Activist Author Announces Project to Count Native Children Adopted into Non-Native Families

GREENFIELD, Mass., Dec. 27, 2023 — Adoptee activist, award-winning journalist and author Trace Hentz, who created the American Indian Adoptees website in 2009, has announced a new project, “THE COUNT 2024.” It will coincide with the release of a new history book, “Almost Dead Indians: Atrocity” Book 5 in the Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects series.

When Hentz moved to Massachusetts in 2004 she began to tirelessly investigate numerous adoption programs, such as the Indian Adoption Projects and ARENA (The Adoption Resource Exchange of America). Both involved moving (trafficking) Native American babies and children across North America into adoptions with non-Native families. 

After her 2009 memoir, “One Small Sacrifice” and a second edition, which followed in 2012,  Hentz met more adoptees and asked them to write their personal narratives, which resulted in five anthologies: “Two Worlds: Lost Children” (2012), “Called Home: The RoadMap,” (updated second edition, 2016), and “Stolen Generations: Survivors of the Indian Adoption Projects and 60s Scoop” (2016).  A poetry collection on the same topic, “In The Veins,” the fourth book in the series, was published in 2017.  "Almost Dead Indians" is BOOK 5 (2024).

“In these closed (sealed) adoptions, adoptees are unable to access the vital information they need to find their tribal families and communities,” Hentz said. “This new history book, “Almost Dead Indians,” with a lengthy chapter I wrote, titled “Disappeared,” which is about our history, ties in how these government-funded programs were run by churches and charities and were meant to erase children permanently from tribal rolls, making us dead Indians — almost.”

“Most people have heard how the governments of Canada and the United States ran residential boarding schools like the first U.S. school, which was Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania,” Hentz said. “Today, tribes are finding unmarked graves at these schools. I realized after 20 years that we deserve to see the numbers on these various federal and state-run adoption programs. We need “THE COUNT 2024” of Native American and First Nations adoptees to solidify facts and see actual numbers of adoptees in these government-funded projects that crisscrossed the U.S. and Canada.”

“Neither government has been forthcoming and some academics who looked at available reports claim nearly 13,000 children were adopted in the U.S., some by force and some by gunpoint,” Hentz said. “In Canada, they have already settled a class action lawsuit with adoptees called the Sixties Scoop.”

Hentz recommends the new PBS series “Little Bird” to understand what happened in Canada also happened in the U.S.

“Before first grade, I knew I was adopted, that these people were not my birthparents,” Hentz said. “I wasn’t sure what happened but it took me a lifetime to open my adoption file and finally meet my relatives.” Hentz had a reunion in 1994 with her birthfather Earl Bland in Illinois when she was 38 years old. Since then, she has found her ancestry includes Shawnee and Anishinaabe.

Hentz got the idea of a count when she could not find reliable information. “I set up a new  website: Native American and First Nations adoptees simply fill out survey.” She hopes people will share this link and get the word out. “The COUNT” began January 1, 2024.

Hentz’s new book, “Almost Dead Indians,” will be available soon at Bookshop.

About Blue Hand Books:

Blue Hand Books, based in Greenfield, Massachusetts, on Pocumtuckland, celebrated its 12th anniversary on November 11, 2023. To date, the collective has published 28 book titles. Founder and award-winning journalist Trace Hentz (formerly DeMeyer) embraced and adopted the idea to decolonize book publishing for other Indigenous writers with a collective that supports each writer, helping them to produce a paperback book, providing proofing and editing and allows them to keep 100% of their book royalties.  Blue Hand Books was created to be community and a collective for Indigenous authors.  For more information, contact: Blue Hand Books, Trace L. Hentz, Publisher, 25 Keegan Lane, Suite 8-C, Greenfield, MA 01301.



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