Looking for Lost Bird: A Jewish Woman Discovers Her Navajo Roots, Yvette Melanson (Navajo), Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (January 5, 2000) ISBN: 978-0380795531

Hidden Heritage: The Story of Paul LaRoche (Lower Brule) – Babara Marshak, Beaver’s Pond Press; 3rd edition (June 30, 2005) ISBN: 978-1592981359

Cricket: Secret Child of a Sixties Supermodel, Memoir, Suzie Fedorko (Ojibwe), Outskirts Press (November 1, 2012), ISBN: 978-1432795007

One Small Sacrifice: A Memoir, Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, Trace DeMeyer (French Canadian-Shawnee-Cherokee), Blue Hand Books; (2009) 2nd edition (April 26, 2012) ISBN: 978-061558215X

Lost Bird of Wounded Knee: Spirit of the Lakota, Renee Sansom Flood, Scribner; second printing edition (May 24, 2014) ISBN: 978-1476790752

Pipestone: My Life in an Indian Boarding School, Adam Fortunate Eagle, University of Oklahoma Press; First Edition edition (March 19, 2010) ISBN: 978-080614114X

Mixing Cultural Identities through Transracial Adoption: Outcomes of the Indian Adoption Project (1958-1967), Susan Devan Harness (Salish-Kootenai), The Edwin Mellen Press (2009) ISBN: 978-0779914325  [Forcibly adopted American Indians torn between cultures, feature story, Denver Post:] Susan has just completed her memoir In Between: Too White to be Indian, Too Indian to be White (2016) (to be published soon.)

Adoptionland: From Orphans to Activists, Edited by Janine Myung Ja, Michael Allen Potter, and Allen L. Vance, (September 12, 2014). Trace (DeMeyer) Hentz contributed. ISBN: 9781500957940

Recommended Reading:

Lost Birds: Four adopted women seek out their Native American roots, Produced by Danielle J. Powell, Joshua J. Friedman and Cassandra Herrman for Fault Lines on AL JAZEERA America:

Accounting for the 60s Scoop – by Colleen Rajotte (2012) – My adoption story as an Indian child starts at the old Grace Hospital in Winnipeg in 1968. That’s the year I was legally adopted by a white, middle-class family. Like 20,000 other aboriginal children taken from their families in the 1960s, ’70s and early ’80s, I have been on a life-long journey to reconnect with my family and culture and to figure out how to fit into both of these worlds. LINK:
SOMEBODY’S CHILDREN: The Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption by Laura Briggs. Duke University Press Books; (March 7, 2012) ISBN: 978-0822351610
Karen Tani, The Long History of the Indian Child Welfare Act, JOTWELL (November 5, 2013) (reviewing Margaret D. Jacobs, Remembering the “Forgotten Child”: The American Indian Child Welfare Crisis of the 1960s and 1970s, 37 American Indian Quarterly 136 (Winter/Spring 2013)),

Margaret D. Jacobs, Remembering the “Forgotten Child”: The American Indian Child Welfare Crisis of the 1960s and 1970s, 37 American Indian Quarterly 136 (Winter/Spring 2013).


March 14, 1966.

Press Release lead

Once the success of the boarding schools was called into question, the dominant belief was that Native children were better off raised in white homes. To that end, in 1958, the Bureau of Indian Affairs created the Indian Adoption Project, administered by the Child Welfare League of America, to promote adoption of Native children from sixteen western states by white adoptive families in the East.

In 1966 the BIA announced in a press release that adoptions of Indian children through the Indian Adoption Project, with help from the Child Welfare League of America, were increasing and boasted that“little Indians” were brightening the homes and lives many American families, mostly non-Indians. The children ranged in age from newborn to 11 years.

Alfred, G. (1999).  Peace, power and righteousness: an indigenous manifesto. Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press.

Battiste, M. & Henderson, J. (2000). Protecting indigenous knowledge and heritage: a global challenge. Saskatoon, SK: Purich.

Haig-Brown, C. (1988). Resistance and renewal: surviving the Indian residential school. Vancouver, BC: Tillacum.

Harper, M. (1993). “Mush-hole” memories of a residential school.  Toronto, ON: Sister Vision.

Meyer, M.A. (2001). Acultural assumptions of empiricism: a Native Hawaiian critique. The Canadian Journal of Native Education, 25(2), 188-198.

Meyer, M.A. (2005). Remembering our future: Hawaiian epistemology and the specifics of universality. International Indigenous Journal of Entrepreneurship, Advancement, Strategy and Education. 49-55.

Moore, MariJo (Ed.). (2003). Genocide of the mind: new Native American writing. New York,  NY: Thunder’s Mouth.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Disproportionality Rates for Children of Color in Foster Care (Fiscal Year 2013).

Palmiste, Claire, “From the Indian Adoption Project to the Indian Child Welfare Act: the resistance of Native American communities,” Indigenous Policy Journal Vol. XXII, No. 1 (Summer 2011).

Sullivan, L., & Walters, A. (October 25, 2011). Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families. National Public Radio. Available online at and

Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption from a Place of Empowerment & Peace, Edited by Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston, Julie Stromberg, Karen Pickell, and Jennifer Anastasi, CQT Media And Publishing (March 22, 2014), ISBN: 978-0988585847 (Trace contributed Mending the Hoop.)

