Lloyd Omdahl: No demonstrations for Native Americans

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Sep 082020
 
Reveals result of tribal government corruption

[CAICW Note: While Mr. Omdahl is correct concerning the extent of corruption, protest demonstrations by Native Americans will NOT make a difference. This was already done for many years and included occupations of Alcatraz, Wounded Knee and the BIA building in DC. All that these protests did was cause the death of several people and give certain powerful tribal leaders even more power through underhanded corruption involving federal officials – resulting in increased tribal corruption, oppression and abuse of tribal members. The protests did NOT improve quality of life for a large number of tribal members. In fact, things have only gotten worse.
… What needs to happen is for Americans across the board to demand a genuine end to federal sanction, encouragement and empowerment of tribal government corruption.]

Written By: Lloyd Omdahl | Jun 17th 2020

Native Americans in North Dakota have been experiencing the same discrimination as the African Americans now demonstrating across America.

Hundreds of North Dakotas went to the streets to support African Americans even though we have only a few in the state. It was a demonstration of compassion worthy of the state.

In North Dakota, we shouldn’t think about the suffering of minorities without remembering that we have hundreds of Native Americans with grievances to redress.

In their recent demonstrations, the African Americans were fortunate in that they have been able to focus on a problem that was clearly identified. When it comes to Native Americans, our exploitation and their needs are general, making them difficult to rally societal support.

American Indians in North Dakota are faced with crisis living from the cradle to the grave. Their longevity is years behind whites; their educational system is second class; they experience chronic health problems; they are ill-prepared for off-reservation jobs.

And tribal councils fester with corruption, some highly paid and drawing double salaries, first as council members and second as economic development board members, or casino board members, or any other board that can be utilized. As they are feasting at the trough, their constituents are suffering all of the ailments of a Third World country.

If State Auditor Joshua Gallion was ever allowed on the reservation to identify the corruption in tribal operations, he would never be seen again. He would find at least 50 irregularities on each of the four reservations.

Patronage is still a big problem. Doreen Yellow Bird of the Fort Berthold Reservation once mourned about the rampant nepotism on reservations: “Employing people who support them allows leaders to stay in tribal government positions. Nepotism is hobbling program directors and law enforcement officers.”

And there is a worse kind of patronage in the form of foster care payments, patronage that has ended up with the deaths of several children in the past few years, one just weeks ago.

The problem involves the Indian Child Welfare Act that requires that foster children be returned to the tribe even though white foster parents have provided them with education, medical care and love that would not be available on the reservation.

And why would the tribe exercise the option of demanding children back? Why, Cousin George or Aunt Isabell needs the monthly stipend that goes with foster children. So children get passed around as patronage.

Writing in the Washington Post, the highly respected George F. Will called it “the blood stained Indian Child Welfare Act,” citing the case of a Methodist minister in Bismarck having to give up Indian foster children on the demand of the Spirit Lake Sioux, only to have one of them killed when a grandparent threw the child down an embankment.

Reservations are a curse for Native Americans who are not a part of the ruling cliqués. They are run like Central American republics, with the largesse consumed by a few at the top, and constituents who have little to say about tribal living.

All of the white man’s treaties should have been printed on toilet paper so they could have served some useful purpose. The promises were never kept. The most relevant one today is the assurance that the federal government would provide health care. Despite the chronic ailments suffered by Indians, federal health care was underfunded from the start.

Through the years, we have had study commissions, investigations, meetings with governors and senators, but nothing much has happened. To really solve problems will require money, and there will be no money until Native Americans can deliver huge demonstrations.

In the meantime, discrimination and deprivation on reservations will continue.

READ MORE: https://www.inforum.com/opinion/6538262-Omdahl-No-demonstrations-for-Native-Americans

Lloyd Omdahl is a political scientist and former North Dakota lieutenant governor. His column appears Sundays.

The Philosophical Underpinnings and Negative Consequences of the Indian Child Welfare Act

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Oct 212019
 
The Philosophical Underpinnings and Negative Consequences of the Indian Child Welfare Act - https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/masters/591/

By Elizabeth S. Morris

A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Helms School of Government in Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Arts in Public Policy

https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/masters/591

‘Although the ICWA has some statutory safeguards to prevent misuse, numerous families continue to be hurt by the law.’

