socialworkers in the field have training in aboriginal childwelfare issues, and that the social workers begin to enableFirst Nations people to assume responsibility for theirchild welfare.1745. that the Band Council encourage some bandmembers tocomplete Master of Social Work credentials sothat when theband assumes child welfare responsibilities, the bandsocialworker will have equality with other socialworkers workingfor the Ministry.6. that the Band Council provide appropriate trainingforband members in child welfare matters prior tothe bandassuming child welfare responsibilities.To make self—determination viable, band members will need theskillsnecessary to deal with the dominant societyand manage bandinterests.7. that the Band Council ask the Ministryof Social Servicesto provide a subsidy for parents who wish to fosteror adoptbut who cannot because of costs.Subsidization for adoptive parents would allow more parentsto provide care. It would open the recruitmentof adoptiveparents to include those who are on a limited income; forFirst Nations children, it would create more homes on thereserve and provide the special medical and dental care thatsome children need.Kimelman notes that the cost of placing one child in a grouphome is greater than the same cost to have an experiencedchild care worker provide full time service to onefamilyand to pay for the expertise of otherprofessionals that the175family might need, such as psychiatrists, homemakers ornutritionalists (Kimelman, 1985:300).He also suggests thatthe cost of maintaining a child in foster care is thirty-seven percent more expensive thanpaying subsidization foradoption (Ibid., 1985:249). If a solution makes human,cultural, and economic sense, it seems appropriatetoinstitute it.8. that the Band Council lobby for the resourcesto managechild welfare and that any agreement of transfer of fundscover quality care services.8.5 Final ObservationsWhether the Ministry of Social Services or theBand Council isresponsible for child welfare in the future, a list of criteriafor Indian adoptive and foster homes is needed. Hopefully,thenew criteria will incorporate the social, cultural,and spiritualvalues of the band, rather than those of the dominantsociety.As well, the financial criterion must be adjusted torepresentthe material values of the band and the reality of bandeconomics.With any form of adoption process, social agencies involvedshould be more accountable and should be in continual contactover the period of the child’s time with the adoptive family.Because social agencies have had little contact with adoptiveparents after finalization of the adoption, social agencies knowvery little about what happens in an adoption as the child176matures. This contact should not be in responseto problems butshould be viewed as preventivework to ensure that failed caredoes not result.When child welfare decisionsare made for the members of SeabirdIsland Band, it is important forsocial workers, lawyers, and thecourts to remember that the Seabird Island communityoffers itsown helping network and supportfor its members. By using thisnetwork, the professionals involved in childwelfare matters maybe assisted to show sensitivity towards theIndian values andculture. There is more than one way, that is theEuro-Canadianmodel, to take care of children. When professionalsrecognizethis, less anxiety and anger will emanatefrom band members.Rural communities pride themselves on their abilityto survivewithout the special programs or resources availablein urbanareas. A new approach to child welfareconcerns using self-helpand community networks will ensure thatwhat is best for thechild actually happens.Social workers need to show respect for childrenby finding outhow they feel about a placement and discussing impendingmoves.Some older children have had more life experiencethan manyadults. Social agencies should givethese children more controlover decisions social workers makefor their care. The child’sconcerns about placements, supervision,and additional moves needto be dealt with. If the primary concernis to do what is bestfor the child, then decisions that put a childin serial placements need to be reviewed. Temporary homes shouldonly be used177at the time of the initial apprehension. More care needs tobetaken to find one home for an apprehended child. Serialplacement in both foster care and adoption meansa failedprocess. It fails the child and it fails the community.Through “custom” adoption, failed serial placementswould belimited, if not eliminated.The empowerment of the Seabird Island people can lead to self-government. The band will then have the means ofensuring thatthe fundamental value of cultural identity can be maintained.The success of taking over child welfare services andsupportingcustom adoption will depend on how well Seabird Island peoplerespond to the challenge of taking care of their children.“It is a bitter irony that a system that is designed toprotect children and support families has served to weakenNative family life inestimably. And, in so doing, becausethe family had traditionally been the primary social unit inNative communities, it has also damaged a distinct way oflife” (Johnston, 1983:123).Adoption is an imperfect social invention that can be changedinresponse to the needs of the people. Policies are changedthrough the socialization of law, that is, changes brought aboutin response to new social theory and social science research(Hegar, 1983:431).“Because laws usually embody acceptable compromises reachedby the majority, they may not always reflect the mostenlightened thinking of the community on a given issue. Andthe more fundamental the issues involved, the more deeplysteeped in tradition and mores, the slower will neededchanges come” (Schapiro, 1956:12).The adoption processes that are in place in British Columbiatoday have failed the children of this province. The statistics178and qualitative data presented here and in many studies byothers, completed over the past twenty years, providethe Ministry of Social Services with enough informationto make immediateand progressive changes to the adoptionand foster care policies.The changes must reflect what is best forthe children, not thebirth parents, the adoptive parents,government agencies or thepoliticians.A solution to the child welfare problemsfacing First Nationschildren requires innovation andan open mind; especially, theproblems call for an open mind that canconsider solutions thatdo not come from the Euro-Canadian culture.“Western individualism and communism bothoppose the rightsof nations—within-nations. Individualists focusonly on theinterests of the individual. Communists believean ethnicgroup’s rights should be subsumed in the larger classstruggle. Canada.. .can work on a potentially excitingmiddle ground that blends individual and collective rights”(Terry Anderson in Todd, 1991:013).The implementation of the practice of open adoptionandlegalization of “custom” adoption at Seabird Island would beagood beginning.trJCD3P3H‘1ri:--QQ-.ct‘—.0SHCDCDSP3CDCD1-1c-i0I—ctHt)—‘(DtiHJ.D0‘-0c-I-icoI—’-•c-i-‘-0—‘1‘-00c-I-P3P3‘-0H-5P3‘Oa‘1(X—Mi0oi-fl-.J-0DCD—(D<C31-00U’CD0•1O0(1)H-.•‘—H--.H-—a‘—O—.3J’P3CD0<3U)U)H-CDOH-•H-pJ()-3Q5-jU).00)00N—1<WCDH-c-t5CD-3H-P3P3-0‘iP)I(DOCD1XDU)H-<C)-t--P3SF—’IfliE‘-3CDC)‘1Mi0(Dci-‘—H-yP3pj•r.P300Q-ri-‘U)OCDctQQZCD‘1CD5ri0t1(DCD“P3-P)ci-(DC)0(D5U)c-f-tnCDtCD-PD)—CDC4Qc-I-H-ric-f-c-I-ri00P3U)III.QHH-0H-c-f(DC!)pJH•CDOc-t-MiOc-fP3Q)P3(1)çtHU)CDP3i-H---(Dri-P3•c-f-Cs)00(DOHH-H-•I--H-U)t’OCDc-tU)CDC)H-03H-C)0L01c-f-çtH-Es)H•-0IIZ’H-c-i-iH_0OStfl00P3‘—P3CDHMiFQCDriM‘—a••Cs)<P‘1‘-<-•.‘—‘eric-f-c-I-CD_(DWPøc-f-(D(D,-H-CDEnri0CPP3ctriMiD)0tflHP3EH-QI—.CDc-’-C)CDMic-fc-friCDP‘10P3(1)Sc-fctCDc-f-CD00H-(Dc-f0U)CDU)H-OU)iP3riU)c-f-H-U)ZctEc-f-ri—Z“0P3H-C)0ri•-CD(D<P(DU)OH-U)U)CDHc-f-P35OCD‘-<N(D‘-<(DOOb0)H-ri5CD0001O-CD0J(nH-c-f-P3riH•H-c-f-H-C)c-I-HU)CDP3CD‘—<P3OH-riO0(c-I•H-(D1-rioCD--CDP3i.H-C$)CDc-i-‘1‘<Ei-<1P3c-f-U)H-<HCD0CD-i0P.”(DOO0P3U)f-I‘lCDP3U)P3‘—02Mic-f-.0-_c)QU)P....)P3P35•0—U)f-IP-’0(1)CD0‘1‘-3CDc-f-P3(1)0-Oc-f-H-•——p..5OCDH-•CD-IMi1P30’-—U)--(31H--C)Hi H CDo00C)txlt1b1oP3P3‘1‘1HHIIH-I-H-P3CDP3CD1<‘1(1)CDCD()HCDItH0—.4F—W-4HP3OHIP3CDQ—’‘0H-1icø0D0(SP3.oCt)tDr1-3i$Hi0)00)-ri-—10—00)-.‘1tzj(aCo0oaP3t-i-aF0—i--r-rt-1t-P3CDCDCDIICDOH-D’CDOH-CD(D00H-t’i—<w(aH-Zt-CD0‘H-OH-H-tctP3rt-ICDC(Dr’J(aP3C$)QCDCC-C)b0HctP3t—H-I-(a•DICart-P3CDHCa0P3.(a‘iCDooWD)Pt1I-.rt-2-P3•-I-00Grt-tiP3CoCDP3H-CaC3-.CD-t3H-t0QLH-P3-I-Q-QH-•rt-0P3P3—‘—00t-rt-ç3—f-’-r.-<CDti(OH-I--P3H0CDtiH-0)IiH-H-P3H•P3ti0(D(flti(O(O—’i(aCD0P3CatictHQH-pJ00HP3(a-Ca•0-SP3PJCDP3P3CD‘CDH-0(DP3Ob--(apJao-Hic-i--H‘tiI—’)c-f-0H-HiHi0c-i-P3‘-<CD-(OCD-:H-‘—P3CDP3‘—‘SP3-0<c-i-CDZi—-sCDH-CDH-ti‘tIP3‘tiOCD5Y1rtCD.-P3CDp.5tic-ibHCDH-ri-—QH-OCarl-CDCD•OCDOH-CoP3CDC)P3ti“CD0JlctP3—3t1I-3—rf-P3(OP30t0P3H-I—’P3003c-I-H-l3iQ.QrJ<.H-’-<‘i’•-t-tioP3CDOP3P3tJo(a—‘—i-ICDHic-I-•.H-Hi5•c-i-—0303HCDCaI—’-303CD‘-P3CD0-03()C4H-P3H-QEP35CO0•.I—CD‘1CDaIi‘1030c-fCD—H-•(‘3WC-tCaIiP3(D(ac-I--11J(a0-rI-030“CDCD-03-P3H-5Drt-<b(a03<(0CD‘t)H-0‘—CDCD-CDtiP3P300N<U1CDQCi)-P3E00•-‘—.5-5•.Hi0P3H•lI-’-CD1—’H-H-H-0HF-’(aCDH‘—‘‘0c-Ic-I-‘-1P3t-‘.‘I‘—a0CX)‘-‘000(30‘-3HP3<0—0)H-03Ii-H—1(’)00CDSCDHiCr)c-I-0c-I-‘-.0•‘1H-C,H-Ii<.QH-H-<-(ra00‘—CD“C)00c-tO0-CD‘—‘—‘ti0OHMiC00(00HiOti•C)50H-’-’‘-<0P3tiH-CD’--’H-CD0‘--‘H-CDOHi‘-—‘03CD<H-CD0‘1‘—‘CDt’(‘30(0ctti(13c-I0H<tiP)-c-I-CD—i’tjHi3•03IH-CDoo-rCD(31(31tic-I-(31-.0-(a(a—I-‘---P3tH-OH50)HiHi0—1<H-H-H-lCDH 03CDCD--0181Cole, Elizabeth S.1984 “Societal Influences on Adoption Practice.” Adoption Current Issues and Trends. (ed..) Paul Sachdev.Toronto: Butterworth and Co. (Canada) Ltd.Constable, Robert1984 “Phenomenological Foundations for the Understanding of Family Interaction.” Social Service Review,v.58:117—132.Cordell, Linda S. and Stephen 3. Beckerman, (eds.)1980 The Versatility of Kinship. Toronto: AcademicPress, Inc.Cotton, A.F.1887 Unpublished letter dated October 31, 1887. PublicArchives, Canada, Indian Affairs: R.C. 10, volume 3795, file46,607—1.Darn, Ursula1992 “Awasis Agency and Adoption.” NorthernPerspectives Practice and Education in Social Work. (eds.)Margaret Tobin and Christopher Walmsley. Winnepeg: TheManitoba Association of Social Workers and The University of Manitoba Faculty of Social Work.Darnell, Regna1986 “A Linguistic Classification of Canadian NativePeoples: Issues, Problems, and Theoretical Implications.” Native Peoples The Canadian Experience. (eds.)R. Bruce Morrison and C.Roderick Wilson. Toronto:McClelland and Stewart Ltd.Day, Dawn1979 The Adoption of Black Children. Toronto: LexingtonBooks.Dewdney1891 Unpublished letter dated June 4, 1891. PublicArchives, Canada, Indian Affairs: R.C. 10, volume 3795, file46,607-1.Douglas, James1859 Unpublished letter dated March 14,1859. 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C’)ci-C’)ci-C’)00-C’)I—. a) 01I:-’I:-’I:-’H-CDCDCDID0rtocict000ID00U)HU)CDHCDHOtxif-‘—ZIHCDcH0)IDHrtODOH-IDD•()Q)*—.•00)S‘<CflH-14(1‘o:i0SCDri-CO‘<CD0).rci.ID—1t1IDID—C--1r’-DI’-)--H-ODU)(DcO-.‘io‘-3r1--i-Jrt-JDPO‘-•CDti50U)—0rtH-IDQH-oH-:rC)tIE:‘—EIDCDtxi0tI00C4OQOH-oc•U)CDt-(DH-IDIDOU)ID0(D0ID0OQ-IDOH-WPJID—’t1’—1Ort00•U)OtI-rrCD•P.H-tIf-’-lU):cL.I—IctIDirI-CDCDI—ct05‘0IDhhrl‘tIH-0U)OOrl-r1LCOH---bCOIl<CDCDCDt’ItIO•i--•---•00H-COp--CDHCD•)IDH1I3Jb:JtxjrtlID.IlO‘—0<(OH-tICDID0C)r’-Il‘-<00(DI--U)blIDrrti0CDCDClCD0U)OU)-H-0IDIDtIrt-I--0rt-•(fl’—tItICO—(DF-’-txiOCD-’)COO0rt-ctQ.rt-rI-liU)-0-.I-i-CD-CDH-IlCD0CDI0IDtICDr’-Q0U)QCOIll-IC)‘lt)H-IDO--<U)•.0CDEU)c-tEU)IDCDIlOOCDIlOH-Ort-•-:H-5ZH-Il0U)H-OU)CD0OctH-5Q00‘-CD0‘l0tIID00U)CDrt-ID0(Dct(Dct(DP-.CDCD<U)CDtXi-O:U)rU)IDIDCDCD1rCDtxJCnbOH00-U)HI--t-t’)IDrtI‘tHU‘—a‘1IDPJCDIDIDH-ti)0-CDrtCD0‘-<Il-IlU)H-rI-0‘-OIDU)<SCDIDOH-rI-0H-QID(Oct‘—-CDH-ID<tIU)0CDCDU)rt-QI--0QrI-CDCD0C)’-50-‘-<rI-’—O•CDI--5H-IDI—it)‘bU)01’jrI-•CDctCDCD‘-0’tlCOJC$)ictCf)‘ti‘—açt-CDCDH-rI-•-z’CD0U)5WID-LQ-Qi)0HH-IDb0H-Il0C)U)U)0-4’-l-tr’irI-IDl--CDtII--0H-H-H-H-rI-CDt’JH-0tiU)0tIp)-U)0J-•Ort-(I)IDIDIIDH-0r10‘-<0rI<C)COl—rI-<IDHIDIDO-.IDQ.i—Oi—iCDHiH-H-0H-0H-(DH-I-h‘—‘-0—-IDH-t--U)-oCDS0ID(DIDU)CDH-‘—JrI-ESOH-.0CDt’CDctP-.0ID-I-(UIIDH-0-.Hirt’tJtIct’tI<CD‘-<OCDH-i-5ID-3QuH-x’•IIH-IH-3lIZo•H-•CD••rI-I--CD(DOID‘—‘CUl—Eart-01--Il•CO—I‘-‘00-.‘rt-rlID(0-CoH-FIIDCD-H-H--0txiIDID<OIDOrI-IDOctH-’CD0ID00CDID1-’H-p)H-HirI-ti)0•IlO0-.H-CDU)CD1<CDH-rt12.U)I—’H-‘IIDS‘--CD•0IIH-OIDP-.0-.H-I-IJH-IDID•SH-rtH1:10l—GD 0t187McCaff ray1914 Unpublished letter dated November23, 1914. 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Smith collection.London: Museum of Man, Royal Anthropological Institute.Cl)CDCl)CDtt0H-c-Ic-I-‘Ct0Cl)H‘-‘MHCI)CDCDF—’Cl)H01-’‘-c-IH()I—’G)f—’C,F--’c-t-Cl)FI(1)‘.DkDC—i—‘l)0Ct-l)W‘—00LC‘--000‘-.0DI0CX)-0c-I-OI—’jW—ICD03(51*—’I—’-CD‘.0‘—GDIDGD‘—CDCo—-.ID(51-.--.l—i-<—1ii—’-,j.t(3)ø1’.)c-I-tI-(0H--UI—10-•(IlCOCD‘-0C)I-’-”—]<cC)c-I-t’CD‘t$1Jc-t-H-UI0ci-3c-H-ID-CDI—’-i-UII-(:UI(DOyo0I—’‘—‘‘—0r-i—i(D‘—‘11--0<IDC)•:co:or:xjUI“CD‘—‘(D‘-‘0W(D:‘-3WL”QUItj0*-‘•c-I-H-t’c-ItiI—’HCD1-’UIiH-c-IH0CiCDH-IDc-t-t--lc-t-0CDH-I-tiUI1-’-H-<(D0Drf-UION(D(DX0i-it-0UI-’-•CD<01W—]b-t1W0k—c-I-UIfl)c-I—‘a)H-III—’-t—I----H-’—-UI(D•)i—ç-I-:a)—.H-)UILQQCDII(DUIi—i0Eit‘CIDc-i-til—H-a)—coUI’—’-H-ct-(DoJCDUI00UIUI1tj0ti3tilt-h(1c-I-c-It—UIOCflH-01-3—(DO<i-JUIHHIDIDUIOH-Ob1’—’OID’—•c-ICIDOIic-I-UI—’c-IIDa):o-ti--,—-‘(•0CCDrtH-(DUIUIi*-H-H-•rIO(1)‘—‘iiUIc-I-c-IQ-0(Cic-I—0*-H(D*—0I-’-HTH-H-•0I-’-.-‘Cl)3’0OCD0P-CD1HOHOb’1--’0’—”.tCDCDt))IDcUI.QZitck)CD’--’I-iIDa)0‘—1IPJCUIQ,1c-t-tflrI-UI(DIDIQ—E—IH-UIO‘—‘b’c-i-CD—O0CDIDH-E0t-ID.01011-hH-UI-.-H-(D00H-•‘ti’<‘W(ilH’Cl)0iH-O•‘—IUIIDc-IO0<1-hUIOH-.CD--:01ct-‘—JO3’t-(—-la)0.c-t-hoi•c-Ir’ICDH-t-’hIDIUI-(DIi4-CD(D’-3CDUI01WO*-I—’-.CDOp—c-Ia)tZICD010Y’—H-•0tjOiD’(3)c-t-.(D<<IDa)H-OctQHC)H-c-I-IDH-xjc-I—‘.<D)UILH-Q(I)CD•CD0D1iD’—’UIUI0iDH-OUIUIID--l(DW0t--•IDUIIDIDO(iliDH-c-Ic-I-‘H-(51UI•iDOWID)H-iDCDo))c-II—i•-‘CQ<13UIIDIic-I-H-13b’<(DIDUIc-I-DII—’c-I13(DOç2.,EOCDCl)13)z:I.13’013H-IDHOh1-3OhCl)0i—Q-—(DCDO(D0<013—IUI1--.Cl)a)13’’—’CDUI<0OHIDh<13HH-OUI<c-I-IDH-‘—‘IDH-CD1-’hb’CtrIOID13ID1-hIDCDH-13)•‘—‘IDSct-IDO0CDI—’LQ$‘-—‘ID0’--’130—11--I(I-iIDi-i-.c-I-‘-CD0o-Q‘1IH-HC(DPJ<000130CO0-’IDI—’IDQUI013t1b’li‘-3W<p—’IDt—hli—-.113H-I-Ci—’••ctOQID(DID-—UIt-t—1iC)H-ID•iD’O‘—‘0(3UIIDC•C4ID013iic-I-013•UI‘—H-0I—’c-Ic-I-I-IUI133Q..•i-i(Db’UI‘1001-0.O“ID13000c013c-IH13013—IQ‘-‘IDO0UI13’‘.0I•Q.•‘CDc-i-0013I—’UI13’•i—hic-f-(1)192Tennant, Paul1990 Aboriginal Peoples and Politics:The Indian LandQuestion In British Columbia, 1849 - 1989. Vancouver:University Of British Columbia Press.Thomson, Anne1992 Personal letter re British Columbia native adoption statistics. Victoria: Ministry of Social ServicesCorporate Services Division.Todd, Douglas1991 “Addressing cries for self-determination.”Vancouver Sun. March 16, 1991: D13.The Vancouver Sun. April 17, 1991, p. B4.Vowell, A. W.1892 Unpublished letters dated May 20, 1892, June 8, 1892.Public Archives, Canada, Indian Affairs: R.C. 10, volume3795, file 46,607—1.1893 Unpublished letter dated April 24,1893. PublicArchives, Canada, Indian Affairs: R.C. 10, volume 3795, file46, 607-1.1896 Unpublished letters dated June 1,1896, June 12,1896.Public Archives, Canada, Indian Affairs: R.C. 10, volume3795, file 46,607-1.Ward, Margaret1984 The Adoption of Native Indian Children. Cobalt, Ont.:Highway Book Shop.1984b “Subsidized Adoptions: New Hope for WaitingChildren.” Adoption Current Issues and Trends. (ed.)Paul Sachdev. Toronto: Butterworth andCo. (Canada)Ltd.Wallerstein, Judith S.1991 “Long Term Effects of Divorce on Children:A Review,”American Journal of Family Law, vol. 5, no. 3,pp.211-237.Weiner, Annette1988 The Trobrianders ofPapua New Guinea. New York:Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.CDrt0CDUi<Q0H’‘—O10k-”‘DO0r1:•ri-N)J01I—s‘<H-()HCD‘10Di(1)<‘1D)ct(D-TCD(flOtiDiQçuiQC$)H-r1LDi<CDHCDtiH-txI0H-D)Dl•0t-h(DCDC,rt00CDfrbt.00I—.ri-tHDbF-i-H-Ui(flDl‘1rto-WrPI—’oODICDCDCDDir1oH-QQ0 ‘1•I(K’CD‘1<DlCDf-’-r1r CD--r1‘-<‘iioH-niCD‘1(DDl‘1‘iiF--XJ0 CDo—o(K’CDoC)(K’SSCDI-..0Dl‘1H•ri0)194Appendices1. Definitionsaboriginal people - people who first livedin an area; eg.Canada: Inuit and Indians; Australia: Aborigines;New Zealand:Maoris.adoption - the incorporation of a person intoan existing familyunit, creating a socially-constructed family.band - a small group of peoplewho lived together during the yearin one locality and who followed migratory routes forhunting andgathering. Membership was based on kin relations.Ownership ofresources was held at the band level for some cultures(eg.Coast Salish). Names of bands came from the locationof theirwinter residence or village. Currently, a band is a legal entityfor the purposes of government administration. It may consist ofseveral original bands which have been combined withoutregardfor the rights and obligations of band members within theirownbands. Membership is now determined by status, a term createdbygovernment officials to determine who isIndian and who is not.Non-status individuals may reside on the reserve,but they do nothave the same rights as status band members.Certificate of Possession - a certificate issued by the Ministerof Indian Affairs stating that an Indian is in lawful possessionof reserve land allotted by the Band Council and approved by theMinister of Indian Affairs. This certificate can be transferredto another band member with the permission of the MinisterofIndian Affairs.Indian - anyone who is of Indian ancestry, status ornon-status.Inuit - persons registered as having Inuit or Eskimoancestry.Metis - people of mixed Indian and non-native ancestry.native - Indian or Metisnon-status - a term used by governments to denoteineligibilityfor registration under the Indian Act.reserve - land set aside by the government for thesole use ofstatus Indians of a particular band or bands. Thisland may beleased from the Indians by non-Indians. Members ofa band liveon the reserve. The title to reserve land remains withthefederal government.status - a term used by governments to denote eligibilityforregistration under the Indian Act.1952. Statistics: Indians Adopted by Indians and Non-IndiansTable IlL NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY:PROV 1961—621962-63I NI % TTL I NI % TTLBC 3 17 15 83 18 6 25 18 7524ALTA 13 81 3 19 16 2 67 1 33 3SASK 2 33 4 67 6 3 60 2 405MAN - - 2 100 2 1 33 2 673ONT 31 55 25 45 56 21 34 41 66 62QUE - - - - - 1 100 - - 1NB - - - - - - - - - -NS 1 50 1 50 2 - - - - -PEI - - - - - - - - - -NWT 13 72 5 28 18 1 50 1 50 2:L 63[52 581:80[121 35 35 661::101I Indian Source:Department of Indian AffairsNI = Non-Indian and Northern Development,TTL Total Facts and Figures= percent of total 1964.196Source:Department ot Indian Attairsand Northern Development,Facts and FiguresTable IV. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY:PROV 1963-64 1964-65I NI % TTL I NI % TTLBC 18 32 39 68 57 7 17 35 8342ALTA 20 74 7 26 27 15 79 4 21 19SASK 2 100 — - 2 2 403 60 5MAN 4 100 - - 4 1 17 583 6ONT 30 41 44 59 74 17 29 41 71 58QUE — 1 100 1 - - - --NB - - - - - - - - - -NS - - - - - - - - - -PEI - - - - - - - - - -NWT — - 1 100 1 1 50 1 50 2TT L 74 44{56 1:8[43 32 31:80136= IndianNI Non-IndianTTL = Total= percent of total 1964, 1966.197Table V. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY:PROV 1965-66 1966-67I NI % TTL I NI % TTLBC 2 4 43 96 45 12 23 40 7752ALTA 18 90 2 10 20 7 78 2 229SASK - — 10 100 10 3 30 7 7010MAN 2 100 — — 2 1 20 4 80 5ONT 19 24 59 76 78 59 61 37 39 96QUE - - 2 100 2 1 100 -- 1NB - - — — - 1 100 -- 1NS - - - - - 1 100 - - 1PEI - - - - - - - - - -NWT - — 1 100 1 2 50 2 50 4TT L 43{26 122 74[165 87 48 93 52 180I = Indian Source:Department of Indian AffairsNI = Non-Indian and Northern Development,TTL = Total Facts and Figures= percent of total 1967, 1970.198I = IndianNI Non-IndianTTL = Total%=percent of totalource:Departmeflt ot .Lnctian rrairsand Northern Development,Facts and Figures1970, 1971.Table VI. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY:PROV 1967-68 1968-69I NI % TTL I NI % TTLBC 14 27 37 73 5114 18 64 82 78ALTA 1 33 2 67 3- - 4 100 4SASK 8 29 20 71 28 2 6 32 94 34MAN 1 50 1 50 2 2 10 8 80 10ONT 26 45 32 55 58 16 20 63 80 79QUE 1 33 2 67 3 1 100- — 1NB - -- - - -- - - -NS 1 100 - — 1 1 100- - 1PEI - -- - - -- - - -NWT 2 67 1 33 3 21 44 27 56 48TT L 54 36[:81::152 57 22 201 78 258199NI Non-IndianTTL Total= percent of totalSource:veparimeric o1 ino.ian tairsand Northern Development,Facts and FiguresTable VII. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY:PROV 1969-1970 1970-1971I NI % TTL I NI % TTLBC 16 20 64 80 80 11 14 65 8676ALTA 4 40 6 6010 2 13 13 87 15SASK 4 15 23 85 275 17 25 83 30MAN 4 50 4 50 8 2 13 13 87 15ONT 23 30 53 70 76 12 13 80 8792QUE - - - - - 2 100 - - 2NB - - - - - - - - - -NS - - - - - - - - - -EEl - - - - - - - - - -NWT 19 86 3 14 22 2 33 4 67 6TT L 70 31 1:51::{_2_536[15 2:51::241= Indian1971.200PROV 1972-1973 1973-1974I NI % TTL I NI % TTLBC 16 13 106 87 1223 10 28 90 31ALTA 8 62 5 38 13 3 33 6 679SASK 4 12 30 88 34 10 12 74 8884MAN 3 5 58 95 61 12 15 70 8582ONT 5 8 55 92 60 15 14 92 86 107QUE 1 50 1 50 2 3 503 50 6NB - - - - - - - - - -NS - - 1 100 1 2 100 - - 2PEI - - - - - - - - - -NWT 4 27 11 73 15 27 55 22 45 49TT L 41 13[281 87 322 75 20 300.i. InctianNI Non-IndianTTL Totalpercent of totalTable VIII. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY:Source:Deparcment ot Indian Attairsand Northern Development,Membership Division1973,1974.201= inaianNI = Non-IndianTTL = Total= percent of totalource:iepartment or inaian .rrairsand Northern Development,Membership Division1976.Table IX. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY:PROV 1974—1975 1975-1976I NI % TTL I % NI % TTLBC 10 38 16 62 26 5 8 57 9262ALTA 16 59 11 41 27 11 39 17 61 28SASK 6 7 82 93 88 8 9 82 91 90MAN 11 13 72 87 83 12 11 93 89 105ONT 29 43 38 57 67 27 42 37 58 64QUE 11 100 - - 11 12 100 -- 12NB 1 100 - - 1 1 100 - — 1NS 2 100 — - 2 2 100 - - 2PEI - - - - - - - - - -NWT 13 50 13 50 26 17 50 17 50 34TT L 99 29 2:7{346 95 23 311 4:6202Table X. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY:PROV 1976—1977 1977—1978I NI % TTL I % NI % TTLBC 29 20 116 80 145 19 16 98 84 117ALTA 13 42 18 58 31 6 30 14 70 20SASK 7 8 81 92 88 4 4 85 96 89MAN 22 15 128 85 150 10 10 86 90 96ONT 35 38 58 62 93 29 41 42 59 71QUE 3 100 — — 3 15 94 1 6 16NB 1 50 1 50 2 2 100 - - 2NS 4 80 1 20 5 3 100 — - 3PEI - - - - - 1 100 - - 1NWT 21 43 28 57 49 9 53 8 47 17: 1; 5 23_}_446ioo:: 135 23 4:6[5:1ource;...naian anci. simo zrairsBranch, Membership DivisionI = incuanNI Non-IndianTTL = Total 1977, 1978.% = percent of total203Table XI. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY:source. nciian anci i.nuit tttairsProgram, Membership Division1980, 1981.PROV 1978-19791979-1980I NI % TTL I NI % TTLBC 39 30 93 70 132 28 30 66 70 94ALTA 23 39 36 61 59 16 18 75 82 91SASK 16 16 82 84 98 23 20 92 80 115MAN 15 16 76 84 91 21 17 104 83 125ONT 32 36 57 64 89 29 29 71 71 100QUE 4 50 4 50 8 9 81 2 18 11NB 2 100 - - 2 6 100 - — 6NS 7 78 2 22 9 4 100 — - 4PEI - - 11 100 11 4 100 - - 4NWT 2 15 11 85 13 8 50 8 50 16TTL 1:3 2 3:6 [72 519D148 26 4:0 74 5:8I inaianNI = Non-IndianTTL Total= percent of total204= .LnctlanNI = Non-IndianTTL Total= percent of totalnaian ana i.nuit rrairsProgram, Membership Division1981,1982.Table XII. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY:PROV 1980-1981 1981-1982I NI % TTL I NI % TTLBC 23 18 106 82 129 16 15 89 85 105ALTA 21 24 66 76 87 21 29 52 71 73SASK 14 14 85 86 99 17 18 78 82 95MAN 22 19 95 81 117 21 15 11985 140ONT 31 33 62 67 93 24 26 68 74 92QUE 9 69 4 31 13 10 77 3 23 13NB — — 1 100 1 - — 1 100 1NS 1 33 2 67 3 4 100 - - 4PEI - - - - - 2 67 1 33 3NWT 4 31 9 69 139 45 11 55 20TTL 127 22 441 :; 568 130 23 424:source:205= inaianNI = Non-IndianTTL = TotalProgram, Membership Division1983,1984.Table XIII. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTEDBY:PROV 1982-19831983-1984I NI % TTL I NI %TTLBC 25 26 72 74 9733 34 65 66 98ALTA 17 30 40 70 5735 40 52 60 87SASK 14 14 84 8698 12 12 90 88 102MAN 18 15 9985 117 64 43 85 57 149ONT 30 32 63 6893 23 37 39 63 62QUE 13 76 4 24 17 1575 5 25 20NB 5 83 1 17 6 125 3 75 4NS 3 60 2 40 5 125 3 75 4PEI — -1 100 1 - - - - —NWT 18 60 12 40 3026 51 25 49 51[_TTL 1:7J_27389{73 536 210 36ource: .naian ana .i.nuit irrairs= percent of total206= IndianNI = Non-IndianTTL Total= percent of totalTable XIV. NUMBER OF INDIANS ADOPTED BY:PROV 1984-1985 1985-1986I NI % TTL I NI % TTLBC 18 35 34 65 52 24 2863 72 87ALTA 40 27 110 73 15031 29 75 71 106SASK 8 14 49 86 5719 23 63 77 82MAN 49 53 43 47 9240 47 45 53 85ONT 43 34 82 66 125 38 42 52 58 90QUE 14 58 10 42 24 15 71 6 29 21NB 1 25 3 75 4 4 80 1 20 5NS 10 71 4 29 14 4 31 969 13PEI - - - - - - - - - -NWT 6 32 13 68 19 13 33 26 67 39TTL 189[35 3:3 65 5:2 191 36 3:4 64 535bource;_nalarl anci inuic irrairsProgram, Membership Division1985, 1986.2073. Interview Dataa) Foster CareInformant 1. (Zi, Nov.2/89)Randy Smith is a foster parent of Amanda,a teenager, who cameinto his care at the age of four.Randy is a grandfather whocares very deeply for the childrenof the reserve.“I adopted.. not adopted.. I’m a foster parentand I’ve hadher since oh she was four, she’s sixteennow. I allow herto go see her parents’ people. And when she getsoldenough.. she wants to go back well it’s..her prerogative,you know. I think I feel more secure(that she knows abouther family). You know that at leastthey know they’ve gotsomewhere else to go, you know. Sheasked where she wasborn, you know. She’s registeredin Spences Bridge. That’swhere her reservation is. Her dad isthere. Just themother.. phones her once in awhile..Meets her sister andbrother at some dances. I had some problems with them,youknow.. they wanted her back butthe law said no. We wentthrough the courts, and everything.And I told the judge atthat time, ‘I.. don’t want no interferencefrom them..’ Hesaid, ‘If they do, all you got to do is callthe police.’ Ihad a few.. squabbles with them,not particularly themother but, ah, the grandparent and oneof the aunts. Andthey don’t.. don’t say nothing till they gota few underthe belt and they start talking. But they are sober theydon’t. They want their child back and I ask her,‘Do youwant to go..?’ and she says, ‘No.’ Makes it bad for thekids. Well this child had some bad treatmentand.. that wasthe reason. . Human Resources took heraway. .. .She has towear a wig all her life ‘cause I don’tknow what happened,but. . there’s a lot of stories. . They saidthat the fatherheld her on top of a.. hot plate and burnt-- it’s justaround about that long.. It wouldn’t have been bad if it wasa boy, but it’s a girl, you know, and sheis stuck with thatwig and they tease her about it. I’ve been expecting hertowalk out of school anytime. I’ve told her to just ignorethem or tell them it’s catchy.”Randy Smith recounts the band’s attemptsto have a group home onSeabird Island for the band children who required this type offoster care:“(Human Resources says) well.. nobodywants (this child).(I would) find a home, right here.. that would take them.It’s been done here. We tried. We wentthrough HumanResources, anyway to build a home for children. Wehad itall set up. We went through C.M.H.C.(Canada Mortgage andHousing Corporation). We got the money for the house.Wegot the okay from Human Resources but we couldn’t find house208parents. It was so strict at that time.Human Resources’rules. (All their rules were not important tous.) Well,the standard of living on the reserve is important.Shouldhave house parents that they know because it takeshalf ayear just to know a person and if they have afamily that isalready situated here, they can.. blend right in.And ifits children right from the reserve, here, well..youknow.., nothing to it. It takes so long.,to try to be thesame as the rest. I think there was only one Indianfamilywas allowed to run a group home (to Human Resources’standards). I guess they went through the training,the (HumanResources) course, six months. Wehad other families whowere qualified but who hadn’t done the courses.Eventowards food, you know. They give youa menu that you hadto feed the kids. We have our traditionalfoods, eh, Wehave our salmon, smoked salmon,dry salmon, salted salmon,deer meat, duck, oh everything, but it’snot in their menu,you know. They got hamburger, oh, junk food.But, ah.. atthat time, I think, ah, Human Resources had too much poweror they figured they had. I thinkwe lost three or fourchildren that time. Maybe you heard about thisguy from theSimilkameen. He put a stop to HumanResources takingchildren, anyway. (Now we have more say in the welfareofthe children, which is better,) butthey still., come in andtry and tell you.. what not to doand what to do and.. Ihaven’t a clue (as to what we are doingwrong). I mean,there’s parents here, you know, brought up oodles ofchildren and.. even bringing up their grandchildren.They(Human Resources) come in and tell you how to do it, youknow. I think that is wrong. Youbring up that manychildren, you should know what, whatyou’re doing. Whatyou’re doing is right. (It’s difficult for us toopen agroup home because) it’s hard to findhouse parents.There’s so much to do these days, you know.Everyone’s gotcars these days and they don’t want to be tied down with..(Custom adoption) could be done, yeah. We havea hard timedoing it.. because ah.. their families were so large thatthey couldn’t add another one. We haven’t had..that manytrials on it, but I think it could be done.I imagine thatthey (Human Resources) will inspecta family that’s going toadopt a child very thoroughly. Like when Igot that child,I had to have a bank account andthe credit was good and allthat, you know. That’s the way youhad to pass. I meanthat, you know, I may be broketo-day but maybe tomorrow Ihit the jackpot, or something.But they don’t believe inthat. They want everything so perfect,that’s.. andnobody’s that perfect. I don’tcare who it is, you know,you’re bound to forget something.(I would use othercriteria for choosing parents.) Well,first of all, like Isay, the way they proved theyraised so many kids, the waythey act, or the example theyset. There are a lot of waysof watching. You don’twant to give a kid away to a boozeartist. (We would know) because weknow who frequents thebeer parlours and the bingohalls. (We have some say inwhat happens to a child, but)not very much. The only209thing. . we make recommendations, that’s about allwe do.. Wecan recommend a family onthe reserve. They may findsomething wrong with the parent.They’ll say no we can’tput him there or we can’t puther there. That’s why I saythey have too much power. Theycan even override us, youknow, even council. (The onlything we can insist on is thereport from the foster parent.) I guessthey get a copy ofwhat the lady, what the parentsends to us, and goes to themtoo. (We have lost) five or sixanyways in the last fiveyears. (We know where they are), prettywell, yeah. Thisrecommendation we made is only three years old,eh, so thefirst bunch was.. I think thatHuman Resources should putin their criteria (that) a child knows wherehe comes from.Of course we hada case here, oh just happened when Bill C-31 came through. There was a youngboy, he just turned sixteen, and they put him out inthe street and all he knew hewas born on an island. He didn’tknow where, you know. Thefirst one he hit was SeabirdIsland, then Vancouver Island.It ended up he was from QueenCharlotte Island, you know.Things like that makes a person thinkback, you know. Thereis something wrong with a system whena kid don’t know wherethe hell he comes from.Boy, there’s cases like that allover and they’re young boys and oh,my God! The reputationof the band I think goes with the child,you know. If youlose a child you lose. . that’s whata reservation is allabout, you know. It is for the Indianpeople. Until thisthing changes, I don’t know. They got to havea place tocall their own.”Randy Smith describes some of theconcerns he has with thefostering of band children:“Like we got some children fostered out nowbut we tell thepeople we want to hear from you.. a report onthe childrenevery month to every two months.. how he’s doingin school,you know. It’s important. And I want you totell the childwhere he comes from and. . he’s got property here..and allthat, you know, so he’ll know where to come back. They comeback, ah, in the summer time, duringthe summer. I drovethem around the Island and I said well.. you ownpart ofthis. And that’s right. I guess they want tocome home.It’s hard to lose the kids.”Randy indicates that foster parents now make reports and thatheknows that the children fostered out recently from the band doknow where they come from and that they plan to return to theband.210Informant 2. (Z2, Nov. 2/89)Mildred Roberts, in her late middle years,has had a lot ofexperience with band child welfare issues. She loves children;she expressed great concern for the loss of apprehendedchildrenfrom the band. She has experienced the foster care of her secondcousins, who became her brother and sister, aswell as thetemporary foster care of the children ofa family friend fromanother reserve. Later, after Mildred married,she had her ownfoster children, Tony, her nephew and Meggan.“Well, my brother and sister, they were relatives, but notrelatives to my mother but to my dad’s side. And she tookthem as foster children and she raised them as her ownandah. . we all called ah. . our brother and sister even thoughthey are quite a bit younger than I. My adopted sisterstill lives on Seabird, here and we’re in close contactwiththem. Not so with the boy, well he’s.. he’s not a boy anymore, he’s (in his) thirties. But he comes out. We stilltake him as a brother, you know. We’re still family.(Theywere) my dad’s niece’s children. They were supposedto stayfor a little while, but they just automatically stayed onwhen the mother found they were in a good home. Like theywere apprehended by Human Resources. But the mother askedif my parents could take them in as foster children. So mymother and dad agreed to that. In fact there was abigfamily. . The little girl went to a home in Sardis or Vedder,one of those places. So we never had contact with her atall. (The brother and sister had contact with the othersfrom their family.) They did. They’re good friends. Imean.. I don’t think they think of them as family, like, youknow, me and my brothers. (My parents ended up adoptingthese two children) because the mother never did settle downand she died and the father died first. So they just stayedright on. My mother had four foster children at the time.She had another brother and sister from Spuzzum. (They werenot apprehended.) The mother went into the hospital withT.B. and she was going to be there for, well in those days,years. She was in there a couple of years so she asked ifmy mother could take her youngest two. So they grew up,too. We still have family pictures of them with all thefamily. (My parents) were their official foster parents.(These children) were not related at all. (These twochildren) were back to their mother as soon as she was able.They just moved in and we just kept them, you know. Everybody thought well that’s Riches’ children and they wereclassified as Riches. (My parents didn’t sign any papers.)Even though my mother and dad received allowances for them211for being foster children. . and it didn’t matterto them,you know, because they raised them.And anything she wantedto buy for them, my mom and dad bought, you know. Justlikeyou would look after your own child. Childrendidn’tinherit nothing but they were still registered in their ownband. Like the band was CastleBar near Lytton. So theywere on the band list, up there. I think they (will inheritfrom there.) They’re still onthere, if there is anythingthere.”