Nov 222011
 

Washington DC Teach-In:

The goal of our meetings throughout the week in DC was to let people know what we are about and to invite them to the

Dr. William Allen, Emeritus Professor, Political Science, MSU and former Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1989),

Dr. William B. Allen

Teach-in on Friday. We had wonderful speakers lined up for the event, including a mom who is on the verge of losing her daughter – a little girl of LESS than 1% heritage.

After years of practice, we’ve finally figured out that taking four days to visit Congressional offices is way to go. Monday, we focused on the Hart building, with some in Dirksen. Tuesday, Rayburn. Wednesday, Russell and Dirksen, and Thursday, Cannon and Longworth. LOTS less running around and back and forth, and we were able to take time to bop into various extra offices in between the scheduled meetings. We’ll make this into a science yet – (well, I suppose it was already made into an art by lobbyists long ago)

Sarah and I had four meetings scheduled the first day, Monday. While listing names and associations might seem dull, I want to give you all the information so you can make personal decisions about whether or not to contact someone. If you would like me to write more about my poor choice in motel, having to spend $30 in taxi fees a day just to get to a Metro station, or what it is like to ride the underground metro after the taxi driver letting you off tells you that he would never allow his mother to wait at this particular station alone, just let me know.

We began our day with Kawe Mossman-Saafi in Senator Inouye’s office. Senator Inouye (Hawaii) is on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) as well as the ‘adoption caucus’ – the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA). The meeting with Ms. Mossman-Saafi went well. She had been unaware of these things happening to children under the Indian Child Welfare Act, was very kind and interested, and agreed something needs to be done.

We next met with Kathryn Hitch in Senator Crapo’s office (Idaho), who is also on the SCIA.  This meeting also went well and she told us she would be coming to the teach-in on Friday.

We had a little time before the next meeting, so we dropped into Senator Bingaman’s office and visited with Casey O’Neil. If you live in New Mexico, please call him and tell him about ICWA. He was very nice but needs some help understanding the issue.

Jayne Davis was the aide for Senator Conrad, ND. (SCIA & CCA) She read up on us before hand and had a good idea of why we were there. She was very friendly and agreed to come on Friday.

We thought we had good meeting with Kenneth Martin and Sarah Butrum in South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson’s office (SCIA & CCA). Although he said there is no stomach in Congress to change ICWA, he assured us that either he or his aide, Sarah, would be at the Teach-in on Friday.

That day we also made unscheduled visits to the offices of Senator Akaka (SCIA & CCA), Lieberman (CCA), Rubio, Barrasso (SCIA), Murkowski (SCIA & CCA), and Franken (SCIA).

The aide for Senator Barrasso (WY),Travis McNiven, was extremely friendly and surprisingly apologetic. He said he had intended to get hold of us for an appointment but hadn’t had a chance. He was glad that we had stopped in and asked us to send him a legislative draft, which I did when I got back to the motel that evening.  Senator Rubio’s aide, Jonathan Baselice was also very friendly.

In all, we went to eleven offices on Monday. At a few of the unscheduled visits, there was no aide to meet with so we briefly explained that the Teach-in is an opportunity to discuss the ICWA problems as a community, and then left some information and an invitation to the event.

We started Tuesday meeting with Michele Bachmann’s staff at 10am. Rep. Bachmann’s office is extremely supportive of our efforts and has said they will co-sponsor legislation that will protect children better. Katie Poedtke was our contact this day, and gave us the list of members of the adoption caucus (CCA), which was great to use for unscheduled visits. Rep. Bachmann co-chairs the CCA.  She is not, however, on the House Subcommittee on Indian/Alaskan Native Affairs (SIANA)

We stopped in at offices for Rep’s Don Young (SIANA), Denny Rehberg, Dan Boren (SIANA), Dale Kildee (SIANA), Ed Markey (SIANA) and Jim Sensenbrenner (CCA).

On Wednesday it was back to the Senate offices. This was our day to meet with Senator Hoeven’s staff.  They had been very helpful in assisting us to set up the Teach-in and were very attentive during our this meeting. Deputy Chief of Staff Ryan Bernstein asked several very good questions about ICWA. Sara Egeland, our contact for setting up the Teach-in, was also at there.

Unscheduled visits included Senator’s Burr (CCA), McCain (SCIA & CCA), Snowe (CCA), Blunt (CCA), Rand Paul, and John Thune (CCA). Per the request of one mom, we made sure to drop a packet of letters for her Senator, Jim DeMint (SC).  He is also a member of the CCA.  I was able to meet with Senator Inhofe’s aide, Ellen Brown, briefly.  Senator Inhofe (OK) is another co-chair to the CCA. Ms. Brown was very nice, as was John Zimmer from Senator Mike Johanns’ office (NE) (SCIA).

The one that surprised me the most was Jackie Parker, from Senator Carl Levin’s office. (MI) (CCA).  She was very glad we dropped in but was in a hurry to another meeting, so asked me to walk with her and tell her more about the issue.  She wants to stay in contact and asked for ideas and potential tweeks to the law.

Senator Coburn’s Chief of Staff, Mike Schwartz was incredibly welcoming. He remembered us from our visit in 2007 and was still just as supportive. Mr. Schwartz urged us to visit Senator Landrieu’s office as well. He said that not only is she a co-chair for the CCA, she is a wonderful person and a good friend of his.  I stopped by her office and picked up contact information for a couple of her aides.

