TOM SULLIVAN – FIRED for reporting Child Abuse

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May 092016
Tom Sullivan - Regional Administrator ACF

The BIA and ACF in Washington DC have finally accomplished their goal of firing Tom Sullivan for his persistent reporting of physical and sexual abuse of children on many reservations – most specifically Spirit Lake.

Our DC Bureaucrats are entirely unaccountable. When people get fired for actually doing their jobs, is it any wonder that so many federal employees are reluctant to stick their necks out against the status quo?

(Read some of the past documentation:)

  • Defender of Abused Children about to be fired by DC Superiors for refusing to shut up about rampant sexual abuse –
  • SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN – Endemic on Many of our U.S. Indian Reservations –
  • ACF Regional Director Blowing the Whistle on Child Abuse –
  • ACF Director Tom Sullivan Suspended –
  • May 6, 2015 Termination letter:

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    May 232015
    Roland and his newborn, 1990

    A friend or relative appears to be struggling with the difficulties of parenting and appears to either not understand the needs of children at varied points in their development, or is overwhelmed with inside or outside stress and has been unable to complete certain tasks.

    You want to help, but are uncertain how. Should you tell yourself it is none of your business and look the other way, speak to the parents privately and appear to be a busy-body, or anonymously call CPS and let them be the bad guys?

    You need to decide what degree of danger the children are factually in and take steps based on that determination.

    Wearing the same clothes for two days in a row is not necessarily child neglect. Some parents might simply be good stewards of limited resources. I once knew a wonderful mom who checked the clothes for soil, and if they were fine, hung them up again for use the next day. This family was cutting down not only on laundry expense, but the wear and tear of good clothing (the lint trap in your dryer is evidence of the wear and tear of frequent washing.) This was simply a lifestyle choice.

    In fact, there is nothing wrong with living in what others might call “poverty.” Some of our best years as a family were when we lived extremely low income. In rural Montana, out in the middle of a cornfield, we opted to go without government welfare programs, despite the fact we would have easily qualified. Instead, we obtained goats and chickens (most of which were given to us by friends), taught our kids chores, baked bread from scratch, and raised a garden in glorious view of the Mission Mountains.

    This was a lifestyle choice – and it was a healthy choice for our family physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    Difficulties only arose when we felt compelled to take in extra children after being called by county social workers in accordance with the Indian Child Welfare Act. My husband’s adult children were struggling with addiction, and someone needed to take the grandchildren.

    You see, ICWA had no qualms about our “poverty” status. That was a non-issue. However…our inability to handle that many children – theirs and ours – under the age of 8 was also a non-issue. ICWA workers weren’t at all concerned about whether we were capable and didn’t do any kind of home study or background check prior to placing four children with us. The only concern they had was to find a relative home – no matter what condition the home was in.

    Twenty years later, after having raised all the children to adulthood, we belatedly know how the situation could have been handled much better for all concerned.

    What I will tell you next is how I wish it had been handled and how I now advise others to handle similar situations.

    Know this, first off. The placement of a child by tribal social services is not always in the best interest of the child. We have numerous documented accounts of placements made out of expediency for tribal government and tribal social services with little regard for the factual needs of the child. You do not want to take children out of the frying pan and put them into the fire.

    There is financial incentive for a tribal government to take jurisdiction over a child. Tribal governments do get more money per head. Federal dollars are tied to tribal rolls and the U.S. census. The fact that a child in question has never been enrolled previously only increases the incentive, as it means an addition of dollars the tribal entity had not had up to that point. The true purpose of ICWA is to protect tribal sovereignty, not children.

    For more explanation of this and what has been factually happening to children, Read: –

    Second, if a child has even the smallest – or even a suspected – percentage of heritage. social services and court systems of every jurisdiction across the country are advised to contact a tribal government to take jurisdiction if the tribe so chooses. It is a guideline right now, but could become a permanent rule within the year.

    What if the family you are concerned with has had no connection to or interest in being associated with tribal government? What if the family has purposefully decided to distance themselves from the reservation system? According to the BIA guidelines, that is irrelevant. The only matter of concern is whether the tribal government wants the child as a member. If they do, no other entity can stand in the way, including the parents.

    With all this in mind, you need to decide whether intervention is necessary for the family you are concerned with, and if so, what kind of intervention.

    If you decide to speak to the parents directly and offer personal assistance, the following points could help:

    #1) Assure the parents that they are capable of raising their child, but simply need some short term guidance and teaching. Many parents respond better if they feel they are respected and not mocked. Assure them that you love them all and want to help before some stranger calls CPS and causes trouble for them.

    #2) Determine to help them bond well and stay bonded to their child. If together you decide the child should be moved to your home or the home of another in order to give respite to the parents, make healthy reunification the primary and foundational goal. You do NOT want to raise their child to adulthood.

    #3) Understand your own needs and limitations. I did not do this. I did not understand at the time that I was factually a loner who thrives on alone time. I could deal with my own children, but dealing with children I did not know very well almost broke me.

    If you are a loner, see if other family or friends might share the responsibility with you. If, for example, you take actual custody, perhaps others can commit to scheduled and consistent respite care for you.

    #4) If at all possible, leave CPS out of this, especially if the child has tribal heritage. You want the parents to be successful as a family – not destroyed. While there are many social workers and systems throughout the country that also want the family to be successful, there is no guarantee this will happen once a tribal government intervenes, and the current BIA guidelines can (and the probable rules will) tie the hands of all well-meaning social services and courts.

    I am not afraid to make the last statement. Documentation of dangerous placements by tribal courts abound. See ACF Regional Director Tom Sullivan’s whistle blower report as just one example of documented evidence. READ –

    #5) The success in helping the family won’t be the result of separating them from their child – but in how patiently and lovingly you can teach the parents to be the best parents they can be….together with how willing and open they are to being taught.

    Willingness will have to come from both sides. – they need to be willing to submit to at least weekly hands on teaching in the comfort and care of a child – spending the day with you, if possible – and the more often they do this, the more willing to be taught, the sooner they can resume as an independent family. This doesn’t have to take many weeks. It could end up being just a short time. It will depend on how willing they are to be taught.

    #6) Speak the TRUTH – with Love. Yes, the truth can hurt. But outside of the truth, little will change. You will need courage and wisdom to identify the true problem areas and speak about them with gentleness. The parents will need courage and wisdom to accept the truth with humility and deal appropriately with it. God be with you all in the process.

    #7) Leave money out of the issue if at all possible. Do not make this about money if you can avoid it. But in your teaching, encourage the parents to take increasing personal financial responsibility for the child’s physical and educational needs.

    Take the hit and appear to be a busybody.

    The government should be called where children are in danger and there is no other way to protect them.

    May 112015

    Ms. Rodina Cave and Ms. Elizabeth Appel
    Office of Regulatory Affairs & Collaborative Action
    Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
    1849 C Street NW, MS 3642
    Washington, DC 20240

    Re: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking—Regulations for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings—RIN 1076-AF25—Federal Register (March 20, 2015)

    Dear Ms. Cave and Ms. Appel,

    Thank you for allowing our organization, the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare, to meet with you on Monday, May 4, 2015, concerning the Notice of Public Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding Regulations for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings.

    Please accept this letter as our official comments in the matter regarding said rulemaking for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings.

    As I explained in our meeting, my husband, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, began speaking against the Indian Child Welfare Act and its usurpation of his rights almost twenty years ago. After dozens of families found our website and started writing to us from across the country, telling us of how their children were being hurt by the ICWA, our organization arose.

    In April of 2014, our organization commented during the initial discussions concerning ICWA guidelines. I was dismayed to hear the hosts of a Thursday, April 24, 2014 listening session state a belief that tribal leaders are the only real ‘stakeholders’ in the ICWA issue. This infers that children, their parents, and extended family are not ‘stakeholders’ in their own lives. It infers that tribal members and potential tribal members are chattel for tribal leaders, and not the individuals of varied backgrounds, worldviews, heritages and needs that they are.

    Our membership and I are ‘stakeholders’ in all decisions concerning ICWA. Our voices, feelings and needs are just as important as those of tribal leaders. Our children deserve a level of protection and services equal to that of non-tribal enrolled children.

    Fortunately, I have learned over the last few weeks that several in Congress recognize us as stakeholders, value our children for their individuality, and have been stunned by the tenor of the proposed ICWA guidelines. Several Congressmen, in discussion, have recognized the tyranny of the rules as well as the unconstitutionality.

    Tribal members who have rejected tribal jurisdiction, non-member parents of heritage who rejected the reservation system and/or have never lived under it, and hundreds of thousands of non-Indians across the nation are in fact “stakeholders” in this law – whether the federal government recognizes it or not.

    Non-Indian stakeholders include non-Indian birth moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of children adversely affected by the Indian Child Welfare Act. There are hundreds of thousands of them. You cannot say these families are not “stakeholders” if they have to fight a tribal government over rights to their own children and grandchildren.

    Families are the center of all cultures. Our communities and children are gifts from the Lord God. The Indian Child Welfare Act has not been protecting our families. It has been harming them.

    Federal and tribal governments do not have a right to interfere with our children or mandate political affiliations that parents do not agree with. Over the last twenty years, family upon family have contacted our organization with stories of how they have been hurt by the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA).

    Many parents have taken their children and left Indian Country for justified reasons related to tribal government corruption and crime. The BIA has been made aware of documented and rampant sexual abuse of children on many reservations. It is appalling that, in light of these documented reports of rampant abuse and suicides and the circumstances surrounding them, the BIA is proposing rules that will only increase risk for our children, as well as infringe on personal, parental, and privacy rights of families.

    Substantive ICWA regulations that provide rules for its implementation in state courts and by state and public agencies will only hurt our children and families more.

    The ICWA has been applied in custody cases for almost four decades now. The ICWA has led to the unnecessary break up of families and placement instability for children of varied heritage. Native children and families need agencies and courts that implement ICWA to understand just how much damage this law has done. If the ICWA’s original purpose was truly to protect children, it has not been doing so.

    If the BIA has the authority to issue regulations, we are asking you not to use that authority to continue to hurt our families.

    We have current cases of extended birth family having to fight tribal governments for their own children. Children have become footballs for tribal leaders seeking revenge, money or other purposes. Reservations currently attacking the rights and decisions of “stakeholder” birth family include Cheyenne River, the Cherokee Nation, and Warm Springs, among others.

    Further, the federal government is mandating jurisdiction of children to a political entity many families have no connection to outside of mutual ancestors. It is assumed by some that this law only affects persons who have chosen to be part of that political entity, but it affects many who have chosen not to be – and if these rules go into effect, will interfere with the lives of many times more children and families.

    Neither Congress, the BIA, nor tribal governments should be mandating race-based political affiliation for our children. Many tribal members or potential tribal members who are part of our organization made conscience and purposeful decisions to distance themselves from tribal government due to crime and corruption within Indian Country, including crime and corruption by their tribal councils and governments.

