On June 25, 2019, we gathered together in Norman, Oklahoma to discuss the needs of migrant children separated from their families. Our tribes’ histories each contain terrible accounts of such forced separations—by removal, boarding schools, adoption, and other such policies. We know too well the generational trauma caused by forced separations. We had just heard the news that 1400 children were scheduled to move into Fort Sill, a site of Native imprisonment and later a Native boarding school. The migrant children—most of whom are Indigenous—touched our hearts. Like many others, we have felt bewildered and helpless.
Although plans to use Fort Sill as a shelter are now be on hold, we realized there was still much we could do to be of service to children at the border in addition to children here in Oklahoma. Knowing this would be only the first of many initiatives we wanted to work on together, The Auntie Project was born, and over the next few days, we organized and incorporated a nonprofit 501(c)3.
We look forward to sponsoring many initiatives over the years to come to support kids in need—in our communities, in Oklahoma, and wherever Native children are in need of Aunties.
“Native Sisters” Artwork by Brent Greenwood (Chickasaw, Ponca)