Preface

My husband and I began our lives together in a symbiotic alcoholic-enabler relationship in the late 70’s. With our family on the edge of self-destruction in 1987, my husband, an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, born and raised on the Leech Lake reservation, had a transformational experience which changed his worldview and led him to take our family in a new direction. 

Having watched many of his relatives suffer within the reservation system, he began to see reservation violence and crime as an outcome of current federal Indian policy more than it was about past policy. This led us to forming an advocacy in the late 90’s for families hurt by federal Indian policy.  We did our best to share hope and life, as inadequate as we were, by assisting extended family in our home, neighbors in our community, and strangers across the nation. We never did it for money; there was never any money. Everything we did came from passion for the lives of our children, nieces and nephews, and extended communities.

Unfortunately, reservation crime, corruption, drug abuse and violence have continued to increase over the years. My husband has since passed away and I am a widow, continuing the work we had begun in 1996.

This thesis compiles some of the documented history, philosophy, and consequences of federal Indian policy. It also includes a preliminary quantitative causal comparative survey with 1351 participants – 551 of whom identify tribal heritage – and explores the relationship between differences.

We serve a powerful God with whom all things are possible.  Our job is to serve in the capacity He has given us, even if we do not understand why, and then enjoy watching what He does next. 

Abstract

This paper will examine the philosophical underpinnings of current federal Indian policy and its physical, emotional, and economic consequences on individuals and communities.

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission found in 1990 that “[T]he Government of the United States has failed to provide civil rights protection for Native Americans living on reservations” (W. B. Allen 1990, 2). As Regan (2014) observes, individuals have been denied full title to their property – and thus use of the property as leverage to improve their economic condition (Regan 2014). Tribal executive and judicial branches have been accused of illegal search and seizures, denial of right to counsel or jury, ex parte hearings and violations of due process and equal protection (W. B. Allen 1990, 3). Violence, criminal activity, child abuse and trafficking are rampant on many reservations (DOJ 2018). Largely because of crime and corruption, many have left the reservation system. The last two U.S. censuses’ report 75% of tribal members do not live in Indian Country (US Census Bureau 2010).

Research suggests current federal Indian policy and the reservation system are built on philosophies destructive to the physical, emotional and economic health of individual tribal members. This paper contends that allowing property rights for individual tribal members, enforcing rule of law within reservation systems, supporting law enforcement, and upholding full constitutional rights and protections of all citizens would secure the lives, liberties and properties of affected individuals and families.

Introduction

For almost 200 years the U.S. federal government has claimed wardship over members of federally recognized Indian tribes.  Yet, despite the nineteenth century U.S. federal court rulings that propagated this view, disagreement continues as to whether tribes located within the United States are sovereign, whether Congress has plenary power over them, and whether individual tribal members have U.S. Constitutional rights: 

  • Some say the nineteenth century U.S. Supreme Court cases known as the ‘Marshall Trilogy’ contradict tribal sovereignty.  Others say they uphold it.
  • Some say treaties promise a permanent trust relationship. Others point out that most treaties have clearly specified final payments of federal funds and benefits and were written and signed with clear intent for gradual assimilation.
  • Some say the Constitution never gave Congress anything more than the power to regulate trade with tribes. Others claim the Constitution not only gave Congress total and exclusive plenary power to decide every aspect of life in Indian Country – but by unstated extension, gave the executive branch this power as well.
  • Some argue that the Constitution never had authority over tribes or tribal members. Others cite the Constitution when seeking judicial redress. 
  • Some tribal officials argue that international law should not have been forced upon non-European cultures that had no say in it. Others point to natural law and international law – the grounds for treaties between nations – as basis for uninterrupted tribal sovereignty.

Inherent, retained tribal sovereignty was reality for tribal governments prior to the formation of the United States and in the immediate years following its birth, but is not reflected in case law from the 1800s and much of the 1900s. By the time of Andrew Jackson, the United States had taken a position of control. Further, over the last two centuries, the vast majority of tribal leaders accepted large payments for land, accepted federal trust benefits, and submitted to federal government’s de facto power over them.   