    Many, many more children have left Indian Country in the custody of their parents than have left in the custody of social services or adoption agencies.

    People make various choices in how they live their lives. Many U.S. citizens of Native American heritage have purposefully chosen not to live under the auspices of tribal and federal government – nor in the limited “cultural” box defined by entities such as NICWA, NARF and the Casey Foundation – despite the many attempts by these organizations to close people into that box.

    According to the last two U.S. censuses, Seventy-five percent of those considered Native American do not live in Indian Country. Further, multi-heritage families are the norm. The majority of children affected by ICWA have OTHER extended family, roots, traditions, and worldviews – all equally important and acceptable.

    Neither Congress, the BIA, nor tribal governments have a right to decide which worldview or ‘culture’ should be primary for our children.

    The guidelines and rules claim to clarify existing law for the protection of families – despite marginalizing the rights of birth parents as well the reality of extended non-tribal birth family. There is no acknowledgement that the vast majority of eligible children are multi-racial and 75% of eligible families live outside of Indian Country.

    Tribal entities use misleading statistics, such as that “more than 50% of Native kids adopted are placed in non-Native homes” – while failing to mention that many of those children are of primarily non-native heritage and have no trouble living amongst others of their primary heritage.

    In the famous case “Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl,” the child in question was 74% Caucasian, 25% Latino and 1% Cherokee Nation. If one believes that children need to be placed in homes with heritages reflecting their primary heritage, then her placement in a Caucasian home was fitting to her primary heritage.

    We, on the other hand, are primarily multi-heritage families and do not believe claims that it is vital to match heritages. We are not as concerned with matching ethnicity and heritage as much as we are concerned with matching the child with families and environments they are familiar and comfortable with. Our heritage does not define us. It is merely an interesting data point. All men are created equal, and we yearn to be judged – as wisely noted by Martin Luther King – on the content of our character, not the color of our skin.

    Bad enough our federal government has forced the children of some purposefully distanced families of 100% tribal heritage into a political relationship with tribal government, but our federal government has been requiring children of scant heritage to be placed before tribal entities for decisions concerning the most important aspect of their private lives – their home and family – as well.

    Tribally appointed decision makers frequently interfere in families despite knowing little more about a child than their percentage of heritage. It is impossible for any entity to know the emotions and needs of a child if they do not have active knowledge of or relationship with that particular child.

    But many of the decision makers as well as the BIA do not appear to want to know more about the children they are corralling – as the rules mandate that no “best interest” argument outside of ICWA needs to be entertained. The true aspects of that individual’s life and personality appear irrelevant.

    Let us be clear that what tribal governments, NICWA, NARF, NCAI and the Casey Foundation describe as the emotional needs of children with Native American heritage do not reflect my children or the children of our membership. If these entities are unable to accurately describe the needs, thoughts and feelings of our children, they are most certainly unable to speak for them.

    Forty years ago, ICWA was enacted under the premise that it would keep children in their families and in the culture and environment to which they were most accustomed. These new BIA rules prove that keeping children in their accustomed environment is irrelevant to ICWA and its supporters.

    These rules clearly mandate seeking out children who have had absolutely no evident connection to or need for Indian Country, notifying any potential tribal government of the child’s existence, and giving that tribal government the option to steal that child away from the only home, family, culture and environment the child has ever known.

    The Casey Foundation, NICWA, NARF and some tribal governments are now claiming this is necessary due to an unscientific “study” purporting the existence of a condition they call “Split Feather” syndrome. No one articulates clearly what this syndrome derives from, but they don’t appear to be talking about a virus. What appears suggested is either that it is a spiritual issue or that all children of even the slightest heritage have some kind of ‘inherent gene’ that will cause the child to suffer if not connected to tribal government.

    If the suggestion is that it is genetic, this is the epitome of racism – the suggestion that persons of a certain heritage are inherently and genetically different from the rest of the human race.

    Thankfully, the Human Genome project – a scientific study mapping all human DNA – has put to rest all such incredible notions.

    The Genome project proved that no separate classifiable subspecies (race) exists within humans – meaning, there is no genetic ‘racial’ difference between a person of Indian heritage and a person of English heritage.

    In other words, we are all brothers and sisters – having come from the same seed. Differences found in individuals are ‘familial,’ i.e.: family related genetic blueprints, not tied to any ‘race’ gene. Eye color, the shape of a cheekbone and texture of hair are all distinct genes, separate from each other and passed down from both parents to their child. European physical traits pass equally with all others.

    If they are not suggesting the condition is genetic, the only other source of this “syndrome” they attribute to children who have not had any connection to Indian Country must be spiritual. If this is what ICWA supporters are suggesting is the source of their syndrome, CAICW would be interested in seeing the study supporting the theory.

    Federal government appears to cater to tribal government demand for jurisdiction over our children – even when clearly contrary to a child’s well-being – purely for reasons of political expediency. “Stakeholder” arguments dispelled, we would like to know why federal government assumes the right to use our children as chess pieces – political stakes – as they negotiate land and treaty issues with tribal governments. Federal government should be aware that as they continue to “lower the stakes” and interfere with an increasing number of primarily ‘non-tribal’ children, and increasing number of non-tribal taxpayers will be affected.

    What is clear is that tribal governments, NICWA, NARF, NCAI and the Casey Foundation all receive large amounts of money in relation to enrolled children. It is no surprise that an interest in funds would affect an appetite for more children.

    The proposed ICWA Rules are dangerous to the well-being of our children. They state, in part:

    1. It doesn’t matter if the child has never been connected to Indian Country.
    – Our response: It does matter. Our children should not be forced into drastically different and frightening home situations. We oppose this mandate over our families.

    2. There is no need for a certain blood quantum. Tribal governments have complete say over whether a child is a member and subject to ICWA.
    – Our response: Families should have final say concerning membership – not tribal officials. We oppose this unwarranted and unwanted mandate over our families.

    3. EVERY child custody case MUST be vetted to see if it is ICWA, because there are so many of scant heritage who have never been near Indian Country and thus aren’t readily apparent. Courts will be required to question the heritage of EVERY child in order for strangers from a tribal government to step in take custody if they choose.
    – Our response: We oppose this stealing of children from their beloved homes and families. There seems to be no regard for the emotional destruction this callous and unwarranted intrusion will cause children and their extended families.

    4. If there is any question that a child is Indian – he is to be treated as such until proven otherwise.
    – How does one explain this to a child – especially when it is found later that this child was not eligible for membership? The best interest of the child in relation to permanency is irrelevant. Why are the child’s rights and feelings irrelevant? – We oppose this mandate over our families.

    5. The BIA claims the tribe has a right to interfere in a family even if the child is not being removed from the home.
    – We oppose this intrusive mandate over our families.

    6. No one is to question the placement decision of tribal court, because pointing out problems – for example, that a certain home has a history of child abuse – undermines the authority of tribal court.
    – Our response: We have documentation of many, many children placed in known danger by tribal courts, with the child victim ending up abused, raped, or even murdered. 3-year-old Ahziya Osceola of Florida, whose body was found stuffed in a box just last month, is case in point. – We oppose this mandate over our families and – for the sake of our children – will continue to question potentially dangerous custody placements made by any entity in any jurisdiction – appealing to media as often as necessary.

    Some tribal governments are reticent to admit they do not have enough safe homes to place children in, and not wanting to place the children off the reservation, they have placed children in questionable homes. (Based on reports from ACF Regional Director Thomas Sullivan and Tribal police officer LaVern Littlewind)
    Abuses are rampant on some reservations because the U.S. Government has set up a system that allows extensive abuse to occur unchecked and without repercussion.
    It has become increasingly apparent that to some in federal government – as well some in tribal government – that it is more important to protect tribal sovereignty than it is to protect our children.

    In fact – some are choosing to protect tribal sovereignty at the expense of our children.

    If it was not obvious to some in the years leading up to this that the ICWA is more about protecting tribal sovereignty than it is about protecting children, than these BIA rules confirm it.

    According to the BIA, the only ‘best interest’ of importance is keeping the child with the tribal government. The BIA rules repeat that Congress has:

    “a presumption that ICWA’s placement preferences are in the best interests of Indian children; therefore, an independent analysis of “best interest” would undermine Congress’s findings.”

    To paraphrase the above quote, the true best interest of our individual children is irrelevant. Don’t even try to argue it.

    This flies in the face of everything we know about child psychology and development, let alone what we know about our own 4-year-old children.

    These BIA rules reiterate a prejudicial assumption that everyone with any tribal heritage has exactly the same feelings, thoughts and needs. It prejudicially assumes it is always in the best interest of a child to be under the jurisdiction of tribal government, even if parents and grandparents have chosen and raised them in a different environment with different worldview – and even if the child himself/herself has made it clear what he/she needs and prefers.

    Speaking as the birth mother and grandmother of enrollable U.S. citizens, I need our Congressmen to understand that these children are not the tribal government’s children.
    They are our children.

    The following are a list of proposed ICWA changes CAICW would like to see:

    1. Children of tribal heritage should be guaranteed protection equal to that of any other child in the United States.

    a) Children should never be moved suddenly from a home that is safe, loved, and where they are emotionally, socially and physically comfortable simply because their caregivers are not of a certain heritage. The best interest of the child should be considered first, above the needs of the tribal community.

    b) State health and welfare requirements for foster and adoptive children should apply equally to all. If there is proven evidence of emotional and/or physical neglect, the state has an obligation to that child’s welfare and should be held accountable if the child is knowingly or by Social Service neglect left in unsafe conditions. ( – Title 42 U.S.C 1983)

    2. Fit parents, no matter their heritage, have the right to choose healthy guardians or adoptive parents for their children without concern for heritage and superseding wishes of tribal government. US Supreme Court decisions upholding family autonomy under 5th and 14th Amendment due process and equal protection include Meyer vs. Nebraska, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, and Brown v. Board of Education.

    3. The “Existing Indian Family Doctrine” must be available to families and children that choose not to live within the reservation system.

    a) In re Santos Y, the court found “Application of the ICWA to a child whose only connection with an Indian tribe is a one-quarter genetic contribution does not serve the purpose for which the ICWA was enacted…” Santos y quoted from Bridget R.’s due process and equal protection analysis at length. Santos also states, Congress considered amending the ICWA to preclude application of the “existing Indian family doctrine” but did not do so.”

    b) In Bridget R., the court stated, “if the Act applies to children whose families have no significant relationship with Indian tribal culture, such application runs afoul of the Constitution in three ways:

    – it impermissibly intrudes upon a power ordinarily reserved to the states,
    – it improperly interferes with Indian children’s fundamental due process rights respecting family relationships; and
    – on the sole basis of race, it deprives them of equal opportunities to be adopted that are available to non-Indian children and exposes them…to having an existing non-Indian family torn apart through an after the fact assertion of tribal and Indian-parent rights under ICWA”.

    c) In re Alexandria Y., the court held that “recognition of the existing Indian family doctrine [was] necessary to avoid serious constitutional flaws in the ICWA” and held that the trial court had acted properly in refusing to apply ICWA “because neither [child] nor [mother] had any significant social, cultural, or political relationship with Indian life; thus, there was no existing Indian family to preserve.”

