International Travel Report by:
Barbara McCloud
Geneva, Switzerland: April 8 - 24, 1997

Barbara, Beatrice and Bill in Incominados, Switzerland, 1997
Barbara, Beatrice & Bill

With the financial support of the Puyallup Tribe and technical assistance of International Indian Treaty Council, I was able to attend the United Nations Hearings on the Indigenous Peoples Population of the world to give input on an intervention regarding the Rights of the Child. Working with Indigenous families, schools and various organizations from the Sapa Dawn Center, this was a chance in a lifetime to speak before the world on our children's rights within their communities which range from reservation to the urbanized child. My daughter & I went with the help of Bill Simmons who has been doing U.N. work intensively over the past 15 years. He guided me through the obstacles of preparing documentation. I proceeded to gather information with local people who have worked in the legal aspects dealing with Indian youth and also the help of my mother, Janet McCloud. Having researched the ethnocide and the genocidal effects over the past 500 years was overwhelming, not only did I begin to get a clear understanding of the colonial impact this all had on our people. I have watched my parents work from a grass roots level with the fishing rights struggle, land rights & treaty rights. Now I found myself working Internationally, trying to interpret before the world, the Rights of the Child. I was determined to get the information as needed for this intervention. The Indian Child Welfare Act and the Multi Ethnic Placement Act, which is targeted as a termination of an Indigenous Culture. While doing research for this intervention, it gave me a bigger picture of what was happening to our youth today. The gangs, alcohol and drugs, lack of self esteem, no identities that in turn gives a feeling of not belonging.

My thought & question became clear & simple: "What were the rights of the child?" ... right to live, right to a safe environment, right to breath fresh air and drink clean water, right to understand life, a right to exist.

My experience in Europe was just that. . . an experience. It was very educational to get a chance to sit in on the proceedings of the United Nations sessions. To hear different Indigenous populations throughout the world was extraordinary. While over there I was able to meet some of our Sapa Dawn Supporters. We were able to show our video and share some our concerns regarding our own youth within the local areas.

Tara shared information with a few of the schools in Zurich. We stayed in Switzerland for a week then traveled on to Germany; there we stayed with Herman & Erika Haindl. They gave us a tour of their country town of Hofheim and the local castles. A couple of nights they had friends over to hear us talk about the Sapa Dawn Center.

It was a rewarding trip with special people who have made it memorable:

Many Thanks given to: Herman & Erika Haindl, Hofheim, Germany
Vera & Uli, Basil, Switzerland
Margarit, Zurich, Switzerland
Hans, Basil, Switzerland

eagle in flight

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