Bismarck, ND – On March 21, a 6-year-old girl of 1/64 Choctaw ancestry was taken crying from her home by social services, placed in a car, and driven to another state.
Many realize current federal Indian policies are hurting people. What many don’t know is the extent. Dozens of children across the nation currently face the same situation Lexi faced – if not worse.
To date, Lexi’s removal caused the biggest public ICWA reaction ever as the presence of dozens from within her community initially delayed her from being taken, then personally witnessed her removal in tears. Hundreds of thousands saw the video clips and reacted for a child 98% non-native, removed from her home solely due to the Indian Child Welfare Act. The resulting petition garnered signatures from 100 countries around the world.
According to the last two U.S censuses, 75% of persons eligible for tribal membership do not live in “Indian Country.” Over the last few decades, many families of heritage have left the reservations due to the level of corruption and crime. As families left, tribal leaders – panicked by declining membership – pushed Congress for increased control over children of heritage.
This includes children who are multi-heritage, who’ve never been near Indian Country, and whose only connection is a dissident great-grandparent who purposefully left the system decades ago.
Worse, some tribal governments refuse to allow kids to live in foster homes off reservation – even if there are no safe homes currently available on the reservation.
As reported by Tom Sullivan, Regional Director for ‘Administration of Children and Families,’ this has resulted in
children being placed where ever available – including homes of known child abusers and sex offenders. Mr. Sullivan reported this multiple times to his DC superiors, who told him to cease reporting it, and after he refused, recently began the process of firing him.
Despite documented deaths of children and mass exodus from Indian Country, federal government consistently looks the other way while tribal leaders claim to speak for everyone and demand additional funds and increased control over children.
NICWA, NARF, the Casey Foundation and Tribal leaders do NOT speak for everyone, nor do they know what is best for every individual child of heritage – no matter whether that child is 100% or 1%. Rhetoric otherwise is the epitome of racism.
Unfortunately, federal government has literally made the decision to protect tribal sovereignty at all cost – even the cost of our children. In fact, the BIA is preparing additional rules to strengthen ICWA.
America is already angry with government over corrupt bureaucracies, lack of protection for citizens, and inaction by Congress.
CAICW is asking Americans to contact their Congressmen to oppose the new BIA rules, rescind the Indian Child Welfare Act, and protect a brave public servant – whistleblower Tom Sullivan.
Elizabeth Morris is Chair of the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare and author of “Dying in Indian Country.” is both a ministry and advocacy group. CAICW has also been advocating since February 2004 for families at risk of harm from the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Our advocacy has been both judicial and educational, as well as a prayer resource for families and a shoulder to cry on.