    Question: If current ICWA case law includes many situations where existing Family Doctrine has already been ignored, then have serious constitutional flaws already occurred?

    4. United States citizens, no matter their heritage, have a right to fair trials.

    a) When summoned to a tribal court, parents and legal guardians, whether enrolled or not, have to be told their rights, including 25 USC Chapter 21 § 1911. (b) “Transfer of proceedings [to tribal jurisdiction] …in the absence of good cause to the contrary, [and] objection by either parent…”

    b) The rights of non-member parents must be upheld: for example: 25 USC Chapter 21 § 1903. Definitions “Permanent Placement” (1) (iv) “shall not include a placement based … upon an award, in a divorce proceeding, of custody to one of the parents.

    c) Non-members have to be able to serve county and state summons to tribal members within reservation boundaries and must have access to appeal.

    d) Under the principles of comity: All Tribes and States shall accord full faith and credit to a child custody order issued by the Tribe or State of initial jurisdiction consistent within the UCCJA – which enforces a child custody determination by a court of another State – unless the order has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court having jurisdiction to do so under Article 2 of the UCCJA.

    5. Adoptive Parents need well-defined protections. These citizens among us have been willing to set aside personal comforts and take in society’s neediest children. Adoptive parents take many risks in doing this, the least of which is finances. People build their lives around family. Adoptive parents risk not only their own hearts, but also the hearts of any birth children they have as well as the hearts of their extended family. These parents have an investment in the families they are building and have a right to know that they can put their names on the adoption paper with confidence. If we, as a society, continue to abuse these parents, we will find fewer people willing to take the risk of adoption and more and more children will languish in foster homes.

    6. A “Qualified expert witness” should be someone who is able to advocate for the well-being of the child, first and foremost: a professional person who has substantial education and experience in the area of the professional person’s specialty and significant knowledge of and experience with the child, his family, and the culture, family structure, and child-rearing practices the child has been raised in.

    a) There is nothing a tribal social worker inherently knows about a child based on the child’s ethnic heritage. This includes children of 100% heritage who have been raised totally apart from the tribal community. A qualified expert witness needs to be someone who has not only met the child, but has worked with the child, is familiar with and understands the environment the child has thus far been raised in, and has professional experience with some aspect of the child’s emotional, physical or academic health. This is far more important than understanding the customs of a particular tribe.

    7. Finally, if tribal membership is a political rather than racial designation, (as argued) than is it constitutional for the definition of an Indian child to include “eligible” children, rather than “enrolled” children?

    a) 25 USC Chapter 21 § 1903. Definitions: (4) ”Indian child” means any unmarried person who is under age eighteen and is either

    i) member of an Indian tribe or
    ii) is eligible for membership in an Indian tribe and is the biological child of a member of an Indian tribe;


    1. Tribal governments have been given the right as sovereign entities to determine their own membership at the expense of the rights of any other heritage or culture as well as at the expense of individual rights.

    2. ICWA does not give Indian children or their legal guardians the choice whether to accept political membership in the tribe. Legal guardians have the right to make that choice for their children, not governments.

    3. Non-member relatives are told these children are now members of an entity with which the family has had no past political, social or cultural relationship.

    4. So is it then the blood relationship that determines membership? Bridget R., stated, “If tribal determinations are indeed conclusive for purposes of applying ICWA, and if, … a particular tribe recognizes as members all persons who are biologically descended from historic tribal members, then children who are related by blood to such a tribe may be claimed by the tribe, and thus made subject to the provisions of ICWA, solely on the basis of their biological heritage. Only children who are racially Indians face this possibility.” Isn’t that then an unconstitutional race-based classification?

    5. Keeping children, no matter their blood quantum, in what the State would normally determine to be an unfit home on the basis of tribal government claims that European values don’t apply to and are not needed by children of tribal heritage is racist in nature and a denial of the child’s personal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    6. Even with significant relationship with Indian tribal culture, forced application of ICWA conflicts with the Constitution in three ways:
    (1) It impermissibly intrudes upon a power ordinarily reserved to the states,
    (2) It improperly interferes with Indian children’s fundamental due process rights; and
    (3) On the sole basis of race, it deprives them of equal opportunities to be adopted that are available to non-Indian children.

    We are aware that certain tribal entities and their supporters – those who are in the business of jurisdiction over our children – are adamant that these rules be enforced as written. We realize it would be messy and difficult to defy the demands of tribal governments. We understand that many will not want to do that.

    Please understand that we will never stop fighting to protect our children from those who wish to exploit them for profit. Our children are more important than tribal sovereignty.

    Thank you for listening to all the stakeholders.

    Elizabeth Sharon (Lisa) Morris
    Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW)
    PO Box 460
    Hillsboro, ND 58045


    Tom Sullivan’s 29 Page Whistleblower report (2015, April)


    ACF. (2007). Tribal Child Counts. Washington DC: Child Care Bureau, Office of Family Assistance.
    Associated Press. (2014, April 28). 42 people killed in homicidal violence in 2013 on country’s largest Indian reservation. Retrieved from:
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    CAICW Testimony: CHILD PROTECTION AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM on the Spirit Lake Reservation: Oversight Hearing before the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs; COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES of the House of Representatives, 113th Congress, (2014, June 24)
    CAICW Request. Letter to Senator Tom Coburn, urging Inspector General Investigation, (2014, July 31)
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    In re SANTOS Y., B144822 (Cal. App. 4th, Second Dist. Div. Two July 20, 2001).
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    Karnowski, S. (2013). Feds Say Native Mob Gang Dented but Work Remains. Minneapolis: ABC News.
    Kershaw, S. (2006, February 19), Tribal Underworld: Drug Traffickers Find Haven in Shadows of Indian Country, New York Times
    Lawrence, William (Bill). (2007). Publisher. Native American Press/Ojibwe News.
    LittleWind, LaVern ‘Bundy’. (2014) Audio Tapes between tribal police officer Bundy Littlewind and Spirit Lake Social Services. Retrieved at
    Morris, E. (2007). VIEWPOINT: Law could tear children from a ‘tribe’ they love . Grand Forks: Grand Forks Herald.
    Morris, E. (2013) To Better Protect the Children
    Morris, Roland John. Testimony before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (1998) – Concerning tribal corruption and jurisdiction
    Morrison, S.K., (1998), Testimony before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on tribal sovereignty and tribal courts, Choctaw Attorney; Wilburton, Oklahoma;
    Necessary Corrective Action. (2012, February) BIA Regional Social Worker assessment of changes needed to ensure protection of children at Spirit Lake – sent to BIA Superintendent
    Omdahl, L. (2013, July). Commentary by Former ND Lt. Governor. Grand Forks: Grand Forks Herald.
    Oversight Hearing. (2014). CHILD PROTECTION AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM ON THE SPIRIT LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION. Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs; Committee on Natural Resources (p. June 24). Washington DC: HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 113th Congress.
    Quilt. (2004). Child Counts. Warm Spring: NCCIC
    Rowley, Sean. (2015, April). ICWA Discussed at Symposium Seminar. Tahlequah Daily Press
    Smart, P. M. (2004). In Harm’s Way. The Salt Lake Tribune.
    Sullivan, Thomas F., R. A. 12th Mandated Report concerning Suspected Child Abuse on the Spirit Lake Reservation. (2013, February) To ACF Superiors in Washington DC
    Sullivan, Thomas F., R. A. 13th Mandated Report concerning Suspected Child Abuse on the Spirit Lake Reservation. (2013, April) To ACF Superiors in Washington DC
    Sullivan, Thomas F., R. A. Attempt to go to Spirit Lake, (2013, August) – email correspondence between Tom Sullivan and his DC Superiors
    Sullivan, Thomas, R. A. (2014, April 4). Sullivan rebukes his DC Superiors for their negligence of children on Indian reservations. To ACF Superiors in DC. Retrieved from:
    Sullivan, Thomas F., R. A. (2014, May 6). Criminal Corruption continues at Spirit Lake. To DC Superiors with the Administration of Children & Families. Retrieved from:
    Sullivan, Tom, R. A. (2014, June 10). Continual Rape of 13-yr-old Ignored. To Superiors at the Administration of Children and Families. Retrieved from:
    Sullivan, Thomas F., R. A. Response to Chairman McDonald’s Hearing Testimony (2014, June 25) by Thomas Sullivan, Regional Director of the Administration for Children and Families
    Sullivan, Thomas F., R. A. Response to ACF Superior Ms. McMullen, (2014, July 1) – by Thomas Sullivan, Regional Director of the Administration for Children and Families
    Tevlin, J. (2013, February 12). Tevlin: Sierra shares lessons on Indian adoption. Retrieved from:
    Tilus, Michael R., P. M. (2012, March 3). Letter of Grave Concern: Spirit Lake Tribal Social Services Grievances. To Ms. Sue Settle, Chief, Dept. of Human Services, BIA Retrieved from:

    NPR ICWA Series Discredited: SD: Indian Foster Care 1: NPR Investigative Storytelling Gone Awry – National Public Radio Ombudsman – August 09, 2013

    My finding is that the series was deeply flawed and should not have been aired as it was. Also: S. Dakota Indian Foster Care 2: Abuse In Taking Children From Families?: Also: S. Dakota Indian Foster Care 3: Filthy Lucre: Also: Indian Foster Care 4: The Mystery Of A Missing $100 Million: Also: S. Dakota Indian Foster Care 5: Who Is To Blame For Native Children In White Homes?: Also: S. Dakota Indian Foster Care 6: Where It All Went Wrong – The Framing:
    Full NPR Ombudsman Report:

    May 102015
    Jose Rodrigues 2005 - a Victim of the Indian Child Welfare Act

    The Bureau of Indian Affairs issued new ICWA guidelines on February 25. These guidelines, effective immediately, are not binding. But the proposed rules, matching the guidelines and currently in comment period, will be. Washington DC

    These rules negating the rights of children have been proposed despite well-documented evidence of wide-spread physical and sexual abuse in Indian Country.

    The most recent example: Last month, ACF Regional Director Tom Sullivan (Administration of Children and Families) released a 29-page Whistle Blower report detailing consistent and rampant physical and sexual abuse of children in Indian Country.

    The ACF and BIA are both very aware of Mr. Sullivan’s report and other reports. The BIA does know physical and sexual abuse is rampant in many corners of Indian Country.

    Hard enough to understand why our federal government will be enforcing rules that so deeply infringe on the personal, parental, and privacy rights of citizens of every age and heritage – it is impossible to understand why the BIA has the authority and gall to write rules which so obviously increase risk for abuse of displaced children.