“I adopted a boy and my daughter. My son is my husband’ssister’s child and (he had an illness.) We had to takehimto Vancouver twice a month and he just couldn’t copewithit. So we took him in and at the time, we had our name infor adoption so we said well, we can’t have himand adopt,you know. So they put him under Human Resources, too. Hewas my foster child and we still had our name in forachild. Then they want a family that could give all yourattention to a child if you adopt it. So that’s okay.After a long while maybe we can adopt (our foster son).Social worker said yeah, we could do it if his mothersaidokay, but she took a long time to make up her mind. Sowejust kept on looking after him until she made up hermind.He was already twelve when we adopted him. She had twochildren. She never tried to get him back. We took him inand he just stayed and stayed. (The children started off asfoster children.) Like Meggan, (my daughter), was justababy, she was only two months old. But that was hardbecause the mother of (my daughter) wanted meto take allher children and that was another boy and a girl and theygave the children back to the mother. It was. . terriblewhat they went through, so finally I just broke down andwent down to see the mother and took them for the weekend.A couple of weekends, she said you might as well have mychildren, I can’t look after them. She had a drinkingproblem real bad, so. . she talked to the Human Resources andthey said I went in there and threatened the mother. I saidno we didn’t. She herself said I want Mildred to havemythree children. They want to adopt them.. So I took(mydaughter). They said I could adopt (her) but I couldn’tadopt the other two older ones. They split the familyup.I had the little boy and the girl is still around here yetand she still calls me Mom. But they had to go through heck,too.. really cause her drink was so bad and yet they wouldnot let me adopt them and I don’t know why. They said Icould have one, the baby, but I can’t have three. I wasvery bitter, very bitter, because the boy, he is only elevenmonths older than my daughter. To split the family likethat while they could be together. So all my daughter hasnow, is me and my husband and her and my son are not close.Well my son was quite a bit jealous over her. . Tome, Idon’t see them as brother and sister, you know. She tries,she misses him around but he doesn’t show it. They’re bothadopted. (My daughter’s older brother) is in Lillooet. He212grew up to be a real nice kid. I saw him last year for thefirst time. He is eighteen now. (Her older sister),she’saround here, but she’s got a problem. She gets verybitterand thinks nobody cares for her and that. ButI told herthat the reason I didn’t adopt (her) was because theywouldn’t let me. I think she kind of thinks that I preferred (her younger sister) and just took her. (I wanted tofoster a child because) well, I got the habit ofgetting achild and falling in love with them. This way, I raisedthem as my own. If they got no place to go, eh,then theyget placed in a home and they’re sent here and thereandthey don’t know.. Nobody can findthem and if they’re herewith me I can do a little bit of things. . They canget toknow their aunts and their uncles, whoever is around.Idon’t mind what they call me, but they get to know theirown people. . their own families. I think now,(they shouldget to know their roots), yes, more and more, since Istarted working with the membership registry. Besides,somany phone in that have been adopted out or in foster homesasking me if I can help them find so and so. So there’s acertain person there by this name on Seabird, you knowandthey’re always looking and I’ve tried to find fosterchildren. I hunted high and low and couldn’t find this onelittle girl and her father died here and he left some land.Just by accident, a year ago, I went down to Mission andthere was a foster child in there I was supposed to see.This lady, she said, “Oh, maybe you know this little girl.I think she is one of your band members.” She was elevenyears old. Here was this little girl I had spent so muchtime looking for and she was right there. It’s frustrating.(Children can go to other bands because) we’re all relatedone way or another. No matter what band you go to, we havea relative there and I don’t know, we were brought up onceyour relative, it’s your relative. So someone would findroom. Like I can go from here to, in fact I’ve done it,Mount Currie. I’ve lived all my life here. My mother said,‘When you go up there mention that you’re Charlie Riches’daughter.’ Fine, I talk to these old people, that’s when Iwas taking my training, eh. So I said, ‘By the way did youknow my father?’ These people were really old, intheireighties. ‘My father’s name is Charlie Riches. ‘ Oh mygoodness and they got all, you know.. ‘Your relatives.Youwait here. ‘ They’d run over, got over next door. then, theybrought some people over. ‘This is your relative,’ youknow. Mount Currie! I’d never been there. My Mom said,‘You’ve got Douglas Lake relatives there. You mentionyourDad’s name, eh.’ But I’ve never gone there, so I don’tknow. As soon as they find out whoyour father was (theytreat you like family.) And that happens not just withme,but with different families. So I think if anything,youknow, like they went there and said this child hasno placeto go, and she belongs to so and so, does she have anyrelatives that will take her in? Yeah, I think they will.(The child may end up in a neighbouring band, but they willbe with relatives.)”213Informant 11. (Z14, Dec. 6/89)Gladys Little, now ofmiddle years, was placed in a non-nativefoster home when she was in her earlyteens.“Myself, I wasin a foster home when I was about thirteen.I.. was in the hospital with T.B. . . twice, beforeI wasthirteen. I had just gotout of the hospital and the..nurse in the hospital..I think she had a hand in having meput in to a foster home because thishad been my second timewithin, well, altogethera total of three years I spent inthe hospital. So she must have contactedWelfare and.. theywere the ones that put me in a fosterhome. Well, I missedmy mother and dad butI think that was the hardest part,being away from my mother but she was..an alcoholic. So Ithink I.. adjusted after awhile. I wasn’ton the reserve, Ilived in Vancouver. My uncle used to go down to Vancouverto visit me. I was (there)about four years before my oldersister took me away. I guess I must have been about sixteenwhen she took me to live with her. Itwas good except thatI missed my family. There were about four other childrenthere, but, you know, they didn’t take theplace of my ownfamily and they were. . you know, Irish people. They..didn’t treat me any different than the other children.Imissed my mother a lot and I worriedabout her because shewas an alcoholic, that wasthe hardest part, being away frommy mother. Well, if there were good native homes to gointo, you know, I would.. I would have beenhappier to go tosomebody of my own race. To me, at the time,(my grandparents) weren’t given a chance. It justseemed like that..somebody said I had to be taken away from mymother and thatHuman Resources have to take me over and that’s it.I canremember years ago, when with my mother being the way thatshe is, my aunt took me over and looked after mefor awhile.(I called her ‘aunt’.) Nowadays, (the kids) getapprehended. With me, it didn’t hurt me,like, you know, I wasin a Catholic school and then I went intoa business school.And they taught me how to cook and cleanup and iron. But,you know, the feelings., the loneliness,I guess, you know,wanting to be with your family. Thatwas the hardest partto deal with. I think I cried a lot. . when I wasin myteens because I missed my family. And more likely that’swhat happens when they do apprehend childrenand put theminto a white home.”Informant 18 (Zil. Dec. 4/89)Nora Tom’s son, Tony was taken from her at birth;she has justrecently found him, after eighteen years of searching.Nora, a214middle-aged woman, also has experienced the fosteringout of hersisters and brother. Their attemptsso reconnect with theirbirth family have been difficult because of the trauma they havesuffered.“I have a son, he’s in Mission and we just meteach otherthis year. He was. . taken away from mesince he was a smalllittle baby, very small baby. They wouldn’t evenlet himcome home with me from the hospital becausethey said therewere too many of us in our home. . That. . ladygot in troubleanyways, now, but it’s already too late, you know. We’rejust getting to know one another again, so we can.. Livingwith.. with.. we call you guys ‘wuleetas,’it means whiteperson. So he was apprehendedright from the hospitalbecause all they told us is that wehad too many in our fam—ily, in our house, cause I wasliving with my grandparents.I was twenty. (I felt that) I was robbed and I wasdegraded, you know, because I’m native.,but they didn’tjust do that to me. They did that to three others.. thesame person.. she was.. working for D.I.A.,a social worker.She got in trouble, anyways, but it was already too latebefore they.. My son was oldalready. He was sixteen yearsold. He’s eighteen (now) and we just meteach other duringthe summer time. And he’s had a hard time, you know.Helooks at us like. . he was raised in an all white society andthen looking at us, as you know.. as native people,youknow. He was lucky. He had a good foster mom. I like her.She’s a very nice woman, but she’s stingyof him. She’sscared to lose him. That’s what she’s afraid of. She’sscared to lose him. Now that he knows that he has twosisters and two brothers. She’s scared now. She’s verystingy of him. My kids say they phone him and.. they go tovisit him.. she will not let him come this way. Cause she’sso scared. That’s the first thing she said tome when I mether. ‘Don’t take him away. Don’t takehim away. He’s myson. He’s my son.’ I said, ‘He’s our son.’I said, ‘I wasrobbed of this and I think I have the right to know my son,get to know him. ‘ I want to winhim. And she keeps tellingme, ‘I’m getting old. I’m real old.’I’m taking it slowly.I’m going to get his trust, you know. Because theway helooks at me.. as if.. you know.. he thinks thatI gave himaway but he was taken away from me. We were on the reserveand. . I don’t know. . The first time Italked to him, I said,‘This is a bad mistake that happened. Itscarred both ofus, you know. We’ve been searching for you.’ We’ve beensearching for him.. like we’d go to HumanResources inMission.. and they been just giving usthe run-around.Like he told him last year that we were livingway inOntario, so he wouldn’t make contact with each other. Hebelieved them that we were way back there. Then he startedlooking into the reserves. ‘Where’s your mom from? Where’syou mom registered? Dad registered?’You know, and he’sthe one that phoned here. From here,that’s when we started215looking around. When we couldn’t.. We were lost,you know.Because they wouldn’t help us. ‘Can wehave our son’saddress, he’s almost eighteen years old now’and they said,‘Sorry, no. ‘ They just opened andclosed the books rightaway. They didn’t (tell him what band he wasfrom.) No..they just told the registrar on Chehalisreserve and that’sit. No, they never said any more to him. Andwhere theytold him as we were staying inOntario. . and then they toldus he was in Vancouver but they moved him fromthere toanother place and they wouldn’t tell us where.(He was) afoster child. Well, (his fostermother) saying that (theyadopted him but he does not use theirlast name.) So he’sstill registered on the reserve.All his papers and all hisidentities all have the same lastname. I asked her, too,“If he has to use his (own name), thenyou guys didn’treally adopt him, then.” She justchanged the subject rightaway. (When they took himaway from me in the hospital) Iwas going crazy. At that time,too, my husband and I werefighting. I was emotionally disturbed.I was angry. Atthat time, too, our nurse.. that onethat visits thereserves. .? She was saying, too, thatI wasn’t.. qualifiedto take care of my son. It wasa big home and she’s therewith her parents so she’s an independent (sic)person, youknow, but, ah, nobody knows how we lived, . inour own waysof life with native people. (They use) a different set ofcriteria for what is good parenting andbad parenting. Agood parent (would be) a lot of love. . patience.. a goodsecure. . home environment, a good provider or providers.Our upbringing is different. . like you see this is how Iremember all these names here (referringto genealogy) asbeing taught to me over and over again. Because, to me andto other people on the reserve we’re kind of royalty families cause we have sacred things that. . that no other families have on the reserves. See, we’re kind of differentfrom everybody in our culture, like we’re high society. Sowe have our own sacred things and.. like sxwayxwey andtherattle. So we’re different from other people on thereserves cause we come from this family, where it began. Wego through different teaching than just an ordinary home.I’m the dictionary. I have to remember these things. We’rejust getting to know one another. I told him we come from aroyalty native family and that we are very proud peoplebecause people treat us like that. We’re treated special.I told him that, ‘Be proud of who you are.’ But we’re justmaking friends. I don’t think (his foster mother would havetold him about his background.) She feels very threatened.I just hope nobody talks to him to turn against us.My three sisters and my brother were apprehended from my momwhen her and dad broke up, my mom drank. And that was hervery first time drinking and she was like that for two tothree weekends. I was gone. I left.. I went to berrypicking in the States. And my sisters andmy brother wereapprehended and we couldn’t findeach other for ten years.And my brother and my sisters losttrust. My second216youngest sister was sexually abusedin Cloverdale. She wassexually abused in Castlegar in fosterhomes. And they werefed mouldy food. . because they were nativechildren and theysaid that. ‘You’re only native children,you’re just littlesavages. This is what you deserve.’They were horsewhipped. Three of them werehorse-whipped. And if thefoster dad was ah. . in a ugly mood, they werepulledoutside and that’s when they startedgetting horse—whipped,putting them in the barn or just right out inthe yard,there and they’d horse-whipthem. My brother and sisters.lost their identity like ‘you’re justan Indian.. you’renothing, you’re a nobody, you’re justa dark coloured skin.’I mean, that’s all they thought of themselves.They hadno. . feelings. When we found each otherthey had no feelings, they had a cold heart. And after we startedto get toknow one another, like ah. . they. - theythought we wereinsulting because we’d eat bread,you know, like you know,we’d have our own bannock and we’d eat it like that.‘Youguys are savages.’ Because they were toldthis, you knowand they.. they don’t like wild meat and whenwe had deermeat.. The other ones will not get closeto us because theyare. • are so mad. They think that we were. . theywere putin foster homes and us older ones weren’t. We had a choice.We had a choice because I was already gettingold and I wasabout fifteen years old. We had a choice either go intofoster homes or live with yourgrandparents. So us fourwere lucky. We didn’t have to be theway our youngerbrother and sisters were raised. We were being loved allthe time. We were respected and ah.. we learned our backgrounds of.. the history of our families, a cultural bringing up. This is where my younger brother, youngest brotherand sister have a hard time understanding and they canboth.. both of them can really turn off. Just like that,just like you turn a faucet off. They can just easily turnoff feelings towards anyone. They lost., and they get madwhen we talk about our great-great-grandparents, the waythat our grandparents would tell us about our great-great-great-grandparents. It’s just like we were there, you know.Because they give us every little detail, you know, about ohthis is how great-grandma got up early in the morning andthis is what she did. We can vision it in our minds, youknow. Like we were actually there. And that’s what mybrother and my sisters. . they were robbed of this and theirbehaviours., like they didn’t trust us, they hated us.Theyhated us. They knew we were their brothersand sisters.Some parents on this reserve, here, let’ssay for instance,if the family was sixth or seventh cousindown. . They stillhad the rights to go and say those aremy relatives, I’dgladly bring them up in my home. This is onething I likeabout this reserve, here, is that it’sso peaceful here.People. - are always willing to help, they alwaysare therewhen you need them. This is one reallycaring reserve,here. (The band) would greet(returning adoptees) with openarms. I think it’s important fora native child to beraised on their own reserve, in theirown communities,217because there’s a lot they miss out. They’re verylonesome.That’s the feedback I get from my ownsisters and mybrother. They were always treateddifferently, you know,because they were native childrenfrom anybody else andthere was actually no love for them likethey were just ah.the way my sister said,we were just like cats and dogs..You’re all right for the firstcouple of months, then theyget sick and tired of you and then they phoneand say takethese kids away from here and thenyou’re put into anotherhome. There was no relationshipof a foster dad and afoster mother, you know. Likemy sister was sexually abusedtwice in two separatehomes. When they came back to us,they didn’t want to trustus. They didn’t want to.. likewe’d go up to them and hug them. They’d tenseand they’dmake a lot of space between us becausethey were treatedthat way. There was no love there.So they never learnedit. (Now) sometimes it shows. My youngest brother,he justgave his whole self to us. Take methe way that I am. Likewhen he first got with us, he was breaking and enteringhomes and buildings. He set a car on fire.. youknow, to getattention. That was his way of getting attentionfrom us.We sat him down and told him we don’t haveto do things likethat. If you need to talk, talk to us. If you want us tolove you, we show you love all the time,you know. Wealways take of one another. I knowour people like to adoptand they don’t care where the child comesfrom . But.. Ithink it’s because they have to be checked up on to say it’sokay, so that’s why a lot of our nativepeople won’t do thatbecause what if they find something,you know, in my history, I don’t know. (When they cometo check our homes,)it’s degrading. What’s wrong with me, I’m an okay person?I’d like to see all the native children in theirown communities so they won’t lose their identity and tobe amongsttheir own coloured., nativepeople instead of being raisedoff of it because they lose their identityand then they..even if they’re in a home and beingloved and cared for andall that, they’re still lonely children becausethey’re notraised with their natural skin-coloured children.”Informant 15. (Z7, Nov. 21/89)Being the foster parent to five children has given Terry Hardyabroad experience with fostering. Currently, she is fosteringhersixth child, a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) childwho is aboutfive years old. Terry, in her late thirties, lived in a fosterhome as a child. Her husband was moved to a fosterhome after a“custom” adoption.218“My daughter is adopted. She’s legally mine now. She wassomewhere between fifth and eighth cousin,my husband’sside. See, he wanted to get her back on thereserve. Asfar as I know, Social Department waslooking for homes forabout six months for. . She’s gota sister and a babybrother. And they were looking forhomes for them for aboutsix months or so and they couldn’t.. they were travellingback and forth. So one day,(the social worker) came up tome, ‘Are you interested in fostering?’and I said, ‘I don’tknow, ask me in a week. I’ll think aboutit.’ Then I wentback and I said, ‘Yeah okay, if I canget her on reserve andthen we can place her from there.’I’ve fostered before andI’ve been able to get along with them.We had to go intoChilliwack and filled out the papers and thenwe went tocourt the next week and they remandedso they can do a homestudy with me. And then they wanted me tovisit her, have avisit back and forth. She’s only five.I’ve only had herfor two months. This was the endof July, beginning ofAugust, and we went to court the first weekin August. Theyremanded it for six weeks, so it was the fourteenth ofSeptember and the progress was really slow for the firstthree weeks. They were supposed to do a homestudy and wedidn’t know who was going to do it. And we were gettinganxious because we still didn’t do thehome visit with her.And so I came down and asked the social worker, you know,what’s going on. I said, ‘Hey, listen, youknow, we’ve onlygot three weeks.’ Then her social worker in Vancouverwanted to extend it. I said, ‘No, I don’twant it to go toolong.’ I said, ‘It’s interfering with my job.’ So finallywe got the home study done and we got a good reportfrom thesocial worker. And so we went down to see her. And she hadso much like my daughter, same interests, same personality.My daughter liked her and then we came home and discussed itwith my son. I asked him how he felt and he said, ‘Yeah,okay.’ So we brought her home and she came to visit and shecame and spent a night with us. She blended very well,actually. We were expecting her to cry and cry. Right now,she’s afraid of rejection, you know, like I’m going toleave her somewhere? Insecure. She’s adapted very well.She’s really a.. hyper and everything, you know. Theother.. children I had were hard or very hard to handle andworking isn’t easy, too. I would prefer to stay home withthem and look after them. The last one I gave up becauseI.. didn’t have very much time for him. Susan.. she’splaying well in the day care. She goes to day care in themornings and she goes to kindergartenin the afternoon.She’s.. once in awhile she thinks of(her foster mother.)She asks to go see her grandmother.I keep in touch withthem. I want her to know them so that she’llknow who hergrandparents, and sisters and brothersand cousins are.She’s from Seabird. She has Seabird status. That’swhy shewas placed on Seabird. They tried to placeher. . bacause ofthe reserve, they try to place the childrenwhere theirstatus is. She’s got three brothers anda sister. Like thegrandmother has five kids now,One is Susan’s older219brother. Because Susan is a (FAS) child, it was gettingtoohard on the grandmother. Like she wantedto go back toschool. She had to go to the hospitaland day care. Thesecond oldest brother is with thedad and her little sisteris in a foster home andthey’re looking for a permanenthome for her and she had a brotherjust born a few monthsago.. and he’s in a fosterhome and they’re looking to placehim too. (They asked me to look after theother kids but) Isaid no, I don’t think so. I believe they’re still goingthrough withdrawals too because the mother’san A and 0(Alcohol and Drug abuser) and Susan is blendingin so well,that we have to watch for herlittle problem spots that shedoes have and learning disabilities.I don’t see any now.She was going to Children’s Hospital everyso often fordevelopment checks to see how she’s developing.She’s likeany child now. . but I would like themto keep an eye on her,you know, so she doesn’t fall back. Cause I’ve got mykidsboth in Christian schooland I wanted her to be put inChristian school but we can’t get the funding for her Sheseems to be happy. (She sees her olderbrother and hercousins at her grandmother’s.) I try to bring them downonce a month for a visit and it’s really hard..sittingthere. I didn’t know the mother was there last time..It’sreally hard. It sort of mademe nervous. But I want her toknow them, so. . She enjoys playing with thekids, you know.She can’t understand why shehas to leave yet. That’s thesad part. Right now she calls my son ‘brother’ and daughter‘sister’. She calls me (by my first name.)She’s my sixthkid in the last twelve years. It’s really hard whenyouwork. It wouldn’t be so hard if they were school-agedchildren. (I foster) because the kidsreally need a home,you know. I lived with a relative growing up and I’ve seenother people with kids that need a home. Itwas justsomething that I felt I had to do. It wassomething I coulddo for these guys. I enjoy them. I like watching themgrow. It’s sad watching them leave. Youonly have them ashort while. Most of them.. you can’t (adopt); theygo backto their family. But somehow, in a way, again Ifeel thatwhat we’ve given them, what we’ve had together, they’llremember it and it’ll help them.. becauseI grew up in afoster home. (My husband was in a foster home for thirteenyears.) We’ve been trying to get the kidsback to be ableto know their culture, to be able toknow their people,their relatives. Something we’re really workingon. Butit’s really hard to find homes. It’s really hardfor kidsto find out where they come from, you know,where theybelong. I’m glad that Susan will be able to know where shecomes from, where her people are. That’spart of the reasonI want Susan as part of our family. We know where she comesfrom and that they’ll be there. She will be able tovisitthem and get to know them better. And I think that’swhatshe needs. (A long time ago, kids fromSeabird were sent tothe United States for adoption. We don’tknow where theyare. My niece) was adopted out and shewas a registeredband member, but I don’t know where she is, you know.When220I first came here, I wasn’t really happy about(the system)because where I come from, they had more control..theycould go and get the kids. in some ways they werestricter., at least they’re lettingus know, you know, if aband member is involved they haveto let us know, if they’replacing a child they have to contact the reserve.At leastwe have our foot in the door, wehave some access to them.(That’s an improvement) because whenmy husband was in afoster home, he was eighteen beforehe found out where hecame from, who his parents were, whohis mother was. He wasover nineteen years old beforehe met his mother.. He alwayswanted to know who his mother was.And, you know, he methis father. His aunt, she adopted himand then she got sickand then they put him in a fosterhome. His adoption was a“custom” adoption. His grandmotherhad him (and his aunt)was at the same berry patch campand she took him and shejust didn’t give him back. Shechanged his name. When wegot married, they didn’t know whetherwe were married or not(because they didn’t know what my husband’s last name was.)He’s had his foster mother for thirteenyears. He’s gotthree mothers and I married and I got four mothers-in-law.a great-great aunt, a real mother, a step-mother,and afoster mother and he’s close to all of them. I feel that(if a child is adopted from another reserve,he should haveequal rights here. When he is eighteen, he should beableto choose which reserve they want tostay on.) They have togive more lee-way to the children to findout where theycome from and where they’re going. To letthem be happyabout themselves. The other thing about fostering too, tobe able to put a child on reserve and havethem grow there,to know their culture, know their people, knowtheir relatives. And I didn’t think of this until after I got(mydaughter), and she was home. What happens if I decide toleave? Am I going to lose her? (In fostering) somekidsare lost. They have no sense of belonging. (In order tohave more kids returned to the band, morefamilies will haveto open up their homes.) It’s hard to foster. You’reexposing your own kids to hard kids and your kids don’tunderstand why these kids use bad language and know morethan they should. You protect your kids from thisand thenthey got exposed through foster kids.”Informant 17. (Z16, Dec. 10/89)Yvonne Duncan is twenty- nine. She hasnever had any of her ownchildren. She was responsible forthe care of her siblingswithin the family home untilshe left. She attended residentialschool after she ran away fromhome; residential school was analternative placement to a foster home.When her sister’s daugh221ters were taken by the Ministry of Social Services, Yvonne triedto get custody of them. That attemptfailed. She is now afoster parent for two of her sister’ssons, Michael and Charlesand her younger, teenaged sister, Linda. She brieflycared forher younger brother, Steve, as well.“All through my childhood (my parents’ calledme) dumb,stupid, good for nothing.. you know, and whyare you goingto school if you’re too stupid, you know.. What theywantedme to do was stay home and look after the kids,So. . I wasjust more or less going to school just to getaway fromhome, sometimes. Sometimes.. I couldn’t take it and Istarted running away from home. . and then one time.. onetime I came home and. . one time I ran awayfrom home and..the police took me home. . and theyknocked on the door. Andthey said, “We brought your daughter back.”And then my dadyelled, “Which daughter?” (The police toldhim my name) andhe said, “That’s not my daughter, we don’t want her here.”When we got back in the car, I was cryingaway, you know. Isaid I don’t even know why they even botheredcalling thepolice, if they didn’t want me home. The police,you know,they were going to bring me to a foster home or to. . youknow, an emergency home type of thingand I said no. Andthey go, “Well, where do you want to go?” And they werenaming off aunts and uncles and I said.“No. Just take meback where you picked me up.” So they brought me back (tomy dad’s uncle’s place.) I stayed thereabout a month, Iguess. And then morn and dad trying to getme home. Causethe police said if mom and dad phonedagain, they were notgoing to bother picking me up. And then Iwas there about amonth, when my (two brothers and sister) ranaway and theycame to stay where I was. But then my. . my dad’s uncle saidwe all couldn’t stay. But they let us stay there. We wereall on a little. . on a little foldaway cot, all three of us,eh. Because they had five girls already and they onlyhad atwo bedroom place and all the kids were crammed inone room,eh. So that’s when we got transferred to Karnloops. And Iwas there for three months. (I was) ina residentialschool. I was there for three months and thenmom and dadcame and picked me up again and took me home cause mom waspregnant. (My brother and sister) still stayed in Kamloopsthough and they were there for the remainder of the year.And then morn got pregnant (again) but then it was eitherthat we went to a residential school or we weregoing to gettaken away by the Welfare. So we went toSt. Mary’s residential school in Mission. (I saw my family) onholidays,not very often. (It made me feel) prettygood, actually.That way, I didn’t have to come homeand look after thekids. I got into too much mischief when I got there.I raninto.. I ran into kids that did drugs and you know, where222they were, you know, similar backgrounds as me, but I wasjust into alcohol at the time. And then I ran into kidsthat did drugs, glue, you know.. and alcohol..you know andso when I was there I got heavily intoit, you know.heavily into drinking and doing. . you know, potand doingglue and bad stuff. Stealing from the corner store,youknow, got into stealing really bad. . You know, therewas alot of bitterness between my parents andI and. . you know.because after I moved out of the house, that’swhen theystarted losing the children, eh. BecauseI wasn’t there anymore (to look after them.) Like there wasa lot of bitterness between me and my parents plus therewas a lot ofregret. . If I had stayed home instead of leavinghome atseventeen, you know, our family would’ve stayed together,but then you never know, you know.. but Ileft home atseventeen because I couldn’t take it any more, youknow,being saddled with the kids, not getting to school,missingeighty-six days out of the school year,you know, stayinghome babysitting. I stayed in grade eight for aboutthreeyears. But once.. I got out of my mom and dad’s home,Iwas.. I got up to grade eleven in public school.(My sister’s) got five kids. She had lost theolder two,Sadie and Lily, they’re adopted out now. (I don’tknowwhere the girls are.) As far asI know they are still inthe Chilliwack area. Well, we tried to go for acustodytake over. We did an application up.. but it didn’tevenmake it to court, you know, because we approached itthewrong way. I think it was through the Ministry thattime wewent through for the custody takeover and we gotturneddown. There was no band support and there was..no experience. Looking after your brothers and sisters, youknow,isn’t experience enough, you know, because. . whenI was athome. . when I was living at home. . I pretty wellhad, youknow, like the care of my younger brothers andsisters, youknow, while mom and dad went fishing or wherever. We weregoing to try for.. an appeal. And.. that didn’t makeit tocourt actually, you know, and how to go about it. Thisisfive years, six years ago that I tried because (theonegirl) was just a baby. But not being a natural mothermyself, they wouldn’t even consider it. And thenI tried toget to see them the night before they were moved into theiradopted home or into the foster home that they were going tobe waiting at until they were adopted. But I wasn’tallowedto see them. (It was) in Chilliwack, (not on thereserve).They were a non-native home. I think it’s a native familythat adopted them, I’m not too sure. They stayed together.(I’ve had no contact with them), none at all. It kind ofmakes you feel like you’re not.. good enough either. Likeyour parents and your sisters.. you know, like my parentslost the younger ones and then my sister loses hers and,youknow, and then you try, but the courts saw a pattern,ehwith my mother and my sister, so, . they kind of ruled thatout.. that I’d be.. not good enough for the children. And,you know, like it’s., it was kind of one big struggle,eh.223There was a lot of pain in it because,you know, like, youknow, losing your family littleby little to the Ministry.And your not able to see them, youknow, after they’readopted out, you know, unlessyou know the family that hasadopted them.See because we got my brother (Steve) whowas seventeen atthe time, that’s where (my partner) got the reputation ofhaving a bad temper see because we hadmy brother throughthe Ministry. . for not more than three months andhe kind ofwas hard to handle, eh, . because people weretelling him hedidn’t have to listen to us, andhe didn’t have to be homeon time and he didn’t have to do what we toldhim toand.. you know.. and he’d be out allhours of the night andyou know, we’d track him down and he’d beendrinking. (Mypartner) blew his temper and struckhim, eh and then Stevewent around and saying that (my partner) beathim up. Buteven though it was a one time thing, it sticks with theMinistry. (I was my brother’s foster parent) Thatwas onlysupposed to be a one month thing, too and that went on tothree months. I was inexperienced,you know, because I hadto keep calling the Ministry up because Steve kept runningaway from home We’d try to track him downand you know,we’d always find him, but.. then it got wherehe was onestep ahead of us all the time. So we calledthe Ministryand that’s when they.. make it look bad forme, that I..couldn’t handle Steve and I wouldn’t beable to handle myyoungest brother and sister. He went back to momanddad’s.. (It was not really a good thing)because he wentlike from bad to worse in his drinkingand doing weird stuffeh, you know.. you know, just doing weirdstuff.. like gasand glue and you know, really..and you know, you try totalk to him.. but.. andyou know, mom and dad.. they justkind of shut their ear out. And, you know, They didn’t seenothing and they didn’t hear nothing and stufflike that,you know. . and. . you know.I do have my sister’s two boys, anyways.She had lost thosetwo to the Ministry . She lost themtwice to the Ministry.and then she got them back the third time.We intervened inthe apprehension the third time. I was only supposedtohave them three to six monthsand I’ve had them for a yearand a half now. Charles and Michael call me ‘mom’,theydon’t call her ‘mom’ no more. Theycall her (by her firstname.) I ended up with Charles and Michael because (mysister) started neglecting them again, beating themup, notfeeding them. and they were not talking. When I first gotthem, they’re three and five now, but I had them for threemonths before that.. I just got them into the point wherethey would ask for water or a sandwich but when I got themback, they would just point. She still has access to them..because I don’t have legal custody, she can come and pickthem up at any time she feels like it. . you know, just takethem back home.. she was made aware of that at the beginning. Sometimes, you know, I don’t want to let them go but224then in a way, like I want the children tosee their mom.But, you know, if they comeback and tell me something, youknow, I’ll get right after her.Sometimes she has them forone day and sometimes shehas them for the whole weekend.Sometimes she says she going totake them for the wholeweekend so I give them to her Friday night,she’s phoning meup Saturday morning telling meto pick them up. It’s kindof maddening but I don’t wantto, you know, cut the accessoff because the children do needto see their mom. Youknow, sometimes if she doesn’t see themfor. . like threeweeks, or somethinglike that, you know, I phone her up andsay well do you want to visitwith her kids? Sometimes shesays, “No, I’m too busy,” or “No, I’m not feelingwell.”