Tell Congress How to Best Meet the Needs of Native Children

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Mar 132020
 
Little girl on trike

The Congressional Commission on Native Children wants to hear your experience as a child with tribal heritage or raising children who have tribal heritage. Too often, Commissions such as this have heard from only one segment of the population. However, this Commission – which is tasked by Congress to identify new strategies for lasting solutions and report back to them – wants to hear from ALL who have experience – no matter the relationship. Everyone matters.

If you are an individual with tribal heritage – what were some of the most beneficial experiences you had growing up? What programs, entities, or individuals helped your growth most? Which experiences were most hurtful or destructive? Again, you can do this anonymously if you choose.

If you are a parent, grandparent, other relative or foster/adoptive parent who is eligible for membership in a federal tribe but prefer to raise your child outside of the reservation system, please let the Commission know why. Your testimony can be anonymous and will help them to understand tribal members who choose not to be under tribal jurisdiction.
If you are a parent, grandparent, extended relative, or adoptive parent who is NOT eligible for membership, yet a tribe has interfered or attempted to interfere with your relationship with your child, please explain this to the Commission.

Written testimony is to be given just as much weight as oral testimony and CAN be anonymous.

To send signed testimony identifying you and the child – Send To: asbwsnc@gmail.com

See the bottom of the page for how to submit testimony anonymously.

“The Commission will focus its recommendations on solutions to issues that would improve the health, safety, and well-being of Native children, including: child welfare; physical, mental, and behavioral health; educational and vocational opportunities; school district policies and practices; access to cultural and extracurricular activities; juvenile justice; early education and development; wraparound services for Native children.”

It is important to tell your child’s story. Your honest opinion about any of what is described above is important. The Commission needs to know your observations and experience – good or bad. They won’t know the full spectrum of experiences if they continually hear only from the same sources.

Also – if your child has struggles in certain areas, let the Commission know why you think that might be and what methods have been used to try to resolve it.

One federal program, the Administration of Children and Families (ACF), has a budget of about 50 billion and “awards on the average $647 Million to Native Americans through programs like Head Start… TANF, LIHEAP,…and the Administration for Native Americans, to name a few.” Have any of these ACF programs benefited your child? Why or why not?

If your child is doing well physically, emotionally, academically, and/or spiritually – let the Commission know and tell them which factors you believe helped your child attain that well-being. Was there a close relationship that inspired them? A particular tribal, federal, school or church program? – OR no program at all – just stable, loving home life? If so, the Commission NEEDS to know this.

If a Commission hears only from Social Service professionals who continually say ALL Native Children suffer from (fill in the blank) and All NEED a certain social service program to get better… than that is what a Commission will believe. If you have a different story – please tell it. If the best outcome for a child is in a stable and loving home setting, independent of government programs, the Commission needs to know this. If it isn’t able to obtain this type of data, it will rely on the data social services, organizations and agencies give it.

You could also choose to include any other issue related to your child that you feel needs addressing, including any words or phrases commonly used by governments or organizations when referring to children of heritage that you feel diminish your child.

What are the thoughts and inferences behind those words? Do they paint an incorrect perception of your child? Are they paternalistic or condescending? Do they promote victimhood? Do you feel ‘triggered’ by any of the below words used and inferences made by government agents and policies, or do they seem correct to you?

  • “Stakeholders” (when used as a selective reference)
  • “The Wrongs We Are Doing Native American Children,”
  • “The protective role of Native American culture and language”
  • “Complex program requirements and limited resources stymie efforts to reduce the disparities among Native children.”
  • “Acts of Self-Determination Foster Strong Native Families and Communities”
  • “Native Language Holds Culture, Culture Holds Language, and Both Hold Wellness”
  • Data on all “Native children” is required “to see how well children are cared for” and that the “rights of children and families are adhered to.”
  • ICWA “protects the best interest of the Indian Child and promotes the stability and security of Indian tribes and families.”
  • “Part of ensuring the safety and security of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children is having basic data collected that provides information on their circumstances.”
  • Under the AFCARS Rule, agencies can collect and keep “information on children who are not enrolled.”
  • They will examine the “unique challenges Native children face”
  • They will build “on the strengths and leadership of Native communities, with the goal of developing a sustainable system that delivers wrap-around services to Native children.”
  • “Resources and supports for Native children are currently inappropriate, insufficient, or limited by bureaucracy so that they are ineffective.”
  • “The vision of Native children and youth who are resilient, safe, healthy, and secure requires many types of evidence, including a wide range of evaluation data, descriptive research studies, performance measures, innovative practice models, financial and cost data, survey statistics, and analyses of program administrative data; all contributing to shared strengths-focused narratives relevant and useful to tribal leadership and stakeholders.”