    READ the 29 page Whistle Blower report on rampant child abuse written by Regional Director Tom Sullivan of the Administration of Children and Families: Thomas F Sullivan WB April 2015

    Additional documents from Mr. Sullivan:

    Tom Sullivan’s 12th Mandated Report, February 2013, concerning Suspected Child Abuse on the Spirit Lake Reservation

    Tom Sullivan’s 13th Mandated Report, March 2013, concerning Suspected Child Abuse on the Spirit Lake Reservation

    Letter’s from George Sheldon say “Ignore Tom.”


    Reading the BIA’s proposed rules alongside Mr. Sullivan’s detailed report should clear up any question as to why these rules are brutally dangerous to children of every heritage in every state of this country. The rules state that it does not matter if the child has ever lived in Indian Country nor does it matter if the child has any significant heritage. All that matters is whether the tribal government wants to claim the child as a member.

    Reading the rules will also clear up any question as to who the ICWA is factually intended to protect. They are not written to protect the rights and safety of children. They are written to protect the claimed rights of tribal leaders and to protect tribal sovereignty.

    The proposed new BIA rules for ICWA can read here: – (Beginning in middle of the page, right – “Regulations for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings.”) The Public Comment period ends May 19.

    Finally – we are questioning why the Administration for Children and Families under HHS has ignored Mr. Sullivan’s reports, and why they have recently suspended him for supposedly not filling out a leave of Absence form correctly.

    You have about ONE WEEK LEFT to make comments CONCERNING the new Rules for ICWA – the BIA’s “Regulations for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings.”
    Comments must be received on or before May 19, 2015. You can submit comments via e-mail to; include “ICWA” in the subject line of the message.
    You may also mail comments or go through the federal rule making portal at –!documentDetail;D=BIA-2015-0001-0001


    Friends, we need more of your friends and family to understand what the BIA is doing, as well we need you to call your Congressmen and Senators and TELL them in you own words how these rules could – or do – affect you, your family, your friends, your neighbors… And simply what an unconstitutional affront this is to all Americans of every single heritage – as, (contrary to what its authors portray)… It DOES affect families of every heritage.

    SHARE with friends and family – and CALL your Congressmen and Senators! Educate them!!

    1) READ the BIA ICWA Rules –…/…/public/documents/text/idc1-029447.pdf (Beginning in middle of the page, right – “Regulations for State Courts and Agencies in Indian Child Custody Proceedings.”)
    2) CALL your State Senators and Congressman! (If you need their phone numbers, please ask us – write ‘’ )
    3) PLEASE COMMENT ON THE NEW FEDERAL RULES CONCERNING ICWA… Comments must be received on or before May 19, 2015. You can submit comments via e-mail to; include “ICWA” in the subject line of the message. You may also mail comments or go through the federal rule making portal at!documentDetail;D=BIA-2015-0001-0001

    There is also a public teleconference concerning these rules to be held on Tuesday, May 12, from 1 – 4 p.m. Eastern Time. The number to call is 888-730-9138, the Passcode is INTERIOR –

    Tom Sullivan’s 12th Mandated Report, February 2013, concerning Suspected Child Abuse on the Spirit Lake Reservation

    Tom Sullivan’s 13th Mandated Report, March 2013, concerning Suspected Child Abuse on the Spirit Lake Reservation

    Letter’s from George Sheldon say “Ignore Tom.”



    Tom Sullivan responds to vindictive DC Superiors –

     Comments Off on Tom Sullivan responds to vindictive DC Superiors –
    Mar 312015
    Lauryn Whiteshield, July 19, 2010 - June 13, 2013

    Tom Sullivan, recently suspended for purportedly not filing correct ‘Leave of Absence’ forms following major surgery, responds to his superiors and calls them out on the REAL reason for their vindictive indictment of him – the fact that he won’t keep quiet about the abuse of children at Spirit Lake… (bold added)

    PLEASE SHARE THIS – with friends, family – and very importantly, with your Congressmen. Ask them to help Tom. We NEED to stand up for and protect government workers who are trying to do their jobs with honesty and courage.


    Ms. Mcmullen:

    This is in response to Mr. Murray’s March 23, 2015 letter threatening me with a 14 calendar day unpaid suspension.

    As usual his letter is short on facts and long on bureaucratic nitpicklng. The following facts are incontrovertible evidence of his bias against me:

    1. Mr. Murray says nothing about my hip replacement surgery, major surgery with substantial potential for significant, adverse effects • a pulmonary embolism being one of the primary ones;

    2. Mr. Murray says nothing about the last year When every step I took with my bone-on-bone hip was excruciatingly painful, necessitating the limited ingestion of powerful pain medication during the last few months pre-surgery. As a friend told my wife in October, 2014, after observing me walking, “From the look on his face I can tell every step he took was pure agony.” Even though my painful walking was apparent lo anyone with eyes to see, Mr. Murray never mentioned the possibility of Reasonable Accommodation lo me as required;

    3. Mr. Murray says nothing about the fact that my hip was initially damaged in a workplace accident:

    4. Mr. Murray libels me as he has done in the past still refusing to answer my earlier request (seven months ago) to provide factual data justifying his libelous statements or apologize In writing for writing factually inaccurate statements about me;

    5. Mr. Murray says nothing about the fact that I am a whistle blower and that his actions against ma are nothing more than raw reprisal for my whistle blowing;

    6. Mr. Murray says nothing about his non-compliance with regulations requiring him to notify me about my options under “Reasonable Accommodation” as soon as he observed my painful walking or when he learned about my surgery on February 24, 201S;

    7. Mr. Murray says nothing about his premature denial of my Reasonable Accommodation request even before receiving a recommendation from the Federal Occupational Health Office;

    8. Mr. Murray says nothing about my surgeon clearing me for work from home more than two weeks all<), before he denied my request rot a Reasonable Accommodation, while he demands that I not work and take leave when there is absolutely no medical reason preventing me from working; 9. Mr. Murray says nothing about his reprisals against me over the last two years for my whistle blowing; 10. Mr. Murray fails to mention that even though I believe his March 17, 2015 email to me is a prohibited personnel practice, as defined by the Office of Special Counsel, reflecting his retaliatory reprisal against me, I have complied with all of his requirements, stopping all telework activities as he demanded and taking leave on every work day; 11. Mr. Murray fails to mention that even if I use up all of my accumulated leave that I can apply for inclusion in the Donated Leave Program or request Advanced Sick Leave - a program made available to me in my first year of federal employment, when I had only Career-Conditional status as an employee of the Department of Health education and Welfare. I believe a supervisor is obliged by regulation to counsel his staff about such options Page 2 of 2 whenever they clearly have a medical problem even if they have said nothing to him about it;. Given the 11 factual failures of Mr. Murray, it is strange that I am being threatened with a 14 calendar day unpaid suspension and that Mr. Murray continues, thus far, to escape any censure for his failures. But you, Ms Mcmullen, have been several orders of magnitude worse than Mr. Murray in your retaliatory actions against me.

    You have sought to force my agreement with you that the placement of young American Indian children in the homes of sexual predators. available to be raped or sodomized daily, is not a problem.

    You have sought to force me to agree that all was OK when children’s stories about being abused that were brought to my attention by my Sources and which I referred to you for follow-up were not being investigated by either tribal social services, tribal or BIA law enforcement or the FBI.

    You have sought to force me to endorse the former US Attorney from North Dakota’s position that a 12 year old little girl who had just turned 13, home alone, had consensual sex with a 38 year old man. Where in this country is sex between a 12 or 13 year old little girl and a 38 year old man not statutory rape?

    Your actions have prevented me from speaking with either the media or members of Congress in clear and direct violation of the Whistle Blower Protection Act es amended.

    My whistle blowing has properly characterized what you have done and continue to do. Even so you have appointed yourself as judge and jury in this matter. You fancy yoursalf as an independent arbiter. You are neither.

    You are a party to this matter, a party who is deeply interested in silencing me by whatever means, including reliance on the prohibited personnel practices as defined by the Office of Special Counsel.

    With every email and letter you write you expose yourself and your retaliatory reprisals against me for more and more to see and understand.

    Your cavalier disregard for the welfare of the American Indian children at Spirit Lake and all across Indian Country has established a broad and deep record comparable to those that existed at Penn State and in the Catholic Church before their transgressions against children began to be revealed.

    I therefore, request that the threatened 14 calendar day unpaid suspension not be applied to me since there is nothing on the record to justify it.

    Thomas F. Sullivan
    Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver

    Aug 132014

    Sage was 4-years-old and one of the first children to be hurt by the Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978. She was 6-years when she and the family she loved went on the run to protect her from the law that intended to force to live with an abusive birth parent. She was 13 when she was finally forcibly taken from her family to be placed on the reservation with the birth mother who had almost killed her.

    She tells her story of going on the run with her chosen parents, her trauma of being taken from them, and ultimate relief when she was finally released from the reservation and allowed to return home. To this day, thirty-some years later, she is upset by what the government and ICWA put her through.


    Jun 102014

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Sullivan, Thomas (ACF) Date: Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 10:37 AM
    Subject: Criminal Corruption Reaches New Heights at Spirit Lake
    To: “Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)”
    Cc: “Greenberg, Mark (ACF)” , “Murray, James (ACF)”

    Ms. McMullen:

    One month ago I wrote a four page email documenting the level of control exercised by the criminally corrupt at Spirit Lake.

    This was not the first time I had raised their control over events at Spirit Lake. Almost two years ago, in my First Mandated Report, dated June 14, 2012, I quoted favorably from a letter composed by former Tribal Judge Molly McDonald who had written, “I grew up on this reservation and witnessed many acts of violence and abuse. This is normal to us. Our tribe has adopted this as a way of life, violence and hopelessness. When does the cycle end?…The abuse is reported but nothing is done by Social Services or Law Enforcement. Where do we go from there?…. Please consider that if an investigation had been done, many children could have been saved from further abuse, and possibly, they would have been alive today…..our tribe is attempting to cover up these issues that plagued our reservation for many years……Whatever picture our tribal council or chairman want to paint, it simply is not the case. There is a dire need for professionals …that know their boundaries and will not overlook issues at the request of Tribal Council.”

    When former Tribal Judge McDonald wrote that letter in the Spring of 2012, the criminally corrupt controlled the levers of power at Spirit Lake. They still do. Now, however, after going unchallenged by anyone in authority for so many years, they may have gone too far for most responsible people.

    In item # 2 in my December 19, 2013 email to you I referenced the allegation that a 13 year old little girl was being raped by a known sex offender, that this had been reported to the Tribal Chair and Council, BIA and Tribal law enforcement. The child’s non-custodial father was told by the BIA that they would not be able to investigate this allegation for another thirty days at the earliest. I have periodically referenced this child’s situation in my subsequent emails to you. To my knowledge, more than 6 months after this allegation was first reported to the BIA, no investigation has yet been conducted. This is how innocent victims are treated at Spirit Lake! Would such a failure to investigate these allegations, to stop the abuse and to protect the innocent victim be tolerated in Devils Lake, ND, the nearest off reservation majority community?