Throughout history and every heritage, various men have coveted power over others.  Today, tribal governments, while accepting and playing into Congress’ claim of plenary power, have themselves, also, claimed exclusive jurisdiction and authority over unwilling citizens. Tribal governments regularly lobby and petition both Congress and the White House to codify tribal jurisdiction over the lives, liberty and property of everyone within reservation boundaries as well as some outside reservation boundaries.  While claiming exclusive jurisdiction, tribal governments have requested and given blessing for the federal government to manage children of tribal heritage – asking Congress to write the Indian Child Welfare Act and the executive branch to write federal rules governing the placement of every enrollable child in need of care. Some tribal governments and supportive entities have gone further – asking even governors and state legislators to expand on and strengthen control over children with heritage.

Often cited as justification for the ICWA is a 1998 pilot study by Carol Locust, a training director at the Native American Research and Training Center at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.  Locust’s study is said to have shown that “every Indian child placed in a non-Indian home for either foster care or adoption is placed at great risk of long-term psychological damage as an adult” (Locust, Split Feather Study 1998).  Referring to the condition as the “Split-feather Syndrome,” Locust claims to have identified “unique factors of Indian children placed in non-Indian homes that created damaging effects” (Locust, Split Feather Study 1998).  The Minnesota Department of Human Services noted “an astonishing 19 out of 20 Native adult adoptees showed signs of “Split-feather syndrome” during Locust’s limited study (DHS 2005).

“Unfortunately,” according to Bonnie Cleaveland, PhD ABPP, “the study was implemented so poorly that we cannot draw conclusions from it.” Only twenty adoptees with tribal heritage – total – were interviewed. All were removed from their biological families and placed with non-native families. There were no control groups to address other variables. According to Cleaveland:

Locust asserts that out-of-culture removal causes substance abuse and psychiatric problems. However, she uses no control group. She doesn’t acknowledge the high rates of trauma, psychiatric and substance abuse among AI/AN people who remain in their culture and among the population of foster children. These high rates of psychosocial problems could easily account for all of the symptoms Locust found in her subjects 

(Cleaveland 2015).

Cleaveland concluded, “Sadly, because many judges and attorneys, and even some caseworkers and other professionals, are not familiar with the research, results that may be very wrong are leading to the wrong outcomes for children” (Cleaveland 2015).  While supporters of ICWA cite “Split-feather Syndrome” as proof the ICWA is in the best interest of children, many children have been hurt by application of the law. 

Questions that need more extensive study include whether children who were adopted into non-Indian families as children show greater problems with self-identity, self-esteem, and inter-personal relationships than do their peers.  Are the ties between children who have tribal heritage and their birth families and culture stronger than that of their peers, no matter the age at adoption?  Other considerations include whether all tribal members support federal policies that mandate their cases be heard only in tribal courts and whether a percentage of persons of tribal heritage believe federal Indian policy infringes on their life, liberty and property.

 The central concern of this paper is how current federal Indian policy has affected the lives, liberty and property of those who have tribal heritage – most specifically the Indian Child Welfare Act.  Through research of the historical foundations of federal Indian policy and a nation-wide comparative survey of family dynamics, this paper will attempt to answer these and other questions.

READ FULL TEXT – https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/masters/591

Citation

Morris, Elizabeth S. The Philosophical Underpinnings and Negative Consequences of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Master Thesis, Helms School of Government, Liberty University, Lynchburg: Digital Commons, 2019, 337.  

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Weingast, Barry R. “The Economic Role of Political Institutions: Market-Preserving Federalism and Economic Development.” The Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 1995: 1-31.

White House. “Documents related to the Indian Claims Commission.” Documents 1973-77, Bradley H. Patterson Files, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Washington DC, 1973-77, 18.

Wilkinson, Charles. American Indians, Time, and the Law: Native Societies in a Modern Constitutional Democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967.

Wilkinson, Charles F., and John M. Volkman. “Judicial Review of Indian Treaty Abrogation: As Long as Water Flows, or Grass Grows upon the Earth–How Long a Time is That.” California Law Review 63 (5 1975): 601-661.

Wilson, James. “Of the Natural Rights of Individuals.” Founding.com: A Project of the Claremont Institute. 1790-91. http://founding.com/founders-library/american-political-figures/james-wilson/of-the-natural-rights-of-individuals/ (accessed 4 8, 2019).