OPTIONAL Adoption/Foster care Questions: [Wording is pulled from the conclusions of a 1998 pilot study report]
1. Does placing American Indian children in foster/adoptive non-Indian homes puts them at great risk for experiencing psychological trauma leading to the development of long-term emotional and psychological problems in later life?
2. Are there unique factors of Indian children being placed in non-Indian homes that create damaging effects in the later lives of the children?
3. Do American Indians have a cognitive process different from non-Indians – a cognitive difference in the way Indian children receive, process, integrate and apply new information—in short, a difference in learning style”?
a. Is the difference in learning style a cognitive difference in race, a familial difference, an issue unique to your child, or a symptom of fetal alcohol effects?
4. Are the ties between Indian children and their birth families and culture extremely strong, and the ties between Indian children and non-Indian foster/adoptee families only “foster parent-tie-to-Indian child, not Indian child-ties-to-foster parent?”
5. Do American Indian adults who were adopted into non-Indian families as children have greater problems with self-identity, self-esteem, and inter-personal relationships than do their peers from non-Indian and Indian homes?
6. Do Indian adoptees, regardless of age at placement, list identity with their family and their tribe as their first priority, and the sorrow of not knowing their culture, language, heritage and family as a life-long, often emotionally debilitating anguish?

Encourage as many people as possible to send in their testimony. There has been a long history of misinformation concerning children who have heritage, and it will take the stories of quite a few people to begin to correct the mind-view of government agencies.

Signed testimony can be given to a CNC Commissioner to deliver as anonymous to the full Commission. Elizabeth Morris, chair of CAICW, is a CNC Commissioner. Elizabeth will keep your signed copy in a protected file in her office and deliver the anonymous copy to the Commission.

You can submit your testimony to Elizabeth Morris at:
administrator@caicw.org

or mail through USPO to:
PO Box 460, Hillsboro, ND 58045

Fostering Hope in the City of Sin

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Mar 072020
 
Carly and John Souza and their family

Megan West, CBNNEWS.COM 03-06-2020

At the tender age of eight, Carly Souza witnessed a classmate’s adoption and it made a lasting imprint on her heart. Watching that journey unfold, Carly knew that one day she wanted to adopt. Little did she understand then just how profound that dream would become.

Fast forward to today. Carly and her husband, John, have seven incredible children; five by the gift of adoption through foster care and two by birth. She’s also leading Fostering Hope, a Las Vegas church-based ministry she founded in 2012.

Fostering Hope is working alongside churches in the Las Vegas valley to grow the number of certified foster families, provide ongoing support for current foster parents, bring awareness and education to the unmet needs in the valley, and meet the practical needs of local agencies caring for children.

In the United States, there are roughly 500,000 children in the foster care system. In Clark County, Nevada, where Fostering Hope operates, there are approximately 3,500 children in foster care ranging in age from birth to eighteen years old. A heart wrenching 28% of these children have experienced four or more placements within the system. In February of 2017, Clark County reported 1,002 licensed foster homes, leaving a large discrepancy between available homes and children needing placement.

While the goal of foster care is reunification, there is a tension to provide beneficial and healthy interim care for a child who has been removed from their biological home. As a result of these experiences, children will likely have experienced trauma, abuse, and neglect. The statistics are dire for older children. More than 23,000 kids age out of U.S. foster care each year. Without the support that comes from an adoptive family or permanency connection, these children face tough odds. Many will end up with chemical dependencies, criminal records, pregnancies and even being trafficked. Few will graduate college. It’s a critical opportunity for every congregation to act on the biblical mandate of James 1:27.

According to Jason Weber, National Director of Foster Care Initiatives for Christian Alliance for Orphans, in the past “the church would kind of sit back and sometimes be critical of the state and talk about all the ways they’re falling short to a different approach of humility.” But now, states Weber, “Churches are saying, ‘Man, we were supposed to be at this party a long time ago. We’re here now. How can we help?'”

There is still a challenging amount of caution from all facets when it comes to engaging the church and foster care. Carly experienced that first-hand. She and her husband were thrust into the foster care world by accepting a placement of four siblings ranging from 7 months to 5 years of age, just five weeks after fast-tracking from attending the first informational session on how to become a foster parent to bringing the four children into their home. While she and her husband had a strong support system of family and friends to help, she realized the desperate need she had for a community who understood her specific situation and all the physical, spiritual and emotional needs that come with caring for kids with a history of trauma.

So Carly opened up her home to other foster families to meet once a month for encouragement and support. The group outgrew the space of meeting at her home so she asked her church if they could hold the support group there. With hesitation, they agreed. It wasn’t until a few years later, after hearing Carly’s heart to grow what was becoming a vital resource to foster families, that the church stepped in to provide more space, childcare, assistance, and now, a fully engaged church – even to the point of calling foster care a core ministry of the church and bringing on Carly as a staff member to run Fostering Hope.