One of our Mom’s flew in Wednesday night with her son. Debra had lost a 2-year old to ICWA a few years ago. So we started Thursday with a meeting with her Senator, Maria Cantwell. (WA) (SCIA). Senator Cantwell’s aide, Paul Wolfe, was wonderful and we look forward to corresponding with him more.

We then visited with Todd Ungerecht, an aide to a Representative from Debra’s State.  Rep. Doc Hastings (WA) is the Chair to the Natural Resource Committee, which the House Indian Affairs is a subcommittee of. He was very good to meet with.

At this point, Sarah took Debra and her son sight seeing, and I went on to my Representative’s office, Rick Berg.  There I met with Danielle Janowski. Rep. Berg’s office has got to be the one most on the ball on Capitol Hill, because they had a Thank You card already in my mailbox by the time I got home.

While waiting for another parent, Johnston Moore, to arrive for a meeting with his Representative, I dropped into as many additional offices as I could, including the offices for Rep’s Benishek (SIANA), Gosar (SIANA), Flake, Thompson, Hunter, Denham (SIANA),  Lujan (SIANA), Hanabusa (SIANA), and Speaker John Boehner. I simply explained that we wanted to start a conversation about what is happening to children and families affected by ICWA as well as leave some information.

The staff person for Representative Kristi Noem of South Dakota was not as welcoming this time as she had been last January.  She basically told me that pushing for a change in the ICWA right now would be too difficult. I was very disappointed as their office had seemed so helpful the last time we had been there.  It is important for us (especially families from South Dakota) to continue speaking to Rep. Noem about this as she is on the SIANA. It could be that the NPR series on ICWA, which aired the very week we were in DC and was very condemning of South Dakota’s foster care system, has frightened them.

We had good meetings in the offices of Raul Labrador (SIANA), Tom McClintock (SIANA), and an interesting one in the office of Karen Bass (Co-chair of the CCA).

By Thursday evening, we had visited the offices of every member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, every member of the House Committee on Indian Affairs, and many of the members of the adoption caucus. I went in to several additional offices as well, just to tell the front desk about the Teach-in, why we are having it, and inviting members of their staff to come – especially if I thought that particular Congressman had a heart for the Constitution.

Now the five of us walked a couple blocks to one of our favorite restaurants, a deli called “Cosi,” and enjoyed getting to know each other a little better.  We’ve spent years talking on the phone and had never before met face-to-face.

Waiting for the taxi to come to take us to Capitol Hill the next morning – my stomach was tied up in knots. “Lord Jesus, please be with us as we speak and interact with our guests. Help us to remember that this is all about you – not about us – and all we want is what You want – to care for the children. Lord, in the name of Jesus, please help us to speak as we ought to speak, with wisdom and grace… Amen”

Friday’s presentation was wonderful. The information given by Dr. Allen, Yale Lewis, Johnston Moore, and the mothers who came to tell their stories, Debra and Melanie, was incredible. I can’t say enough about the compelling effort and testimony given. Please keep Melanie and her family in prayer right now.

Congressman Tim Scott from South Carolina, Senator Hoeven from North Dakota, Congressman Faleomavaega from American Samoa, and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota all sent staff to attend the event. Jayne Davis from Senator Conrad of North Dakota also attended for a short time.  A representative from a national adoption council also attended and was very interested.

There were certain Legislative Aides who were quite interested during meetings earlier this week who had already told us they would be unable to attend. Senator Barrasso’s office, Senator Levin’s office, Senator Inhofe’s office, and Senator Tom Coburn’s office, in particular.

While disappointed in the low turnout, the message was phenomenal and we look forward to sharing portions of the video tape. People who hear the stories are always surprised this is happening to children and supportive of efforts to ensure their best interest. To get the attention of Congress, the rest of America needs to know what is happening. We are discussing ways to use the video tape to get the story out.

We have begun posting portions to YouTube. We also want to make a short version for use in churches and speaking events. The wrap up by Dr. Allen is particularly incredible. If you would like to share the video or portions of it in your area, please let us know. You might be able to decide better after we get a couple more things up on YouTube.  Again – if there is anyone that is able to help with this type of thing, we embrace volunteers.

We Won!!

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Sep 292011
 

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

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

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

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

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

Many blessings,

CONGRATULATIONS for Successful Adoptions!

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Sep 292011
 

TO FIVE WONDERFUL FAMILIES –

Who in the last two months have either successfully completed their adoptions or will be completing them shortly –

To the three awesome families in Texas, one in California, and the beautiful family in Idaho – CONGRATULATIONS!

Please also give a very special thanks to a wonderful attorney who ministered for most of these children in very wise and beneficial ways – as well as Johnston Moore and Andy Reum, two board members who were willing and available to speak to and encourage a couple of the families.

AND a VERY SPECIAL THANKS – To all those who have been praying faithfully for these families as well as the many others who contact us!! God Bless all you awesome prayer warriors!

Indian Children: Citizens, not Cultural Artifacts

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Sep 292011
 

Washington DC, Friday, October 28, 2011

Indian Children: Citizens, not Cultural Artifacts: Supporting the Best Interest of Children –

CAICW will be holdging an ICWA “Teach-In” Friday, October 28, 2011, 9am – 1pm, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Hearing Room, Wash, DC.
The Indian Child Welfare Act was passed in 1978 in effort to help prevent Native-American tribes and families from losing children to non-Native homes through foster care and adoption. Though well-intentioned, the Act is now harming children all across the country as courts and tribes place culture and tribal sovereignty above children’s basic needs for permanency and stability.

