ERIC Number: ED362340
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Mar-30
Reference Count: N/A
Effects of Forced Removal from Family and Culture on Indian Children.
This paper recounts the author's removal as an Indian child to a non-Indian foster home and consequent alienation and identity crisis, and presents survey results from Indian adults with similar childhood experiences. The problems in this particular case began when, at age 5, the author moved with her family from the reservation to an urban housing project. Family life deteriorated, her parents drank heavily or were absent, and the children were removed to foster homes. The author and her younger brother eventually were settled with a Mexican-American family. In the absence of any exposure to Indian people or culture, and in the face of constant negative comments about her family and the stigma of being a foster child, the author became ashamed of her origins and confused about her identity. In college, she was sensitive to the differences between herself and other Indian students and felt estranged from them. After she married and started a family, she felt the need to reconnect with her culture and her extended family, and both the family and the Indian community were very supportive. A survey of 35 adults in the Indian community, including 20 with similar childhood experiences, examine the development of their Indian identity and, where applicable, feelings about the foster care experience. Medical, legal, or substance-abuse problems were mentioned by 40-75 percent of those removed from families, compared to 27-40 percent of others. This paper includes survey questions and many excerpts from interviews. (SV)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Practicum Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Identity Formation; Indian Child Welfare Act 1978
Note: Practicum paper, NAES College, Twin Cities.