Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning’s of chance
my head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley
I was born in February 1969 in a small Manitoba village called Duck Bay. I am a Saulteaux/Cree Indian woman.
I lived in Duck Bay with my mother and father until I was apprehended. The year I was apprehended is a mystery because, I remember going to School in Duck Bay but, my adoption papers stated that I was actually apprehended in 1972.
I lived in 6 Foster homes that I can remember but, my documents state that I lived in 4 in Northern Manitoba near Swan River. They were not the best types of home to live in but, that is what the government gave me.
I was adopted to Louisiana in 1977 at the age of 8 years old and left Canada and my home land.
I grew up in the “Deep” South near New Orleans, Louisiana in a small town . Population was 300 and it has not changed.
My parents were Southern Baptist but, they did not live the Southern Baptist life style but, they did have the Racism that all Southerners have towards the “Blacks and the Native” and They raised me this way. Eventually hating who I was and changing myself and assimilating into what they wanted.
I lived in America and lived the “American” way of life until 2004
In 2004 I was deported for “Impersonating an America Citizen” I was told at this time that my adoption was not legal in the Federal Courts due to the fact that my parents never released me for adoption. I lived in America from 1977 to 2004 and was told I was an American by my adoptive parents.
I returned to Canada in 2004 and was depressed and sad that I had lost my country and I was not ready to live in Canada. I felt like and was told many times as a child that Canada did not want me and returning to this place was too hard for me mentally and emotionally.
After returning to Canada I got my passport and left Canada for Europe. I lived in Europe for a few years drinking my sorrows and doing some serious soul searching. I realized that in my life had been nothing but, a lie and the life I was living in America did not belong to me and it was not the life that God had intended on me having. I decided to return to Canada and find others that this happened to and find the life that I was originally born to have.
I returned to Canada and started looking for who I was and what happened to me at the beginning of my life. In doing this I discovered that there were many children that were apprehended and sent to the United States and that they were all aboriginal like me. I have found many that were adopted to Louisiana close to where I was raised and many that are returning today.
Also, in finding out what happened to me, that my parents paid 30,000 to adopt me and used the Children’s Bureau of New Orleans who used Adoption Resource Exchange of North America (ARENA) which at one time was known as The Indian Adoption Project.
In my documents that I have collected I did receive one document that stated “her weakness are related to her early deprivation and change in culture values and language “. These documents were given to a judge in Manitoba and the Director of Welfare.
I had always wondered why I had been taken but, now I know that it was part of a plan of Eliminating my family and culture.
I do not know anything about being Aboriginal. I do not understand why things are done the way they are but, I have been trying to understand in these past few years. These are things that I have lost during the assimilation process. I had so much animosity against my birth mother and father but, the same happened to them with the Residential School and I cannot be angry when these things are done to us as Individuals and as a Nation.
I have come to terms with being a Native Woman and seeing myself as one but, for many years I did not. This is also part of Assimilation.
In 2009, along with other we decided to do something about it. We started a lawsuit and it has turned into a National Lawsuit across Canada for those taken during the 60’s Scoop. It is time for us to have a voice and have the right to say what we need to protect our families and our future.