Come hear real stories of children whose lives have been impacted by the Indian Child Welfare Act. Listen to legal experts and scholars discuss the constitutionality of an Act that limits placement options and delays permanency for many of our nation’s most vulnerable children.

The sessions will include:

Initial Overview – The Mandate of Congress
a. Enforce the 14th Amendment
b. First, Do no Harm
c. Remedy Past Injustices

Session 1. ICWA is unconstitutional –
a. Dr. William B. Allen, Emeritus Professor, Political Science, MSU, will discuss Cohen v. Little Six; Granite Valley v. Jackpot Junction, Kiowa v. United Technologies, Choctaw v. Holyfield, and more.

Session 2. Congressional Intent –
a. Attorney O. Yale Lewis will discuss the legislative history of the ICWA and the changing history of the federal / Indian relationship.

Session 3. Political Status Claims threaten Citizenship –
a. Panel of affected families will share their family experience
b. Case studies on coerced enrollment will be presented.

Session 4. Cultural Heritage is a Data Point in Adoption Cases, not a Trump –
a. Who Decides when a citizen is an Indian; can race be politically attributed?
b. Restoring best interests of child as a consideration in adoptions.

Keynote: Dr. William Allen – Why We Must Act Now

JOIN US in support of the ‘Best Interest’ of Children — and THANK YOU!!
CONTACT LISA at WRITEUS@CAICW.ORG

Learn More about How ICWA is Hurting Children!

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Aug 222011
 
Thank you for your continued support and prayers!!

Come join us for an ICWA “Teach-in” on FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28th, 9am to 1pm in the Senate Committee for Indian Affairs hearing room in Washington DC.

Dr. William B. Allen will be our main speaker and we expect the information and material offered to be exceptional. Dr. Allen is a Professor in Political Science, the former Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights under Ronald Reagan, and a strong opponent of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)

Remember – the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW) is the ONLY national organization advocating for families who have lost or are at risk of losing children due to application of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and has been advocating for families since 2004.

Feb 26, 2011— “We need help! This child will be dead in this woman’s hands. We feel the good fight to do what’s right but fear this child will be severely marred.”
April 7, 2011— “I have no were else to turn. My girls and i are in desperate need of help. If there is anyway you can help us please contact me as soon possible day or night…”
May 18, 2011—”our kids were taken yesterday. The pain is difficult to bear. We love these kids so much. This will be there third family placement since coming into foster care almost 2 years ago.”

ALL are welcome to come join and support us there. Come on Wednesday prior and spend a couple days visiting with the offices of your Senators and Representatives – and invite their staff to come attend the Teach-in!
Please share this post with friends and relatives that might be interested!

Also – We have SAMARITAN Discount cards available for sale to help with expenses  😉
Contact LISA at administrator@caicw.org if you would like one or would like a few to share some with friends!
Twitter: http://twitter.com/CAICW ( @CAICW )

DONATIONS NEEDED for Teach-in expenses! Thanks!!! 🙂   – Click this Link for direct donations to CAICW, a 501c3 non-profit

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WE NEED HELP!

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Jun 072011
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washington DC, January 2011

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Apr 122011
 
Dr. William B. Allen

This was by far the best visit to DC that we’d had yet. Our group, including parents from New Mexico, Wisconsin, Virginia, and S. Dakota, began Monday, January 24th with a meeting with Dr. William Allen, Emeritus Professor, Political Science, MSU, who broached the question as to whether the ICWA was intended for the best interest of the child or the best interest of the tribe. How is it being interpreted and enforced? He reminded us that tribal governments are accountable to Congress, which has plenary power over them. He then asked, “Has Congress, in passing the ICWA, taken the position of Pontius Pilate” – and essentially washed its hands of these children?

We can’t allow Congress to do that. We, as families, have been helpless before this law. Many families have had little opportunity to protect themselves or their children. This is about Constitutional rights – our Equal Protection.

Senator-elect John Hoeven

Senator-elect John Hoeven

We next met with the Chief of Staff for Senator Hoeven (R-ND), Don Larson, and his assistant, Kaitland. Senator Hoeven has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. (SCIA). Mr. Larson felt this issue was something the Senator could “move forward” with.

We also met with Katherine Haley, Assistant to Policy for Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH). She said that the speaker holds great importance to protecting families and that the Speaker can get behind this. She told us to push for committee hearings and reminded us that federal policy and oversight is a touchy subject.

While some of us were visiting the Speaker’s office, others visited with Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), who is also a member of the SCIA. Those who visited his office were not confident that he would be helpful, and aides to Senator Kohl (D-WI): kept referring us back to the tribes, saying everything is up to them.

Aide to Rep Berg (R-ND), Patrick Buell, was very interested and said he would talk to a staffer friend of his on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs – and he did. The friend called on Wednesday, February 3rd and was encouraging. He thought new hearings might be possible – if the new Chairman agreed.

Some of us began Tuesday, January 25th, with a meeting with Gary Bauer, of American Values.org. He urged us to find one person in the House and one in the Senate who will make this issue their cause – who will see it as an opportunity to become a real reformer. He also encouraged us to find a new Governor who isn’t afraid to make this issue a priority.

We next met with Clay Lightfoot, aide to Senator Coburn (R-Ok). Senator Coburn had been a long standing member of the SCIA up until this year when he was moved from the committee. Still, his office has had an interest in this issue over the years. Their interest continues despite having been moved from the committee.

Fern Goodhart, aide to Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), also on the SCIA, was less encouraging. She said there was little that can be done as the issue is up to the tribes and the Committee.

