By first hand experience, trauma is real. Trauma lives imbedded in a child’s memory, life and detachment creates a loss of identity. The loss of purpose, meaning and who one is can be detrimental to a child’s life. This is the base of this story.
I read a letter that made its way home to me;
June 28, 1984
Dear Relative, This letter is to notify you that Brandon Red Bear is free for adoption.
This is my brother who has been adopted out. I have not seen or heard of my two brothers that have been adopted out. A story we often do not hear of in Indian Country. We can call our relatives misplaced, unheard, forgotten or not identified. The base of this story is to share a story I often hear from parents, grandparents or relatives, where is my child?
With the permission of Paula Mae High Bear, she shares a story about her grandson Philip (Hoksila) High Bear Jr. he was removed from his father at the age of 14 years old. At the time he was living in Rapid City area. Removed by the Department of Social Services. Paula Mae, reports contacting Pierre Social Service several times with no response. She reports his birthday being August 16, 2002. She shared her pain and sadness with me. With loss of her son Phillip in 2015. Paula Mae promised her son she would look for her grandson.
As an organization Piya Wicoicaga Luta, which is a non-profit and Tatanka Luta we have committed to helping establish a center, to advocate for those reuniting with their families. Joseph Brings Plenty and I have dedicated our time and energy in planning, and build a Wellness Village. A village that will help heal, mend and reunite families to address trauma, healing and help restore families. Also to help by utilizing our cultural and spiritual teachings. This is the reason we want to reach out and help our relative Paula Mae with her story.
Additional information after research, I made contact with the Department of Social Services in November 1, 2019. I received the statistics from the State Department of Social Services.
Data from September 30, 2019;
Number of foster homes on the CRST: 12
Number of foster homes on CRST Reservation that are Native American: 6
Number of foster homes on CRST Reservation that are Non-Native: 6
How many CRST children are in DSS Child Protection Services care on the CRST reservation?
There are 170 children in custody of the Cheyenne River Sioux Court where DSS Child Protection Services is handling the cases, 41 are placed on the reservation and 129 are placed off the reservation.
What is the break down by age? Age categories are below.
Age 0-4: 62
Age 5-11: 59
Age 12-15: 33
Age 16-18: 16
In conclusion, the reality is separation, detachment and removal has happened. Who is the advocate for our children, how do we stay connected, how do we heal? This was my story, still is my story today. These are alarming numbers. Often times we have forgotten children in the world, indigenous children. Also those who maybe unidentified. Those misplaced, may not be enrolled into a tribe. These children may not know their families. When they return they may feel like an outcast. No one to turn to for direction, healing, finding their spiritual way. It is time to be their voice. I wanted to share this story so we can wake up, we may have adult children who are searching for their families, and it is time to heal. Please feel free to contact me with any inquiries or questions.
(For any questions or point of contact; Toni Handboy (Red Bear)Thandboy75 @gmail.com
Joseph Brings Plenty)