State, Wabanaki Tribes to Sign Mandate, Look into History of Harmful Child Welfare Practices

By McCrea, Nick | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), June 28, 2012 | Go to article overview

State, Wabanaki Tribes to Sign Mandate, Look into History of Harmful Child Welfare Practices


McCrea, Nick, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


AUGUSTA, Maine -- Gov. Paul LePage will meet with tribal representatives Friday morning to sign documents that will spark a multi-year investigation into more than a century of child welfare and assimilation policies that removed children from their families and tribes.

Leaders with the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkmikuk, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik, Penobscot Indian Nation and state of Maine will sign the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Mandate and selection panel documents at 10 a.m. Friday in the Hall of Flags at the State House.

In 1999 the Wabanaki tribal nations joined with state child welfare officials to form the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with the goal of improving Maine's compliance with 1978's federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which set higher standards of protection for the rights of native children, their families and their tribal communities.

Beginning in the late 1800s, the United States government established boarding schools for Native American children, who were removed from their families in an attempt to assimilate them into American culture, according to Penobscot Indian Nation Tribal Chief Kirk Francis.

In the late 1950s, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Child Welfare League of America created the Indian Adoption Project, which removed Native American children from their families and tribes to be adopted by non-native families. …

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