READ MORE – https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/march/fostering-hope-in-the-city-of-sin

US Official Warns Americans: Prepare for Community Spread of New Coronavirus

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Feb 252020
 
coronavirus mask

BY ZACHARY STIEBER February 25, 2020 Updated: February 25, 2020

Americans should prepare for community spread of the new coronavirus, with families sitting down and explaining that there could very well be a rapid, sudden increase in the number of patients, a top federal health official said on Feb. 25.

In an escalation from previous warnings, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official, said Americans should prepare for their lives to be disrupted by spread of the new virus, including closures of schools and businesses.

She told reporters in a phone call that the number of cases popping up without a known source of exposure in Italy, Iran, South Korea, and other countries “makes all of us feel that the risk of spread in the United States is increasing.”

Messonnier recounted sitting down with her family at breakfast on Feb. 25 and telling her children that they’re likely not at risk of getting infected with COVID-19 at the moment, but that the family needed to be prepared for their lives to significantly change.

With no vaccine and no proven treatment for the virus, health officials are focusing on non-pharmaceutical interventions, which includes three categories: personal, community, and environmental. Personal interventions include routine recommendations such as washing hands and staying home when sick, and measures specific to pandemics such as people voluntarily isolating themselves at home even if they’re not sick if a member of their household has become ill.

Community interventions can include closing schools and transitioning to Internet-based teleschooling and changing business meetings from in-person to online as well as locales postponing or cancelling large gatherings.

Adults should contact school officials and ask about plans for teleschooling and their workplace to look into working from home. People could miss work and lose income, Messonnier said.

“These are things that people need to start thinking about now,” she said.

Environmental interventions primarily revolve around cleaning surfaces.

Local communities will need to decide on which interventions to implement.

The virus emerged in China in December 2019 and has since spread to dozens of countries, with a rapid increase in the number of cases in Italy, Iran, and South Korea this week, among other nations. The virus causes a disease that has similar symptoms to influenza, including fever, headache, and difficulty breathing.

The United States has not adjusted which people should be tested, even as the virus spreads rapidly in countries outside of China, but authorities are discussing shifting the case definition and would likely do so if community spread starts occurring, Messonnier said.

Twelve state or local health departments are now equipped to test locally for the virus, an increase from four late last week. Testing locally is critical because of faster turnaround, Kelly Wroblewski, director of infectious diseases for the Association of Public Health Laboratories, told The Epoch Times.

READ MORE – https://www.theepochtimes.com/us-official-warns-americans-prepare-for-community-spread-of-new-coronavirus_3250191.html

Christmas 2015 Newsletter

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Jan 162016
 
ICWA

The two months in DC this spring were busy, but exceedingly blessed. I visited every office in the Senate and House, sitting down one-on-one with staff from about 100 House offices and 29 Senate offices as well as directors in the BIA. I dropped off information at all the others and sent a follow-up email to every single one. I also built a database using the business cards and notes from the meetings, and wrote CAICW’s comments to the BIA concerning their new guidelines and proposed rules. (https://caicw.org/2015/05/11/our-comments-concerning-icwa-rules-proposed-by-the-bia/)

The interest and reception received at several offices was both comforting and surprising. I have not felt as “listened to” on many of our previous trips. We did develop new relationships in new offices – some surprising ones. We now have a database to work from over the rest of this session.

But the most exciting thing was watching God’s daily answers to prayer concerning the entire trip. Having gone on faith – dependent on God to help in the speaking to Senators and Congressmen as well as for providence – was an adventure. While many argue that my work isn’t “Christian” (saying I am rocking boats) – the fact is, this trip was incredibly blessed and wouldn’t have happened at without His guidance and providence. We do not have tons of money to pay for junkets to DC or high-priced lobbyists. I went in a van and spent most of the time sleeping in it. I even spent four days living in Union Station.

As some of you know, I flipped my camper truck over on ice in January and totaled it. I came out of the wreck without a scratch, but lost the vehicle I intended to drive to DC. But – we felt at peace about it. If God wanted me in DC, he would provide the way. And He did. In March, God provided a wonderful Dodge Conversion van whose owner had originally wanted $4000 on Craig’s List, but called me and told me he would take $1500 for it due to the work we do. A supporter then sent the funds for it. I was told it was top of the line in its day – and it ran 100% smoothly the entire trip.
At the suggestion of a friend who used to live in Maryland, I found my way out the end of one of the metro lines. There, I was able to shower at a campground, go to Starbucks for Wi-Fi, find varied parking lots to sleep in, and took the metro subway train into DC for the day.

I never knew when funds would come or where they would come from. One day, I counted the little I had left and put most of it onto the metro card. I decided not to worry. I knew I had enough to get to DC for two more days. Well, getting home the second day would be a challenge. I didn’t have enough for that. But…I decided not to panic or tell people. I wanted to wait on the Lord. If He was the one wanting me to be here, doing this, He would provide.

