Maine First State to Create Truth and Reconciliation Commission about Forced Removal of Native American Children

Thursday, November 22, 2012
(graphic: University of Maine)

Maine has become the first state to establish a truth and reconciliation commission to help those affected by the forced relocation of Native American children into white homes during the 20th century.


Between 1958 and 1967, the federally financed Indian Adoption Project caused hundreds of Native American children throughout the U.S. to be taken from their communities and put into white families through adoption or foster care. The rationale then was that by relocating the children, they would live safer and happier lives.


In Maine, the new commission will involve four Wabanaki tribes and the state.


“Its about truth, healing and change,” Martha Proulx, an assistant administrator with the Office of Child and Family Services within Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, told WCSH Portland.


“And its really about hearing those stories of people who went through the system and understanding what people went through, how it effects their families today with their own children that piece of generational trauma and to really work on healing so that when people need to work with the system on how children are being parented and parenting them safely they can really get past the past trauma,” Proulx added.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Taken: Maine Addresses Native Child Welfare Issues (by Kathleen Shannon, WCSH Portland)

Native Americans Recall Era of Forced Adoptions (BBC News)

Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission


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