EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 21, 2012

Your view: Letters to the editor

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Native Americans must still fight for rights

To the editor:

This letter is in response to the Oct. 14 article, “Addison draws attention to Innu exhibit with large banners,” which is about the struggles of the Innu people of Labrador and the challenges they have faced since their forced settlement in the 1960s.

Here is a story about the struggles of Native Americans right here in the U.S. who still struggle and suffer as a result of policies set down by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Both of my biological parents were of Native American ancestry. I was born six days prior to my biological mother’s 18th birthday. On the fifth day, the day before my mother’s 18th birthday, I was taken from her arms and placed with a foster family for two weeks before being placed for adoption with a couple in Methuen, who were not of Native American ancestry and were older than my biological grandparents.

With regard to adoption and to paraphrase the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ guidelines: “Any child of Native American ancestry who is adopted by non-Native American parents shall no longer be deemed as being Native American, but rather the ethnicity of the adoptive parents.” So now I’m English, French and German!

Although I have documented proof of my biological ancestry, as well as the three DNA test results to confirm my Native American ancestry, I cannot become a member of any of my ancestral tribes because they all have “federally recognized” status and must adhere to all of the guidelines set forth by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The government would like me to forget my Native American ancestors, among whom were Canonicus, great chief sachem of the Narragansetts; Quadequinna, elder brother and chief counselor to the Massasoit; Ousa Mequin, of the Wampanoag Confederation; Ihyannough, sachem of the Mattakeeset (for whom Hyannis was named) and his son, “John Hyanno,” sachem of the Cummaquid, both of the Nauset Confederation; as well as all the rest of my Native American ancestors who were living on this continent when my Pilgrim ancestors arrived on the Mayflower.

This may sound totally absurd, but the only way I could possibly get the federal government to recognize me as being Native American would be to have one or both of my biological parents adopt me. My biological mother died in 2006 at age 64, but my biological father still lives in Texas. If my biological father were to adopt me, I would only qualify for membership in his ancestral tribes, which are the Comanche, Cherokee and Choctaw.

My situation is not unique; there are thousands in the same situation. And there are thousands and thousands more who are stuck in other situations caused by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

It is bothersome to constantly hear about the Jewish Holocaust, the Armenian, Cambodian and other foreign genocides, when only very rarely does anyone ever mention the atrocities committed by the U.S. government. The American people are intentionally misinformed and oblivious to the true history of the United States. Attempts to greatly diminish, if not completely erase, the number of living Native Americans didn’t just happen in the distant past; it continues to happen at this very moment.

The government tells other nations to respect the civil rights of its peoples, but does the opposite here at home.

Stephen E. Barbin


Abortion is no solution for women

To the editor:

In response to Rebecca Backman’s letter (Oct. 11), I counter by stating that it is never in the best interest of women to kill their own children by abortion.

Before Roe v. Wade, women were in much less danger and difficulty — not more as Ms. Backman contends. They were not assaulted or tormented by their partners or others for wanting to continue a pregnancy; they were not put in physical and mental harm from the dangerous abortion procedure; they did not suffer lifelong regret and depression after procuring the killing of their own unborn child; and they were not used as sexual objects by men who had no interest in fathering their child. What I think is nuts is that school counselors can take your underage daughters for an abortion or give them the abortion pill without your knowledge — and it’s legal!

Abortions are not safe. Women are wounded mentally, emotionally, and often physically by abortion. Their baby, a one of a kind human being, is forever gone with far reaching effects not only on the woman herself, but on the father and the entire extended family including their descendants never to be born.

Contrary to what Ms. Backman says, the anger and physical attacks do not come from the pro-lifers who faithfully share information on help and resources available to these women in distress and anguish. I have personally witnessed and suffered the verbal and physical abuse: spitting, kicking, threats, and expletives coming from “pro-choicers” who are incensed by anyone offering assistance and information to these women in crisis and standing against this barbaric practice. I have never seen or heard of pro-lifer attacks. They try to paint the Boston murderer John Salvi as pro-life when he actually shot at my pro-life friend, Lorraine, that very morning.

We use love not hate to plead for the life and the rights of the unborn child. The untruths that Ms. Backman wants to perpetuate do not stand the test of time and evidence. Visit the website “silentnomoreawareness.org” and read the many thousands of testimonies from women and men who have been profoundly harmed by their abortions. Abortion is trying to solve a problem by killing a baby. Offering death as a solution is a grave betrayal and injustice to women who deserve better.

Theresa Gorey