Margaret D. Jacobs F'12
ACLS Fellowship Program 2012
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Where Have All the Children Gone? The Fostering and Adoption of American Indian Children in Non-Indian Families, 1880-1980
Beginning in the late 1950s, the US Bureau of Indian Affairs, state agencies, and private adoption organizations promoted the widespread fostering and adoption of American Indian children within non-Indian families. As a result, by 1969, in many states with large American Indian populations, 25-35% of Indian children had been removed from their families and either institutionalized, fostered, or placed for adoption in non-Indian families. At the same time, indigenous children in other British settler colonial nations also experienced elevated levels of fostering and adoption outside their communities. This project uses a historical comparative lens to examine why there were such high rates of separation of indigenous children from their families in the second half of the twentieth century.