It was just a day after that when someone called me to tell me to go get a room – she would pay for it. Another person put some money into my account. There were little gifts here and there – a woman pressed a $10 bill into my hand. Never from strangers – always from someone who knew a little bit about our work. Not once during this trip was I without food, gas, metro money – or any of the resources we needed to get the job done.

One of the most wonderful things was an awesome Church Family the Lord led me to. I literally stumbled onto an incredible group of people – a remnant of a longtime neighborhood church. It was the first day I was searching for a Starbucks out near the end of that train line. I took a wrong turn, so then took a U-turn, and there was this marquee type sign on a church lawn, announcing a free dinner that very day and hour. Sooo…feeling hungry – I stopped. Following a wonderful meal, they had a Bible study outside by the fire pit – and I fell in love with them. They were such a gentle, loving, searching, praying group. It was so filled with the spirit – a tremendous blessing of prayer and fellowship.

Lastly, when what was thought should be my final week drew near, I did not know how I was getting home. But again, didn’t want to say anything – trusting God that when it was time to go, He would provide the way. And He did – five different people sent funds within the last few days of my stay.

From making do on very little, to canvassing the halls of Congressional buildings, to sitting next to homeless in Union Station, to enjoying the fellowship of an awesome church, to walking the streets of NoMa – watching, listening, thinking, praying – there is so much to tell. Please continue to pray for God’s guidance in everything we do – and pray for the fruit of whatever it is we are supposed to accomplish.

The rest of the Year:

The year actually began in Brandon, Manitoba, where I was blessed with the opportunity over Christmas to help two elderly friends for about 6 weeks. Henry had suffered a heart attack, and Nettie needed a companion until he was able to leave the hospital. I can’t even begin to write down the myriad things I was able to learn from them both – in addition to the prayer time with them. It was a tremendous lead-in to going to DC. I’m so grateful to their extended family for asking me to do it.

I was also blessed this year with opportunity to frequently care for my grandson. My daughter is in school full-time and working part time, so I spent many wonderful days at her apartment as well as with my oldest son.

I was able to take my grandson with me on a two-week trip to Montana in our marvelous van. We spent a few days at Family Bible Camp near Glacier Park, and then visited several wonderful friends and supporters up and down western Montana.

In the summer, I also spent two weeks in Minneapolis, reading to my Dad at the nursing home. In October, following prayerful encouragement from a friend, I brought him home to live with me.

My Dad is bedridden, but we’ve been able to put together a good system that serves him well. We are blessed with an aide who comes in to care for him a few hours a week, giving me a little time to do office work, and my brother (who is an engineer) came up and built an awesome wheelchair ramp in under 24 hours – using almost total reserved wood from a porch he had taken down at his house.

The book “Dying in Indian Country” – endorsed by Congressman Kevin Cramer and telling Roland’s story – was released under a new publisher in December and, (if interested), is available through our site – http://DyingInIndianCountry.com – or through Amazon, which also has the eBook version.

Throughout the months of 2015, I continued online studies for a Bachelor’s and ran CAICW. Families continue to contact us on a regular basis, asking for assistance with protecting their children. At this point in time, we have fifteen families asking for prayer, emotional support and/or legal assistance. Ten are birth families, five are adoptive families.

All thanks, glory and credit to the Lord Jesus Christ, without whom we can do nothing. Blessings in your new year.

Tramping for the Lord

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Mar 152014
 


CAICW hits the road to advocate for families in their struggle for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

by Elizabeth Sharon Morris

This past October, after a loving friend kindly donated much needed maintenance for my hobbled vehicle, I loaded my car with a few essentials—laptop, camp stove and sleeping bag—and with just a few hundred dollars in pocket, headed south, not knowing exactly where God would lead or how long I’d be gone.

After more than a decade of desk advocacy, along with a few short trips to Washington, D.C., few dents in the system we’ve been fighting have been made. Worse, the stories of abuse have been increasing. If we’re going to fight this bear – it’s going to take more than we’ve been doing.

Three months earlier, I had read Corrie ten Boom’s book, “Tramp for the Lord.” Her faith following her horrific ordeal during the Holocaust was amazing. Her determination to do whatever it took to make a difference was inspiring.

I’d actually felt a need to plunge in fully for a long time. The work involved in this is overwhelming. As many know – I am usually running way behind, trying to catch up. It has been more than I’ve been able to handle while still raising kids and finding ways to pay bills. But the kids are raised now. So – I decided to step out and trust God.

While traveling, I planned to visit families CAICW’s been involved with. The first night out, I stopped to see one of Roland’s relatives in the hospital and spent the night with a niece. I was sadly reminded over the 24 hours just why Roland and I became concerned in the first place.

