ArtStart to screen Native American film
Courtesy of ArtStart
Rhinelander ArtStart will host a screening of the film Missing Threads: The Story of the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act, produced by Susan Reetz, followed by a presentation from Forest County Potawatomi Tribal Court judge Eugene L. White-Fish, Sunday, Dec. 13, from 1 to 3 p.m. The one-hour documentary presents first-hand accounts of damage done by the removal of Native American children from their families and placement outside Native American culture before the implementation of the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act (WICWA) designed to keep Native American children within their culture and, when possible, within their family or tribe.
WICWA is the Wisconsin implementation of the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 that recognized Native American families were being broken apart at an alarming rate due to state social service departments removing children and placing them in non-Indian homes. Studies in 1969 and 1974 showed that 25 to 35 percent of Native American children had been separated from their families and placed in foster care, institutions or adoptive families that were generally non-Native American. Congress recognized, in creating the act, that what was in the best interest of a non-Native American child was not necessarily in the best interest of an Indian child. Both ICWA and WICWA were designed to protect the best interests of Native American children and promote stability and security of Native American tribes and families.
Missing Threads is designed to increase understanding of the pivotal influence of tribal culture and connection for Native American children and the negative impacts for the child, the family and tribal culture when that connection is missing. WICWA was enacted in 2009.
White-Fish is the chief judge of the Forest County Potawatomi Tribal Court and can speak as someone with experience with the system pre- and post- WICWA from both personal and legal perspectives. He was honored for his work with the national Tribal Child Support Association, receiving The Judges Award for Professional Excellence. He is past president of the National American Indian Court Judges Association.
Reetz has produced documentaries and videos on numerous topics including Missing Threads and is a member of the International Documentary Association. She resides in the Wausau area and is a partner in Rucinski and Reetz Communication.
Admission is free, or by free-will donation. Rhinelander ArtStart is located at 68 S. Stevens St. in Rhinelander. For information on this and other ArtStart programs, go to www.ArtStartRhinelander.org.