#1539 Stolen Children is Stolen History, Heritage, and Culture (Indian Child Welfare Act)

Air Date: 1–25-2023

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Today, we take a look at the long, global history of invading peoples stealing the children of native families to be acculturated into the population of the invading force. Reasons can range from a tactic of war and an intention to commit genocide, usually based on an ideology of racial superiority, to concerns over shifting national demographics, simple economic dispossession, or all of the above. We end with a discussion of ICWA, the Indian Child Welfare Act, which is currently being challenged in the US Supreme Court to the detriment of native children and sovereignty.

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Ch. 1: The kidnapping campaign of Nazi Germany - DW Documentary - Air Date 3-11-20

On orders from Heinrich Himmler, the Nazis abducted children from Poland for forced Germanization.

Ch. 2: Claims of Russia kidnapping Ukrainian children throughout the region - ABC News - Air Date 11-22-22

Amid the war in Ukraine, children have been caught in the middle, with claims of some being kidnapped and ABC News’ Britt Clennett reports on the fight to reunite some of those families.

Ch. 3: Eliminating An Entire Race: Australia's Dark History of The Stolen Generation - History's Stories - Air Date 12-29-22

A brief history of Australia's Stolen Generations

Ch. 4: 10th Anniversary since the Apology to the Stolen Generations - Behind the News - Air Date 2-12-18

The 13th of February 2018 marks 10 years since former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said sorry to the Stolen Generations. Here's why it was such a big moment for the families involved.

Ch. 5: Nick Estes Indian Boarding Schools Were Part of Horrific Genocidal Process by the U.S. - Democracy Now! - Air Date 5-13-22

Nick Estes, historian and co-founder of The Red Nation says the institutions were part of a “genocidal process” of “dispossession and theft of Indigenous people’s lands and resources.”

Ch. 6: Canadian government announces $2B in compensation settlement - TRT World - Air Date 1-24-23

Canada has announced it will pay more than 2 billion dollars to hundreds of Indigenous communities to settle a lawsuit seeking compensation for the loss of language and culture caused by residential schools.

Ch. 7: How the US stole thousands of Native American children - VOX - Air Date 10-14-19

In the Vox series Missing Chapter, Vox Senior Producer Ranjani Chakraborty revisits underreported and often overlooked moments from the past to give context to the present.

Ch. 8: Jen Deerinwater on Indian Child Welfare Act - Counterspin - Air Date 12-9-22

Opposing the actual mission of those who want to eliminate the Indian Child Welfare Act is just…reality: the reality that made the Act necessary in the first place, and the reality that will likely ensue if it is repealed. Jen Deerinwater.

Ch. 9: When You Take Away the Kids, You Take Away the Future - Amicus with Dahlia Lithwick - Air Date 11-19-22

The case that seeks to strike down the Indian Child Welfare Act is about colonialism, not civil rights.


Ch. 10: When You Take Away the Kids, You Take Away the Future Part 2 - Amicus with Dahlia Lithwick - Air Date 11-19-22


Ch. 11: Final comments on the opposing world views of apologies


Follow @ProtectICWA on Twitter and check out their resources

ACLU: “Native Families' Right to Stay Together is at Stake at the Supreme Court

ACLU: “Keep Our Families Together”: A Law That Protects Native Families is at Risk”


Hear the Oral Argument Audio

Why Are Right-Wing Groups Targeting a Law Aimed at Protecting Native Families?” (Mother Jones)

Supreme Court case on adoption of Indigenous children could threaten Native American sovereignty” (San Diego Tribune)

The fight over American Indian children“ (Politico - Newsletter)

Experts say 2 lawsuits pose greatest threat to tribal sovereignty in decades” (Anchorage Daily News)

Curated by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman

MUSIC (Blue Dot Sessions):

  • Opening Theme: Loving Acoustic Instrumental by John Douglas Orr 
  • Voicemail Music: Low Key Lost Feeling Electro by Alex Stinnent
  • Activism Music: This Fickle World by Theo Bard (https://theobard.bandcamp.com/track/this-fickle-world)
  • Closing Music: Upbeat Laid Back Indie Rock by Alex Stinnent


Description: Black and white photo of hundreds of Native American children in uniform settler clothing posed in front of Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania (c. 1900).

Credit: “Pupils at Carlisle Native Industrial School by Unknown author - Unknown source | License: Public Domain


Produced by Jay! Tomlinson

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Showing 2 reactions

  • Walter Fetterley
    commented 2023-02-13 19:45:39 -0500
    How come you didn’t print a transcript of your final comments? They were really good and worth sharing!
  • Jay Tomlinson
    published this page in Episodes 2023-01-25 18:54:36 -0500
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