    Clearly the criminally corrupt do not control Devils Lake. Even though the alleged rapist, referenced above, resides on the Spirit Lake reservation, the State’s Attorney for Ramsey County (Devils Lake is the county seat for Ramsey County) has obtained four felony indictments against this man for child abuse, endangerment for actions he engaged in off the reservation in Ramsey County. My sources and I suspect these indictments are for child sexual abuse but have not thus far been able to obtain confirmation of our suspicions. Nevertheless, these are felony level charges involving the abuse of a child. I believe most thinking adults, knowing this, would consider those to be serious charges. This is not an opinion held by the Spirit Lake leadership because they are refusing to allow this alleged rapist of a 13 year old little girl, the subject of four felony indictments involving child abuse, to be extradited to Ramsey County.

    Apparently this is how it works at Spirit Lake: the allegations of little girls who report they are being raped are ignored while their alleged rapists the subject of four felony indictments for child abuse is shielded from the law. If this isn’t a new extreme in criminal corruption what is?

    Thomas F. Sullivan
    Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver


    Jun 032014

    Wait… whoops… I am so SO sorry! That’s NOT what he said today… rats, that’s the wrong story. It’s from a June 3rd article about the surge of immigrant children from Central America

    So, so sorry. I’ll find an article describing President Obama’s speech at Standing Rock… I am certain he will have said the same thing – citing the same urgency. Certainly, I am sure of it…

    I mean – there wouldn’t be a contradiction in what feds and tribal officials claim to be absolutely necessary for NA kids – as opposed to what is absolutely necessary for Central American kids, right?

    Quoting the June 3rd article – “More than 90 percent of those sheltered by the government [were] driven north by pervasive violence and poverty in their home countries. They are held in agency-contracted shelters while a search is conducted for family, a sponsor or a foster parent who can care for them through their immigration court hearings, where many will apply for asylum or other special protective status…

    “Rampant crime and poverty across Central America and a desire to reunite with parents or other relatives are thought to be driving many of the young immigrants.”

    Quote another article — “The children, mostly teenagers from Central America, are among the more than 47,000 unaccompanied minors taken into custody at the border since October. Fort Sill is one of three facilities where the children are being held. The others are in Texas and California.”

    Friends – we need to know why rhetoric is constantly spewed as to how NA children will suffer from separation from Indian Country – and how they are “resilient” – able to withstand untold abuse and stress because they aren’t like those soft “European” children…yet – we are assured that the kids from Central America WILL suffer and die if returned to their native home.

    We need to hear from every tribal official and Congressman as to why it is okay to warehouse children from Central America (non-US citizen) in military facilities, with plans to eventually put them in foster homes (with “Sponsors”) – rather than immediately reunite them with their “culture and extended family” in Central America.

    (Tribal leaders, explain to us. Why is a warehouse better for them then their ancestral home?)

    Or – tell us the reverse – why it is okay to force Native American (US citizen) children to live amid rampant crime and corruption – with known abusers and sexual offenders, instead of allowing them to live in homes off the Rez that they know, love and feel safe in. I’m not even talking warehouses – but real homes and families.

    Why are we spending millions of dollars to keep many NA kids IN dangerous and abusive environments – while at the same time spending millions of dollars to warehouse CA children to keep them OUT of dangerous and abusive environments.

    (I am actually thinking we have a flipped thing going on here. It makes a LOT more sense to repatriate non-US citizens with their home land and allow their government to see to their care, than it does to force US citizen children with no connection to tribal government onto a reservation where many have never been before.)

    Make up your collective federal mind – and have one policy – an “Equal Protection” – concerning the safety and welfare of children.

    May 062014

    To: Various Legislative Staff – 1:33 PM

    I am forwarding to you a letter written today by Administrator Tom Empty SwingSullivan. I was aware of an 8-month-old passing away last week at Spirit Lake, but this was the first I heard about the newborn.

    We are very distressed by this letter. What it says is beyond comprehension.

    Some of whom I am writing to are genuinely concerned. Others don’t appear to be or don’t believe he is telling the truth. Yet – more than a few independent media reports have come out over the last couple years verifying and supporting exactly what Mr. Sullivan says is happening.

    An April 28, 2014 report from the Associate Press notes new FBI statistics that show the “Navajo Nation [pop. 180,000] saw a sharp increase in the murder rate in 2013 and finished the year with 42 homicides, eclipsing major metropolitan areas like Seattle and Boston.” It said the 42 people killed “surpassed 40 in Boston and 32 in Seattle, both cities with populations of more than 600,000.”

    No mention of how many of those in the report were below the age of 18. We won’t hazard a guess.

    People – we are talking about children. We realize how difficult the problem is. But we are talking about children. Shame on all those who continue to cover up horrific crimes happening on reservations all over the U.S. simply because standing up to a tribal government complicates their jobs or reelection opportunities. We are talking about children.

    Our org and many others will not go away until ALL children in the United States – no matter their heritage – are afforded safety, respect, love, and equal protection. Our government must quit treating children of tribal heritage as if they are worthless, expendable political pawns.

    Our children are U.S. citizens first and foremost, and have constitutional rights. Begin to recognize that. We are not going away.

    Regional Administrator Sullivan’s letter –

    Tom Sullivan - Regional Administrator ACF———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Sullivan, Thomas (ACF) Date: Tue, May 6, 2014 at 11:45 AM
    Subject: Criminal Corruption continues at Spirit Lake
    To: “Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)” , “Sparks, Lillian (ACF)” , “Chang, Joo Yeun (ACF)” , “Kennerson, Marilyn (ACF)”
    Cc: “Murray, James (ACF)” , “Greenberg, Mark (ACF)”

    Ms. Mcmullen:

    The criminally corrupt remain in charge at Spirit Lake. By this I mean that whenever a decision is to be made where there is a choice between the welfare and safety of children and the welfare and safety of abusers, rapists and sodomizers, the latter always seem to prevail. This is evidenced by the following eleven facts:

    1. In the first week of February, 2014 the Spirit Lake Tribal Council fired Spirit Lake Associate Judge Jennifer Cross. Former Judge Cross had apparently incurred the wrath of the Council by several decision she had rendered during the prior few weeks, decisions to remove children from the homes of convicted rapists and abusers. These rapists and abusers went to the Council and prevailed on them to fire Judge Cross. They did. The Tribal Chair and another council member opposed this action but they were outvoted. The Chair does not normally vote unless there is a tie vote. How does this action of the Tribal Council contribute to the welfare and safety of Spirit Lake children?

    2. The reason given by the Tribal Council for the termination of Judge Cross’ employment was that she had not passed the Bar. Judge Cross is a graduate of an accredited Law School and had been preparing for the Bar exam when fired. I understand the current Chief Judge of the Spirit Lake Tribal Court has taken and failed the state bar exam on two different occasions. Judge Cross’ replacement on the Tribal Court has only a high school diploma, no education beyond high school. How will the replacement of Judge Cross with this man contribute to the safety and welfare of the children of Spirit Lake?

    3. After Judge Cross was fired these same families asked the Chair and Council to return the children who had been removed from their homes. One of those former foster parents, a twice-convicted rapist, was overheard outside the Council chambers telling the BIA Spirit Lake Superintendent how to handle the paperwork returning the two pre-teen girls back into his full time care and custody by placing only his wife’s name on those documents and keeping his name off of them. How does the placement of these pre-teen girls back into the home of a twice-convicted rapist contribute to their safety and welfare?

    4. When Judge Cross applied to the Tribal Chair and Council for reinstatement, she was told by Councilwoman Brownshield, in an open meeting of the Council, “I don’t agree with your decisions.” All the other Council members nodded their heads in agreement. The Tribal Chair spoke on behalf of Judge Cross being retained. Since the vote was 4 to 0 against Judge Cross the Chair did not even have an opportunity to vote. Has this Tribal Council adopted a policy that they will fire any tribal employee who takes actions inconsistent with their desires? How does such a policy contribute to the welfare and safety of the children of Spirit Lake? How will such a policy effect the willingness of competent, qualified staff to come to Spirit Lake to work under such uncertainty?

    5. One senior tribal official told me that several years ago former Tribal Social Services (TSS) director Kevin Dauphinais left two children at his home. They were a 4 year old girl and a 2 year old boy who, according to Mr. Dauphinais, needed a place to stay for a few days. They are still in that home. It was immediately obvious that both required medical attention. Subsequent review at the Grand Forks Advocacy Center (GFAC) revealed that the little girl had been being raped by her biological father. When the mother learned this, she kicked the bio dad out of their home. Shortly thereafter the bio mom brought a live-in boyfriend into that home. The live in, soon after arriving in that home, sodomized the 2 year old boy and fled the home immediately. Both BIA law enforcement and FBI were on hand at the GFAC when the rapes and sodomy were confirmed. In the intervening several years there has been no investigation of these sexual assaults on these two little children. There has been no prosecution of these monsters who sexually assaulted these two children. These monsters remain free to walk the streets of their communities, raping and sodomizing little children with no apparent fear of prosecution or imprisonment. I understand no rehabilitative services have been provided to these children to help them overcome the trauma they suffered. How does acting as though nothing bad has been inflicted on these two children contribute to the welfare and safety of children at Spirit Lake?

    6. Even though it has been almost four full weeks since the four of you returned from your brief “fact-finding” visit to Spirit Lake, I have yet to see a report of your findings. I am going to receive a copy, aren’t I? I was deeply disappointed to learn from my sources and others who you met with that you had an exceptionally “rosy view” of conditions at Spirit Lake and that you really did not wish to hear any details about the abusive conditions many children have been placed in there, where they are available to be raped and tortured on a daily basis, and the failure of all supposedly responsible adults whether in positions of responsibility in tribal, state or federal government agencies, advocacy groups, religious leaders or the media to stop the carnage. If that is “fact-finding” as you define it, that is most unfortunate. How your “rosy view” and how your refusal to listen to the factual details about the continuing abuse and rape of children contributes to the safety and welfare of those children of Spirit Lake escapes me. May I ask how all of you arrived at the conclusion that your “rosy view” of Spirit Lake was a more accurate descriptor of conditions there than the detailed facts provided to you by my sources and I? What information did you rely on to reach your “rosy view”? Who provided that information? If that information is in written form, may I see a copy of it? How were you able to substantiate the accuracy of that information? How does your “rosy view” of conditions the children of Spirit Lake have been placed in contribute to their welfare and safety? Doesn’t that “rosy view” just spread a little powder and perfume around to cover up the stench emanating from the homes where these Spirit Lake children are available to be tortured and raped daily?