Puxley, Chinta, The Canadian Press, Residential School Survivors Reporting Hearing Loss, Broken Bones, Respiratory Illnesses: LINK:

Indian Adoption Projects:

Called Home, Book 2: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects Paperback, Blue Hand Books; First edition (June 27, 2014) ISBN: 978-0692245880

Two Worlds, Book 1: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects (60s Scoop), Blue Hand Books; First edition (September 25, 2012) ISBN: 978-1479318280

The Stolen Children of Maine: Native Wabanaki Seek Truth []

—Jacobs, Margaret D., A Generation Removed: The Fostering and Adoption of Indigenous Children in the Postwar World, Margaret D. Jacobs, University of Nebraska Press; First Edition, First Printing edition (September 1, 2014) ISBN: 978-0803255365

 —Jacobs, White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880–1940.  University of Nebraska Press (March 1, 2011) ISBN: 978-0803235168

The Indian Child Welfare Act Handbook: A Legal Guide to the Custody and Adoption of Native American, B. J. Jones, American Bar Association; 2nd edition (June 23, 2008) ISBN: 978-1590318584

Facing the Future: The Indian Child Welfare Act at 30 (American Indian Studies), Matthew L. M. Fletcher, American Indian Studies, Michigan State University Press (December 1, 2009) ISBN: 978-0870138607

Children, Tribes, and States: Adoption and Custody Conflicts Over American Indian Children, Barbara Ann Atwood, Carolina Academic Press (April 30, 2010) ISBN: 978-1594605222
Bilchik, S. (2001, April 24). [Keynote address]. Speech presented at the 19th Annual Protecting our Children Conference, Anchorage, AK.

Child Welfare League of America. (1960, April). Indian Adoption Project. New York: Author.

Demer, L. (2001, May). Native receive apology for 1950s racial adoptions. Pathways Practice Digest, 1-2.

Lyslo, A. (1962, December). Suggested criteria to evaluate families to adopt American Indian children through Indian Adoption Project. New York: Child Welfare League of America.

Lyslo, A. (1964). The Indian Adoption Project: An appeal to catholic agencies to participate. Catholic Charities Review, 48(5), 12-16.

Lyslo, A. (1967, March). 1966 year end summary of the Indian Adoption Project. New York: Child Welfare League of America.

Lyslo, A. (1967). Adoptive placement of Indian children. Catholic Charities Review, 51(2), 23-25.

Lyslo, A. (1968, April). The Indian Adoption Project – 1958 through 1967: Report of its accomplishments, evaluation and recommendations for adoption services to Indian children. New York: Child Welfare League of America.

Laura Briggs, “Mother, Child, Race, Nation: The Visual Iconography of Rescue and the Politics of Transnational and Transracial Adoption,” Gender & History 15 (2003):179-200.

Sherman Alexie, Indian Killer (New York: Warner Books, 1996).

Robert Benson, ed., Children of the Dragonfly: Native American Voices on Child Custody and Education (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2001).

Joan Heifetz Hollinger, “Beyond the Best Interests of the Tribe: The Indian Child Welfare Act and the Adoption of Indian Children,” University of Detroit Law Review 66 (1989):451-501.

Marilyn Irvin Holt, Indian Orphanages (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001).

Sondra Jones, “Redeeming the Indian: The Enslavement of Indian Children in New Mexico and Utah,” Utah Historical Quarterly 67 (1999):220-241.

Barbara Kingsolver, Pigs in Heaven (New York: Harper Perennial, 1993).

Arnold Lyslo, “Adoptive Placement of American Indian Children With Non-Indian Families,” in Readings in Adoption, ed. I. Evelyn Smith (New York: Philosophical Library, 1963), 231-236.

Steven Unger, ed., The Destruction of American Indian Families (New York: Association on American Indian Affairs, 1977).

More Adoption Projects:

The Rainbow Project: Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Press, August 30, 1984.

The Adoption Resource Exchange of North America (ARENA), founded in 1966, was the immediate successor to the Indian Adoption Project.  ARENA was the first national adoption resource exchange devoted to finding homes for hard-to-place children. It continued the practice of placing Native American children with white adoptive parents for a number of years in the early 1970s.  The (ARENA) exchange registered more than 400 families and 200 children across the country in the last two years, and assisted in placing more than 100 Native American children.  However, about 200 of the registered families are waiting for home studies.

FMI: Anthology CALLED HOME: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects (2014)  ARENA (Adoption Resource Exchange of North America) continues and expands after the IAP.  States create their own programs, like New York’s OUR INDIAN PROGRAM.  Churches like the Mormons and Catholics run their own programs.

Our Indian Program, New York state  Louise Wise Services, “Our Indian Program,” 1960 (see One Small Sacrifice: A Memoir)

Operation Papoose:  Using adoption to disrupt Indian families, North American Indian children are placed in orphanages, foster homes or with non-Indian parents.  The American government creates the Indian Adoption Project (IAP) run by Arnold Lyslo in New York.  Lyslo travels to different states to convince the social workers to line up white parents for the flood of Indian kids being snatched up for adoption.  An article ran in the MIAMI NEWS newspaper about OPERATION PAPOOSE  [June 25, 1964]

Indian Adoption Project Evaluation, 1958 through 1967 (Source:

Arnold Lyslo, “Suggested Criteria to Evaluate Families to Adopt American Indian Children Through the Indian Adoption Project,” 1962 []

“The Indian Adoption Project—1958 through 1967—Report of Its Accomplishments, Evaluation and Recommendations for Adoption Services to Indian Children,” pp. 1, 6, 8, Child Welfare League of America Papers, Box 16, Folder 2, Social Welfare History Archives, University of Minnesota.

STUDY: David Fanshel, Far From the Reservation, 1972

Indian Child Welfare Act, 1978:

Study by Jeannine Carriere (First Nations) (2007) Promising practice for maintaining identities in First Nation Adoption, Complete text here:







Stolen Generations Copyright © 2016 by Trace L. Hentz. All Rights Reserved.

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