Why we do what we do – and what’s next:
CAICW has no paid staff. That isn’t to say that we don’t get important things done, as the Christmas newsletter shows. We simply get it done in the most cost effective way imaginable…albeit, slowly…
We are not complaining. My husband and I got involved with the work – fighting against the current reservation system – from the pain and passion of watching too many relatives, including children, die tragically from drugs, alcohol, violence and suicide. As we delved in through the years, doing research, writing, speaking and acquiring colleagues, we learned how deep the corruption in Indian Country goes. Financial compensation has never been important. We are talking about the welfare of our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
The first thing a person should know about CAICW prior to getting involved is that we are politically “incorrect” and have been vilified by the Montana Human Rights Network, among others, in the past. My husband, in fact, was labeled an “anti-Indian Native American” by MHRN. They were so upset by his words and actions that they continued to use him on their power point as their poster child for anti-Indian racism three years after he passed away.
All I could think when told this by someone who had attended one of their seminars was… if all they can come up with as their worst “Anti-Indian” offender is a man of 100% Minnesota Chippewa heritage who has been gone for three years…well…then there really must not be much of a problem…
There is much going on in Indian Country that the rest of America needs to realize. For starters, we are all aware that former lobbyist Jack Abramoff went to prison. However, no one who paid him the money, nor anyone who received the money, went to jail. Jack was gone, but obviously, the money continues to change hands – at the expense of the lives and well-being of our children.
The Indian Child Welfare Act is not about ‘protecting’ children.It never was. (Why did Russell Means brag about being the only federally incarcerated prisoner to work for a U.S. Senator – SD Senator Abourezk?) The ICWA was about protecting tribal sovereignty and the money that tribal governments are given per head.
Most of you have heard about the child abuse and murders at Spirit Lake. There is so much more – documented – that we can tell you. Further, what is happening at Spirit Lake is not isolated. Many reservations, due to the high levels of alcohol and drug abuse, coupled with the inability for state law enforcement to act or federal money to be audited, have become deeply corrupt. True traditional culture does not prevail. A crime and drug culture prevails.
Congressman Cramer has been wonderful in that he has taken this issue head-on. He is one of the few unafraid of saying what needs to be said. He is the one who requested the Oversight hearing last June and called the Spirit Lake leaders on the carpet.
There is much more work to do.
1) I will return to DC in late January to resume talking to every office.Well…I have given up trying with Senator Heitkamp’s office, but there are 99 others. I will be there for a few weeks.
2) Our legal fund for families who are fighting the Indian Child Welfare Act needs funds. Some are birth families; some are foster or adoptive families. But all are trying to protect children from being forced from their homes and placed into homes chosen by the tribal government. Many times, these children have very little tribal heritage. Some have less than 5%. One little girl three years ago had just 1% Cherokee heritage. We have had grandparents who were told they cannot keep their grandchildren because the grandparents are not Indian. We have had birth fathers whose children have been whisked away to the reservation, despite state court orders, and law enforcement has been unwilling to step on toes to retrieve them. We have had children who have never lived on the reservation – and whose families have never lived there – taken from foster or adoptive homes where they have lived happily most of their lives. We cannot pay the full fees for families, but can pay for consultations with good ICWA attorneys. This year, through this fund, a seven-year-old child’s family learned what they needed to do, won in court, and he was allowed to continue living with his grandmother.
Our children are not on this earth to benefit tribal sovereignty. They are our children. 75% of tribal members do NOT live in Indian Country. Many, many have left due to the crime and corruption and do not want tribal governments to lay claim over their children.
When things are wrong, they need to be admitted and dealt with – not hidden. Many enrolled and enrollable families agree.
3) We also have families who have left Indian Country and want a different life for their children, but need help putting that new life together. So we are also in the process of finishing a business plan for a long-term therapeutic setting, similar to “Teen Challenge,” where families can come as a unit and grow healthy together.
We appreciate your interest and hope you find us worthy.
~ Christmas 2014 Newsletter ~
Luke 2:11 “…in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
My Friends and Family – 2014 has been so busy and eventful, it’s been hard to know where to begin, let alone find time to begin it.
In October, 2013, I took off for DC with the Blazer and a couple hundred dollars, trusting God to provide for the work that needed to be done once I got there. Once there, I visited every Senate office in DC and several house and committee offices, renewing old relationships and building new ones, telling them what is really going on in Indian Country.