Woodward, Stephanie. “Suicide is epidemic for American Indian youth: What more can be done?” 100 Reporters. Oct 10, 2012. http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/10/14340090-suicide-is-epidemic-for-american-indian-youth-what-more-can-be-done (accessed July 27, 2016).

Worcester v. Georgia. (US Supreme Court, 1832).

Appointed to Congressional Commission on Native Children

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Jun 202018
 
Opening doors. Commission on Native Children

Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children

On Monday, May 21, 2018, Elizabeth Morris, Chairwoman of the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare, was appointed by Speaker Paul Ryan to the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children. We deeply appreciate and thank him for opening this door. It is an opportunity to communicate the experience and wisdom of a large demographic of persons of tribal heritage whose views are rarely surveyed or acknowledged.

The Commission has been tasked with conducting a comprehensive study of Federal, State, local, and tribal programs that serve Native children, including an evaluation of

(A) the impact of concurrent jurisdiction on child welfare systems;
(B) the barriers Indian tribes and Native Hawaiians face in applying, reporting on, and using existing public and private grant resources, including identification of any Federal cost-sharing requirements;
(C) the obstacles to nongovernmental financial support, such as from private foundations and corporate charities, for programs benefitting Native children;
(D) the issues relating to data collection, such as small sample sizes, large margins of error, or other issues related to the validity and statistical significance of data on Native children;
(E) the barriers to the development of sustainable, multidisciplinary programs designed to assist high-risk Native children and families of those high-risk Native children;
(F) cultural or socioeconomic challenges in communities of Native children;
(G) any examples of successful program models and use of best practices in programs that serve children and families;
(H) the barriers to interagency coordination on programs benefitting Native children; and
(I) the use of memoranda of agreement or interagency agreements to facilitate or improve agency coordination, including the effects of existing memoranda or interagency agreements on program service delivery and efficiency.

We appreciate your prayers for this commission and its work.

COMMISSION ON NATIVE CHILDREN’S DECEMBER 2019 PRESS RELEASE

NATIONAL COMMISSION ON NATIVE CHILDREN HOLDS FIRST OFFICIAL MEETING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 27, 2019
CONTACT: Carlyle Begay, asbwsnc@gmail.com

The Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children will conduct a comprehensive study of supports for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children

[Washington, D.C., November 2019] – The Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children, established by Congress, held its first official meeting from October 30-November 1, 2019. The bipartisan Commission is the vision of former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who provided opening remarks along with Tara Sweeney, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Comprised of 11 individuals specializing in juvenile justice, social service programs, Indian education, and mental and physical health, the Commission will conduct a comprehensive study of the programs, grants, and supports available for Native children at government agencies and in Native communities. They will then have three years to issue a report containing recommendations to address the challenges currently facing Native children, with the goal of developing a sustainable system that delivers wraparound services to Native children.

Native children (including American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children) suffer from health and well-being challenges at a much higher rate than their non-Native peers, often experiencing trauma that impacts their ability to learn, thrive, and become resilient adults. Resources and supports for Native children are currently inappropriate, insufficient, or limited by bureaucracy so that they are ineffective. The Commission has a unique and historic opportunity to fundamentally change the trajectory of Native children for the better. In her opening remarks, Senator Murkowski said to the Commissioners, “The Commission can address education issues and childhood trauma in a more holistic way…Sometimes it doesn’t take a lot of money to give a child support, love, and care.” Former Senator Heitkamp added, “I want the Commission to give us hope that things can change and that we can do better. You are the ‘Hope Commission’…Collect and rely on data and research, and lead with your heart; it will take you where you need to go.”

The Commissioners are excited to take on this charge. Gloria O’Neill, Chair of the Commission and President/CEO of the Cook Inlet Tribal Council in Anchorage, Alaska, stated, “We are looking forward to moving the needle on positive outcomes for Native children. We have a great opportunity as there is great alignment in Congress and our partners in the federal government to get things done.”

Over the next couple of years, the Commission will be holding hearings in and reviewing documentation from tribal communities throughout the country to hear from Native children, their families, tribal leaders, and community members. The Commission will also
hear from respected researchers and experts as they consider their recommendations. The first public hearing of the Commission will be held in Arizona in March 2020.

