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.
This week, in the second half of my conversation with Colby College anthropology professor Catherine Besteman, we talk about the immense challenges that Somali refugees face upon their arrival, and how they are helped through the extraordinary volunteer efforts of their fellow immigrants. We also discuss what the data reveal about whether refugees are a financial burden on the state, and talk about how to address the problem of xenophobia.
On this week’s show, I speak with Colby College anthropology professor Catherine Besteman. She has spent her career studying Somali society, both in Somalia and here in Maine, where many Somalian refugees have begun new lives after escaping civil war at home. Catherine explains the causes of that war and the violence it created, particularly for minority ethnic groups. Her explanation of why Somalis had to flee helps us appreciate that every refugee is dealing with trauma.
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, a conversation with Jamie Bissonette Lewey of the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission (MITSC). She explains her views on Tribal-State politics, and why she believes that the fundamental issue is the difference between how the state and the tribes understand the concept of sovereignty. She also talks about the history of the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 and its detrimental effects on the socioeconomic status of the tribes today.
To read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, follow this link: http://www.