6-Year-Old taken by tribal court order from Non-tribal Birth Father

 

January 23, 2008

Our family has been devistated! This happened last Thursday about 3 in the afternoon:
This is a story about a little 61/2 year old girl, my Granddaughter….  She is half Navajo Indian. I have included a picture. About 6 years ago they lived on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, her Mother was using some heavy drugs and she and my son, began fighting. Lets call her (Mother)…,

My son didn’t want his daughter around the drugs, the fight grew until (Mother) told him to get out, he wouldn’t leave without his daughter, she finally told him to get out and take the kid with him.    We sent him a bus ticket and he and the 6 month old baby came to live with us.   Sounds pretty much boring so far doesn’t it?

He was legally married to (Mother) and she wanted nothing to do with him.  He couldn’t get a divorce due to our wonderful Federal law that says “you cannot take an Indian child away from an Indian” the child will go to ANY Indian before it would be place with a “white” person, they don’t even have to be an aunt or cousin, just Indian.

(they) stayed here in Missouri with us and worked and took care of (granddaughter).    We could not possibly love (granddaughter) any more than we did or do.   (Mother) would call every 8 or 9 months and ask (son) for money.  She was not the least interested in how (daughter) was.  She once called when (daughter) was 4 and wanted (son) to quit his job and bring (daughter) to Arizona so she could see her for a week, then he could have her back.  This is how she thought it would work.   (my son) could not get a divorce due to the law protecting the Indians and the fear of losing (daughter).  He worked he came home he took care of (daughter), we all did.   Several years went by, 6 to be exact, (they) have moved to Dallas to live with his sister to get a better job.  (granddaughter) goes to a wonderful school, she goes to church, she has friends and family who love her very much.

We started getting letters from a lawyer in Arizona at my house here in Missouri and I sent them on to (son), the letters said that (Mother) was trying to get (daughter) and was suing (son) for custody.   (son) got a lawyer, a group of lawyers actually that are suppose to just help Dad’s get their kids.  They sent for all the papers that (Mother) had ever filed and come to find out she had been filing papers since 2003. It took over a month to get the papers from the Indian courthouse. With all sorts of excuses about people being on vacation and not able to send the papers.   She had talked to (son) on the phone several times during this time and never mentioned any of the lawyer stuff.  She did talk to him about wanting a divorce, but never said anything about (daughter).    She didn’t even know (daughter).    It has been six and 1/2 years.

(son)’s lawyers advised him to contact (Mother)’s lawyer to let them know his whereabouts, so that they could serve him with the court papers and then the lawyers could go to court for (son).   (Mother)’s lawyers got (son)’s address. Filed a injunction from the Navajo court which is Federal.   5 Police cars came to (son)’s house yesterday and told him they were there to take (daughter).  They went to day care and took (daughter).

(Mother) was there to collect her daughter.  (daughter) was crying and screaming she didn’t want to leave her Daddy.  (Mother) told her that she had been looking for her for a long time and her Daddy wouldn’t tell her where she was.   (Mother) has always known where they were, she has talked to them on the phone.    She lied and told the Indian court that (son) kidnapped (daughter) when in fact she told him to “take her and get out” She lied and told the Indian court that (son) was hiding (daughter) when in fact she has had his phone number and our phone number has not changed.   Had this been a “non-Indian” court, they would have maybe given the Mother supervised visitation at least for a period of time for the child to get to know her.   The Indian court believed everything (Mother) told them and they swooped in and collected (daughter) like this family never even existed.  The sent her off with no clothes, no toys, no books, (Mother) wouldn’t even take (daughter)’s coat.

I know I may sound like just another crazy old lady, but this is just wrong as wrong can be….   For “our government” to allow this kind of treatment of a child is criminal, just criminal, we have dogs in this country that are treated better.   Now, in order to possible if ever get his daughter back, my son will have to fight this in Indian court in Arizona, he has to hire a lawyer, minimum $3000.00 just a retainer and that is ridiculous because the Indian court can just postpone and postpone and (Mother) will just never show up with the child…

(Our son) had (daughter) for six years and never collected any government assistance, he worked and took care of his daughter.   He hired a lawyer. He followed the rules.   We loved that little girl more than any words can express.   We may never see (daughter) again.   This is just wrong as wrong can be!

One devastated Grandmother

Response to my response –   

Dear God someone help us please.