The Commissioners of the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children are:

Gloria O’Neill (Chair)
President/CEO, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.
Alaska

Tami DeCoteau, Ph.D. (Co-Chair)
DeCoteau Trauma-Informed Care & Practice, PLLC
North Dakota

Carlyle Begay
Former State Senator
Arizona

Dolores Subia BigFoot, Ph.D.
Director, Indian Country Child Trauma Center
Oklahoma

Jesse Delmar
Director, Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety
Arizona

Anita Fineday
Managing Director, Indian Child Welfare Program, Casey Family Programs
Minnesota

Don Atqaqsaq Gray
Board Member, Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation
Alaska

Leander R. McDonald, Ph. D.
President, United Tribes Technical College
North Dakota

Elizabeth (Lisa) Morris
Administrator, Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare
North Dakota

Melody Staebner
Fargo/West Fargo Indian Education Coordinator
North Dakota
###

(Video) The Implications of Native American Heritage on U.S. Constitutional Protections

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Apr 142017
 
child abuse

Three-yr-old Lauryn Whiteshield was murdered a little over a month after her arrival to her grandfather’s home in the spring of 2013.
This twenty minute video examines the effect of federal Indian policy on the lives, liberty, and property of U.S. citizens across America.
Although the last two U.S censuses show that 75% of tribal members do not live within Indian Country and many have never had any association with the reservation system, federal policies mandate tribal government jurisdiction over individuals of lineage in several areas.
1) Across America, children who have never been near a reservation nor involved in tribal customs – including multi-racial children with extremely minimal blood quantum – have been removed from homes they love and placed with strangers. Some children have been severely hurt in the process.
2) Women victimized by violence can be denied the option of county court, regardless whether they believe justice cannot be obtained in tribal court.
3) Further, the Department of Interior holds title to the property of millions of individual tribal members. Adult citizens are not allowed to sell or use their property as collateral without permission.
This study looks at the practical impact and documented repercussions of policies that, based solely on a person’s lineage, set limitations on what they may do with their lives, children, and property.

Please share this with your friends.

PLEASE also share with YOUR Congressmen. MANY of them take a stand on all kinds of things – from orphans in Russia to immigrants and refugees from overseas. DEMAND that they take a strong stand for children in the United States – CITIZENS subject to abuse by a law they – Congress – created and MUST remove.

Most especially – share your thoughts on this video with the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs – Senator John Hoeven.

Find your State’s Senator and Congressmen here:
https://www.senate.gov/
https://www.house.gov/

Thank you – and PLEASE Share….

Learn More.

https://DyingInIndianCountry.com

https://www.facebook.com/CAICW.org/

Declared “Sanctuary” for Children Running from ICWA –

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Feb 202017
 
sanctuary

Over the years, we have seen so many distraught families – panicked over what was happening to their children, unsure what to do to protect them, and unable to get help.

Many times, especially in light of the new ICWA rules and guidelines published by the Obama admin in 2016, …there has been little a family could do.

Watching several families struggle at this current time, we have come to a decision:

Whereas, up to half of Americans believe sanctuaries from federal law are a good and reasonable necessity – where people, fleeing oppression from their home nation, can hide from federal law that would send them back to that home nation;

And Whereas; most American citizens believe federal laws that target, isolate, and separate children and families on the basis of heritage are unconstitutional and should not be allowed;

And Whereas, for decades in America, many Christian church buildings have served as sanctuaries, and while there is no law defining a sanctuary or mandating it be respected, the federal government has often declined to enter and forcibly remove people from a declared Christian Sanctuary;

And Whereas, federal authorities have shown their willingness to ignore state and federal law for the last two years when they declined to enter the Cheyenne River Reservation to remove two little girls who were taken from North Dakota by their non-custodial mother when their non-tribal fathers were granted legal custody; and federal authorities have also shown their willingness to ignore federal law in several cases during the 1980’s when Guatemalan illegal-immigrants sought sanctuary in various church buildings around the country;

And Whereas; many children of tribal heritage, even in teen years, have expressed their desire to stay with their chosen families and not be uprooted by tribal governments, but were ignored by tribal, state and/or federal officials;