Rep. Kristi Noem’s office, (R-SD), was very welcoming and interested. We met with her aide, Renee Latterell. Brand new to Congress, Rep. Noem is a Teaparty conservative who has been assigned to House Committee on Resources and its subcommittee on Indian Affairs. Renee was VERY encouraging and said they would like to help.

Rep Michelle Bachmann’s aide, (R-MN), Reneee Doyle was also very kind and helpful. We told her that my children and grandchildren are all enrollable with the Minnesota Chippewas Tribe, and that the State of Minnesota had made it much more difficult for families such as ours when they passed a law three years ago forbidding judges to even consider whether or not a child or family is connected with the tribal community. She said she would do her best to talk to Rep. Bachmann, who is also a foster mom, about it.

On Wednesday, we met with Lea Stueve, aide to Senator Johnanns (R-NE)(SCIA): She wasn’t as encouraging and said that the issue is up to the committee.

John Fetzer, aide to Senator Conrad (D-ND)(SCIA), was very warm and interested. He said that new hearings are worth taking a look at “especially when it affects kids this directly.” He told us to keep in touch with him “if it’s not moving along as fast as you would like.”
Remember – As one Senate Aide told us: we need to get on the phone and preach this: ~ The welfare of children shouldn’t be political; it MUST be about the best interest of the child. We must remove “preference” for tribes and give strength to family. ~

UPDATE – Renee Doyle, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, aide, called two weeks ago and said that she has spent nights thinking about our meeting with her on January 25th. The story that she had heard from one of the mother’s with us had “broken her heart.” She wanted the mother to know that her story had not fallen on deaf ears, and that she was meeting with Don Young’s aide to talk about it. I gave her Dr. William Allen’s contact phone number to get some additional questions answered.

Letters from birth parents, grandparents, foster families, pre-adoptive families, tribal members and non-members can be read at: https://www.caicw.org/familystories.html

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Washington DC, September 2007

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Mar 302011
 

During the first week of September, 2007, a handful of CAICW board members and families traveled to Washington DC to   speak with officials about the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and its affect upon their children. At each meeting, we told of our personal experiences and gave the Officials ten additional letters written by CAICW families specifically for this purpose as well as a list of policy changes that could help to protect children.

On Tuesday morning, Sept. 4, we met with Aide to Senator John McCain, Mr. Nick Martiella. Mr. Martiella seemed concerned about the family situations we presented to him and was interested in the policy changes. He said he’d like to look into it some more.

At noon, we went to the National Press Club, where we were introduced to two women representing the National Congress of American Indians. Cinda Hughes is a legislative associate and Kraynal Alfred is a Communications and Events Specialist. We spent about a half hour together listening to each other’s perspective.

Later that day, we were invited to the Old executive building to meet with a member of the Domestic Policy Council. The DPC is an advisory group to the President. We met at the Old Executive Building, which is part of the White House Complex and had to go through a little more security then we had at other meetings. The Assistant we met with said he would like to work with us and learn more.

The following day, Wednesday, Sept. 5, we met with Mr. Mark Jette, an aide to Senate Committee of Indian Affairs freshman John Tester (D-MT). Walking into the room, Mr. Jette mentioned growing up in Ronan, the town we are from, and made a little small talk in that direction. Mr. Jette had a negative impression of our work with federal Indian policy, so I began by discussing my husband Roland’s heart and the reasons he had gotten involved with Federal Indian Policy issues. Roland had watched many in his family die tragically and violently. After he became a Christian, he came to believe that current federal policy was hurting people more than helping them. He desired to change things for his extended family by becoming involved politically. Mr. Jette remained somewhat cool toward us, but did agree that some of the policy points had merit; specifically our request that it be made clear in ICWA that parents can designate a legal guardian in their Wills.

Later, we met with Tracy Toulou, Director of Tribal Justice at the DOJ. While sympathetic and seeming to wish tribal justice was better, he said that injustice is common in both tribal and state courts. He understood the difficulties with tribal courts, but reiterated that what the CAICW families need are good lawyers.

At 3 pm, we met with Cindy Darcy, who is the aide in charge of ICWA for the Senate Comm. on Indian Affairs Chairman, Byron Dorgan (D-ND). We explained the policy issues we were concerned with and lightly summarized our family stories as illustrations of the policy deficiencies. I also mentioned other examples, such as the Rodriguez boys, who without warning were taken from their Latino grandparents and given to their Ute grandmother only to suffer severe abuse because they were speaking Spanish. Ms. Darcy took lots of notes and agreed to put the folders we had prepared into the separate mailboxes for each Senator on the committee. Each folder consisted of the letter to Senator Dorgan outlining the policy issues along with footnotes supporting them, copies of the ten stories sent to us by ten separate families, a CAICW brochure, and a CAICW newsletter from the summer of 2006 outlining a few other family stories as well as some of the work CAICW has been doing.

By far the best meeting was with the last one for that day, with Brian Treat, aide to Senator Colburn (R-OK). Right off the bat, he asked if he could bring in his Chief of Staff, Michael Schwartz, because “he is interested, too.” This meeting lasted for over an hour. Mr. Schwartz thought the policy points were common sense and obtainable. They look forward to working with us on this issue. He also advised us to make alliances with adoption agencies and churches.

