FIRST NATIONS REPATRIATION INSTITUTE   
Restoring First Nations People to Their Homelands©


What First Nations Repatriation Institute Does
What We Do:  

  1. First Nations Repatriation Institute (FNRI) offers advocacy to all adoptees/fostered individuals and their families in accordance with our traditional spiritual heritage.
  2. FNRI serves to unite First Nations adoptees/fostered individuals with professionals, community leaders, other adoptees/fostered individuals and spiritual leaders.
  3. FNRI's activities serve to educate social services providers in the cultural traditions and values of Indian families and their communities with the goal of bridging and enhancing services.

Why We Do It:

FNRI receives phone calls and emails from across the United States and internationally. These adult adoptees, fostered individuals and birth relatives are seeking assistance on how to access their birth records, and find their relatives.

More importantly they are searching for their identity. However, they often are not able to articulate the concept of identity. They are at a loss for words to describe the void they feel. First Nations adult adoptees and fostered individuals and their families’ psychological, spiritual and legal needs are often overlooked and forgotten. These individuals and their families have endured years of silent, unexpressed grief and pain. They are left to live and resolve this pain of separation without culturally specific therapeutic intervention or spiritual assistance that addresses the loss and grief caused by separation from family and culture.

This kind of grief and loss does not typically respond to mainstream clinical treatment. The pain of separation from identity/culture/family/community is ongoing unless resolved with reunification of some kind, whether it be reunification to the biological parent, the extended family, their tribal community or any other Indian community. Many adoptees, fostered individuals and their families have used the mainstream services to meet their immediate psychological needs. However, these services often fall short of addressing the deep wounds caused by separation from culture.

It is important that they reconnect with tribal elders and culturally competent professionals who recognize and address the:

Loss of identity 
Loss of personal power 
Loss of legal status 
Disruption of family structure 


Many adult adoptees/fostered individuals, children in foster care, their families and communities exhibit traits of survivors of trauma:

Anxiety/impulsivity 
Intrusive imagery/nightmares 
Depression 
Withdrawal/isolation 
Guilt 
Unresolved grief 


First Nations children who have been in foster care, or adopted out have experienced a disruption in the development of their identity as a First Nations person. The disruption caused by separation from their families, communities and tribes, can lead to extreme isolation, fear, anger and resentment and low self-esteem. Most will not be able to articulate where the anger is coming from and often medicate with drugs, alcohol and other destructive behaviors. Many fostered individuals have reported overwhelming suicidal thoughts. This form of isolation is exceptionally difficult to express and is best addressed within our traditional cultural teachings and in the support of other adoptees/fostered individuals, spiritual leaders and tribal community members.

FNRI believes that in order to walk in balance everyone needs to be able to answer these four essential questions in life: Who am I? Where do I come from? What am I doing? Which direction am I going? Our sacred values encourage self-esteem, self-worth, self-image, self-respect, pride and dignity that can prevent depression, low self-esteem, low self-worth, and low self-image.

FNRI also believes that by including child welfare professionals, judges, lawyers and policy makers in our circle of healing and understanding that they too heal and discover ways to enhance their work with tribal communities. Including everyone in the process we come together in a powerful way to acknowledge those before us; and with that insight make things better for our children and their families yet to come.

FNRI believes that in order to walk in balance everyone needs to be able to answer these four essential questions in life:

  1. Who am I?
  2. Where do I come from?
  3. What am I doing?
  4. Which direction am I going?

Our sacred values encourage self-esteem, self-worth, self-image, self-respect, pride and dignity that can prevent depression, low self-esteem, low self-worth, and low self-image.

We believe healing comes from sitting in the circle of our relatives, hearing songs and being told “You were not forgotten. In our ceremonies we prayed for you. We are glad you are here, welcome home.” 


The McCracken Report:
Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Forums: Responses to a New Approach.

FNRI also believes that by including child welfare professionals, judges, lawyers and policy makers in our circle of healing and understanding that they too heal and discover ways to enhance their work with tribal communities. Including everyone in the process we come together in a powerful way to acknowledge those before us; and with that insight make things better for our children and their families yet to come. 

The report can be accessed by clicking here: The McCracken Report.
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