Restoring First Nations People to Their Homelands©

Who and What is First Nations Repatriation Institute?

First Nations Orphan Association (FNOA) was born out a grassroots effort to bring awareness and healing to Indian communities impacted by adoption and foster care.  After several years it became apparent that there needed to be a more formalized approach. 

First Nations Repatriation Institute (FNRI) will pick up and expand the original work of FNOA. It will be a resource to adoptees connecting them other adoptees and resources. The goals are focused in Education, Scholarship and Advocacy

The term First Nations people will be used when referring to American Indians or Native Americans.  Chris Leith, elder, spiritual leader and co-founder of FNOA advised us that in pre-Columbian contact we were a people of Nationhood, we had sophisticated governments. We are the First Nations of this land.

  Repatriation (from Late Latin repatriatre – to go home again: to restore or return to the country of origin, allegiance or citizenship). The purpose of First Nations Repatriation Institute is to create a resource for First Nations people impacted by foster care or adoption to return home, reconnect, and reclaim their identity.  The Institute also serves as a resource to enhance the knowledge and skills of practitioners who serve First Nations people.

The First Nations Repatriation Institute fills a significant gap in resources available for First Nations people.  There is currently no organized effort at a local, state, national or international level to address the needs of people separated from their culture by foster care or adoption. 

The First Nations Repatriation Institute provides technical assistance, education; research and advocacy on the process of Truth, Healing and Reconciliation for the healing and return home of First Nations people impacted by foster care and adoption.

The Institute promotes Truth, Healing and Reconciliation as a way to address historical trauma and disenfranchised grief caused by forced removal of indigenous children to foster care and adoption.  We support family and cultural reunification as well as community healing.

The goals of the First Nations Repatriation Institute include the following areas of education, scholarship and advocacy:


Provide education for social workers and others in the community regarding First Nations people, needs and risks.

Incorporate and strengthen undergraduate and graduate content relevant to First Nations people in the social work curriculum including history, trauma, disenfranchised grief, identity, healing and reconciliation.

Participate in and host regional and national Reconciliation conferences

Host the first National Repatriation Forum bringing together legal professionals, social work professionals, educators, researchers to share ideas and identify research needs for First Nations Repatriation

Develop a certificate program for practitioners providing post adoption services for Indigenous people.


Present our work at local, state, national and international conferences

Publish our work in peer reviewed journals

Develop a research agenda and funding for graduate student research


Create a clearinghouse and repository of local and national psychosocial, spiritual and legal resources for First Nations individuals, family, community and the practitioners who serve them.

Collaborate with other organizations to promote Truth, Healing and Reconciliation
Formal making amends including documentation and evaluation of the proceedings

Influence public policy related to First Nations child welfare issues

Create educational DVD’s on the history of child removal, the impact on extended families and Indian Nations and the process of Truth, Healing and Reconciliation.

The purpose of the Institute is to:

Connect First Nations Adoptees with other First Nations Adoptees

Assist First Nations Adoptees with tribal enrollment     

Support First Nations peoples in searches for relatives during family reunification. 

Support emotional, physical and spiritual health of all adoptees/fostered individuals, their families and communities in accordance with First Nations peoples traditional spiritual heritage

Provide consultation and education to social service providers and mental health care providers and the legal system in the cultural traditions and values of First Nations people. 
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