Our last meeting was Thursday morning at the DOI – Bureau of Indian Affairs, with Stephanie Birdwell. The BIA is unable to change policy; they only regulate it. However, in that function, there are things they can do. Tribes are awarded AFA’s – Annual funding agreements – to run their judicial systems. If there is documented evidence that the compact for the AFA isn’t being administered properly, the AFA can be dropped. If this is an action that needs to be taken, Local people need to be the legs to gather the necessary information.

Press Release that went out August 28, 2007:

CHILDREN, DISCRIMINATION AND THE INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT

Children’s Lives Destroyed by ICWA

Across America, children that have never been near a reservation nor involved in tribal customs are routinely being removed from homes they love and placed with strangers chosen by tribes.

Though proponents of the ICWA argue that the act has safeguards to prevent misuse, scores of multi-racial children are being negatively affected by application of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

Over decades, numerous tribal members have married non-members and moved off the reservations. Many chose to leave because they didn’t want their children raised amid the dangers rampant in Indian Country.

However, ICWA authorizes tribal jurisdiction over any child who is a member of a tribe, or eligible for membership and the biological child of a member. Tribal governments determine their own membership and most require only 1/4 blood quantum, The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma goes further and claims jurisdiction over any child with ancestry tracing back to the Dawes Rolls no matter how minute the blood quantum. Making matters worse, some states have recently passed laws barring courts from considering whether a child or his family have any real connection to the tribe. As a result, the following occurs:

“.. it was discovered she (the birthmother) is 1/128th Cherokee. That makes my son 1/256 or .0039% Native American and 99.9961% not…. His mother…was very adamant about the Cherokee Nation NOT raising her child and the court records show this. In April of 2006, we were notified of the Cherokee Nation’s intent to take us to court and remove our son from our home… Since then, we have been in a constant state of panic…”

Any emotionally healthy child, no matter their heritage, is devastated when taken from home and forced to live with strangers. Even children of 100% tribal heritage are devastated if they’re taken from non-tribal families they love and placed with strangers they know nothing about.

The Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW) is the only national organization advocating for families who have lost or are at risk of losing children due to misapplied and sometimes illegal application of the ICWA. The CAICW will be at the National Press Club at 12 noon, Tuesday, September 4, 2007, with affected families sharing about this growing problem.

Letters from birth parents, grandparents, foster families, pre-adoptive families, and tribal members themselves can be read at (https://www.caicw.org/familystories.html )

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Encouraging letter from Adoptive Mom:

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Dec 262010
 

Stock Photo - Kids successfully adopted, now siblings

Stock Photo - Kids successfully adopted, now siblings

All identifying information has been  removed

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 12:56:10 -0500 (EST)

To: administrator@caicw.org

Dearest Lisa,

I wanted to drop you a note the let you know we won our court case against the tribe …. We went to court in Aug. 2009 and in Sept. the judge ruled that the kids should stay with us. But, of course the tribe appealed his decision the day before the deadline… The State Court of Appeals heard the case… this year and ..they affirmed the judges decision. … It cost us $10,000.00 and a lot of worry but we are finally proceeding with the adoption. Our family would like to thank you so very much for your organization and all the help it provides families like ours, without the information on your web site I don’t know if our lawyer could have made such a good case using other state case law. You provide an invaluable service to children hurt by ICWA and God will lead you to do even better things. I received your newsletter yesterday and vow to get as many signatures as I can to sent back to you. I wish I could do more but I will pray for you everyday. If you want to know more or if there is anything I can do from here… please contact me. Our family is forever in your debt. Again, thank you for all you do, and have a Happy Holiday, WE WILL.
Sincerely,
– a very happy MOM

We’re on Facebook!

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Dec 222010
 

 

http://www.facebook.com/fbCAICW.org

http://www.facebook.com/fbCAICW.org

We have now set up a Facebook Page for the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare.

Harmful Indian Law affecting children and Families in both USA and Canada – Read the letters from birth parents, grandparents, foster families, pre-adoptive families concerning their multi-racial children who are being negatively affected by the sometimes illegal misapplication of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

Though proponents of the ICWA argue that the act has safeguards to prevent misuse, scores of multi-racial children are being negatively affected by application of ICWA. Across America, children that have never been near a reservation nor involved in tribal customs are routinely being removed from homes they love and placed with strangers chosen by tribes.

As most of our friends know – my husband Roland and I began CAICW org prior to his passing in 2004. For several years now, as we have moved from Alberta to Montana to North Dakota, and as I have been dealing with the raising of several teenagers on my own, I have been unable to give CAICW my full attention. However, we have continued to receive many letters from families in need of help and the board and I have attempted to support and encourage them as best we can with what little we had.

Now we are organizing a lobbying trip to DC in January, where we will meet with Gary Bauer of the American Values or, Dr. William Allen, the former Chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights, Senator Tom Coburn’s staff, and many more.

Please read the stories of various families at https://www.caicw.org/familystories.html.   If you have time to help me update letters – as well as the website itself – please let me know.

1. Jn 3:16 – God so Loved the World, that he gave his only begotten son..that all might live. Jn 14:1-14 Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life…

2. CAICW: Christian Ministry as well as Family Advocacy, is interested in the total well-being of the individual and Family.

3. CAICW: only nat’l org advocating for families who have lost or are at risk of losing children due to misapplied and sometimes illegal Indian Law.

