This week we present my 2012 conversation with Meredith Hall about her pregnancy at age 16. Meredith describes being shunned by her family and school and forced to give the child up for adoption. The experience was never acknowledged, and this silence left her alone and afraid for many years. Her memoir Without a Map explores how silence can be such an impediment to healing.
This week we revisit a 2015 conversation with Sandy White Hawk, one of five commissioners of Maine’s historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Sandy is Sicangu Lakota and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, who was separated from her family and heritage and adopted at 18 months old by a white family. She talks about the trauma of adoption and racism, and about the healing she found by reclaiming her identity.
A conversation with Penthea Burns, co-director of Maine-Wabanaki REACH. She talks about her background in child welfare and the difficulty of deciding whether the benefits of removing a child from abuse outweigh the additional trauma of severing family and community ties. She talks about how her work on these issues in Wabanaki communities has led her to a deeper understanding of her privilege as a non-native person, and how this privilege can undermine the efforts of non-native allies.
This week I talk with George, whose biological parents are Passamaquoddy, but who was adopted at birth and raised by white parents in southern Maine. George describes how it felt to visit the reservation for the first time and meet his biological relatives. He talks about how he has grappled throughout his life with the question of whether he really is Native American.
Today I speak with gkisedtanamoogk, one of the five commissioners of the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He shares his reflections on the process now that the findings have been published, and we also speak about the gap between native peoples’ views and those of mainstream America related to politics, spirituality, and community.