    7. In my Tenth Mandated Report I provided detail about the father who was found by the local police in a Devils Lake motel naked in bed with his then 10 year old daughter who was also naked. The Ramsey County Attorney investigated that allegation in my Report and brought an indictment against the father for a class two felony of Gross Sexual Imposition. I find it fascinating that a county attorney receiving a single report from me is able, with only limited resources as compared to those available to the FBI, US Attorney and the BIA, to investigate and indict on facts made available in one of my Reports. There are hundreds of comparable allegations made in my thirteen Mandated Reports which fall into the jurisdiction of the FBI, US Attorney and the BIA. How odd that not one of those resulted in an arrest, indictment or tribal warrant! How does one justify your “rosy view” under these circumstances? How does one explain such gross failures by federal law enforcement?

    8. I understand from my sources that you clearly stated that you are drawing a line in the sand in order to restrict the issues you will deal with to those occurring after your brief “fact-finding” visit to Spirit Lake. That means that the hundreds of those children who were placed on the orders of the prior tribal chair in homes with those who neglect, abuse and rape will be ignored in any future efforts at Spirit Lake. This also means that nothing will be done to find those dozens of children who have simply disappeared from the reservation, perhaps trafficked into the Bakken oil field man camps or into other forms of sexual slavery. This also means you will do nothing to help those parents who have been caring for undocumented children without any pay for at least two years and who now will be left to fight the county, state and tribal governments to get the papers allowing them to register these children in school, qualify for Medicaid, etc.. This also means that those young children who have been professionally evaluated, identified as being subjected to unspeakable physical and sexual abuse and who have been prevented from receiving necessary rehabilitative services by the tribal Council will continue to be ignored. Nothing will be done for them to help them to heal! How does leaving all of these Spirit Lake children behind, ineligible in your universe to receive any services, contribute to their welfare and safety? It is clear that your line in the sand will cast a broad, protective net over all those abusers and rapists who have had their way with the children of Spirit Lake for years and, in your universe, will continue without any fear of exposure, prosecution or imprisonment for their prior abuse, rape and torture of these children. Sounds like amnesty to me. By whose authority have you declared that amnesty?

    9. It is my understanding that all of you have passed the word to your staff, grantees and contractors that nothing negative about conditions at Spirit Lake will be tolerated in any reports, etc. submitted to you. How sad. Children are in the full-time care and custody of predators available to be raped daily and you are whitewashing any report you get that factually describes conditions at Spirit Lake so no one’s sensibilities will be offended by any word contrary to your “rosy view”. How does such a cover-up contribute to the safety and welfare of the children at Spirit Lake?

    10. The Spirit Lake Tribal Chair at a General Assembly meeting on April 29, 2014 in Fort Totten rebuked a local TV reporter for reporting on the death on Thursday, April 24, 2014 of an 8 month old who, reportedly, choked to death on a baby bottle. The reporter was excluded from the meeting as well by the Chair. Unpleasant news is never easy to handle but attempts to cover up such unpleasantness have, in my experience, lead to even more unpleasant publicity. At the same meeting one Tribal Council member tried to ban one of my sources from the reservation. No vote was taken on this matter that evening. It is intriguing that within the space of a few weeks’ time, we have conditions at Spirit Lake described in terms of a “rosy view”, I hear of an organized federal effort to stop any negative publicity about Spirit Lake and the Tribal Chair and Council openly speak of silencing the media and my sources. What a coincidence! Or as a poster I saw recently proclaimed: “Sometimes a coincidence is a plan in disguise.” Whether all of this is a plan or just a coincidence, please tell me how does any of it contribute to the safety and welfare of the children at Spirit Lake?

    11. Facts do have a way of interfering with stories that are false. Within the last week, I understand there have been two infant deaths at Spirit Lake. The first was on April 24, 2014 when an infant boy, eight months old, choked to death on a baby bottle. On Tuesday, April 29, 2014, I understand, an infant less than a week old was found dead in his home in Fort Totten. This child had been born in Minot and had been brought home to Fort Totten by his 17 year old mother over the weekend. Dead bodies of infants are difficult to sweep under the rug, especially when there are two of them in five days. It is difficult to maintain that “rosy view” under these circumstances. Reports can be manipulated, if that is your intent. The press can be intimidated and people barred, if that is your intent. If you are able to do all of that, you are still left with two dead babies, hundreds of children in the care and custody of abusive and predatory biological and foster parents, available to be raped or tortured daily and dozens of children who have simply disappeared from the Reservation. What will your “rosy view” and all the rest of your efforts to minimize any discussion of the harsh conditions these children are living in contribute to the safety and welfare of these children?

    How many more Spirit Lake children will never grow up because of this continuing criminal corruption? How many more Spirit Lake children will grow into adult lives of severe dysfunction as a result of the abuse, rape and torture imposed on them by the criminally corrupt?

    Thomas F. Sullivan
    Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver

    Elizabeth Sharon (Lisa) Morris
    Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW)
    PO Box 460
    Hillsboro, ND 58045

    Twitter: ( @CAICW )

    May 032014

    Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

    First Published May 2, 2014 by the authors

    Quote from Author:

    “This is a PODCAST INTERVIEW with a South Dakota family that was torn apart by the court system. These children have not seen their foster parents since November 1, 2013. The State of South Dakota put these children into a home on the reservation where they we HEAVILY ABUSED, MOLESTED, AND NEGLECTED!!!
    This video is in NO WAY ANTI-TRIBE PROPOGANDA. . . Our page (the Angel page) was started by Randal Bohn, a 18 year old member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe.”

    April – National Child Abuse Month. NICWA & Child Abuse

     Comments Off on April – National Child Abuse Month. NICWA & Child Abuse
    Apr 012014
    Jose Rodrigues 2005 - a Victim of the Indian Child Welfare Act

    While we appreciate most efforts do something to address the severe abuse and neglect occurring on many reservations, we do not believe NICWA is willing to address the core of the problems. “Raising awareness” by sending packets to ICWA offices isn’t going to change anything – and hasn’t to date.

    Further, continually blaming non-Indians – from past, present and future – will never stop child abuse. It is more likely to increase the abuse, because it allows abusers to play the victim and point the blame at someone else. As long as an abuser never has to take personal responsibility, they have no reason or impetus to change.

    Reading the information NICWA has put on the website concerning their minor efforts to combat child abuse – while at the same time spouting additional misinformation and blame – it appears to be nothing more than a “fluff” effort – a show of effort – rather than a real effort to help children.


    Spirit Lake

     Comments Off on Spirit Lake
    Mar 132014
    Spirit Lake Reservation, North Dakota

    February 2013, CAICW attended a Spirit Lake town hall meeting where one member after another stood up to tell the panel of tribal and federal officials tragic stories of how they tried to get the tribal police, BIA and U.S Attorney to help. But criminals continue to roam unchallenged. As tribal members told of continuing abuse of children, officials claimed everything that can be done has been done. “Investigations take time” U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon said over and over.

    Tom Sullivan, Regional Administrator of the Administration of Children and Families in Denver, had written report after report to DC detailing the abuse and number of children who’d been removed from safe homes off reservation and placed into dangerous homes – even homes of sexual offenders – at Spirit Lake. At the town hall meeting, Purdon claimed Tom Sullivan “misrepresented the facts.

    Yet, while Spirit Lake was under oversight of the BIA, FBI, and Purdon in 2012 and 2013:
    • An elder witnessed two young boys doing something unspeakable on her lawn, but despite her many attempts to report it – it was ignored by tribal & federal authorities. The boys are related to a councilman.
    • 3-year-old Laurynn Whiteshield was placed in a relative’s home where she was beaten to death in June, 2013.
    • Roland Morris’s grandson was shot and left for dead at Spirit Lake in July 2013. No one has been charged, though it is common knowledge he was shot over drugs by relatives who are part of a Minneapolis gang.
    In Tom Sullivan’s 12th Mandated Report to the ACF office in DC, February 2013, ( he stated:

    “In these 8 months I have filed detailed reports concerning all of the following:
    – The almost 40 children returned to on-reservation placements in abusive homes, many headed by known sex offenders… These children remain in the full time care and custody of sexual predators available to be raped on a daily basis. Since I filed my first report noting this situation, nothing has been done by any of you to remove these children to safe placements.
    – The 45 children who were placed, at the direction of Tribal Social Services (TSS), BIA social workers, BIA supervised TSS social workers and the BIA funded Tribal Court, in homes where parents were addicted to drugs and/or where they had been credibly accused of abuse or neglect…
    “…Those adults remain protected by the law enforcement which by its inaction is encouraging the predators to keep on hunting for and raping children at Spirit Lake.


     Comments Off on CHILDREN AS CHATTEL:
    Feb 282014

    Three little boys from South Dakota had been living Nov18286_001 with a wonderful family. The maternal relatives (tribal members) had a great relationship with the foster parents and ceremonially accepted them as part of the family. But the children were moved from that home a few months ago by tribal government. A paternal family member – who had previously shown no interest in the kids – requested custody of the children when it was announced federal government was paying each individual member – including children – a sum of money in a court settlement. Over the last few months since the transfer, several instances of abuse have been documented. The following are comments recently shared by family:

    RS: “I am asking no I am begging for —- to undo the wrong he has created and make it right for these babies. I am begging the courts and tribal council to help get these kids to safety, you have the power you need to use it. You can undo the injustice that has been done. These kids are not only the victims of Cathy’s abuse now they are in the presence of their extremely abusive father, please, please, please help us to get these kids to safety before it is too late.”
    February 15 at 10:59pm

    RS: “Why is no one for our tribe helping these children…..”

    BM: “Because the tribal courts, and counsel employees are heartless and don’t care what happens to these 3 lil’ ones. So much for protecting their people. That is a bunch of crap when they all allow the 3 lil’ angels to be taken away by their abuser.”

    DB: “Was just informed that she took these children to …California with their abusive father and are being helped by another daughter … And was informed that individuals were rewarded greatly for doing this….wonder who that was ???? How does spilled children’s blood feel on your hands?”

    See More about these three in this video clip:

    Other children in need of prayer:

    – – A Spirit Lake grandma sent a picture of her granddaughter and said the girl is living in the home of a sexual offender, but tribal social services won’t do anything about it.
    An Oregon Tribe insists on jurisdiction over an unenrollable

    – – 7-yr-old boy who was placed with his paternal grandmother by both birth father and mother and had been living with his paternal grandma for 2 years.
    This child is NOT eligible for enrollment according to the tribe’s constitution – but tribal government desires to transfer child to maternal grandma, who has a record of abuse.
    o The CAICW legal fund paid for a consultation between family members and ICWA attorney Mark Fiddler. The family was able to bring facts to the court room, refuting claims by the tribe.

    – – 13-yr-old girl was taken from her non-native birth mother who had custody all her life and given her to enrolled birth father 3 months ago – for no reason other than tribal court decision. The tribe initially made it joint custody and gave him the school year. They’ve now served mom with papers giving the father sole custody.
    o The CAICW legal fund paid for a consultation between the mother, her local attorney, and ICWA attorney Mark Fiddler. Unfortunately, she was not able to continue with the local attorney.