And Whereas; many birth parents have objected to tribal jurisdiction over, or involvement in, their families, and have made it clear they do NOT want their children on the reservation or their custody case heard in tribal court, but were ignored by tribal, state and/or federal officials;

And Whereas; many extended family, of varied heritages, have had children removed from them by tribal officials for no other reason than that the tribal officials did not like that branch of the family, or the family was non-Indian, or there were friends or family of tribal officials that wanted the child;

And Whereas; there are many documented instances of tribal courts practicing corruption and nepotism in their choice of homes for children, despite clear evidence of harm to children in those homes;

And Whereas; an untenable number of children have been sexually abused, seriously injured or murdered as a result of placement in homes under the Indian Child Welfare Act;

And Whereas; there is solid legal argument concerning the unconstitutionality of the ‘Indian Child Welfare Act,’ and Justice Clarence Thomas intimated as much in his concurrence in the case, “Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl;

And Whereas; once a child has been placed in the custody of a tribal government, particularly within reservation boundaries, it can be extremely difficult to remove the child;

The Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare does hereby from this day forward declare itself a ‘Sanctuary for Children and Families Threatened by the Indian Child Welfare Act.’

Families will need to show:

1) It is in the child’s clear best interest to remain with them; or that while best interest might yet be unclear, the child needs more time for all aspects to be studied and for true best interest to be made clear; and
2) They are in imminent danger of being forcibly removed by tribal authorities and/or local police under the direction of tribal authorities.
3) They intend to tirelessly work a plan of action to prove and win the best interest of the particular child or children;
4) Understand the CAICW sanctuary they would stay in is a Christian home – where Jesus Christ is Lord.

Lastly, we fully respect President Trump’s position concerning federal funds – and can proudly guarantee we will not be requesting or requiring any federal funds for this Sanctuary.

Families can contact us by messenger or email.

PLEASE – share this message freely.

__________________________________________________

– – Those who object to this and see things from a progressive perspective can explain why they feel it is okay for sanctuaries to shield people of some heritages from some federal laws, but not people of other heritages from other federal laws.

– – Those who see things from a conservative perspective and object to any instance where a person is shielded from federal law… We can only beg your understanding that these children are American citizens, and the federal law in question does not provide equal protection. Please ask your Senators and Congressman to act quickly on repealing this law, so that no child of tribal heritage will need a sanctuary.

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:

    [gview file=”https://caicw.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/MU-Tom-Sullivan-Termination-Decision-5-6-16.pdf”]

    Apr 082016
     
    BIA Issues Devastating ‘Anti-Family’ ICWA Rules

    I speak not only as the Chair of a national non-profit advocating for the rights of families who have chosen their own political affiliations and disengaged from Indian Country, but as the birth mother and grandmother of enrollable citizens.

    As many of you know, on Monday, March 21, 2016, a 6-year-old girl of 1/64 Choctaw ancestry was taken crying from her home by social services, placed in a car, and driven to another state.

    To date, her removal has caused the biggest reaction from America as dozens from within her community gathered around her home in prayer – and then personally witnessed her removal in tears. Hundreds of thousands more watched video clips of the event online and cried with them, knowing this little girl – who is not Indian in the eyes of most Americans – was removed from her home solely because of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

    Many Americans already knew that our paternalistic federal Indian policy has been hurting tribal members. But in witnessing the pain of a child such as 6-yr-old Lexi, America awakened to the truth that federal Indian policy is hurting citizens of all heritages. What most Americans still don’t know is the extent of hurt. They don’t know there are dozens of children across the country right now facing the same situation Lexi faced – if not worse. In fact, the Cherokee Nation alone has admitted it has over 100 attorney’s targeting over a thousand children across the nation.

    ICWA has been around long enough for a generation of children victimized by this law to have grown up. Some former ICWA children are speaking out – saying that due to the forced transfers, they unfortunately grew to hate the reservation. This is the opposite of the purported intent of the law – but should have been expected given the way so many children have been treated under it.

    After all – our children are NOT chattel and children of tribal ancestry are NOT cookie-cutter replicas of each other. Nor are they any different from any other child in the United States when ripped from the ones they love.