Letters from Families: https://www.caicw.org/familystories.html


Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christian-Alliance-for-Indian-Child-Welfare/105558148606

Home Website: https://www.caicw.org

Facebook “Cause:” http://www.causes.com/causes/537834

CAICW – Christian Evangelism and Ministry – Gal. 2:10, “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”

Dec 212010
 

At 7 am, Wednesday Dec. 15th, my 18-year-old son, Timothy, and I

Senator-elect John Hoeven

Senator-elect John Hoeven

 headed out to Bismarck to meet with Sen. Elect Hoeven’s Chief of Staff, Don Larson at 11 am. Although the sky was cloudy, the roads were clear. About half way into the trip, I became a little concerned as light flurries began. But the weather report indicated things should get better, so we kept going. From there, the roads varied between light snow-pack and wet. About an hour later, as I topped a slight hill, the bright red brake lights of a semi truck confronted me. Stepping on my brakes, our car began to slide on slick black ice. Pumping and counter turning, it began to fishtail. Not wanting to go into a spin, I avoided the semi and let us skid into the ditch.

Timothy says he’s just glad he wasn’t the one that was driving.

About a half mile ahead of us, a mini-van had spun out of control and flipped. To avoid hitting it, a semi jack-knifed and blocked the road. A second semi managed to stop, and that’s the one we came up behind.

I got out of our tiny Saturn, which was deep in snow and now pointing back east, and went to the road to wave the cars coming up the hill to slow down. Several drivers, seeing the wreck ahead of them, thought traffic would be stuck there for a couple hours. I have to admire North Dakota response. The police and a sanding dump truck took only minutes to arrive. The dump truck immediately assisted in moving the semi and managed to get it off the road. A path was cleared for traffic to move in less than fifteen minutes. It was amazing.

Unfortunately, we, the only car in the ditch, weren’t among the vehicles leaving.

By the time we were pulled out, it was too late to make the meeting. But I had called by quarter to and made arrangements for a conference call the next day.

So what of all the prayers people were praying for us concerning the meeting that day? Timothy and I are fine. The car is fine. Considering we could have ended up a fixture on the rear of a semi, that’s answer to prayer.

And – prior to the call the next day, I had a chance to relax and go over in my mind what I wanted to say… what I wanted Senator Hoeven to gain from this meeting.

I began by introducing myself and giving him my background as the wife and mother of enrolled members of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.

I stated the issue concerning us, and then said, “While the Indian Child Welfare Act is embraced by tribal government, it has hurt many multi-racial children and families across the United States.”

I then quoted from a parent letter, told him a couple stories, and went on from there. I had talking points in front of me, and was able to go point by point quickly and easily. No stuttering, no flusters. Mr. Larson was attentive and kind.  The call went very well. I followed up with an email to him, thanking him for the call and attaching additional information for him, including our legislative draft.

Hmmm… Maybe I should do all our meetings by conference call…

Thanks so much for your support!

To help spread the word – Please also share these important links:


Letters from Families: https://www.caicw.org/familystories.html


Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/fbCAICW.org


Home Website: https://www.caicw.org


Cause page: http://www.causes.com/causes/537834


TWITTER: http://twitter.com/CAICW


EMAIL: administrator@caicw.org

.

UPDATE TO: “They just took my baby after 3 years…her sobbing is forever etched in my soul”;

 Comments Off on UPDATE TO: “They just took my baby after 3 years…her sobbing is forever etched in my soul”;
Dec 092010
 

From Lisa Morris
Administrator
Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW)

UPDATE!  November 18, 2011

Friday One Year Ago: – A 3-year-old girl was taken from the only home she knew and loved and placed with strangers – extended family who had never bothered to visit her or get to know her.  Her adoptive parents fought for her in court and experts said she would be traumatized by the forced move, but the court decided that was okay and moved her anyway.

Almost five months later, on APRIL 13TH, the adoptive parents got a call to come and get their little girl right away.  There was a problem, and she had to be moved from the home she had been placed in.  They left immediately, driving a couple hours to get her.  When she saw them, she ran into their arms and said she was ready to go “home” – “Can I go home?” she asked –  Adoptive mom wept – but daughter held her tears until after they had left the building, then wept freely.  The people she had been with had told her that her adoptive parents were wolves, and would eat her –

Fortunately, she wasn’t physically hurt during the five months. But she was, indeed, emotionally traumatized.  She was NOT okay.  She had been told there were monsters in the closet who would come eat her if she cried, and she reported that she had been locked in a storage shed.  She was only three so it’s still hard to say what actually happened, but it is known that things were not well – as evidenced by the emergency request by social services for the adoptive parents to go after her.

TODAY – A YEAR TO THE DAY she was taken from them  – the Adoption was finalized and no one can take her away again!

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION  – Kids of tribal heritage need protection EQUAL to any other child in the U.S. – PLEASE sign this White House Petition.  If we can get 25,000 signatures by mid-December, the White House will review the petition and give a response!

Children such as the child in this story have no voice – there are many organizations advocating for ICWA, but no other national organization advocates for Children and families who, although U.S. citizens, do NOT have the right to say “No” to tribal government.  Please help by bringing their needs to the attention of those who can change the law.

It is a little complicated to sign this petition – it is on a White House Website and Lord knows they can’t make anything uncomplicated.  But we need your help to do this – Please click the below link, register, and SIGN this petition and ask others to as well!  – Thank you!

http://wh.gov/bvZ

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_________________________________________________________________

Event Took Place Friday, November 19, 2010

Dec. 9, 2010

CAICW Friends;

An adoptive mother made her first contact with CAICW on Facebook about 1am Saturday morning, November 20, 2010, only hours after she had lost her little girl…

“They just took my baby after 3 years…her sobbing is forever etched in my soul. She wanted us to save her and we couldn’t..devastated.”