After coming home for my son’s birthday and Christmas, I traveled west at the invitation of a supporter, visiting several friends and CAICW families along the way –
Over the course of six months, I visited several awesome families from coast to coast. I traveled from South Carolina, to North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Washington, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado – (where I was introduced to a publicist who later introduced me to my new book publisher. I also met for the first time with ACF Regional Director Tom Sullivan) – Kansas, Arkansas, and finally, Missouri. I video-taped several ICWA family stories.
It was a blessed time. I wish I could name all my gracious hosts – but there were so many and my patient readers would think they were reading Genesis 10. Through it all, God provided tremendously – food, gas, warm homes to stay in, repairs to the Blazer and more.
I came home at the end of March, 2014 for the birth of my grandson, ‘Roland John.’ I thought I would only stay a couple weeks and then head back to DC. But for varied reasons and difficulties, ended up staying through the summer. One of the difficulties – I was given a 1983 Toyota Huntsman camper. I intended to continue traveling, so thought this would allow me to be more independent. So I gave the Blazer to my daughter. Well… as it turns out, there had been a recall on the axle for that camper about twenty or so years ago – and this camper didn’t get one. So now I was told it was too dangerous to drive; that I had been given a two-ton planter.
Yeah – so that put a small dent in travel plans. But again – God is good. After several weeks, a friend found an axle for $200 and put it in. The camper was finally ready by August or so…
But the summer wasn’t wasted. While in ND and MN, continuing to work volunteer and trusting God for provision, I wrote several articles and tended to the org. I also visited a lot of extended family, had a long and good visit with (former) Spirit Lake Tribal Chair Russ McDonald, and later the ND Executive Director for Indian Affairs, Scott Davis. I also spent Mother’s Day with my daughter and baby Roland with dear friends in South Dakota.
In June, I took a really nice SD family to the House Oversight Committee Hearing in DC. They weren’t testifying concerning the subject of child abuse at Spirit Lake, but they had a similar story and it is important for Congress to know these things are happening on many reservations – not just at Spirit Lake. I also did quite a bit of writing this summer, finished Sage’s ICWA story on video, took a couple classes through Liberty University online, contracted with a new publisher for the book “Dying in Indian Country,” and tried to sell almost everything I own through rummage sales and Craig’s list. (I intended to hit the road again so figured I didn’t need anything anymore.)
However, once summer was over, it made more sense to stay in North Dakota and help Congressman Kevin Cramer’s campaign then to go to DC during campaign season, when very little gets done (well, outside of Pres. Obama’s executive orders). So I worked for Congressman Cramer, putting up campaign signs and making phone calls for events.
In September, a BIA policeman – tribal member from Spirit Lake – who had first contacted me in June, contacted me again. This time he, Bundy Littlewind, wanted to share his story publically. I was sent several documents and audio tapes between him and tribal social services. After I had listened to the tapes, he called me. We talked for about an hour. He told me that all he cares about is truth. He told me he was raised to be a warrior – protecting women, elders and children. He said tribal social services only protects tribal government. I asked him if he wanted me to arrange radio interviews. He said, “Yes.”
Five hours later, he was killed after hitting a moose on highway 2.
Bundy wanted us to spread the documents, so in accordance with his wishes, after removing the names of the children from the material, we posted it. The response was amazing. Our CAICW Facebook page grew with hundreds of followers – many of whom members of the Spirit Lake reservation.
In October – one of my niece – the adult daughter of Roland’s sister – came to live with me for a few weeks. She helped me with putting signs up for Congressman Cramer, attended an small event featuring Senator Rubio with me, walked with the campaign in a parade… and as a professional masseuse (YES!) gave me a couple of GREAT massages.
In November, a nephew – the adult son of another of Roland’s sisters – came to live with me for a long term. In the short time he has been here, he has already painted two rooms in my house as well as started his flooring business in eastern North Dakota. My son – who arranges home improvement installations for Lowe’s – and nephew talk a lot about such things, and I nod my head and pretend to understand.
My nephew was in Teen Challenge last winter, loves the Lord, and wants to work in men’s ministry as well as help found the RJM (name?) home. It is exciting to have a partner in ministry!
Now here it is, December, and I helping some beloved friends in Canada get through a difficult time. I have been learning so much while with them – as I always do when with them – about pausing, prayer, worship, and taking time to listen to the Lord. What an awesome opportunity this time with them has been – a blessed way to end the year.
Trusting God fully for providence – all this last year. Thank you, Jesus.