    This should be common sense, but for some reason, a large number of people are willing to believe racist rhetoric to the contrary. Unfortunately, many of those people are within federal government and have control over federal Indian policy.

    America – as we all know – is angry with the lack of common sense in our federal government. We are angry over rouge and corrupt bureaucracies, mismanaged funds, lack of protection for U.S. citizens, and inaction by Congress – all of which are evident in the BIA, HHS and DOJ’s protection of tribal sovereignty over the rights and needs of children.

    These federal agencies were at the NICWA conference in St. Paul, Minnesota this first weekend in April – celebrating a Memorandum of Understanding between the agencies to enforce the ICWA against our families as well as the formation of a national database on our children which would identify them as property of a tribal government should anything happen to us – their parents. We have tried to bring this process to your attention several times in 2015, but to this date, no one has stopped it.

    How many more Lexi’s must be hurt before Congress moves to protect our children from the insanity?

    • On December 3, 2014, U.S Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to give permanent jurisdiction of multi-racial children across the nation to Tribal Governments. In reference to the Indian Child Welfare Act, he stated,

      “…We are partnering with the Departments of the Interior and Health and Human Services to make sure that all the tools available to the federal government are used to promote compliance with this important law.” And “… because of the foundation we’ve built – no matter who sits in the Oval Office, or who serves as Attorney General of the United States, America’s renewed and reinforced commitment to upholding these promises will be unwavering and unchangeable; powerful and permanent.”

    • The BIA is on the verge of implementing new ICWA rules making it almost impossible for dissident enrollable parents to protect their children from tribal governments. https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/03/20/2015-06371/regulations-for-state-courts-and-agencies-in-indian-child-custody-proceedings
    • The ACF under the HHS has recently proposed a rule (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/04/07/2016-07920/adoption-and-foster-care-analysis-and-reporting-system ) that would place our children on a national database. Our children are NOT chattel for tribal governments and DC officials – and should not be monitored on a database based on an aspect of their heritage. U.S. citizens have a right to choose or refuse political affiliation – as well as protect their children from forced political affiliation based on racist mandates.
    • Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sam Hirsch spoke at the NICWA conference in St. Paul this last weekend and reiterated Attorney General Holder’s threat concerning permanent control over our children and grandchildren. He stated,

      “… To this end, the three departments represented here today have been engaged in extensive interagency collaboration to promote compliance with ICWA. We’ve been talking at all levels – from staff on the ground and in the regions, to the folks on this stage, to our bosses – about how we can creatively use the authorities and resources that each of our agency has to assess and promote compliance with this important federal law. And we’ve taken steps to make sure that this effort lasts beyond our time, by formalizing the agreement to continue this interagency collaboration. Just this past week, our three agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding, in which we commit to work together on these issues, and in particular, to regularly meet as an interagency workgroup.”

    • Director of Tribal Justice, Tracy Toulou has told us directly on several occasions over the last 15 years that the U.S. Department of Justice is to protect tribal governments, not individual citizens.
    • The DOJ appears to have looked the other way when the Cherokee Nation refused to allow a father to voluntarily relinquish his membership and that of his daughter. (in Matter of M.K.T., C.D.T. and S.A.W., 2016 OK 4.) …This – while tribal governments continually claim their right to discriminate is due to political affiliation, not race.

    Our Federal government has literally made the decision to protect tribal sovereignty at all cost – even at the cost of our children.

    Many families of heritage, knowing the rate of child abuse, crime, and even murder on their reservations, have in the last few decades moved away from Indian Country. According to the last two U.S censuses, 75% of persons eligible for tribal membership do not live in “Indian Country.” As more families left, tribal leaders – panicked by declining membership – pushed Congress for increased control over children of heritage.

    This includes children who are multi-heritage – with one of their parents being totally non-tribal, children who have never been near Indian Country, and even children whose only connection is one dissident great-grandparent who purposefully left the reservation system decades ago. All that matters to the federal government is whether the tribe itself believes the child is enrollable. Individual citizens are being robbed of choice – forced into affiliation based on heritage.

    Some tribal governments, as evidenced by the proposed BIA rules and the NICWA conference in St. Paul, demand complete control over our children. Some have been extreme enough to refuse to allow the kids to live in foster homes off the reservation – even if there is no safe home available on the reservation.