God is good. The needs for this work have been met in ways we never dreamed. In North Carolina – a dear old friend had a new transmission put in my car and went out of her way to help in other ways as well. I then spent six weeks in Virginia at the home of a wonderful host family and got to know the metro rail into DC pretty well.

While there, CNN broadcast a segment concerning child sexual abuse at Spirit Lake, and ACF Regional Admin Tom Sullivan released a letter admonishing his DC superiors. With these tools in hand, I visited every Senate office and several house members. We created new relationships with some staff members and learned which offices are open to help. We were able to teach various offices about issues in Indian Country – and various offices were able to teach us a few things.

One thing we learned is that having a steady presence is important. Showing up again and again with additional information helps. We also learned that while not all Congressmen are aware of what’s happening in Indian Country, it’s well known among noted agencies that Spirit Lake is a microcosm of what is happening all across Indian Country – ie: The agencies know what is happening at Spirit Lake is widespread in Indian Country. They know – but are playing political games anyway.

While there, I also continued to hear stories from one person or another of horrible things happening to children – right under the eyes of federal government officials. Feeling helpless, the thought coming to mind again and again was “This kind of thing comes out only through prayer and fasting.”

In mid-December, I returned to North Dakota for Christmas, where my kind friend again did an oil change on my car. Having been asked several times by a good friend to come out to California and spend some time praying, I decided to do it – as well as try to catch up on necessary office work before going back to DC.

I have been in California now since mid-January. I have had wonderful times of prayer, working on our database, writing, and putting together a business plan for the Roland J. Morris Sr. Ranch – a place for families to come as a unit for long term help away from drugs and alcohol. I’ve also been reading three books – “Blessing Your Spirit,” (Devotional) “Preaching in Hitler’s Shadow” (10 sermons by Pastors during the Holocaust, including Bonhoeffer) and “Fatal Link” (The epidemic of fetal alcohol in America, in particular within many reservation communities).

In California, two handsome men spent days and nights in their garage, donating tons more needed maintenance on my vehicle. I’ll be leaving California with practically a new car at the beginning of March. While traveling back to DC, I will stop to see families along the way as well as look at potential properties for the RJM Ranch. I plan to be back in DC in late April. There are many things I’ll write about along the way – posting to our blog page at caicw.org.

I urge you, family and friends, to share this information and encourage others to join in the ongoing struggle. The struggle and battle is so much larger than Roland and I even imagined when we embarked on this mission many years ago. But God is good and amazing things are happening. Please join us.

Thursday, November 21, 2013, in DC –

I had a discouraging meeting that morning. A senior staffer in Indian Affairs office was calling Tom Sullivan a liar. I think he thought maybe I didn’t know one way or the other – like I had just picked up Sullivan’s reports and decided to use them. He told me Tom no longer worked at that job. I told him, “Yes he does.”

The staffer then said it wasn’t true anyone forbade Tom write any more reports concerning the child abuse. I told him, “I heard it from Mr. Sullivan’s voice to my ear.” Then he said something about how a hearing would prove it isn’t true. I didn’t respond, but wanted to tell him, “Bring it on.”

They ended the meeting with the predictable, “Thank you for the information. We will keep it in consideration.”
After the meeting, I sat in the atrium of the Hart building, discouraged, and thought about what a huge monster this was. Those two people are high up in Indian Affairs and probably reflect exactly what the bulk of the committee really thinks.

If it weren’t for knowing how much God has been helping us – and how God made it amazingly possible for us to be in DC – I would have felt like giving up.

But I didn’t.

Two hours later, I received an email forwarded from Betty Jo. It was from Tom Sullivan to his superiors in DC – written within the hour. Interestingly, it addressed all points of contention in my morning meeting. With a lot of pleasure, I forwarded it to the cynical staffers at Indian Affairs. As far as I can help, our children will NOT be treated as collateral damage in DC’s ongoing political games.

Jul 152013
 
http://dyinginindiancountry.com/

Sitting in an airport on my last leg home after a two week break, I’ve been doing http://elizabethsharonmorris.com/some work while waiting.  While away these two weeks, I finished five books – one of which was a book by Corrie ten Boom. It gave me lots to think about – the least of which is how she managed funding for her post-Holocaust ministry.  (I say the “least,” because, obviously, she had many vital things to say.)

But, equally obviously, these comments got my attention.  She determined early on never to ask for money again.  She would leave it to God. Her thoughts and prayers aren’t unlike those of George Muller or the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary.  They all supported their ministry through prayer and faith.

It interested me because we have survived these last …almost ten years now… with extremely limited funding.  I have asked the Lord many times through those years why, if He seriously wants us to do this ministry, we don’t have more funding.  It was confusing because, you would think that money would be a confirmation of blessing on the work.  Why have we never been able to build a good legal fund?

Yet confirmations were coming in other ways; primarily from families telling us how grateful they were that we were there for prayer, friendship and referrals to attorneys.  They thanked us for being here and understanding their problems and emotions.  This seemed to matter more to some than whether or not we had funds for their legal battle.