(When I leave the boys at her house, she doesn’t feedthemproperly.) She doesn’t eat during the day, you know.Andthat’s how she lost her children in thefirst place becausethey were malnourished. But I told her, I said, “When youhave the kids I want them to eat.. .three times a day.” Shegriped and.. bitched and she was really mad, eh. Cause theboys were used to eating three times a day. It’s kind oftough, but, you know, like cause like I’ve had the kids.. atthat time I had them for a year and three months.(I got Linda because) she ran away from her foster home inHope and she was adamant that she wasn’t going to leave. Sowe had to either go.. you know.. two ways.. either have herstay there. . without the Ministry and then she wouldn’t gether allowances or I can do the home-study. I thought thatwas going to be really rough. (It wasn’t.) It was prettyeasy, you know. What happens is they come in, they sit downand talk with you and how would you handle situations andplus they, you know, took a tour of her room, where she wasgoing to be sleeping and things, you know, like plans forthe future. And how you are coping with discipline. . Likelast year, you know, she was in a foster home, you know,last year, eh. All through her school year, she was gettingD’s and E’s and C-’s and most of her work was unsatisfactory. And then she came to stay with me and she got herfirst report card. She got an A in Math.You know, cause,looking at her track record and her school work..(Iexpected a poor result.) And then I saw herfirst reportcard and I said, “Whoa! You got brains, afterall, eh!” Shegoes,”Pretty good, eh.” And I gave her a hug.At first, (I looked after the kids) becauseI felt theyneeded me. Because if I’m not here, whoelse is going tobe. And then I guess in a way. . becauseI wasn’t there,that my brother got adopted out. SoI don’t want thathappening with my nephews, you knowbecause losing contactwith my nieces was kind of hard, youknow because I don’teven know what they looked like,any more. Because we don’thave, recent pictures of them. I onlyhave little girl pictures of them. Ever since I wasfourteen, I was referred toas Momma-Ann up until I moved out.I was Momma-Ann to (thefour youngest in our family.) I wouldlike to change (the225adoption policies to) where everybody in the familyhas aneasier chance of getting the children.Whereas, especially.. with someone (who might not be able tohave children.)Especially when. . when you go tocourt and they say, youknow, not enough parenting experienceand you know.. (Parenting the boys twenty-fourhours a day is hard.) Especiallywhen in my mind, you know,I kept thinking I’m not goodenough to be a parent, you know. Am Igoing to be like mymom and sister, you know? And after awhile,after I hadthem for nine or ten months, I think, heyI’m good enough.I’ve had them this long. (A home should have)a lot ofstability and a lot of loving and you know,where there’sgoing to be a lot of discipline and understanding. Youknow, if you’re going to be a foster parent,you got tounderstand that the children you get are not going to be allthe same. Because there’s going to be abused children,neglected children and,. you know, abused. . you know, physically, sexually and mentally.”b) Closed Legal AdoptionInformant 4. (Z4, Nov. 9/89)Eve Ames, an Elder of Seabird Island, is in her seventies, Sheexperienced the adoption of her sister.“When my mother and my dad got married. My sister, I alwayscalled her my sister, Elizabeth, was adopted to my mother.We were both babies. My mother and my dad had two babies.I was a little older than my sister. A few monthsolder.Elizabeth was my adopted sister. Her mother died and herfather had no sisters or no other relatives. Therewas justhis mother and she died too, not very longafter that, so mymother and dad adopted Elizabeth througha lawyer. Theyonly paid 250 dollars for a lawyer.Them days see it wasnot very. . it’s a lot for, you know. She went to St.Mary’sschool and she got married from St. Mary’s, butshe wasalways with us on holidays then shegot married. (My parents) bought her things. That’s all I know.They went tosee her all the time when she was in St.Mary’s.”Eve Ames also related her knowledge of a closed legal adoption inher husband’s family. This closed legal adoptionwas mentionedby a number of band members; this adoption sticksin the memoryof informants because it was the legaladoption of a white adultwho, as an infant, had been “custom” adoptedby his Indiangrandfather.tI—ICD oF-hp.t-WSU)<rt-oQOH-(1-hoU)U)1riCflrt(1.ç-.c-t-(UU)CDCDF-çt (j,-U)F—a(UH-i-i.-j)()J(D‘p.(UU)Ci)p.tOCDCDU):5.1:,-QS0.0’-’;(U<p. )LOH-p.0)0I<F-CD-.13uCD0Q(UFl-CDp.txIp.(D’IQQrU)(U,rIH-corCDIrJ3-)H-p.F•ct1’ap.o)c-FU).ctU)rop.(D0CDnoD)1:1I—’;obi0J0tT’CD0CL)(UF-hbH-bpp.p.b050Se’-0P)1rFt(U0‘;H-r-IU)rt-U)(UUpipjp.p.o:ILpFlCDp.a)p.rt-p.i-CDiDiSD)(Up.U)oi-p.i-p.<I-Irt(U0_(U(it3U)0rCUD)tp)H-5U)P-.mb-oo.U)‘-<‘---<b(UDi‘-<(UH-(UcH-p.CD OFl(1,-I-CD0U0F—rF-I-’;p. 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He’s still part of the family.(He calls my parents ‘mom and dad’). (My dad) taught him tochop wood. He goes up with my dad every summer to the fishcamp and we do the wind drying and he knows how to set a netand I don’t think we have taught him to butcher a fish yet.(The adoption has worked out.) I don’t know if (he) wouldwant to leave our place. He is happy there. He doesn’tremember (the foster homes he was in.) I think he is a bitof an alcohol fetal syndrome baby. So he is, thinkingisnt. . his memory isn’t really good. Like you can tell himone thing one day and the next day he’ll forget.”c) Open AdoptionInformant 16. (Z9, Nov. 30/89)Ida Duncan is the birth mother of Scott. She is in her lateforties. She is an alcoholic and Scott, her youngest child,suffers from FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). Of her nine children,only one teenager now lives with her. The older children haveleft home and the two younger ones, Scott and Linda, are adoptedand in foster care, respectively.“I’m just getting to know my family. My family in Chehalis.I left there in 1951 when my dad passed away. They put mein a residential school. Last year was the first time Iever got to know them. I didn’t remember them. Well, a lotof things are blocked off from my past, too painful to.remember (from when I was a child.) A lot of them I guess,I don’t want to remember, cause some people would bring itup and I’d say I don’t remember. The first time my memoriesstart coming back about my childhood, I didn’t like it. Igot so.. angry. I cried hard. I said I’ll never go to thatkind of workshop again cause, I always thought of my dad asbeing not perfect, but I always thought he was a real niceperson. What I blocked out about my dad, was that he usedto . . he was physically abused my brother and sister. Iknow he drank a lot but the times I remembered werethe goodtimes. I blocked out all the bad. I lost Scottabout sixyears ago. We went to court for three years, tryingto gethim and Linda back. Welfare (took him away because)I wasdrinking a lot and then I quit. . I quit but I still wasn’tlooking after them. . so. . It came pretty close to a mentalbreakdown on account of my relationship with my husband andtrying to cope without drinking. They took them. . two weeksafter I quit drinking. I was hurt. Well, they told me theywere taking them for three months, tillI straightened up,providing I went for help. So I went for help frommental229health in Chilliwack, After threemonths was over they saidI wasn’t getting them back.Three of them., because.. (myhusband) quit two weeks afterI quit.. but I still wasn’tcapable of looking after everyone.First I (agreed withthem) because I knewI wasn’t capable but after awhile, youknow, I could handle themagain and we start going throughcourt. I don’t know howmany times we went to court andthey kept changing our lawyer.Well, we’d just get used toone and we’d have to get used to another one. I told myhusband I’m just goingto give up. I said that. They wantmy kids, they can have them. They wereon Seabird and wewere allowed to see themtill our last court and then theymoved them. . because I lost them.. I couldn’tget them back.(They took them off the Island) causewe weren’t allowed tosee them. That hurt. I was mostly angry. I haven’t seenScott for two or three years.He was twenty—one months oldthen. Scott, Linda, and Steve. I see Linda now,she livesright on Seabird. (I get to talk toher.) It’s real good.She’s staying with our oldestdaughter. I got Steve backbecause he kept running away from his fosterhomes. (Myoldest daughter) had him for awhile, and theyweren’tgetting along. I got him back, finally about three or fouryears ago. He’s running from the law right now. (I haven’tseen Scott) since they took him. He doesn’t know about hisdad.. I don’t think he knows about his dad passing away. Heknows he has a mom and dad. He tells Linda that. Lindagets to see him. He knows he’s got a mom and dad, but Idon’t think he knows about his dad passingaway. (He knowsthat he comes from this band.) Linda (tells him. I knowhe’s okay.) I’ve begun to understand hima lot more fromLinda when Linda goes to see him. (I saw a picture of him)from last year, I think. I’ve got one of him when he wasfour, I think, just before they took him off the reserve.We used to have weekly visits with him. Hopefully, (I’llhave him back.) No.. I would have to go through courts andI don’t want to face that yet. Well, it brings back memories about court.. of going through court for him.In away.. I guess I just.. don’t like the thought of losingagain. Some look for their parents. I’ve heard of somegoing back to their real parents. Scott doesn’t know myname. Linda wants to tell him but she can’t. I wish it wasright now so I could see him. I wish they’d start lettingthe parents see their children, even not really tell thechildren who these other people are that are coming to seethem if they don’t remember them. In a way, I wish I couldsee Scott and be introduced to him as ‘aunt’ or something.(I would want to be introduced to him as aunt because) Iwouldn’t want to upset him because if these people are realnice people and he’s happy. . as long as I saw him happy.I’d like to see him. I’d like to see them.. try to give theparents a chance to prove. . that they can look after. . Like,I don’t think they gave us a chance to prove it. They justkept the three children. I’d like to see them give the parents a chance -- a second chance. Wellit was painful.. Itold my husband that I’m not having anymore children. I230always thought it meant that I wasn’t a good parent. Iwishthey’d let them stay on the reserve. I know that it’snatives that are adopting Scott. (I feel better aboutthat.) At least I know he’s growing up knowing his culture.Cause a lot of them lose their culture if they are adoptedby a different race. Even non—natives are going throughthesame thing. I want them to know where they’re from. Causeit’s pretty hard after they grow up to find out wherethey’re originally from. They don’t knowanything about it.I’d like them to learn both ways not just one, causeit ishard on the children -- especially those that get adopted bydifferent cultures. That’s why, in a way, I’m glad it’snatives that are adopting Scott. That way, he’ll know wherehe’s from. Cause I didn’t know where I was.. really from.Where I came from.. Now I’m learning. I never got to know(my relatives) before they passed away.”Informant 12. (Z6, Nov.14/89)Linda Duncan is the youngest sister of Scott. She is in herteens; during the time she was at home, she had to assume adultresponsibilities in the care of her young brother. She has justreturned to the reserve after an eight year period of serialfoster care.“I don’t know my sister that well, I just got back fivemonths ago. I don’t know my grandparents or grandpa. Iwanted (my brother) to be adopted. I did not want my mom..that mom I was talking to now. I don’t want him toknow hismom or his family. (The reason is) just the way I’vebeentreated. Plus, I wanted to know if he’s been feededallright and I don’t want him to grow up wild, like my(older)brother. (When my brother was adopted, I felt) scaredatfirst. I thought I would never get to see him again. Idon’t know. Just thinking the last names.. what he wouldbe. . or would I ever find him again. (I found out I couldtalk to him) a couple of months after he was adopted. I washappy cause I could talk to him. I missed him a lotbecause, looking after a little one for five years, you’llmiss him a lot. He told me that he was glad to seeme causehe smiled and he don’t cry no more when I’m going causeheknows I’m going to come right back. He knows wheneverwewant to see each other, we can, as long it’s on the weekend.(He knows that he’s Indian.) He’s living with a coupleofwhites. It’s a mixed home, adopted people. There’s a childthere that’s handicapped, another one.. she’s white but shehad just a bit of Indian in her. And there’s (my brother),fully Indian with a bit of Chinese in him on mom’sside.(My brother knows about our band because I’ve told theadoptive parents) what kind of a band I’m in and what is my231mom like and how many people are in my family.. They ask mequestions like., they don’t know anything about(mybrother), so they come to me andask me . . I come to themwith what I know about him, because he getsinto troublewhat things he don’t like. So I have to tellthem that hedon’t like all this and that..his likes and dislikes..cause I know him by now.I don’t know what I’d do if Icouldn’t see (my brother)., causeI’ve looked after him I..pretty well like my little own becauseI used to change hisdiapers and I used to get him his bottleand when he wasolder, feed him or bathhim then feed him and get himdressed, take off for school.,you know, day care. Makesure he’s clean and everything. He usedto call me ‘mom’when I was little. Still does everynow and then. (I’ll beable to keep in touch with him forever.)As long as I gotrides to go wherever he lives and back.So I might go seehim this weekend or just forthe day or the night. (He’snot allowed to come to the reserve.)I have to go up thereto see him. Once he starts understanding.. everything or ifhe could take it,. (He’s turning eight.)”Informant 17. (Z16, Dec.1O/89)Yvonne Duncan is Scott’s oldest sister.She had not seen Scottsince his apprehension as an infant.“I got to see my brother Scott for the firsttime in fiveyears! I got to see him for the first time. Oh,He’s big!(That was just recently.) I tried again fora custodytakeover on.. on my brother and my sister, butmy sister wasalready made a permanent ward of the court.So I was justgoing to court.. for my brother butthen.. if I won the caseto get my brother, then the Ministry was goingto look intomaking me a foster home.. for my sister. . butthen againthere was the pattern, plus therewas. . closeness in betweenmy house and my parents’ home. You know, there wasn’tmuchdistance. But then I couldn’t moveoff reserve, becausethey wanted them on reserve but then.. you know.. it was..like going round and round in circles, you know.Theydidn’t want them too close to mom and dad. . but I couldn’tmove off because they wanted to keep them on reserve.Nomatter how far of a distance, you know,I was on thereserve, I be still too close. It wasan impossible situation. Plus, then again, was the fact that I wasn’t experienced and both (my partner) and I were working, plus(he)had a reputation of having a bad temper, plus he had nodealings with children. The court (gave me all thesereasons.) He got that information from the Ministry..(Scott) is adopted in Chilliwack. I got to seehim for thefirst time this Sunday. I wanted to hug him, eh. But Ididn’t know what I should do in front of his adoptiveparents, you know. And I kind of.,I was standing there,you know, trying to hold back the tears.I was. . you know.,232He’s, . got buck teeth. Wow! you know, becausewe used tohave him. . like when he was in a foster home,we used tohave him for weekends and we used to go bikeriding andeverything. He remembers. He remembers the bikerides. Hevaguely remembers me, but, you know, that’s all he remembers. Mostly the bike rides. He saw Linda, too.(She hadaccess to him all along. What I thought Iwasn’t to see himuntil May. Boy, I was surprised. Like I was sittingthereand Linda goes, ‘Hurry up, get your shoes on.’ AndI said,‘Why?’ And she said, ‘You’re going to get to see someone!’I was off that couch, put my runners on and I was out thedoor. (I was having a hard time not to call him by hisbabyname. His adoptive parents don’t want us to use that name.)He doesn’t remember much of mom and dad and he justvaguelyremembers me. His adoptive parents didn’t changehis lastname. I just got to see him for like ten or fifteenminutes. His adoptive mom is the same age as me. They seemreally nice, you know. Linda says he’s got good parentsbecause she’s spent weekends with him. They just kind ofkept quiet in the background and let me visit with Scott fora little while. It was really something. They will tellScott who his parents are. I think when the girls (Sadieand Lily) get older, they have a thing on all of us, ourbackground situation, like who I was with, and wherewelived, what our phone numbers are, what our mailingaddresses are and I guess it will be kept up to date, youknow, by the Ministry. They will have access to that whenthey get older. Because they’re starting to findchildren’snatural parents when they turn nineteen.”d) “Custom” AdoptionInformant 5. (Z3, Nov.9/89)Leo Howard defined “custom” adoption thefollowing way:“3ust if somebody died, they moved inwith the uncle orgrandparent. There was nothing formal.It would be agreedon who should take the child in, whether anuncle or agrandparent or who ever they were closest to.3ust a verbalagreement. (Sometimes the child wentback to their biological parents), other timesthey just grew up. They knewthey were adopted. (The child knew whotheir biologicalparents were.) A lot of time (theparents) were dead, eh.The other band members knew. A lotof the old timers, theykeep on reminding you of whoyou’re relatives are, eh,because they don’t want you to sortof go around with your..one of your first, second or third cousins.The third wassort of acceptable sometimes to marrythem. Other thanthat, you weren’t allowed, eh. That’swhy it was sort ofimportant to know who were your cousins.(It’s importantnow to know who the kids are and wherethey are.) Theparents are really strict. Theyreally frown upon it ifthey go with a close relative,eh. Sometimes like ismarried with his third or fourth cousin.That was frowned233upon, but they got permission. Sometimes they saythird istoo close. Preferably fourth.Now, for custom adoption,they usually sign papers, eh. Get custody, familyallowance, transfers, and some of them are nowadopting themlegally. (The biological parents) wouldhelp out financially and they’d visit or the kids would visitthem. (Theywould know where they came from.)It’s important to knowwho’s who and who all your relativesare. Just kin, eh.It’s, you know, good to knowkinship. Somebody you can sortof go and visit and relate to.Say this is my cousin. Someare close. (People adopt because) they arekin, eh. Theysay, well he’s my responsibilityand you know, I’ve got thisdocument, you know, and I don’t wantany more interferencefrom you. If they had a tense relationshipor somethinglike that or they have fosterchildren and they don’t wantthem sort of taken away againby another relative, so theyadopted them, Here’s the papers,we have legal custody. Sothey get peace of mind. He’s ours,you know. (Adoptedchildren) can participate in name-givingceremonies. Theyusually research their ancestors,eh. Even if they’reThompson. They research the Thompsonnames and it could bea Thompson name even if they livehere. I’d like to ensuresort of like protection,eh, for the kid and the parents,have everything written out (so theyget what they areentitled to) for theirrights, so they can get everyentitlement that I can get, you know,and to make sure thecodes are compatible. We should havesome sort of optionhere, a tribal adoption. The bandcould adopt them and wecould look after them as a memberof our community, eh, asopposed to the child goingaway and being lost, losingculture, identity. Losing a member,eh. We quite (sic)protective saying he’s ours and he’sour responsibility. Wewant to know sort of who’s outthere. A lot of times wedon’t really get a membership list. We don’treally knowany of these people, eh. So we can’t do anythingaboutthat. So it’s mostly the things we knowhere. We sort ofdon’t want to lose them. The other ones out there, we don’thave too much of clue. Who they are, where theyare. If weknew we would like to take responsibility. (In tribaladoption the extended family, a group home, or afamilywould take them.) The most important thing is theprotection of the children. With children, some howorother, when the child is adopted out, youknow, they shouldmake every effort to maintain its sort of identity, languageand culture so that they don’t become sort of totallyalienated and having conflict, you know, of identity, clashof white values and Indian values. I know that happen justby the schools they attend. (Do it) by ensuring that thefoster parents, adoptive parents sort of know all thehistory of that child. A child should have its rights.Also a parent should have its rights. For the bettermentofthe child. There’s been recommendationsmade to MHR. It’sdifficult, you know, you’re brown notwhite. Maybe we couldput some recommendations into the band membershipcode.”234Informant 2. (Z2, Nov.2/89)Mildred Roberts defined “custom” adoption and discussed herknowledge of a band member who had been “custom” adopted.“(‘Custom’ adoption is..) Well, they take them in whetherthey can pay for it or not, you know. Just to give them ahome and bring them up as their own and everybody just saysdon’t even notice the difference. You know that they comefrom a different band.. they know but they don’t.. My parents were -----‘s father and mother and when they talk to me,oh your daughter or your father or your sister or whatever.We’re not one big family, we don’t stick together like that.But it’s nice to know that you can go over here and that’syour family. Lot of support. It was always there. Mostlyit’s health or death or births. You get all excited aboutthe new baby in the family. We get together. We do gettogether and we go to a certain house and talk. We canreminisce. (Fred Masters).. his great uncle. They justtook him in when he had no place to go. Raised him as theirown and when they passed away, he got the land. (Customadaption means) knowing that you are wanted. No moneyinvolved, nothing, no reason for a person to take you in.They just take you in because they want you. Love you andraise you, just like their own. There are a lot of thesekids around here, that parents died with big families andthere was nobody to take them in. We have two families allaround my age that had.. to be brought up in foster homes,boarding schools and all that. Someone should have takenpart of them ‘cause then there was no social assistance. Ithink that’s the reason I like custom, too, because you justgo and take them in. Nobody telling you gotta do this andcheck your home and make sure and. . because that’s a littlescary too when Human Resources checks your home. So I waspretty lucky (because I was a foster parent, they knew mywhole life.) Legal adoption seems to mean people want achild, and the child is not related to them. I don’t thinkit really matters to them, but they don’t know the background of that child. Say their great uncle might have beena big chief or a councillor, really looked up to. Thingslike that. They don’t know those things so they can’t tellthe child. Like, your uncle is one of the strong councillors, you know, spoke up at meetings. Just little thingslike that. Makes you proud of being who you are. (Customadoption means) everybody knows the background of the child.You can tell the child, you know, different things about hisfamily. So it makes him proud, and you know who he’srelated to and everything. You can always say, well, thisis your great aunt. I think the band looks more towardscustom adoption. That child is a member of that band andfrom that reserve. My husband applied for adoption for alittle boy and fine, we were going to get him, but wealready had (our foster son) , so we said no but we didn’tknow where he was from or who his dad was. You don’t know a235thing about this child you have. Youcan’t help them. Anymember of the family (can adopt.)A blood relation or agood friend. Cause you could liveright next to somebody,call them auntie and this lady couldtake you in even thoughyou’re not related. That’s what happenedto this FredMasters up here. He called thisman uncle and he called thelady auntie. When his motherdied, they just took him rightin. (Children need to be adopted because) probably,like Isay, the father’s left and the mother has a bunch of littlechildren and she remarriesagain and her family’s a littletoo big for him. Things like that. Mostly it’s death.”Informant 6. (Z15, Dec.6/89)Sally Jenkins responded to interview questions about “custom”adoption based on her understanding of the term.“I know the grandparents.. were the main people that.. likeif anything ever happened they were the ones takingthechild. . if anything happened to the parents. Butthey weremore or less the guardians anyway. Causethey were the onesthat taught our children the ways of the pastand our culture. (That doesn’t happen veryoften now) because peopleexpect to get money to look after their ownfamilies. (Notnecessarily the grandparents, aunts and uncles could, too.)There’s a couple of grandparents have takentheir kids. Nowthe grandparents don’t do as much now. Theygo to bingo.They used to visit. I think it probablyis to do withresidential schools. A lot of ourparents and aunts anduncles went to residentials.Well, when they went to residential schools, they were onlyallowed home on special, youknow, weekends, Christmas breaks, duringthe two months ofsummer holidays. The rest of the time they had tostay atthe residential school. Being corrected at the residentialschools if they did things the Indian way. The timestheycouldn’t even speak their own language, they wereslapped ontheir hands or something for talking.(If the grandparentscan’t look after the kids, now, they shouldbe cared for) byanother family that wants them, like maybe the extendedfamily like aunt or uncle or cousin. (Therewould be enoughpeople to look after the kids) if the Ministryprobablywasn’t involved. I think so. (TheMinistry is a problembecause) you have to go through like the questionnaire and,you know, you can’t have a criminal record or anything likethat. It is kind of difficult, I think, (to find parents.)Especially with us, with some of the problems some of thefamilies are having abuses -- either physical or sexual. Ithink maybe if Chief and Council wrote a by-law for thefamilies. Like if they were having difficulties or something with their families, they should give a by-law. Thenit wouldn’t be so hard on the families, you know, just goingin there and demanding to see their child or whatever.”236Informant 7. (Z8, Nov.21/89)Frances John, a band member in her forties, recalls her knowledgeof “custom” adoption.“They used to take the oldest child from their oldest child,the grandparents would take their first child’s first babyand raise it as their own and they would just naturally keepthe grandparent’s name. It was just amongst the familyandthemselves, just verbal. (It was the oldest baby because)the native people have different gifts that they pass on tothe next generation. So thatthey would keep.. this childwould be kept to be the one to learn whatthe grandparentshad to pass down. The grandparents usually tookthechildren if something happened to the parents. They wouldjust automatically go to them. If they are not wards ofHuman Resources, then the family within will raise thosechildren. (They do not inherit from the grandparentsasmuch as they ) used to years ago, cause most grandparentsnowadays don’t.. not too many raise themlike they did manyyears ago. (I adopted) because I likechildren and I alwayswanted my own and I watched children thatare being abusedand not really cared for, youknow. Some people havechildren that they don’t plan on having and I got.. a softheart for that sort. And it reallyhurts when I see thembeing mistreated and pushed aside.It really means a lot(to the band) to be able to keep them. But nowthey’rehaving problems with trying to find somebody to lookafterthem without it always falling on the same family.Maybein a few years, if they have better housing, Ithink theywill be able to do it. I don’t knowhow they managed yearsago with one little cabin and all theselittle ones livingin there. Now we all have to have separate rooms.Now theywant big mansions for.. like people who want to fosterkids.You have to go by Human Resourcescapacity. Nowadays thekids usually go and find their birthparents. I would liketo get Human Resources off your case when itsyour originalfamily. Cause if it’s your blood relativeand you’re willing to look after them, I don’t seewhy they should have tocome in and check up on you to see whether you’rea fitparent. We do have our kids baptized and we dohave god—parents and we usually pick somebody we thinkwill carry outtheir duties when we are gone.”Informant 8. (Z18, Dec.11/89)Fred Masters was “custom” adopted by hisuncle and aunt when hewas an infant. He is now in his late sixtiesand takes greatpride in his work history in the logging industry, both in theUnited States and in Canada.237“I guess the welfare system came out, you know. They weretrying to put me in a orphanage and I wouldn’t go. Iwouldn’t accept it and I waitedtill I got old enough whereI could go logging. So I waited tillthen so I was twelveyears old. Well, in fact I started when I was eleven.Iworked out here at the lake. In themdays they used to takeIndian kids from any home, you know, so that’s what theytried to do to me. My mother lived in Vancouver,I don’tknow what a hand (the Welfare) had in it because. . Theydidn’t know the relationship between us, combined, youknow,generations, like my great-grandma.(My uncle and aunt)looked after me after I was born. That’s where I learnedlogging. (My uncle) adopted me. I was adopted to thetribe, you know. It was done. . most people neverhad theopportunity that I had, I was voted in.It was legally. Iwas four or five. (I took my uncle’s name. I calledthem)Mom and Dad. My grandmother died of pneumonia, then mymother probably couldn’t take care of me at that time,thatwas during .. because of the Depression and it was reallytough. (I inherited frommy uncle.) There was documents(one of the councillors) told me he’d seen a will thatwasmade out to me. There’s land. It was ownership. (Intheold days, grandparents looked after the kids.) All mykidsare Master’s. . The thing that makes it is, you know, thefeeling you had is because of the family tree. It’s justthere. there’s more (Master’s) in Langley, you know. (TheMaster’s are my family.) I was a branch to them. Well,from my experience, I believe we should screen the person.Look at his background; if he’s an alcoholic, never put onein a alcoholic home, because I know what alcoholics areandI believe they should really screen the person.Look attheir records, see what they are. Get intothe background.I’ve seen so many cases of abuse, even their own kids.”Informant 3. (Z12, Dec.4/89)Ethel Gladue is an Elder in the Seabird Island band. Herexperience with adoption has been as a grandmother, takingresponsibility for her grandchildren. This type of care is anotherkind ofcare-giving that is part of the inclusive term “custom” adoption.She does not use this term for her role in the life of thesechildren, rather she says she just “takes care of them”.“Well anyway, a long time ago they used to visit., peoplewould visit. They’d sit down, sit you across the room,there, and they’d tell you. . give you advice on whatto do.They don’t any more. Not like that any more. (The grand-238parents would look after the children if there werefamilyproblems.) The next relative would take and look afterthemif they had to. Just looking after themand they never gotpaid for it, either. (It didn’t have to be a bloodrelative.) No, I’ve never heard (the word ‘adoption’ used todescribe any child welfare action.) They just takethem inand look after them. Help out with whatever. Justpart ofthe family. Most of the bands are. . they have respectforpeople. If it’s their people, well then they lookafterthem. I think the band would like to see their peoplestayon the reserve and not move away. It’s becausewe belonghere. There are some reserves where they want all theirband members but nobody else. I think this band wouldliketo have their own people. All the time, all the time,Ihave my grandchildren with me, most of the time. Oh,yeah,you know, they’re always around. They come andtake turns,come and stay with me, Well, there’s lots of them haveproblems, too, eh. So they come and stay until theygeteverything all ironed out and they go and stay in theirownplace. There’s all kinds of problems every which way.Family problems. I tell them how I was brought upwhen Iwas young and how hard we had to work to survive,not liketo-day. People just sit around and don’tdo nothing. Theydon’t know how to work. I tell them they got to learnhowto cook, got to learn how to clean, got to learn how to doeverything if you want a family when you grow up. There’scertain way to talk to children that have problems. It’shard you know. You sit down, you got to have a realopenmind, you know what you’re going to talk about, whenyoutalk to problem children. It’s hard. I know, all mychildren I stayed home with them. I also worked butI triedto stay home most of the time. I didn’t leave them. Butthere was no such thing as baby sitters when we were youngmothers. We stayed home all the time. We didn’t went nowhere. We didn’t go to parties, I guess when we got olderwe did. . but, it was even more important to stay homewiththe children when you had started to got grandchildren.Those grandchildren of mine mean more to me than mychildren. Why? I’m closer to them. It makes you feel likeyou’re important. It really is.”Informant 16. (Z9, Nov.30/89)Ida Duncan experienced “custom” adoption herself. She wasadopted at the age of three months. Similar to Ethel Gladue’sexperience, Ida’s experience was short term care bya number ofextended family members. She stayed with a number of relativeswhile her father worked. When her father died, the “custom”careended and she was sent to residential school.239“A relative., would take over likethey did to me when mymother passed away. I was onlythree months old. I.. wentfrom one. . relative to theother cause my dad couldn’t lookafter me. He was always working,if he wasn’t working, hewas out fishing. So. . my aunts and uncles tookover onthis, my father’s (side). I movedall the time. Well theytook turns looking after me.. and when my dad washome, I’dback and stay with him and as soon as it was timefor him togo back out.. He was gone a lot ofthe time, he was hardlyever home. He had a trapline, he had..fishing out on thecoast and then if he wasn’t fishing, he waslogging. My twooldest brothers were in.. Sechelt residential school and mysister and younger brother were in Kuper Islandresidentialschool. I went to residential school when Iwasn’t quitenine yet.. that’s when my dad passed away.