Thank you so much just for reading my letter, I am so lost as to know what to do, where to go or who to trust.   Yesterday, I stayed home from work to get a lawyer for my son, we were told by a lawyer where I live that we would have to have an Indian Lawyer from the reservation, in order to do anything,

My daughter and her husband took out a loan for a $3000.00 retainer and we hired a lawyer, we faxed her all the papers that (Mother) left when they took (My Granddaughter) and she studied the papers and said that there was only a very slim chance that we would ever see (daughter) again.

The papers are ridiculous!!!

Evidently, she had been filing papers since 2003, and all the time talking to (son) on the phone at my house and him sending her money.

First she said that (son) kidnapped (daughter), and she didn’t know where he was. When in fact, her own mother and her took (them)  to the bus.

Then she said that he was at my house and when she would call my house to talk to him, I would answer the phone and either lie to her or “make loud whooping noises” (like an Indian) into the phone. I have never heard of anything so crazy! I have an answering machine, if I didn’t want to talk to her, Oh my goodness.

Now, the lawyer that we hired yesterday is saying that because my son, spent a year moving around trying to find work, (ONE YEAR OUT OF 6) that he is unstable, even though, he lived with (daughter)  in ONE PLACE with his father and I for 5 solid years. He worked, he supported his daughter, he has never had any government assistance….

So, because of this year, that (son) spent trying to make a better life for he and (daughter) , the lawyer is telling us that he has a “very slim chance of EVER getting her off the reservation! He has a good job now, he is in a apprentisship program for management.

I really don’t know how to go on, I read in the paperwork (Mother) left, that becuase she is suppose to be employed and making $7.00 an hour, that SHE is ABLE to PROVIDE for (daughter) , and  (son) must now pay $475.00 a month child support!…

How, dear God HOW, can they take this child?, child who has never done anything to ANYONE and RIP her from everyone she knows and loves and throw her into this?

She didn’t even have a change of clothes,
She doesn’t have her BLANKET!
How can MY GOVERNMENT TREAT A CHILD LIKE THIS?
HOW CAN THIS BE RIGHT!

….I am just praying that you know something that I don’t know, something that will help, anything,     One devastated Grandmother

UPDATE January 24, 2008

God Bless you, Thank you so much for caring, I am having a really bad day today, yesterday I felt like we had some hope, this morning I am right back to scared to death and wondering what must be going through (granddaughter”s) mind. I wonder if she is cold,if she has any clean clothes and if she is hungry. I wonder what they must be telling her when she says she wants to go home. I am just really having a bad day I guess.  I can’t figure our where God is and why this should happen to her. I have always beilieved that God is in control, today I just don’t know.

UPDATE January 26, 2008

I am at (Son’s house), he found out yesterday that he has to be in Arizona for court about the “Order to Return the Child to Texas Immediately” court will be either Wed.,Thurs., or Friday. Is there anyone from the Christian Alliance in the Window Rock area that may be able to attend court with us?  I just thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask, you never know unless you ask sometimes.
Thank you for being there
,

UPDATE February 2, 2008

We are still waiting for a court date for the “return the child to Texas” order, our lawyer said last Thursday that the judge was looking over the papers that she had filed and would decide how important he felt the case was as to how soon we would get a court date.

I probably have lost my job as I came to Texas to go to court this past week with (Son) so he wouldn’t have to go alone and we never got a date to go, so maybe it will be next week, who knows.  But, two weeks off work isn’t good at a job I just started and didn’t have my 90 days probation in yet, even though they told me to go be with my son, I doubt that they meant to stay.
We also had to retain a lawyer here in Texas this past week to file for custody in what is considered (Granddaighter’s) “home state” however the way the tribal court sees it, the reservation is her home state. The lawyer that we got here for the custody wanted to know if I could get any information about living conditions on the reservation and I thought that you may have that. Please let me know,

I really appreciate you being there.

UPDATE February 13, 2008

…things are not good,by any means.  The Tribal Supreme Court Judge, has been sitting on the motion to return the child for 3 weeks now, 3 weeks, (granddaughter) has been out there a month now and we have not talked to her or even know where she is for sure.  This is wrong on so many levels.  This child has done nothing to have to go through this.

We have talked to newspapers and tv reporters ….no one wants to get involved, Everyone just hides behind,”OH thats a child cusody issue” So they can’t help.
I asked one reporter here in Texas why are there stories on the news about dogs being abused and nothing about what is happening to our children?

