Rebecca Black said she was advertised in a magazine in Oregon for adoption even though she had extended family that could care for her. She was abused by her adopted family and ran away at age 13.

Black was guest speak for the Samish Indian Nation’s VOCA Program’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples virtual event on Saturday, May 7. She was there to share her own experience as an Indigenous woman with generational trauma with around 100 people who signed up to attend.

Black said a disproportionate number of Indigenous people are in the foster care system. This puts them in a vulnerable position because traffickers target children in foster care.

“They know there is trauma and that they are disconnected,” Black said.

When they go missing, nobody looks for them, she said.

“We may look for them, but the sheriffs and state police don’t look for them,” Black said.

She believes that instead of taking children away from Indigenous mothers having trouble, there should be more support for the parent.

“How about the state support our communities and families and use money in a way that prevents our children from being removed,” she said.

Black said such generational trauma is passed down to children because they haven’t been able to heal from their own trauma.

The massive genocide of Indigenous people was estimated to have reduced a population of as many as 15 million to 238,000, according to an article for History written by Donald Fixico.

“We don’t talk about it, and that contributes to the murder of our people,” Black said. “My grandma was murdered at 38 in Tacoma. No one was convicted or charged. She was just another Indian woman murdered on the streets.”

What is needed is healing, Black said.

“We need it supported from our tribal leaders down.”

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