October 21, 2012

Dr. Phil's horror show

Natives were mostly outraged by the Baby Veronica case on Dr. Phil. Some of their responses:

Dr. Phil’s Hollywood-ized Adoption Propaganda

By Trace A. DeMeyerWatching clips of today’s episode (10-18-12) of Dr. Phil, watching those teary adoptive parents show their anger, outrage and despair over losing their babies because of some (ridiculous) (unjust) Indian Child Welfare Act, I knew right away this was going to be a one-sided show touting the benefits of adoption, even if they had a few Indian experts on the show, too.

Dr. Phil was obviously not allowing enough time to teach about ICWA and the wholesale removal of Indian Children in Canada and America, ethnic cleansing via non-Indian adoptions, or explaining why Indian children are called Stolen Generations.

Until I wrote my memoir, I couldn’t find much information in one place and had to dig pretty deep. That’s another reason why I wrote two books hoping it will counter such ignorance and this Hollywood-ized adoption propaganda that still dominates TV.

As I watched, it was obvious how young adoptees being Indian citizens didn’t really matter to the non-Indians parents who adopted them. All they really cared about is keeping them.

If these Americans had any knowledge of the Indian Child Welfare Act, the testimony of Indian leaders in 1976, or the history of America’s neglect of Indians (poverty, starvation and concentration camps called Indian reservations), and the legal theft of thousands of children, maybe then we’d stand a chance going on TV or entering the public courts. Maybe then America might catch a glimpse what 100+ years of theft of tribal children looks like.

Facing down teary adoptive parents who expect praise, not condemnation, we Indians are very familiar with their race-based judgments. Indians went direct to the Senate to get ICWA. Indians won’t win any debates on public TV in three-minute segments. Our history on this topic alone could fill several library collections.
Dr. Phil’s Horror Show

By Donna LoringDr. Phil aired a horror show on October 17 featuring couples who had adopted Indian children or who were in the process of doing so. The show zeroed in on the Indian Child Welfare Act and blamed it for interfering with their adoptions and costing them custody of the Indian child they had adopted or were in the process of adopting. One couple they showed was in hiding with the Indian child they had taken. They hired security, like the tribe was the monster!

Did you watch that show? I am sad and dismayed to say that I watched it, yes the whole show! It was a one sided narrowly focused show. It was the scariest thing I have ever watched unfold. It was about Native children being taken. On the show they justified the taking and even featured two Native brothers who had been taken and totally immersed in the non-native culture. They had no idea of their tribal values or history.

It was a show filled with total ignorance of our genocide and one that perpetuates genocide by promoting the continued taking of our children. Without our children we disappear as a culture and a people. It presented the white cultures view only and it was some very dangerous perspectives to be feeding a national audience. Oops, did I say white culture? Yes I did, and there is one, believe it or not, and it does not have the survival of Indian people or Indian governments in mind. It never has. The historical taking of our children by those who wanted to “Kill the Indian and safe the man” tells the story of our cultural genocide in this country. This was accomplished in the form of Indian residential schools. It now is in the form of the adoption, foster care and Welfare systems.

If Dr. Phil or any of his production staff had taken the time to educate themselves on the history and background of this federal law they would have learned why it was necessary.

I watched in shock at the ignorance of Dr. Phil, the non-Native guests and the non-Native audience! The Native experts that were on his show were totally ignored or talked over and the audience made their feelings known which caused a chilling effect on these two Native advocates.
Viewers Respond to Dr. Phil Episode About Baby Veronica Custody Battle: Boycott the Anti-Native American Dr. Phil ShowIn response to yesterday’s episode of the Dr. Phil Show that attacked the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and undermined the significance of Native children remaining in their tribe and being immersed in their culture, a grassroots campaign to “Boycott the Anti-Native American Dr. Phil Show” was started on Facebook.

The mission of the Facebook campaign is to hold “Dr. Phil McGraw accountable by boycotting until he agrees to have a show where QUALIFIED experts discuss ICWA’s importance.”
For more on child welfare, see When Indians Make Bad Decisions and Why the Indian Child Welfare Act Exists.

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