I decided to start documenting my journey, with finding my brother.
First off, since this is my resolution I finally did a little researching this weekend and read more on the NPR investigation, which only pissed me off. I emailed NPR on Saturday and received an automated reply saying they would get back to me.
I also emailed the director in the state ICWA office. I checked my email on my phone every few minutes all day and was only disappointed. So when I got off work I started making calls, only to find out the guy in the state office was on vacation until tomorrow-imagine that. I was given a local number for someone who handles records of children lost to foster care.
I talked to a worker from the local office and talked to some lady who just basically shut me down and told me because he was over the age of 18, there was nothing they can do. Maybe I should check local law enforcement agencies to see if he has a record or local social service offices to see if he’s getting food stamps.
“First off, do you think because he is an Indian he is in trouble with the law or gets food stamps automatically?” I asked her all pissed off and hoping she couldn’t or wouldn’t look up my records at the same time.
She was a little shook, “No, no, I didn’t mean it like that. I meant that is the only way you could find him, since he is an adult he has to be the one to find you.”
“But he doesn’t know about me. How would he even know he has the four of us on my dad’s side even exist?” I really just say this because I know she won’t answer me. Again she tells me she is going to contact their legal dept, but she thinks there is nothing more they can do.
“Are you familiar with the NPR investigation?” I ask her.
She answers all slow “Yes, is that where you saw him?”
“Uh, no I think if I saw him in the stories, I would have a better chance at finding him than at a loss. But I think it’s horrible how a system could tear a family apart like this. I was 19 when he was taken and not once did I know, not once did anyone contact me. I was on my own and working, nobody asked me if I would take in my brother. If they had, there would have been no question about it. I would have done it in a heartbeat. I am the oldest of 11 children and I didn’t know about the 11th one until later, but no matter what, he’s still my brother. We share the same blood.”
She promised to call me tomorrow. And tomorrow I call the ONTRAC office in Pine Ridge, thanks to my ex’s Aunt Susie. God, I hope they can help.