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After many years, we are home

After many years, we are home
At a homecoming on the White Earth Indian Reservation, some who were adopted out were welcomed to their place in the circle.
By Curt Brown, Star Tribune
Last update: October 16, 2007 - 11:24 AM

MAHNOMEN, MINN. -- Duane Reynolds and Rachel Kupcho had never met until last weekend, when they each drove 250 miles from their suburban Twin Cities homes to the lake-dotted land of the White Earth Indian Reservation in northwestern Minnesota.

Amid the sweet smell of burning sage and the heartbeat thumping of Ojibwe drummers, Reynolds, 60, and Kupcho, 30, stood side by side in a circle of 60 people as tribal spiritual elder Joe Bush prayed and performed pipe rituals.

The hand-stitched banner on the wall proclaimed in Ojibwe: Ishkwa Niibawa Dasobiboon Niiawind Abi Endad. And in English: After Many Years, We Are Home.

With the all-day healing ceremony, White Earth became Minnesota's first reservation, and perhaps the first in the nation, to formally welcome back some of the thousands of children adopted off reservations under a decades-long federal policy that encouraged their placement in non-Indian homes.

"Just to literally be on this land has been incredibly powerful," said Kupcho, who grew up in Chanhassen. "When I drove up and saw the sign, I just started crying. I've always believed my relatives are from here, so it's an emotional time, but a good time."

For remaining article: http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1481968-a1481976-t3.html