Now I am thinking about how some of the recent attacks from our opponents have included accusations that we have “just been in this for the money.”

I had to laugh when I first heard that.  I’ve never had a salary for doing this.  But… although salary would have been nice and many times I thought I would burst trying to do this work while working a “real” job at the same time –  a salary apparently wasn’t necessary.  We survived without it.  We have also been blessed in that an office and major office expenses were also unnecessary.  My functional desk cost $25 at a rummage sale.  I found two boxes of paper (20 reams of paper per box) that someone was throwing away three years ago or so, and still have about 8 reams of it left. (So if you wondered why your newsletter paper looked a little…well, not bright white…).

Our biggest overhead expense is simply the cost of getting the word out / teaching those who haven’t gotten the message – i.e.: our job as an advocacy and ministry.

Yet…when the rubber hit the road and money was needed for Veronica – people in South Carolina and across the country raised it and almost $40,000 went through our system and out to the attorney’s.

So when it was vitally needed – the money was there.

Further, when we have gone to DC to speak to Congressmen about ICWA – the money has been there.  People want us to go to DC, so they help with that.

And maybe that’s all that was ever necessary.  Maybe, despite my earlier concerns about funds, we have always has exactly what we needed.

Now – we want to grow in areas of our ministry.  We want to have a home to help parents and families with substance abuse – Patterned after Teen Challenge, but a long term facility where parents can stay WITH their kids and learn and grow together, as a family, so that they don’t have to be separated while one or both parents get treatment.

But I don’t want to worry about the funding.  When the time is right, I want to trust the Lord to help it come to be.

I asked one of our pastors who I was with these last two weeks (I was at the Bible College campus where I got my B.A. in Christian Ministries)  if I should take the donation button off of our website, but he said, “No. You have to provide an avenue for those who decide they want to give.”

I need to talk to our board about it more and see how they feel.

I like looking back and seeing how the Lord has always provided what’s been needed.

I also like that money has rarely been wasted – because there hasn’t been any money to waste.  (Waste would be things like the brand new stapler that broke the first time I tried to use it – and then never had time to bring back to the store.)

And…I like that opponents can’t say we are in this for “money.”

Amen, amen. I have had a great two weeks and am ready to get back into the saddle.

 

 

Join Us in DC: February 4-8, 2013

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Jan 072013
 

 

Since January 2011, CAICW has traveled to Washington, D.C. three times to speak and inform lawmakers on the negative and disturbing effects the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) has been having on families across the country.

A recap of these visits:

  • January 24-27, 2011: Three wonderful families joined us to relate their experiences as a result of ICWA to various Congressmen.
  • October 24-28, 2011: We returned to hold an ICWA“teach-in” with Dr. William B. Allen, which was held in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Hearing room. Dr. Allen moderated the event, and three families joined us on the panel, including Johnston Moore of the organization “Forever Home.
  • July 10-13, 2012: In conjunction with the newly formed Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children and Families (CPICF), our most successful meeting took place with a standing-room-only crowd that included legislative aides, adoption and social services organizations, attorneys, and three representatives from the Cherokee Nation. Dr. Allen joined us again for this forum, as well as attorney Mark Fiddler, and adoptive father/speaker Johnston Moore. Sage DesRochers, who was hurt by ICWA years ago as a child, then subsequently ‘saved’ from the reservation and returned to the adoptive mother she loved by Dr. Allen and others, also gave her testimony.

The goals we outlined at the event:

  • To protect the individual rights of Indian children and their families
  • To ensure they maintain the right to a safe, supportive and stable family
  • To request support for appropriate amendments to the ICWA

Attorney Mark Fiddler gave a powerful presentation on the ICWA law, outlining reasons why it must be changed, and presenting suggestions for how to do so. He pointed out distinct problems with the law, and provided clear instructions on ways to protect the children. Several family stories were cited including the Belford’s, the Helmhoz’, and the Anderson’s.

Johnston Moore presented on problems the ICWA has caused families, and Melanie Duncan presented well researched information regarding attachment issues, citing that children of tribal heritage are no different than any other child in the world in regards to these matters.Dr. William B. Allen and Sage

Dr. William Allen introduced Sage DesRochers, who as a thirteen-year-old was forcibly removed from the only home she knew and loved, to be placed with her birth mother on the reservation. She spoke about the trauma, and ultimate relief she experienced when she was finally “released,” from the reservation a few years later and allowed to return to her chosen family. To this day, some twenty years later, she is upset by what the government and the ICWA put her through.

JOIN US FEBRUARY 4-8, 2013, as we return again to educate our Congress, speaking again to older statesmen and introducing the issue and concerns to new.  Tell your stories, and/or support the rights of children and families across America.  We have some exciting meetings planned.

