Johnathan Brooks (Northern Cheyenne)
Once upon a time in North America, The First People, Indians in their particular tribes, were looked upon as savages by the people who invaded their country. The savages were thought to be an impediment to progress, so their Governments decided to take their children away, and to change them and erasing their languages, their customs and their culture. The leaders in Canada and America built residential boarding schools and orphanages and filled them with these children while some children were taken for adoption. I was one of those children.
As a child, being Indian was slightly confusing since my adopted parents in England, far from any other Native Americans, raised me. My adopted mother told me when I was six, when I was watching a Western movie with cowboys and Indians, what I was, but this did not tell me who I was. What had happened to me or why I was placed into adoption, was a mystery for many years until I returned to Montana a young man where finding answers meant finding my relatives on my Northern Cheyenne reservation.
In the book, TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects, I told my story. I explained how I found both of my biological parents who did want to give me a better life. The sad truth was, many desperately poor Indian parents felt they had no choice but to let their children go to new parents.
Records show that, one quarter of all Indian children were placed in adoptive homes or orphanages, and by 1969 eighty-five percent of the Indian children in sixteen states in America were placed with white parents.
I am one of the fortunate ones. I have come to accept that it was my soul choice to experience Two Worlds for the learning that the experience has offered me through my personality. But, as for so many others, adoption was wounding, confusing, and for a long time disempowering.
For me to grow, I needed to drop any idea of being specially selected as a child victim of discrimination. Specialness can create a feeling of having been wronged, which is only an illusion or a judgment of the personality. Everyone has a basic wound, and it is those of us who understand this, who have the choice to become healers or the wounds of our brothers and sisters from different cultures, as well as our own.
What an opportunity we LOST ONES have for changing the world.
“Life is not meaningful unless it is serving an end beyond itself,
Unless it is of value to someone else”
—Abraham Joshua Heschel
The Shift—by Dr Wayne W. Dyer
Johnathan Brooks (Northern Cheyenne) lives in Tunbridge Wells, England. He contributed to the anthologies TWO WORLDS and CALLED HOME. His website: www.spiritbearcoaching.com, January 2016