She then wrote to friends:

“Please sign this petition..the despair on her face pushes me to help destroy this law. She didn’t want to go and was looking for us to protect her and we couldn’t…I can’t remember ever feeling so worthless.”

Saturday, November 20th, 2010, was National Adoption Day. On this day, a small girl, denied the right to be adopted by the only mother she’d ever known, spent the first day in her memory in foster care, frightened and alone amongst strangers. She was denied the right to be adopted solely because of her heritage. In America, having even a small bit of Indian heritage can mean not having the same rights and opportunities for adoption that other children receive.

Saturday, November 20th, was also her adoptive mother’s birthday. Her mother wrote on Facebook, thanking her friends for their love and prayers, and said that the best gift was people signing the petition.

We will be taking the petition with us when visiting Congress in DC at the end of January. The purpose of the Petition is to show Congressmen that people are concerned about this law and want it changed to reflect the best interest of children, not government expediency. We want to the rights of parents and children respected. We encourage families that have been affected by ICWA to join us.

If you aren’t able to join us in DC, I urge everyone to obtain the legislative drafts we have available and talk to as many of your US Senators and Representatives and you can, as well as you legislators on the State level. We need to be pushing our representatives on both the federal and state levels to pass protective legislation for these children. No more pretending that what they have decided to do with children of heritage is acceptable or even constitutionally legal.

Finally – CAICW needs financial support. Please help us to:

* Stay in Contact with Families,
* Publish the Newsletter,
* Research Case Law,
* Update & maintain the CAICW.org Website,
* Develop a legal Defense Fund,
* Continue to Educate Federal and State Officials,
* Educate the Community through Facebook and Twitter,
* Speak to and Connect with family-oriented Organizations

All Children need to feel safe. Help CAICW to Advocate, Educate, Assist, & Defend.

https://www.caicw.org/pleasedonate.html

– Please see these sites for more information, and please share these important links:

Read Letters from Families: https://www.caicw.org/familystories.html


How You Can Help: https://www.caicw.org/HowYouHelp.html

Follow CAICW on TWITTER: http://twitter.com/CAICW

Join CAICW on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fbCAICW.org

EMAIL: administrator@caicw.org

Thank you all for your prayers and support –

Lisa Morris
Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW)
PO Box 253
Hillsboro, ND 58045

CAICW – Christian Evangelism and Ministry – Gal. 2:10, “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”

“They just took my baby after 3 years…her sobbing is forever etched in my soul..”

 Comments Off on “They just took my baby after 3 years…her sobbing is forever etched in my soul..”
Nov 202010
 

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Friends of a family that lost their 3-yr-old to the ICWA law Friday night are  signing and sharing CAICW’s online petition to rescind the Indian Child Welfare Act. CAICW has gotten dozens of new signatures in the last 24 hours.

The adoptive mother had made her first contact with CAICW on Facebook about 1am Saturday morning, only hours after she had lost her little girl….

“They just took my baby after 3 years…her sobbing is forever etched in my soul. She wanted us to save her and we couldn’t..devastated.”

She then wrote to friends:

“Please sign this petition..the despair on her face pushes me to help destroy this law. She didn’t want to go and was looking for us to protect her and we couldn’t…I can’t remember ever feeling so worthless.”

Saturday, November 20th, was National Adoption Day. On this day, a small girl, denied the right to be adopted by the only mother she’d ever known, spent the first day in her memory in foster care, frightened and alone amongst strangers. She was denied the right to be adopted solely because of her heritage. In America, having even a small bit of Indian heritage can mean not having the same rights and opportunities for adoption that other children receive.

Saturday, November 20th, was also her adoptive mother’s birthday. Her mother wrote on Facebook, thanking her friends for their love and prayers, and said that the best gift was people signing the petition.

I pray for God’s miraculous intervention right now, even though things seem impossible. Please pray with me. Thanks –

– Please see these sites for more information, and please share these important links:

Read Letters from Families: https://www.caicw.org/familystories.html

ICWA Case Law: https://www.caicw.org/caselaw.html


DonateNow

Follow CAICW on TWITTER: http://twitter.com/CAICW

EMAIL: administrator@caicw.org

CAICW – Christian Evangelism and Ministry – Gal. 2:10, “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”

Hurting from ICWA? Help now on Facebook – CAICW

 Comments Off on Hurting from ICWA? Help now on Facebook – CAICW
Oct 252010
 
Follow CAICW on Twitter  
 

Though proponents of the ICWA argue that the act has safeguards to prevent misuse, scores of multi-racial children have been hurt by misapplication of the Indian Child Welfare Act. These children and their families need encouragement, prayer, and legal help. The biggest way for all of us to help these families is to spread the letters posted on caicw.org (https://www.caicw.org/familystories.html) and let the rest of America know what is going on.

Please help us by sharing the cause!


CAICW is the only National organization advocating for families faced with loss of their children do to what amounts to a racial law. Our advocacy is both Judicial and Legislative as well as being a prayer resource for the families and a shoulder to cry on.

I’d like to encourage families to come to CAICW’s facebook page, where they can connect with other families and discuss, encourage, share insights, share case law, share names of possible attorney’s, and pray for each other.

If you know families hurt by ICWA, please share this.


We are also currently organizing a trip to DC for January, 2011 where we will meet with Gary Bauer of the American Values org, Dr. William Allen, the former Chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights, Senator Tom Coburn’s staff, and many more, to let them know of the problem, advocate for the families, and discuss initiatives that will protect these children. Join US!


