Letter to Deb Haaland


Dear Secretary Haaland,
While I appreciate your interest in rectifying the disservice done to the children of Native Americans by placing them into boarding schools for cultural indoctrination, I want to not that primary public education (now mandated by law) has long been promoted as a mechanism of acculturation for the children of immigrants. So, the Native American experience is only peculiar in providing total care, which may well be resented by non-Natives who do not get help caring for children and, with the exception of farm families, cannot realize economic value (profit) for the value from their employment.
As someone whose primary education was received on three continents in three language and thereafter from various Catholic nuns, I can only opine on the basis of what I observed as a parent, community activist and guardian ad litem. It was in the latter role (10 years) that I first became aware that U.S. children have no rights and are legally classified as the property (chattel) of parents. That this reality, which accounts for half a million children a year in subsidized foster care, is not widely known is because all the actors in CPS are sworn to secrecy.
It is because of the secrecy that the so-called unaccompanied children migrants were spirited into the foster care system and about 400 still have not been found.
The reason why they have to be found has also not been explained and is likely responsible for resentment of the “special” treatment of migrants. I myself did not figure it out until I learned of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which U.S. is the only nation that has refused to ratify, even though President Clinton signed it in 1998.
Since the Constitution specifies that treaties have the same force of law as the Constitution itself, ratification of the UNCRC would have the effect of emancipating all U.S. born children. This represents a significant challenge to parental property rights as parentalrights.org describes at some length. One could also argue that the reason states can get involved in the unilateral termination of pregnancy is because government is tasked with protecting parental property right. (It is my understanding that in British law, from which U.S. laws are derived, “parent” was the term for the male progenitor. So, parental rights are the male’s property interests in progeny. Which, btw, suggests that the condition of imported captives was not “peculiar” and the Emancipation Proclamation only freed men. So, when the freed men rushed to register their marriage and retrieve children, they were just rounding up and securing their property.
Finally, I do want to note that Rep. Ilhan Omar has introduced a resolution urging the U.S. Senate to ratify the UNCRC. Since she has been re-elected perhaps you can make common cause with her. African Americans have less interest in foster care because their family structures encourage “family placement” or juvenile detention facilities. Senator Blackburn is, I believe, a strong proponent of fostering.

P.S. When I was told (age 8) I would be taken to the U.S., it was referred to as the “Land of Wild Indians” but with the assurance that “Americans love children.” Neither has proved to be true. Certainly animals have more rights.