PRESIDENT OBAMA, SENATOR HEITKAMP, AND STANDING ROCK:
This letter was printed in the Grand Forks Herald and Bismarck papers Thursday, June 12, 2014, and read on air during the Jay Thomas radio show Friday, June 13, 2014
To the Editor,
Concerning the upcoming event featuring President Obama and Senator Heitkamp at the Standing Rock Reservation on Friday, June 13th:
North Dakotans are a gracious and forgiving people and will politely welcome the president to our wonderful state.
However, before he gives his speech concerning the wonderful “Nation to Nation” relationship he has with tribal leaders and announces what further moneys and authorities he will bestow upon them – he needs to learn facts from those whom his edicts directly affect.
• One: According to the last two U.S. censuses, 75% of tribal members DO NOT live in Indian Country – and many have deliberately taken their children and left in order to protect their families from the rampant crime and corruption.
• Two: The abuses at Spirit Lake here in North Dakota are well known, but it is also known that Spirit Lake is just a microcosm of what’s happening on reservations across the country.
• Three: These abuses are rampant on many reservations because the U.S. Government has set up a system that allows extensive abuse to occur unchecked and without repercussion.
• Four: Many, many times more children leave the reservation system in the company of their parents, who have mass exited – than do children who have been taken into foster care or found a home in adoption. But tribal leaders can’t admit parents are consciously taking their kids out of Indian Country in attempt to get them away from the reservation system and corrupt leaders. It makes a better sound bite to blame it on evil social services
President Obama, please listen to those who do not have a vested financial interest in increasing tribal government power, and learn about the physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse of tribal members by other tribal members and even many tribal leaders.
STOP supporting corrupt tribal leaders and corrupt systems and pretending all is okay in Indian Country.
Every time power to tribal leaders is increased, tribal members – U.S. citizens – are robbed of civil freedoms under the constitution of the United States.
More power given to tribal leaders means less freedom, safety and constitutional rights for tribal members.
Thank you so much for all your encouragement and support!
• Articles we write and receive are posted on the CAICW website at http://caicw.org.
• To follow us on Facebook – go to https://www.facebook.com/fbCAICW.org NOTE: Facebook algorithms have changed. Facebook, being a business, has begun diminishing the ability for pages to get attention in a free, organic manner in order to encourage page owners to purchase advertising. Studies have shown that in the last year, organic page reach has diminished 40% – and up to 80% for some pages. You are not seeing everything we post.
o To ensure you are getting all of our updates, please set the “Get Notifications” for the page or “Add to your Interest List.”
o Otherwise, without paying FB for advertising, it is becoming harder and harder for content posts to be seen in the timeline. (The select options are available in a drop down on your page where it says “Liked.” (Forewarned: Scripture and our Sunday evening prayer thoughts will also come through, along with updates about families and legislation.)
• The book, ‘Dying in Indian Country,’ will be available this coming summer through Deep River Books – at half the current price.
Some of the recent articles available at http://caicw.org
• Three South Dakota Children Given to Abuser? (Video from family) –
• Criminal Corruption continues at Spirit Lake (May 16, 2014, Letter from Thomas F. Sullivan) –
• Mark Fiddler Explains Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl (Published in Minnesota State Bar Association Family Law Forum | Vol. 22 No. 2 | Spring 2014) –
• Letter to BIA Concerning Planned Changes to ICWA Guidelines – – This letter is in response to suggestions made by tribal leaders in an April BIA listening Session –
• Tom Sullivan’s Response to ACF Superior Ms. McMullen, (July 1, 2014) – This letter is in response to testimony at the June House Oversight hearing –
• Tom Sullivan’s Response to Chairman McDonald’s Hearing Testimony – This letter is in response to testimony at the June House Oversight hearing –
• CAICW TESTIMONY: CHILD PROTECTION AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM ON THE SPIRIT LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION: – This letter is in response to testimony at the June House Oversight hearing –
• Response to Mayo Clinic Prayer Study: – (Thinking through the obvious…)
• “Stakeholders” – the new BIA buzz word: – – In response to the offensive use of the word “Stakeholder”
• Sage’s Story: Running from ICWA (Video)
• – http://caicw.org/2014/08/13/sages-story-running-from-icwa/
• Bundy’s Audio Tapes and documents: – Audios from BIA policeman, Bundy Littlewind
• Letter to Eric Holder, re: His ICWA Statement at WH Tribal Nations Conference, Dec 3, 2014
And on the ‘Dying in Indian Country’ blog site –
• AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT, LIES, & THEIR FEDERAL SUPPORTERS
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12: 1-2)