    – – A 7-yr-old boy taken from his home in Wisconsin just before Christmas and his 7th birthday. His pre-adoptive parents begged he be allowed to attend his scheduled birthday party, but were refused. This was the 3rd time this little boy, who struggles with emotional issues, was removed from this same home due to whimsy of tribal government. The fact this pre-adoptive mom is a tribal member with the very same tribe made no difference. When the boys therapists testified to the emotional damage another move would bring, the tribe’s social services director stated, “Our kids are resilient.”

    Many more…

    Fact: According to the last two U.S. Census’ – 75% of Native Americans don’t live on the reservations. While some have moved for jobs, schooling, or other reasons and are still supportive of the reservation system, many, like the founder of CAICW, distanced themselves due to the high amount of tribal government corruption, chemical abuse, sexual abuse and other crime.

    Fact: Tribal governments benefit financially from increased membership. It is no secret federal dollars for tribes are connected to the U.S. Census and tribal rolls. Abuse happens when you put a price on people’s heads. Abuse happens when humans are put in the position of chattel.

    Mr. Sullivan Calls Superiors Out for Treating Kids Like Chattel

     Comments Off on Mr. Sullivan Calls Superiors Out for Treating Kids Like Chattel
    Dec 212013
    Lauryn Whiteshield, July 19, 2010 - June 13, 2013

    Mr. Sullivan’s most recent letter to his superiors in Washington DC… please spread far and wide –

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Sullivan, Thomas (ACF) Date: Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 2:53 PM
    Subject: Spirit Lake
    To: “Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)” , “Greenberg, Mark (ACF)”
    Cc: “Chang, Joo Yeun (ACF)” , “McCauley, Mike (ACF)” , “Murray, James (ACF)”

    December 19, 2013

    In my First Mandated Report of suspected Child Abuse on the Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota, filed more than 18 months ago, I wrote, “The children of the Spirit Lake Reservation are being subjected to actual abuse or the threat of such abuse due to the actions and inactions of adults who have responsibility to protect them from such abuse. These adults include their parents, neighbors, community leaders, Tribal program staff and directors, Tribal Council members, federal and state program leaders who have been notified and allowed the following conditions to persist. Thus, due to their inaction and excuses in some cases they have played an active role in fostering the development of conditions here.”

    Testifying about child abuse

    Testifying about Child abuse before Senator Dorgan’s committee, December 9, 2013

    My fervent hope was that such a Report would lead to the development of a broad-based collaborative effort of tribal, state and federal agencies working with Spirit Lake community members as well as the private sector for the purpose of addressing the specific issues I had identified as well as all others that would emerge as we moved these Spirit Lake children to safety.

    A collaborative effort did emerge not for the purpose I had expected but in defense of the status quo. That collaboration has devoted its’ energies against those of us who have spoken up about the problems at Spirit Lake. My sources and I have been subjected to an unremitting campaign of lies and threats. We have been treated as pariahs, outcasts, unfit to be heard or seen in polite society, fair game for whatever outrageous lies our opponents wish to spin. Those responsible for this campaign have tried to remain anonymous, relying on the spoken word in most cases, but some few have had the courage to emerge from the shadows and reveal themselves

    All of our allegations have been in writing submitted through formal channels. The lies and threats have been, in most cases, made verbally and have been dropped into conversations so as to poison the minds of those who know little about conditions in Indian Country or Spirit Lake and who are too busy/lazy to dig into the facts of this case. These lies and threats have been calculated in every case to minimize the impact of the detailed factual Reports we have placed on the record. In practically every case when a source of these false statements has been publicly identified, I have written to them requesting a copy of their documentation of my “errors” so that I might correct the public record. None have been provided even though up to 16 months have elapsed since those requests were first made. This is quite surprising since I have made these written requests to the former TSS Director, BIA spokeswoman Darling, former Tribal Chair Yankton, US Attorney Purdon, former ACF Acting Assistant Secretary Sheldon and ACF Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs Mcmullen.

    Why should I risk my well-known reputation for integrity and accomplishment built over more than 45 years of service in the public and private sectors by lying about conditions at Spirit Lake?

    I am deeply committed to seeing the unspeakable child abuse at Spirit Lake stopped. That is my only motivation.

    As a result of these efforts to minimize the impact of our reports more than 100 American Indian children at Spirit Lake remain in the full time care and custody of sexual predators, available to be raped daily.

    Who, among you, wants that crime to continue?

    If you want it to stop, why are you establishing committees and study groups, delaying the movement of these children to safety for years?

    If you want to stop it, just stop it!

    There are an extraordinary number of contradictory statements made by those who oppose our efforts to assist the children of Spirit Lake to get into safe homes. There are essentially two types of contradiction in the following 9 examples. First, where two senior leaders of an agency or of different agencies take positions that are diametrically opposed to one another (Items # 1 and 4 fall into this category). Second, when agency leadership claims in broad general terms that everything has been solved and, by the way, many of those allegations were just exaggerations and an enrolled member or other informed citizen objects and factually challenges these claims (Items #2, 3 and 5-9 fall into this second category). The following brief examples outline these nine contradictions:

      1. On October 11, 2012 Acting Assistant Secretary Sheldon was in Denver for a brief visit to the Region. He spent a great deal of time telling me that I was being too hard on all those involved with the Spirit Lake Tribal Social Services program and that he had been assured by the Washington, DC leaders of the BIA and the Children’s Bureau that great progress had been made since I filed my first report, four months earlier. During that conversation, I responded to Mr. Sheldon’s claims with half a dozen examples of egregious systemic failures at Spirit Lake in the two weeks prior to his visit where children were being endangered by placing them in the care and custody of abusive parents or foster parents. He was unmoved by my examples that came directly from my sources living and working on Spirit Lake.

      On November 5, 2012, less than 4 weeks after that discussion with Mr. Sheldon, then Spirit Lake Tribal Chair Roger Yankton was asked, during a General Assembly, by an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Nation, “Are there any lies in Mr. Sullivan’s Reports?” Mr. Yankton’s response was, “No, there are none.” He was then asked, “Do you have any proof that the conditions those children are living in and which are cited by Mr. Sullivan have improved?” Mr. Yankton’s response to this question was, “No, there has been no change.” Chairman Yankton’s statements were made almost five full months after I started filing my Mandated Reports, after seven of my Reports had been submitted. These seven Reports contained 90 – 95% of an unduplicated count of the factual allegations I have made.

      I reported this exchange at the General Assembly to Mr. Sheldon but never received any word from him indicating he had changed his mind from what he had expressed on October 11, 2012. To most readers, however, the contradiction should be obvious.

      2. In the November 4, 2012 issue, the Fargo Forum quoted BIA spokeswoman, Nedra Darling as saying, “The BIA is working hard to ….protect the youngest and most vulnerable members of Indian Country.”

      How does that statement square with Spirit Lake Tribal Chairman Yankton’s statement one day later that he knew of no change in the conditions about which I had been complaining in my Reports during the prior five months?

      A recent article from the October 28, 2013 issue of the Grand Forks Herald is even more damning of the BIA’s failures at Spirit Lake, “Lolly Diaz, a former member of the Spirit Lake social services board said there is little evidence of improvement since the BIA took the lead on child protection and foster placement. ‘Nothing has changed from putting it over to the BIA’, Diaz said. ‘There really isn’t any difference in my opinion. They’re on a revolving door basis’, she added, referring to BIA staff brought in to help. ‘We don’t have anybody permanent here.’

      In the last few days the following situation has been brought to my attention by a former TSS staff member who lives in close proximity to the Spirit Lake Reservation: a 13 year old little girl is staying with her grandmother approximately 80% of the time. Another relative an adult male also lives with the grandmother. This male is a registered, violent sex offender. The conduct of the 13 year old has been regressing and she has apparently told her non-custodial father that she is being sexually abused by this registered sex offender. The father has gone to BIA, TSS, Tribal Court and the Tribal Chair to complain about his daughter’s placement. He has been told by the BIA that it will be at least 30 days before they can even initiate an investigation.

      How many of us would be satisfied with Ms. Darling’s “working hard” when we understood it really meant at least a 30 day delay before any action would be taken to protect our 13 year old little girl from a vicious sexual predator?

      3. Ms. Darling in her November 4, 2012 comments to the press is quoted as saying, “The BIA maintains standards of professionalism and public safety…..” and “the highest levels of integrity and accountability of its employees.”

      Despite these claims the BIA ignored the domestic violence of their senior criminal investigator at Spirit Lake for more than a year even though during this time he mercilessly beat his wife on several occasions. Each of these occasions was public, known all across the Reservation and known to the former BIA Superintendent as well as to his Deputy (the current BIA superintendent). None of these people did anything to protect this defenseless woman from these beatings. When a friend of mine placed the victim’s affidavit into the hands of the number 2 person in BIA Law Enforcement in Washington, DC, BIA still did nothing.

      How do these actions up and down the chain of command in BIA contribute to the “highest levels of integrity and accountability of its employees”?

      4. Acting Assistant Secretary Sheldon in his April 15, 2013 letters praised both the BIA and DOJ for their efforts to address the situation at Spirit Lake and essentially condemned me for incorporating my “… own personal views” and that “those views might be misinterpreted or misreported as those of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) or the Department of Health and Human Services.” Mr. Sheldon went on, “after evaluating your reports, the Department does not share your view that the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the United States Attorney’s Office have (sic) been derelict in their duties….. We know that improvements have been made.”

      In mid-August, 2013, you, Ms. Mcmullen, in a telephone conversation with one of my sources, Ms. Betty Jo Krenz, who was complaining about ACF’s refusal to allow me to attend a meeting in Bismarck, ND later that week said, “I don’t understand what could be gained by another meeting. We’ve been in meetings at Spirit Lake for two years and have seen little or no progress.” When I asked for a clarification four months ago, in late August, 2013, of the contradiction between these two positions, I was greeted with total silence.

      When I asked both the Acting Assistant Secretary and you, Ms. McMullen for the factual basis for those April 15 letters, I have been stonewalled. Nothing has been provided. Perhaps that is because there is no factual basis for those conclusions. Given the facts on the record, however, most readers will agree there is a basic contradiction between what you said in August to Ms. Krenz and the letters, Acting Assistant Secretary Sheldon sent to me, Ms. Settles and Mr. Purdon on April 15, 2013, a contradiction that ACF leadership seems unwilling or unable to explain, despite my continuing requests for an explanation.