(A relative putme there.) The first two years, Istayed right over therewith my aunt in Sechelt (and went to the residentialschoolthere.) Well, (my brother) got married, andthen I wasallowed to. . come home withhim. . back to the Island. Istayed with (him) and hiswife. I stayed with him till Imet my husband in ‘57 (then I gotmarried.) I was onlyfifteen. At least it lastedthirty years before he passedaway. (I didn’t call my aunts and uncles‘mom and dad’.) Iused to call them by their namelike my dad; I didn’t callhim ‘dad’. (I called my grandparentsby their fist name.)I didn’t know my.. my mother’sname. I didn’t know her.”Informant 13. (Z13, Dec.5/89)Robert Smiley was “custom” adoptedas a child by his grandfather.At the age of eleven, Robert began work in the logging industry.His personal experience and his concern for the largeIndianpopulation in Canadian prisons has led himto formulate verystrong ideas on the use of spirituality to bringnatives back totheir own way of doing things.“The grandparents or some other relation would look afterthem. They would look after them forever. (They would knowwho their own parents were) because you can not hide anddisturb their mind, cause you’re playing with theirmindsonce you say.. then you’re teaching them hateby not tellingthem who their parents are if they’re in the spiritualworld, you have to tell them they’re no longer here.Youcan’t lie to them because you’re teaching them how to lieand that is something that has to be eliminated.You cannot take an Indian child and put it ina white home or aChinese home because you are taking away the culture. This240will start a child to rebel..It will, if you don’t bringthem to Indian people and teachthem Indian ways, they aregoing to rebel. They will start hatingtheir foster patents. (They will begin by committingsmall transgressionswhich they will get away with.) Then they willtry forsomething bigger. Then the law comes in or the priestandthe social worker. Now that child hates thefoster parent,he hates the priest, he hates the law (and hehates himself.) He’s going to rebel, so thereforehe’s going to trysomething even more drastic sohe’ll end up in jail or, youknow, a youth home. So therefore there’sother people, likethe judge, he’s going tohate the judge. The judge may be awhite person so therefore he’s going tohate all whitepeople. And then there’s the warden and the guards.Hehates everyone. (He loses self-respect.)There’s many manyin the prisons to-day. The population of the prisonsacrossCanada is one third of the population of our Indianpeople,you know. And when (our population is only one percentofthe population of Canada.. Many of the inmates went througha time of separation from theirfamily.) They are verybitter. (White families whohave adopted a native child)should bring them to Indian gatherings,whatever kind, fromwhatever their area they come from. Theywould be welcomed.It’s important to the child (to keep him on the reserve.)(I was adopted by my grandfather.) It wasjust their word.I was registered (under his name.) Mygreat-grandmothergave him some land up here and I still have thatland.That’s the reason I was adopted to (him.)He didn’t haveany sons to will the land to. (Theland is important)because it is Mother Earth. It provides for us. Itprovides everything, everything that weneed, the clothing, thewood, the shelter, the warmth, everythingis here that weneed. All we have to remember is how to inherit it and lookafter it. To my grandfather, I called him‘dad’. He taughtme how to hunt, he taught me how to fish, taught me how tofall a tree by myself with a cross-cut saw, taught me howto take care of the garden, how to take care of the soil,taught me how to take care of the fruit, to put it in thecellar for the winter months, vegetables, how to take careof the horses, how to take care of the cows, howto smokemeat, how to smoke fish, how to salt salmon. That was theteaching of how not to be lazy, okay. (My great-grandfathertaught me spiritual things.) I got my (Indian name) from mygreat-grandmother. (To adopt) you can not be.. practising..bad ways. You see, it’s up to the elders to come togetherto. . say. . that person is right. That’s the way itwasyears ago. To us the elders are very importantif they arenot practising alcohol. I’d like to see (the children)adopted on the reserve. It would be a lot different if wewere self-governed our own selves. The decisionswould be alot easier. The Social Services are so much red tape.There’s so much duplication of papers. I was told that youhave to go and stay with your grandfather so he can raiseyou. My great-grandmother said, ‘That land isgoing to beyours.’ Well, that’s something to work for.”241Informant 14. (Z19, Dec.i2/89)John White’s father was customadopted. This adoption experiencewas atypical, in that his grandfather was white, which concernedsome band members. John White, in his thirties,is a professional, working on the reserve. He has investeda lot of timeresearching the Sto’lo ways and incorporating thosevalues intohis life.“My dad’s mother, who was my (great-)grandfather’s daughter. . passed away giving birth to my fatherand Pap broughthim up, like Pap was my (great-)grandfatherand (my father)was considered.. Pap’s son. (My dad called him ‘dad’.)Mydad’s was a “custom” adoption and it was tried some yearslater. . from different people on reserve to get, like myfather and us, you know, kicked off the reservebecause itwasn’t legal. It wasn’t on paper from a court,but it stoodup as a “custom” adoption (with both the courtand the BandCouncil.) It was important in the sensethat it happened.It was like almost a replacementof parents, where one istaken away and another is inserted. It was generallyaccepted. The reason why they wantedus kicked off isbecause my dad’s father was white and theywere getting alittle sticky about that. (My fatherinherited as a son.My grandfather’s estate was divided intofour and my dad wasone recipient.) He was brought up as a son and lookedatPap as a father. (People adopt because) it’s usuallyaneed. I’m thinking of one.. one particularcase now where..a member. . of Seabird. . like a nieceor, you know, distantcousin and who was murdered and sheleft. .a daughter andthis particular person, because he wasthe oldest, you know,the oldest responsible one, he tookher in and brought herup as his own and that was like a traditional adoptionthing, but I believe, two or threeyears ago, he got paperssaying that she was legally adopted. So. . before thatitwas accepted in the community that that was the process, butI guess the legal status with D.I.A. they needed that stuffon paper. (If a child’s parents could not lookafter thechild, the child) would automatically be assumed by anothermember of the family; if not, the grandparentswould.Everybody in the family would know, and then everybodyinthe band would accept. That was the generalpractice. Inmy knowledge, (‘custom’ adoption) is possible, I know itshappened and it’s happening. On a legal sense, where.. inthe ones that I know of that have happenedand have takenplace, you know, custom.. It’s just that, you know, there’s242no broadcast over the radio,nothing in the newspapers wherethe outsiders, you know, we calloutsiders the ones outsideof the tradition, wouldfind out about and say hey that’snot right., you should go throughall these legal bits.(The child) is made awareof who they are, who their parentsare. I think the one thing that standsin the way of thelegal part, papers, lawyers, court,judge, I’m thinking ofa case where a car crashleft two children who were relatedto members on the reserveand who wanted the children butcouldn’t get them. Thenthe child was placed in a fosterhome outside of the community. That’sone of the thingsthat kind of got peoplea little more, you know, mare vocalized on adoption matters and takingfamilies in. One of theproblems with (the welfare) systemis there’s no knowledgeor there may be knowledge but there is nounderstanding forextended family. Their thinking (that) extendedfamily issomeone you know, way over there but in reality, it’sabond. Everybody is like webbed, webbedtogether throughfamily and when a crisis situation comesup, then it’s thefamily’s responsibility to, you knowfl . It’s likea cut onyour hand, you know, and your body heals it.The extendedfamily is like your body if there are anycuts or bruises oranything, they all pull together.They’re there for supportand comfort and love. (The non-native community)is moresegregated or separated. That’s one of the fearsI see now.A long time ago the extended family was muchmuch closerthan it is now. Like here, my brother’s children,you know,would be my sons and daughters, as well.But what D.I.A.has done and C.M.H.C. (Canada Mortgagingand Housing Corporation), saying that you can’t live in one house.Each headof the household has to have their own houseand its kindof, you know, pulling that bondage, thenatural bondageaway. C.M.H.C. is saying only nuclear familiesin a household. That’s what’s really. . It’s degradingto us. Wecan’t do anything. . If we want a house, that’s what yougotto do to get it. I think the differenceis that for examplethe East Indian or Oriental communitieshave that and theonly understanding that I haveis that it’s permitted isthat they’ve come from a. . another placeand we come fromhere and, you know, are treated totally different,althoughit’s supposed to be the same and the new constitution issupposed to be equality and it’s not.It looks good onpaper but in reality it’s much much morediverged from thething, and you know, I think if it keeps on thenit may be achoice of doing more damage than what it’s done.OnSeabird, I know there are likefour different families, youknow, clusters who are really close.I’ve seen it on theother reserves where brother hates brotherand brother hatessister. Whereas if they are underthe one roof, there isnever any chance of that. Those kindsof strifes, it wasalways taken care of right away. (If we wentback to customadoption), there would have to be a lotof education processgoing on. (If the grandparents don’t feel thatcustomadoption is part of their role),(the children would) be letgo. The band wouldn’t be there. The bandwould be like243severed and what I mean by ‘letgo’ is being given up foradoption outside or taken. The immediatefamily, extendedfamily.. It would (be) by family, like theprocess is theimmediate family first, then theextended family second andthen the community is third. It wouldbe like aunts, unclesor grandparents first, then it wouldbe cousins second andthen the community, you know,not necessarily related, butthe community I feel has an obligationfor, you know, itsmembers. For example, (my cousin)asked a fourth cousin totake care of him (when his mother metwith an accident.They called each other ‘brother’)and that’s the strength ofthe bond and it’s accepted,you know, within the family.(The kids have to be kept here) forcultural survival.Without. . without people there’sno culture, human culture.And without children, there can’t beany children because,you know, we come back, but we come backas something.something different then whatwe are now. But.. for aculture or tradition to survive,they need young people --seeds -- and children are seeds.(I would like) to do awaywith the red tape, so the process ofgetting from one doorto the next door wouldn’t be solong and sometimes a lotmore, you know, dragged on thenit should be. For example,if a court deals with adoptions once every other month,youknow, if your’s happens at the end ofone time, you havesuch a long time to go. That’s onething that kind of putsa needle in everything is when you’re dealingwith papers,you know. You see it written down andit’s always there,you know, you can go to itin a month or whatever but inreality, where living lives are concerned,it has to be, youknow, done now and not messing withtheir minds or theirbodies. (My criteria for a good place for a child wouldbegin with) trust. I’m saying this from,you know, thenative and the non-native perspective. There’sa lot ofwhat’s termed paternalism on the D.I.A.’s part.We can’ttake care of ourselves. Wecan’t do anything ourselves andyet, if they look back. . far enough,they’d find out that.you know, that we’re. . the roles werereversed, you know,two or three hundred years ago inthis part of the continent. It’s so easy to block thingsout. The thinking isreally hard to tag on. . the thinking processwhere in myupbringing, everything is ours, you know,it’s.. mine, it’syours if you want it. But when I wentto Agassiz school..things changed. It wasn’t ‘ours’ anymore, it was mine andyou can’t have it. And that’s the waygovernment is.D.I.A., instead of.. I guess they understandthe processotherwise they wouldn’t be doing it. . tohinder our development is, you know. . give us the reins orgive us the wheeland the gas pedal and you know, letus.. let us go.. I’msure that we can, you know, show people thingsthat everybody can learn by. Because, you know, thethinking processisn’t mine, it’s ours and if I can do something that wouldbenefit somebody else and if I don’t do itthen, you know,I’m not a good person.. And, whereas,the other side is if Ican do something, then, you know, I wantthe money for itfirst. That’s a constant struggle and you know, we are244recognizing, you know, that, you know, even in ourowncommunities now where I wouldn’t doanything unless you payme for it, you know. That thinking attitude.It’s beendone to them so they’re doing it to others. They’vebeentaught that in, you know, residential schools. An eyeforan eye and a tooth for a tooth. All that, youknow, isgoing to change with education. Hopefully, mygrandchildrenwill have a little better life than we have now.All thatwith the understanding that you can’t go back.That’s gotto be on both sides.”Informant 19. (Z10, Nov.30/89)Sarah White, in her thirties, hasa professional job on thereserve. She has experiencedmany foster care and adoption casesand is concerned for the welfareof the children and the band.Like her brother, John White,Sarah’s own personal experience ofadoption concerns the “custom” adoption ofher father.“Dad was approximately two months old when his mother diedso his grandfather took him in and his father left becauseof his job to go down to Seattle. He couldn’t carefor himon the ship and Pap took him in and amongst his..immediatefamily. . he adopted dad into that family..to the extentof.. willing property down to dad and his five sons.My momsays (my dad was not adopted legally.) Mom said that Pappaid $200 to the lawyer to.. declare dad an Indian and thenPap gave. . dad $170 to get our names legally changed fromHoward’s to White’s. Dad never did that so we are Howard’s,legally. I never realized that till I started to comeworking here. It was about three or fouror five years ago.It was quite a shock. I always used White,I went to schoolas White. I never knew the grandparents. Dad passed awaywhen I was nine years old. (I found out he was “custom”adopted) probably when I started working here.Cause thesubject never came up. I didn’t know dad well enough.. whohe was, but my older brother knew who he was. It neverbothered me. I didn’t have any grandparents or father so itdidn’t have no impact. But I want to find who dad’s side ofthe family is. (In “custom” adoption) mostly it’sgrandchildren. Grandparents taking in grandchildren. (Theydon’t go through Social Services.) It was justa naturaloccurrence that grandparents stepped in when the parentswere unable. With fostering, you’re restrictedto custody,then you had to get the Ministry’spermission for education,religion, etc. But the grandparents took themand raisedthem as their own so religion and education.. and took onthe financial burden of this child,so they didn’t have toget permission. They were classed as theirchildren untilthe parents came back. (Property) was passeddown to them.They treated (the children) a little morespecial than theirown children. It’s a little joke.. that you know, that when245a child comes in, it has limited time with youIt’s givenmore time because you know it’s going togo very soon. Itwas treated more special because the parents werealwayscoming back. (The child knew that it had birthparents.)Most of the time, they had every day contactand they couldstay with the mother. There was no threatof this personcoming back and scooping the child away. Itwas always doneout of courtesy and politeness. Thatbeing our system fromway back when. The elders raisedthe children until theywere a certain age, and thenthey were passed on to theparents. . And then the parents became elders and raisedtheir children and it kept on going. And nowit’s gone.That’s the reason we need support on Seabird.The parentsnowadays don’t have the support of grandparents.Andthat’s why the Ministry comes in andtakes the kids away.There’s a lot of reasons (why this happened.)Residentialschools -- the kids coming back,not knowing their families,raised in a different system. Nowadays,it had a lot to dowith the housing situation. Whereas,it used to be multi-dwellings, now there’s only single family.Now if there’smore than two people in that home, thenit’s not allowedunder social housing policy. Sothat person has to leave.