….I guess I have to go back home Friday, I have been here waiting for the court date that never happens for 3 weeks now.

Please please, pray that God will lead us to the money for the attorney’s .  We just don’t have it. It looks to me like the plan on the Indian Court side is just to sit it our until we are out of money. At this rate it wont be long….

UPDATE February 15, 2008

A six year old child was illegally removed from her Father January, 17th 2008 with the help of … County DA’s office ….

… police telephoned (DA)requesting advice after 2 members of the Navajo tribe showed up at the police station producing a paper from the Navajo Tribal Court giving the child’s mother temporary custody. After faxing a copy to DA and DA reviewing the document, DA advised the police to turn the child over to the mother.

The police then traveled to the childs daycare where the six year old little girl was sent crying and screaming with 2 complete strangers to travel to Arizona to the Navajo reservation.

According to ….County Standing Orders regarding children, property and conduct of parties, IT IS ORDERED:

1.NO DISRUPTION OF CHILDREN  Both parties are ORDERED to refrain from doing the following acts concerning any children who are subjects of this cause.
1.1 Removing the children from the state of Texas, acting directly or in concert with others, without the written agreement of both parties or an order from this court.
1.2 Disrupting or withdrawing the children from school or daycare facility where the child is presently enrolled, without the written agreement of both parents or an order from this court. 

It is my opinion that DA took one look at the letterhead from the Tribal Court of the Navajo Nation and had no clue what to do.  She gave her legal opinion which was wrong and aided in us loosing our child.

Going on 4 weeks now we have had to retain 2 separate attorneys,one for the reservation one for Texas.  The child is and was a resident of Texas there for Texas had and still holds jurisdiction. We have had no contact with our child nor she with us since she was illegally taken.

She is six years old and torn from the only family she has ever known and loved and taken to a place not unlike a third world country.

What must be going through this little girl’s mind?

UPDATE February 18, 2008

…We can’t even get in touch with anyone who can tell us where they are.
The phone numbers (they) gave us have been shut off.  We have no court date, because the judge is just sitting on the papers. We don’t know anything, our lawyer doesn’t know anything, it’s like we live in the “Twighlight Zone”, I am 53 years old and never thought that I would live to see something like this in my lifetime.  …. nobody cares, they stole our child, she is gone as far as we can tell never to even be seen or heard from again.  People just don’t seem to understand my world stopped January, 17, 2008

We can’t even get (other party) served, something about the “advocate”that she has is “KNOWN” for helping people avoid being served.

As long as she can’t be served, she keeps (Granddaughter), how is this right?

…. People look at me like I am making it up.   I barely have any hope left. I’m really glad that you are there and that you understand, I have no one to talk to who gets it.

UPDATE February 20, 2008

Did you get to talk to anyone yesterday?  Any new ideas this morning?  I need a reason to keep going. 

UPDATE February 22, 2008

I just got a call from (Daughter) , it seems that (Attorney from Rez) called (Attorney in Texas) …..  said that the Navajo Supreme Court made a decision that is; ‘The Navajo’s have jurisdiction over ALL Navajo children’ so she does not have to be returned to Texas.

.Back to top

UPDATE March 14, 2008 – letter to Senator John McCain staffer:

Mr Currieo,

Please, can you tell me anything that is being done about (My Granddaughter)?
In a couple of days it will be 8 weeks.

Over and OVER the Tribes have done the same thing and they continue to do this until we (non-Indians) don’t have the money to fight to get our children back.

Our family has done nothing wrong here, yet ‘WE’ are the ones who have to find lawyers just to ‘ATTEMPT’ to ever see our child again.

Do you realize we had to call over 25 lawyers just to find one that would EVEN GO ON THE RESERVATION?

God must be shaking his head and asking himself, ‘What in the world?’

Dear Mr. Currieo this is our baby, our child, a living breathing HUMAN BEING, not a peice of property! She has been ripped away from the only home and family that she knows. Why is this allowed to go on?

Please, I know there is something SOMEBODY CAN DO.

Please, I am begging and I have never begged for anything in my life.

We don’t have a home we can mortgage.  We are at the END of our funds.
Are we suppose to just GIVE UP, GIVE IN?

THIS IS NOT RIGHT!

Dear God in the name of everything that is RIGHT…., PLEASE HELP US!
Help (My Granddaughter) before its TOO LATE.

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