      5. On June 19, 2012 in response to my First Mandated Report, Mr. Purdon, the US Attorney for North Dakota wrote, “the United States Attorney’s Office in North Dakota shares your concern for the safety of Native children as can be seen in our strong track record of prosecuting and convicting the hands-on perpetrators of abuse and neglect on the reservations in North Dakota.” When I read those words I was impressed and hopeful

      Hopeful, that is, until I reviewed the record of charges filed, indictments sought, plea deals made, trials and convictions for child sexual abuse originating from the Spirit Lake Reservation and could find only 2 cases in the last 25 months. I have been told that in most recent years there have been on average 50 cases of child sexual abuse per year reported, investigated and confirmed by child protection workers on Spirit Lake and referred to the FBI or US Attorney’s office for criminal investigation and prosecution.

      That dismal record of only two cases of child sexual abuse from Spirit Lake in a 25 month period can be explained best, I believe, by the alleged rape of a 12 year old little girl who had just turned 13 on September 29, 2012, who was home alone when a 38 year old male friend of her mother’s stopped by and raped her. (This account of what happened to this little girl was provided by an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Nation.) She called the police who, when they responded were given the alleged rapist’s name, address and physical description. BIA police did not take a rape kit. BIA police did not question the suspect for three weeks at which time he told them that, “She wanted to have sex with me. What was I supposed to do?” It was bad enough that the BIA police swallowed this line but so did the FBI and US Attorney Purdon. When statutory rape occurs in this manner with such an age discrepancy and these are the standards applied to determine whether to prosecute or not, it is remarkable that any child sexual abuse cases made it into Court during the last 25 months.

      On February 27, 2013 US Attorney Purdon made the following statement, as told to me by an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Nation who attended that Hearing, in a public meeting on the Spirit Lake Reservation, “Many of Sullivan’s allegations are just false.” Since he had never communicated such a view to me or to my sources, I immediately, that day, requested by email that he give me the courtesy of identifying which of my allegations were, in his words, “just false”. Now almost ten months later I await the documentation of his otherwise slanderous, self-serving characterization of my Reports.

      6. Both the BIA and US Attorney claim in many public statements that every allegation I have surfaced has been investigated. When I use the term “investigated” here, I assume this means that interviews with complainants and witnesses have been conducted, evidence has been gathered, reports filed with an appropriate supervisor and a determination made, based on that record, whether to recommend further legal action. I also assume that records of each investigation would be available for review by an appropriate independent, properly qualified reviewer.

      I have listed below ten possible crimes reported to the BIA and US Attorney which, if they have been investigated, that has been done privately without the benefit of interviewing those who were responsible for filing those complaints.

      Why has there been no investigation of my 14 month old complaint filed against FBI Special Agent Cima?

      Why has there been no investigation of the 15 month old charges of Domestic Violence against BIA’s Senior Criminal Investigator at Spirit Lake by his wife?

      Why has there been no investigation into the destruction of the Incident Report completed by the CI’s wife in the Devils Lake Mercy Hospital Emergency Room after a particularly vicious beating at the CI’s hands in mid-August, 2012 by the former Director of the Spirit Lake Victim Assistance Program?

      Why has there been no investigation of the complete and total failure of the state, FBI and BIA to investigate charges that were credibly brought several years ago against each of these entities?

      Why has there been no investigation into the withholding of critically needed intensive rehabilitative services from several Spirit Lake children who have been sexually abused and severely beaten? If the purpose of preventing these children from gaining access to this therapy is to prevent the names of their predators who damaged these children from being revealed to professionals who have a legal obligation to make this information known to law enforcement, is this obstruction of justice? If it is, the entire leadership of the BIA Strike team should be indicted.

      Why has there been no investigation into the Spirit Lake school system’s retaliatory actions against two mandated reporters – firing one and giving the other a letter of reprimand, simply because they were attempting to help a young child having difficulties in his foster home placement?

      The Tribal Elder who observed two little boys engaging in anal sex in her yard called police immediately when she observed this behavior. No one in law enforcement took her statement. She tried to tell her story at the February 27, 2013 Hearing but she was shushed by US Attorney Purdon, the BIA leadership and all those on the platform. The US Attorney did say publicly he would speak to her privately after the Hearing concluded. He did not. Nor did anyone from his office take her statement. Why has there been no investigation into this complete failure of law enforcement in this particular case at Spirit Lake?

      One day later, on February 28, 2013, these same two boys were observed by two little girls engaging in oral sex on a Spirit Lake School Bus. The little girls reported this to the bus driver, their teachers and the school principal. All of these supposedly responsible people said and did nothing about this incident. None of them filed a Form 960 as required. Why has there been no investigation into the failures of these adults to fulfill their responsibilities? What else are they failing to do?

      Why has there been no investigation of the decision to place a four month old, previously meth-addicted infant in the unsupervised full time care and custody of her meth-addicted mother. The mother had been required to complete a lengthy drug treatment program with periodic, unannounced testing to make sure she was still not using. She never completed that treatment program and refused to take any tests during it. Despite these facts this infant was returned to her full time care and custody by the Tribal Court.

      Why has there been no investigation of the unexplained removal of a child from her mother’s home without cause in December, 2012, the perjured, sworn testimony of the BIA Social Worker self-identified as Gabrielle who swore that she had sought kinship care but could not find any kin willing to take this child. This child’s aunt is Ms. Molly McDonald, former Tribal Judge and one of my sources, and her grandfather is Leander McDonald, current Tribal Chair. Neither was contacted by this or any other BIA social worker. When this child was finally returned in April, 2013 her mother was told that she was prohibited from speaking to her aunt, my source, Ms. Molly McDonald. Why is the BIA resorting to such tactics? Is there some fear that the truth might emerge?

      All of the information in these accounts of possible criminal activity which has not been investigated at Spirit Lake have been provided by sources who are enrolled members or former employees with close ties to a large number of enrolled residents of Spirit Lake.

      The bias reflected in all of these non-investigations at Spirit Lake may well rise to the standard set by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in their decision in the Oravec case.

      7. On June 27, 2013, a meeting was convened in Bismarck, ND in the offices of Scott Davis, Indian Affairs Commissioner for the state of North Dakota. The meeting was attended by Mr. Davis, congressional staff from the offices of the two senators and one representative and a delegation of enrolled members from the Spirit Lake Nation, including several Elders, former Tribal Judges, a former Tribal Chair and several former Council members.During the meeting Mr. Davis made several derogatory remarks about me and the Reports I had been filing. Mr. Davis has never made any attempt to me to speak with me or to discuss my Reports with me.

      Ms. Molly McDonald, a former Spirit Lake Tribal Judge challenged Mr. Davis on his derogatory remarks about me. She said, “I have never met Tom Sullivan but he is the only fed we trust. After more than five years of complaining about conditions at Spirit Lake to tribal, state and federal government officials who did nothing in response to our complaints, he is the only one who returned our calls. What is in his reports are our stories told to him by us, faithfully recorded and reported by him. Tom Sullivan is the only one we trust in government at any level.” I am not aware of any response from Mr. Davis to Ms. McDonald.

      Mr. Davis is a good example of those who have libeled and slandered me. They have never met me and apparently have not read my on-line bio available at the ACF Region 8 web site. Clearly most have done little more than skim thru my 13 Reports about Spirit Lake, if they have done even that. None have sought me out to discuss the basis for my strongly held opinions about the unacceptable treatment of so many Native American children at Spirit Lake. For many, like Mr. Davis, those children seem to be an after-thought.

      8. I believe the highest obligation for every adult, whether working for government or not, who is aware of this situation is to insure the safety of those children who were abruptly removed from safe, off-reservation placements and returned to on-reservation placements in many cases to the full-time care and custody of known sex offenders where they were available to be raped daily as well as those children placed in unsafe homes in the care of addicts and abusers as a result of decisions made by BIA, TSS and Tribal Court.

      The leadership of my agency has instructed me that my belief that the safety of those children is paramount in this matter does not reflect the policy position of either my agency or my department. Despite my request for the Agency’s and Department’s policy in these circumstances, no one in that leadership has provided any information on what that is.

      From what my sources and I have experienced during the last 18 months the highest priority of the state, the FBI, BIA as well as other federal agencies has been to silence us, to label us as liars, as incompetents not qualified to identify the abuse of a child, to minimize the seriousness of this situation with their fabricated, self-serving claims. Among those claims are, “It’s a new problem.”; “This problem arose because the Tribe lost the person responsible for filing their forms.”; “If those whistleblowers would shut up everything would be fine.”; “Everything is fine.”; “They are making great progress.”; “You are expecting too much progress too quickly.”; “They are working hard.”; “it’s all fixed.”; “We’re doing a great job for kids.”; “You are not a subject matter expert.”

      None of these claims were true when spoken. None are true now.

      If that self-serving approach were held by those who served on the Grand Jury that indicted Jerry Sandusky on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, there would have been no indictments. It would have been decided that none of the witnesses against Sandusky were credible because Jerry would have told the Grand Jury all of those witnesses were lying and they would have believed him.

      Are the children of State College, PA more deserving of protection from child rape than the American Indian children of Spirit Lake, ND? If not, why the lengthy delay in rescuing the children of Spirit Lake from their rapists?

      It appears that every agency involved with Spirit Lake has elected to follow a path that leaves young, defenseless children in the full-time care and custody of addicts and sexual predators rather than getting these children into safe homes as quickly as possible. In doing this, these agencies and their actions track the same path followed by the leadership of both Penn State and the Catholic Church when these organizations sought to protect their institution’s reputation by covering up the rape of children. I believe such an approach is wrong, disastrous for those children and with the capacity to do significant long term damage to the reputation of the agencies involved.

      If your son or daughter were in the full time care and custody of known addicts and rapists and had been for more than a year, would you agree with those public agencies which wished to study the issue to determine what course of action to follow, knowing the study would take another year? Or would you demand that your children be removed immediately from the care and custody of addicts and rapists and that those same addicts and rapists be indicted for their crimes?

      9. Almost a month ago a good friend and supporter of mine sent me an email recounting a conversation she had just had with a congressional staff member by the name of Kenneth Martin who works for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. Apparently, Mr. Martin had a quite strong reaction when my name came up during their meeting. I understand Mr. Martin to have said, “He no longer has that job.” “It would be illegal to prohibit him from filing Mandated Reports.” “Mr. Sullivan is a liar and that would be proven in a hearing.”

      Mr. Martin has never attempted to speak with me. He has never sent me any written inquiries about my Reports. If he has copies of them, I doubt that he has spent much time in reviewing them. I can only assume his comments were driven by prior conversations with Washington, DC staff from BIA, DOJ or my own agency. Wherever they come from, he has made slanderous statements about me.

      I still work for ACF as Regional Administrator in Denver.

      I also believe prohibiting me from filing Mandated Reports is an illegal act. I trust he has initiated a congressional oversight investigation into this matter to determine whether there is a factual basis to proceed to indictments.

    I would be pleased to appear before the US Senate Indian Affairs Committee if I were subpoenaed, placed under oath and asked to answer any questions about conditions at Spirit Lake. Then we would know who the real liars are.

    Thomas F. Sullivan
    Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver