I Can Make This Promise

by Christine Day

Twelve-year-old Edie and her friends, Serenity and Amelia, are working on a film... read more

Twelve-year-old Edie and her friends, Serenity and Amelia, are working on a film project when they stumble upon a box in Edie’s attic filled with photos, letters, and diaries belonging to a Native woman named Edith. Edie knows that she herself is Native, but her mother, who was adopted by a white family at birth, has always claimed ignorance of any details of her heritage. Edie, suspecting that her mother is keeping secrets, reads through the materials on her own. She learns that Edith—who looks remarkably like Edie—was an aspiring actress who left home for Hollywood only to face discrimination there as a Native woman. Expecting a child, she returned home. When Edie presses her parents, they admit that Edith is Edie’s grandmother. Edie’s mother was taken from Edith shortly after her birth. By the time the Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted in 1978, it was too late; Edie’s mother had been adopted, and Edith never saw her daughter again. This story of a contemporary Suquamish/ Duwamish girl seeking information about her cultural heritage sheds much- needed light on the generational trauma of forced removal of Native children from their families. (Ages 8–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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