Sioux City, Iowa – Beginning on November 20, 2017, grieving families, community leaders and activists will gather for two days of educational events that culminate in a ceremonial march in remembrance of Native American children who have been taken from their families and communities and placed in the country's child-welfare system. Once taken, a reprehensible legacy in our country is perpetuated, whereby Native children (and their families) are subjected to layers of trauma associated with being separated from their families and tribes, while also being vulnerable to abuse, neglect and death.
The goal of the 15th Annual March to Honor Lost Children is to raise awareness and disrupt this traumatizing system and ultimately to reunite taken Native children with their home tribes and families. To do so, the activities from November 20th through November 22nd will give participants insight into the challenges faced by Native communities and identify opportunities for improving engagement with Native families that find themselves involved in the child welfare system. The need for healing and wellness in the Sioux City Native community will also be a focus.
Activities will kick off on Monday with a day long workshop titled Race: The Power of and Illusion in the St. Francis Room at Briar Cliff University. A Town Hall Meeting will follow at the Sioux City Museum. On Tuesday, the conference will feature a keynote speaker, Understanding and Nurturing Resiliency, Kathleen Brown-Rice, PhD, who is the Chair of the University of South Dakota’s (USD) Division of Counseling and Psychology in Education. Her interests include historical trauma, substance abuse, and mental health related to the Native American population. Nora Boesem, who has expertise in working with children and families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), will facilitate informational sessions regarding FASD. A “survivor” panel will also be featured and the Sioux City Street Project will close out Tuesday’s informational sessions. At 7:30 am on Wednesday, November 22nd a Pipe Ceremony at the War Eagle Monument at Grove Street and War Eagle Drive will commence the march, which will stop at various locations around the city for a series of prayers. A Memorial Dinner will be held at the Sioux City Museum after the walk ends noon.
Events on November 20 and November 22, 2017 are free, though registration is required for the educational workshops and the march so planners can prepare for participants. The cost of attending the conference on November 21, 2017 is $10. Additional information about co-sponsors and registration is available online at: www.briarcliff.edu/MarchForLostChildren.
A press conference is planned for Tuesday, November 21st at 10:00 am in the Stark Student Center at Briar Cliff University.