Thanks to your kind support and contributions over these years. We wouldn’t be where we are today without your help.

CAICW’s Mission
The Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare is committed to seek God’s
guidance in defending the rights of the poor and needy, as instructed in Proverbs 31:8-9: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Isaiah 1:17: “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the fatherless, plead the cause of the widow.”

FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/fbCAICW.org 

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/CAICW

EMAIL: administrator@caicw.org

 

We Won!!

 Comments Off on We Won!!
Sep 292011
 

It’s been a long and difficult two years, but God is good and faithful.  Thank you for your prayers and support. Also thank you for telling us about [the attorney]. We will forever be indebted.

Where do I start? As you probably remember our story started with a baby girl born out of wedlock to an Indian father and Caucasian mother. The mother chose us to adopt (non-native) and the father agreed at the time. Now to bring you up to speed since our last letter Nov ’09. We waited until the bio-father was out of jail in hopes to meet with him and his family about the adoption. It was our understanding that the only reason the tribe intervened in November ’09 was because they believed the paternal family wanted to adopt her and that the father changed his mind. We felt that waiting was our only option because our attorney at the time was not supportive of us. He felt that we would never win regardless of what we did. We wanted our attorney at the time to co-counsel with [the attorney], but our attorney was very negative, made it sound like it was going to cost us thousands and it would all be a waste of time anyways. We didn’t believe that so like I said we waited. Eight months later we met with the father and family. They all agreed to the adoption. After that conversation we believed we would be able to adopt without the tribe interfering (they had originally released us to adopt).  So we hired a new attorney to handle the adoption. We were talking with the father and hoping to finalize in Feb 2011. In Dec ’09 we had asked the father to come for a Christmas visit. He accepted. But the day arrived and he didn’t show up, no call or anything. The next thing we know our attorney receives a letter from the tribe that stated that the father came into the tribal attorney’s office refusing to agree to the adoption and the tribe was intervening. Unfortunately, our case was one of our attorney’s last cases because he was retiring. So needless to say we had to find a new attorney to take our now contested case. We were blessed to find ————. She was willing to co-counsel with [the attorney] and they made an awesome team. Both of them fight for the child’s rights with honesty and dignity. They made our case bullet proof and we won… The tribe still has 42 days to appeal the decision, but —– talked to the tribal attorney and he said that he is recommending that the tribe DOES NOT intervene. Like I said our attorneys made our case bullet proof so it would be unlikely for the tribe to win even in the Supreme Court. We will wait out the 42 days and finalize the adoption after [in] October…

[We] are still in a state of shock or disbelief. Maybe it will hit us when we sign the final papers.

Again, thank you for all of your support and prayers. We truly believe that we would not be holding our precious forever daughter without your guidance to the right attorney, your encouragement and your website to educate us. We have directed others to your website and have been able to educate others because of it. We were surprised how many people including Natives that are not aware of ICWA.

As I have promised in the past I will do what I can to help support you and the people you help as soon as this is over.

Many blessings,

WE NEED HELP!

 Comments Off on WE NEED HELP!
Jun 072011
 

Hey wonderful peoples – with school out, does anyone have extra time?

We could really use your help – prayer wise as well as hands on.

I am the administrator of CAICW – but only a volunteer in a one man office – and have to work as an RN to support my family. So I am doing the best I can, but it ends up being slow – much too slow. It breaks my heart that I can’t move any faster than I am.

Right now:
1) An attorney in the Twin Cities is working on draft legislation to present to Congress
2) We are setting up a seminar for Congressmen, teaching reality of ICWA.
3) We NEED help fundraising – Families NEED a Legal Defense Fund!
4) We NEED website work on caicw.org
5) We NEED help monitoring this facebook page
6) We NEED another newsletter out

– I appreciate anything you can do – Thanks so much for your prayers –

I am Elizabeth (Lisa) Morris, Administrator
Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW)
PO Box 253, Hillsboro ND 58045
administrator@caicw.org
https://caicw.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/CAICW
To Donate:
https://npo.networkforgood.org/Donate/Donate.aspx?npoSubscriptionId=1004119&code=Email+Solicitation

FaceBook Cause – Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare

 Comments Off on FaceBook Cause – Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare
Oct 232010
 

Please join the CAICW Cause as we work to support, encourage and protect   children. Educating others about how the Indian Child Wefare Act is hurting families is vital.

Simply passing the links on to others helps – because the more people that know – the more help we will eventually be able to get. And most people don’t know. When they read the stories, they are shocked to learn this type of thing is happening to children in the US.