Thanks so much for your support!

To help spread the word – Please also share these important links:


Letters from Families: https://www.caicw.org/familystories.html


Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/fbCAICW.org


Home Website: https://www.caicw.org


Cause page: http://www.causes.com/causes/537834


TWITTER: http://twitter.com/CAICW


EMAIL: administrator@caicw.org
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FaceBook Cause – Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare

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

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

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

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

http://www.causes.com/causes/537834
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To Those that Love an ICWA Child:

 Comments Off on To Those that Love an ICWA Child:
Jun 112010
 

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– I am one of those –

– that person you are afraid of. That person with whom children were placed, not because I could handle them, not because I even knew them …

In fact, my abilities, emotional stability, and character were never a factor at all. My husband was their grandfather. That’s all that mattered. No one from the tribe or the court ever talked to me about whether I could handle four more kids on top of my own five. No Guardian Ad Litem called to chat. No one seemed to care whether I could do this or not.

The Tribe did finally send a couple women over to do a “home study,” but that was a good year or more after they had already placed the kids with us. That was the first, and last, time anyone checked on our home.

And they didn’t even check the bedrooms. If they had, they would have discovered that not all the kids had their own beds. In fact, not all the kids even had bedrooms. We used two of our shops storage rooms for some of the kids.

No, the two tribal “social workers” who flew in from another state and who we were told would spend two days with us, chatted with my husband for about an hour, then asked how to get to a local attraction. They were anxious to get started with their paid vacation. We were happy to give them directions and be finished with the faux “home study.”

That was it. Never saw them again.

So…our family knows first hand what it takes to be one of our tribe’s “acceptable” Indian homes.

How did it turn out? I’d like to say that we became the Brady Bunch. But it’s not that simple.

In some ways, at various points of time, we did great. There was love, laughs, and kindness, along with the stress, sibling rivalry, and melt downs. The four kids, all under 7 when they arrived, started calling us Mom and Dad, just as our first five did, and all the kids, most of whom were the same age, began referring to each other as brothers & sisters.

But our lives were far from story book (Or even TV series). The reality of the effects of alcohol exposure, crack exposure, and neglect on the four wove through all of our lives. It’s one thing if a family is trying to help one child get through this kind of storm. It’s quite another when one is trying to help four without training, support, or resources – while trying to raise your own five young children at the same time.

Yup. The tribe mandated the ICWA thing, and then left us hanging.

Why did I do it? Why didn’t I just say “No?” Again, because of ICWA. I had seen the conditions in which my husband’s nephews, nieces and other grandchildren were being made to live. I knew that even though I was on the edge of losing my mind, our home was still better and safer than any other that the tribe might choose. I couldn’t turn these four away to that kind of life. Believe it or not—as much as I felt like a basket case on my better days and the wicked witch on my worst, our home was truly the best these children would get in an ICWA placement.

And we had Jesus Christ to lean on, and a wonderful, loving, large church family. Without these, I truly might have lost my mind.

Three years after my husband was given custody, he was diagnosed with cancer. Four years later, he passed away. Through all those hard years, church brothers & sisters practically carried us.

After he passed, though, is when real troubles began. It was as if a dam of emotions, pent up and waiting, suddenly exploded. Some of it was the grief of birth children, some the impulse of teen-agers. The hardest though, was the eruption of FAE angst and the familial predilection to alcoholism as children entered adolescence one by one.

Today the storm is over. Only four of the nine are still minors. At this point in our story, despite years of trying to teach the children the dangers of drugs, all is not well.

Just last week, I gave custody of one of the grandchildren to the county in order that he be able to get the mental health help that he needs, as well as for the protection of the other children still in the home. I did this because the two grandchildren that had thus far reached adulthood have returned to the birth family—as well as the destructive family lifestyle. I now needed to change how I was doing things in order to prevent the same outcome with this child.

I just wish I had fully realized years ago how necessary trained help was, so that the other two might have benefitted as well. (By the way, through correct interpretation of the law, as we explained it to the judge, this particular custody transfer was deemed non-ICWA.)

Long story short—Contrary to the belief of Congress and one-sided, tribal government testimony, the “best interest of the child” does NOT require a relative placement or even an Indian placement.

As much as many tribal leaders want society to believe that all children of heritage are “theirs” and have a “connection” to tribal culture that will crush them if broken, it’s just not true. To some people such things matter, to others, it doesn’t.

My birth children and grandchildren, for example, would be crushed if forced to live on the reservation. My Children may be 50% Indian, but they have been raised in much safer, loving communities than the reservation community in which they are enrolled. Living on the reservation would have destroyed them.

Further, most children aren’t “just” Indian. Ours are also Irish, Scottish, German and even Jewish. All their heritages are equally important. Most children of tribal heritage have other, equally important heritages, and they are all US citizens who should be constitutionally given Equal Protection. Meaning – contrary to common practice today, enrolled children should not be left in conditions that children of any other heritage would be removed from. They are not mere chattel—a means for additional funding— for tribal governments.

Many children, after suffering abuse and neglect, need real help, and several tribal governments are negligent in that they place them into situations where they can not get it.

Time and again I have seen children placed by their tribe into violent, verbally, physically, and even sexually abusive, drug infested homes. I have seen little or no attention given to the emotional and mental health issues these children have had. That isn’t to say that no tribal governments care—it’s just to say that I, having lived in this particular extended family for 30 some years, haven’t seen it.

ICWA, in all our family experience, is a crime against children.

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