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March 11, 2020

Five minute of Fame

by leroywandahsega

When I was four or five my brother, sister and I went through a very traumatic experience. Our experiences led to court battles from Michigan to Florida and then finally back to the reservation. My adoptive parents had rented a Winnebago camper that summer to take us to tribal court on the Hannahville Indian Community reservation. After years of court battles and very confusing time for the three of us, we were sent back to Florida as the Tribal Court determined that it was in our best interest to be with the “Wilsey” family. I am not sure why the tribe would go to all the trouble to determine where we went. It seems obvious that the reservation probably was not a place for half-breed children. Today that is much different.

A few of my Indian relative always maintained contact with us but living with the decision of the tribal court really had a psychological affect on me and this has not dawned on me until today.

I moved back to this reservation because the “white guy” that raised me convinced me I would go back to “my tribe” and do some good one day. He was correct about that and I try to remember my contributions are benefiting many.

It is difficult when I am left to beg and grovel against a tribal government that sent me away but strengthened its own sovereignty at our expense.

ICWA or the Indian Child Welfare Act never really did me any favors but it did benefit this tribe. Maybe that is what Pops was talking about.

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