(So a grandparent can’t live with the family)unless theyare paying rent. It’s very difficult.When they went to theresidential school, most of the grandparentsspoke onlyIndian and partial English. They feltsort of embarrassedand ashamed. (The residential schoolsystem took away thejob of the grandparents.) They can’t(reclaim that role.)Well, the school is tryingto get it’s a new project, wherethe children are taught fromthe cradle by the elders, allthe way through the school system.But to get back theprotection that existed back then.. I don’tsee how it canbe because most of the grandparents thatwe have now went toresidential schools. They were separatedfrom that system.Most of them have their own lives and theydon’t want tostay home and look after their kids’children any more.They don’t want to do it any more. Orelse they want to getpaid for it. Adoption, basically, neverhappened before theMinistry came in. Our chief and council,they used to playa big role in dealing with social issueson Seabird. Ifthere was a family fight or somebodywasn’t taking care ofthe children, either the chief and councilwent or onemember of them would visit thefamily and sit down and talkto them to try to see what’s best forthe situation. Itseemed so perfect -- the ideal behindit was perfect. Theyweren’t paid to do it. They nevergot no money. TheDepartment (decided that the chief andcouncil should have asocial worker do their job.) I don’t think chiefandcouncil realized what they were getting into when theystarted.. setting up all the (Departmentof Indian Affairs)programs on reserve. Took away a lot of theirpersonalcontact between the people. And even thehousing -- changing the housing from. . sometimesthree or four families inone home, changing it to individual families.Itdestroyed. . a lot of teachings thathappened and a lot of246the support.. I’d say all of the support and it took awaysomuch when they switched. I don’t think they realizedthatcause they don’t write it down. The old people, they’reso.. they don’t know what’s happening. And it’ssad forthem to see so many of our young kids going astray. . goingwith second cousins, going with anybody they wantfor theshort term, rather than the long term that they wentthrough. There used to be (social sanctions for peoplewhomarried closer than fourth cousins,) but there are so many..so many of our ancestors had so many flings that you don’treally know who your cousins are. It’s supposedto bethird. Third is really scary. Second is really, really,really scary. Fourth is safe. If.. in mom’s generation..she was third cousins to dad and Pap wanted mom to bemarried to dad. It was all arranged. It wasn’t. . attraction, love. And mom (grandmother) wanted mom to marry dad.So it was all arranged. Third cousins and they were cuttingit really close and they didn’t have any say in it,it wasall arranged. Mom was fifteen when she got together withdad and she is fifty-nine now. That wasn’t very far awayand they were still arranging marriages. (Arranging marriages) goes with self-esteem. Like you can’t go with herbecause she is not of your class. There is a major classsystem here. Like, these are the ones that you shouldgowith and the next line is you stay with this and youcan’tgo any lower and you can’t go any higher. Theones thatoriginally came here. There was seven majorfamilies thatfirst moved up to Seabird and then you have the.. Youhadthe ones that first came here and used the land andthen youhave the ones that came here and settled here withoutdoinganything.. and then you have the ones that came last.It’shard to know names. ‘First-corners’ (a terrn for) theonesthat came here first. (For the other levels,)it’s just anunderstanding.. It’s nothing like we talk everyday about..it’s just ingrained in us. You know who you can play with,as children. That’s where it started for me.. as a child.Who you could play with and who you couldn’t play with.(For dating), mom was very strict and that goes along withthe social problems at Seabird. But she made you aware ofwho your cousins were and who you could go out with causethere was this class down here that you’re not supposed tobe with. She always told me, ‘If you’re going to marry,marry a white guy. You know who your cousins are then.’(In ‘custom’ adoption,) the grandparents took responsibilityof the. . children when their parents were out trapping orfishing. And then after.. when the new employment startedworking eight hours a day at a certain place, it was naturalthat the grandparents stayed home and looked after the kidsand the adults who were healthy, went out and worked. (Forsocial problems,) it was expected that the grandparentswould look after the children. Nowadays, you wouldsayaunts and uncles instead of grandparents. It’s not necessarily a relative too. it can be a person taking on theresponsibility of raising and educatinga child that isyours through family ties or. . friends. ‘Mommy’ is for247mommy (meaning biological mother), ‘mom’ is for grandmaornana, ‘tian’ was for morn. Everybodywas mom or auntie oruncle, even if they weren’t your naturalaunt or uncle.There are a lot of kids who went throughthe Ministry, theirfoster moms are always ‘moms’.I knew a girl who has sevenmoms. But mommy was mommy.That was never taken away fromthe natural mother. (The participationof the Ministry inchild welfare) changesa lot. Where it used to be child—centred, it is care-giver centred. The needsof the childused to be the focal point. Likethe child needed you.Nowadays, its. . the care-giver needs this child so she canget money to do this and this and this and this. It’schanged the whole focus of the way it was. I don’t thinkanything’s going to change it because it’shere now. Thekids know and they act out quite a lot because of it.Andthen you have others that don’t get paid for itand theirchild’s fitting in. Once you start getting money forsomething.. it changes your whole focus from whatyou hope to bethe outcome, to the person’s income. (If the band returnedto ‘custom’ adoption,) we wouldn’t pay them. Ifthey allow‘custom’ adoption, we’d get most of our children back. Wewouldn’t have to pay so much to the Ministryto take care ofthem and the band knows which homes arethe most appropriate. We have a vast number of appropriate homesfor specific children. Most of the families around here, ifyou askthem. . if one of their families were having a problemandasked them to take their child in for awhile, I would sayseventy-five percent of them would take the childinwillingly with no payment. There’s lotsof homes. There’sa little cautious homes, that if you say the Ministry’sgoing to be involved, they’re out of there. You’ll neversee them again. But if the band goes in thereand does therequired paperwork for the Department, then thereisn’treally that much hassle. The child comes inand everybodyis happy. I think if the Ministry recognized (‘custom’adoption,) and recognized our ability for x numberof yearsof practising this, it’ll make us that much strongerwhen wego into court. Our members wouldn’t have to fill out theirten page article because we know them already and we’ve beendoing it for so long. It’ll help out lots in court and evenbefore court cases, if they would recognize it. Band members shouldn’t have to go through that process. Everybodyin the band knows them and they should have the child. Inprevious years, the band council were the social workers,policemen, judge, jury. They were everything. I don’tthink they’re ready to deal with sexual abuse cases. (Butthey can enforce recommendations made by probation, crowncouncil or the Ministry.) Right now when we go through acourt case, it’s either (the social worker,) the parents andthe child. If we got back to ‘custom’ adoption, its more orless the community that’s involved in the child and thechild becomes a community responsibility. In Susan’s case,there was mass support for this lady to get this child. Thechild was becoming a permanent ward of the Ministry foradoption and even the Ministry when they came out to do the248home-study, they wanted the child to come back, which wasunusual. Everybody got behind her. She workedwith thegrandmother. They sat down and talked when the child cangoto visit and when she can visit when they cansee eachother. You never see that in any case where it’s so..itwas handled nicely. Both parties agreed to it. (If shehadbeen adopted off reserve,) she would neverhave seen hergrandmother, she would never have known this community.She’d have been lost to us. It would have been a completeseparation. You got to have that familytie. TheChilliwack court system is awful. They’re very prejudiced.They have their own biases about. . wellmost of the peoplewho go through the court system are drunks. Down inVancouver, they’re more compassionateand open to suggestions. We have no choice of the courtvenue. It’s whereverthe parent and the child are. I don’tthink I’ve ever gonethrough a case where it was child-centred. (Care onthereserve) has always been that way. In ‘custom’ adoption,back in the old days, it was assumed that the children, itanything happened to the parents, they went to the grandparents. If the grandparents weren’t around, then its who theparent wanted the children to go to. So its aunts, uncles,whoever will benefit the child. Now, we’re forced intoasituation where we have to work with the Ministry andtheMinistry’s standards have to be young enough to carefor thechildren and financially able to care for the child.Sothat takes the grandparents out of the picture and probablyabout seventy-five percent of the extendedfamily out of thepicture. You’re looking at further away intothe extendedfamily. The grandparents feel left out; they feel theydon’t have anything to offer anyone because that partoftheir life is taken away. They don’t have that much contactwith the children any more, because. . theyget reallydepressed and.. they don’t want to have anything to dowiththe child because the Ministry or whoever said they’renotcapable of looking after the child. It’sa major insult forthem. I was really surprised in these past years on howpersonal they take it if you don’t go and ask themfirst.Once the grandparents approve or acknowledge whatyou aredoing for the child, then the rest of the familycomesaround. They’re very important, even though they’renottreated with the same respect and acknowledged fortheirposition the way they were a long time ago. Theystill havethat.. underlying power. I don’t think none of ushaveforgotten, we just don’t use it all thetime. I would say.probably sixty or seventy percent of the grandparentswould(take on the role of care-giver, now.) It would helpus outa lot (if the Ministry of Social Services’ criteriafor agewas removed.) I find that the best homes are the oneswherethey’re older. They’ve been through it, they’vereachedwhatever goal they wanted to and they’renot in a rush to dothings. They’re more slowed down, paced with the children.Cause the children aren’t into this big hype that usmiddleaged people are still trying for. But they’re right-pacedfor our kids and they’re.. they don’t have all the workas249the centerpoint. . More understanding. It’s a bettersituation, I think when the grandparent or extended family takesin this child. The child benefits more out of that situation. They’re treated special because of wherethey comefrom and why they’re there. The childis given space to beits own. Whereas, if it’s our child,I want it to be in acertain role, certain model and weexpect so much out ofthem. In ‘custom’ adoption, they’re notplaced in that highrisk position. Nobody wants to acknowledge thatthe banddid anything around child welfare or protectionconcerns or‘custom’ adoption. They don’t want to acknowledge..I don’tknow if it’s because it’s not writtenor what, but they keepimplying that we should take over our own childwelfare. Weshould get involved in this program orthat program, We’vealways been doing that. oust acknowledgethat the bands aredoing what nobody elseis willing to do because of jurisdiction. I don’t want to be political andsay that we shouldbe our own government. . that’s forthe politicians. Butjust to be acknowledged. . that we are experiencedin childwelfare matters and that we shouldn’t haveB.A. ‘s andM.A. ‘s. Because (we have) equal practical experiencetosocial workers, we’re just not familiarwith Ministry ofSocial Services forms and paper work. Chiefand councilhave vast knowledge so they could bethe superintendent.It’s an underlying assumption that they’resupposed to bebecause that’s what they did. (Evenif a band member was toget the credentials required, I don’tthink it would makeany difference. We still wouldn’thave as much credibilityas a non-native.) I’ve never felt out-right prejudice(withthe D.I.A.,) but its.. they know better than Ido, maybe?I’d like to see the old way it was done.Like now, we’re sosecretive and everything is so. . so structured likethe nonIndians. It’s a family problem andthe family is supposedto deal with it. I’d like to bring it back towhere it wasa community problem and it was our responsibilityas adultsto see that the children were cared forand the role of theelders were to teach the children and we’resupposed to workand provide the shelter and the food. That role where thecommunity got back together to work out the problems outrather than the family working it out. Becausewhen theykeep it as a secret, you can’t really do anything,buteverybody knows about it but it’s supposedto be thefamily’s problem. It takes years to solve anything. Wherea community got together and started workingwith them andthey all had the same ideas and those families knew whereeverybody stood. . it would solve a lot of problems.Banishment would be great. I would love to bring that oneback. Chilliwack had a Council of Elders; if theyrun intoany problems, it’s brought to the council. They’ve more ofa people attitude and if they need advicefrom the legalsystem, then they call., like politicians andthey explainthe situation legally or politically and thenthe councilmakes the decision, not the band councilbut the elders.I’d like to bring that back. Before they used.. each council member was assigned like policeman, justice, another one250was family problems and another one employment,and thechief did all of them. If there was anyproblems, then thechief plus a councillor went out to thefamily, sat down andtalked to them and then it went away. Andif it was a bigcommunity issue, they had a communitymeeting and talked itover (until a consensus wasreached.) It makes me enviousnow because they had all this support, Now,it’s just(separate workers in social work,health, employment, andeducation.) It’s not working becausethey are separatingall the parts of the body. Of course, that’spolicy andthat’s the only way you can get the positionsfunded on thereserve. They (Departmentof Indian Affairs) have had twohundred years of experience,they should know something.The open adoption is workingso far, There are a lot ofgrandparents that didn’t go through the(residential school)system, or fought the system if they wentthrough it, (Theyare really learning fromthe other elders.) (Knowing how tobe an Indian) is in us. We allhave it in us. It’s just (amatter of) awakening it and remembering,”4. Request For Ethical Review•________Th. University of British Columbia BehaviouralSciences Scr.anlng Coltt..For R.search and Other Studies Involvingi&man Subjects.BEQ4JE$T FOR ETHICALREVIEW251I Principal Investigator (or faculty advisor) 3 USCDepaftnt 4 Phone i*.mberDr. chael KeyAnthropo].or 228.-2B782 Student or Co-Investigator(s) 5Granting Agency 6 Project PeriodElizabeth Nord].imd N/A Sept./89 — April/907 Title of ProjectTraditional Adoption in the Seabird Island Indian Band.ALL INFORMATION REQUESTED IN THIS FORM WJST BE TYPEWRITTENIN TNG SPACE PROVIDED.IF THE PROJECT IS UNITED TO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING.PLEASE CIiECX THE APPROPRIATE BOXAND COMPLETE ANG SUBMIT ONLY PAGES I AND 2 OF THISFORM:Dobservation without intervention. (i.e. no testsInterviews or questionnaires)Cint.rvi.ws of professional colleagues in thefields of law or business (not Eication)Ir whichno invasion of en indiviAja1’s personal privacyor possible jeopardy of eeployment statusis involved. (Sariz, interview/questionnaIrecontent in itse 012 or attach a copy)QUSC course or prograsee evaluation -aodification of existing approved protocol Iany revised attactsent.. -indicats Clianoes only and submit Copies ofB Suseary of purpose andobjectives of project (Mustbe typewritten inthis apace)The !.inistry of Social Services and Housing has placed native chldren in permanent placenentor adoption as a result of apprehension. The Band iuld prefer to see these children placedd.thin the Band through ‘custom adoption’ • In apprehension and placenent courtcases the Barhas needed documented information defining ‘custom adoption’ and dat.a regarding thebenefitsof this traditional process. This study cLJI investigate and document the process andresultof adoption. The following social issues will provide a theoretical frame’irk: thenature of)d.nsbip and adoption, the constitution of fand.lies, the relationship between biolo&.calandadoptive families, .ologhcal vs socio].oghcal reproduction, andthe definition of ld.n ashiologLcaJ. vs sociologLcal. Objectives: to dLscov themeaning of and document the processand results of the various hinds of adoption that the Band has experienced;to discover whatthe Band’s experience has been with these hinds of adoption; to identify anddescribecases of adoption that exist; to