And that’s the biggest need for us to begin with  – that other’s learn what is happening.

http://www.causes.com/causes/537834
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Jul 012010
 

Roland John Morris, Sr.
July 1, 1945 – June 9, 2004           

Roland Morris, Sr., 58, ascended to heaven on Wednesday, June 9th after a four year fight with cancer. Roland, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, was born July 1, 1945, in Cass Lake, MN. Ojibwe was his first language, and he grew up fishing, hunting, and gathering wild rice with family and friends. He also played intramural basketball, worked hard in the woods, spent time in a foster home and various jails, drank, smoked, and played guitar with friends at various bars.

Roland went to college in Kansas and was a draftsman for a short time before becoming an upholsterer. While he struggled with many difficulties in his early years, he was a perfectionist with upholstery and throughout his life performed his craft well.

After a life changing spiritual experience with Jesus in 1988, Roland moved his second family to Ronan, Montana to be near his cousin and Christian evangelist, Frank (Scotty) Butterfly. There, in 1992, Roland and his wife, Elizabeth, created Montana’s first patient transportation service, Mission Valley Medicab. They also helped instigate the Montana Passenger Carriers Association and the charitable organization, Valley Missions, Inc., all without tribal assistance.

Roland taught his children about wild ricing, hunting, fishing, and a little of the Ojibwe language. But the biggest, strongest desire of his heart was that his children, grandchildren, and entire extended family come to the saving knowledge and acceptance of Jesus Christ. Having watched many friends and relatives die physically, spiritually, and emotionally from alcoholism, violence, and suicide, Roland could no longer stand aside and do nothing. He was concerned for the children and felt distress at the attitudes of many adults within his community. He wanted the self-destruction to stop.

Roland’s relationship with Jesus coupled with his conviction that much of the reservation system was harmful led him to some amazing life experiences. Actively opposing much of federal Indian policy, Roland served as President of the Western Montana organization All Citizens Equal, was a board member and Vice-Chairman of the national organization; Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, was the Secretary of Citizens Equal Rights Foundation.

He also ran as a Republican candidate for the Montana House of Representatives in the 1996 and testified before the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in April,1998, the Minnesota Attorney General in 2000, and numerous Mont. State committees. With his family, he also had a private meeting with a member of the President’s Domestic Policy Council May, 2002 in Washington DC.

As time progressed, Roland became more convinced of the importance of Jesus in his life. So in 2000 he attended a year of training at the Living Faith Bible College, Canada. Over the last three years, he and/or his family went on mission trips in Canada and Mexico. During a 2003 trip to a children’s home in Juarez, Mexico, he fixed most of their dining hall chairs, taught 6 boys how to upholster, donated materials, and preached a Sunday street service.

Through the years, he has appeared in numerous newspaper articles across the country. The last article he appeared in was on Friday, May 14th, in the Washington Times. Reporter Jennifer Lehner wrote, “the ICWA [Indian Child Welfare Act] protects the interests of others over [Mr. Morris’] grandchildren,” and “Mr. Morris said that once children are relocated to the reservations, they are subject to the corrupt law of the tribal government. Instead of preserving culture, he said, the tribal leadership uses the ICWA to acquire funds provided through the legislation.” Ms. Lehner quoted Mr. Morris as saying that the law is “supposed to help children, but instead it helps tribal governments.”

Finally, in February, 2004, he and his wife founded the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare. The purpose of this was to encourage preaching, teaching and fostering of the growth of the Christian Faith in all places, encourage accountability of governments to families with Indian heritage, and educate the public about Indian rights, laws, and issues.

Roland praised God to the very end. When his final struggle began, several of his friends and family were praying with him. When those present sang old-time hymns, he raised his hand in the air for as long as he could. When “I Surrender” was sung, he sang the echo. While Pastor Kingery sat next to Roland, holding his hand, Roland looked him straight in the eyes and pointed his other hand up to heaven. When he passed on to greater life, his good friend Marvin Bauer was softly playing Gospel songs for him on his accordion.

Roland is survived by his wife, nine children, twelve grandchildren and a great grandson. Also important to his heart was his “special” son, Jesus Garcia, in Juarez, Mexico. Surviving brothers include Harry Morris and Steven Jones; and sisters include Clara Smith, Bernice Hurd, Sharon Goose, and Christine Jones, as well as numerous nephews and nieces and his great cousin, Scotty Butterfly.

Roland was preceded in death by his parents, Jacob and Susan Jones; siblings Thomas and Wallace Morris, Robert, Martin, Caroline, Frances, Barbara and Alvina Jones, Loretta Smith, and grandson Brandon Kier.

Roland’s loving friend, Jim Ball, crafted a beautiful casket for him as a gift. Funeral services were at the CMA Church in Ronan, MT, on Sunday, June 13, 2004 and the CMA Church in Cass Lake, MN, Tuesday, June 15. Internment was at Prince of Peace Cemetery. He is strongly remembered for his strength, character, and love for the Lord Jesus.

Roland, our husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend; We Love you and Miss you so very much. You are with God now.

Gi gi wah ba min me na wah

Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare
Independent Indian Press
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