    Documentation of this abounds. There have been at least two federal studies/hearings held on abuse within Indian Country in the last three years. Regional Director for the Administration of Children and Families, Mr. Tom Sullivan has also documented the resultant placement of children into homes of known child abusers and sex offenders. There have also been known deaths of children after having been placed in dangerous homes.

    Mr. Sullivan reported this multiple times to his DC superiors, who told him to cease reporting it, and when he refused, recently began the process of firing him.

    Again, America is fed up with officials who don’t do what they were hired to do. Mr. Sullivan is one man who was honestly attempting to do what he was hired to do – protect the children in Indian Country – and he is on the verge of losing his job because of it.

    Despite documented deaths of children and mass exodus from Indian Country, Federal government consistently looks the other way while tribal leaders claim to speak for everyone – asking Congress for additional funds and increased control over our children. We understand it is easier to look the other way. But that’s not what we want from our government.

    America is angry with DC’s ‘business as usual” and the lack of common sense.

    The bottom line is, tribal leaders, NICWA, NARF, the NAIC and Casey Foundation do NOT speak for every person of heritage, nor do they know what is best for every individual child of heritage – no matter whether that child is 100% or 1%. Despite claims of looking out for youth, the reality is tribal leaders have a vested financial interest in maintaining control over our children.

    Our Congressmen need to put children before politics.

    • Rescind the Indian Child Welfare Act – which will then do away with the need for draconian rules by federal agencies.
    • Protect an honest and brave public servant – whistle-blower Tom Sullivan.
    • Finally – end the practice of funding tribal governments based on enrollment. Stop putting a price on our children’s heads. – Recognize that treaties did NOT promise everlasting funding. In most cases, treaties promised funding for only twenty years. If the demand is that treaties be upheld – then uphold the twenty-year limit.

    Crime and corruption didn’t end just because Jack Abramoff went to prison. Crime and corruption are never made better and can never be made better by giving those responsible for the crime and corruption more money and power.

    Mar 202016
     

    URGENT PRAYER: A little 6-yr-old girl was torn from her home Monday, 3/21/16 – taken from the only home she has known and loved to be placed with strangers.

    This is due to the Indian Child Welfare Act – which pushes the false and racist notion that children of even a small amount of heritage are somehow different from other children – and do not bond, love or thrive in homes outside of Indian Country.

    Tribal governments – which receive more federal money per head – claim it is in the genes.

    This racist notion is pushed by media and even our Congress – although no such gene has been shown to exist – and despite testimony of myriad children, adults, and families of heritage across the nation that they are content, happy and thriving in their homes outside of Indian Country.

    Many families have left Indian Country because they DO NOT want to be chattel for tribal governments.
    – The family of the author of this post is one of them.


    Sign petition here:
    https://www.change.org/p/keep-lexi-home
    Read More Here:
    https://www.facebook.com/saveourlexi/

    .

    Defender of Abused Children about to be fired by DC Superiors for refusing to shut up about rampant sexual abuse –

     Comments Off on Defender of Abused Children about to be fired by DC Superiors for refusing to shut up about rampant sexual abuse –
    Mar 162016
     
    Sunset on the Rez

    Whistle-blower Thomas Sullivan, the one HHS/ACF official who has stood up against the rampant sexual abuse on many reservations, is about to be fired by his DC Superiors.

    They have come up with several accusations against him, but if you have followed his work and the threats they have made against him over the last three years – you know that all he has ever done is defy their orders to shut up about the overwhelming abuse of children, and release his reports to the public when his DC superiors ignored them.

    Tom Sullivan - Regional Administrator ACF

    Tom Sullivan is a hero – working to protect our children fromleaders who simply use and abuse them for purposes of power and money.

    The following is the latest letter – a 6 page list of accusations from his superiors…

    On the last page, you see a handwritten note from his superior that says;

    Employee refused to sign document before having an opportunity to review it.
    Mishaela Duran 3-10-16

    (Why shouldn’t a man be allowed to review a document before he signs it?)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-1

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-2

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-3

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-4

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-5

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-6

    SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN – Endemic on Many of our U.S. Indian Reservations –

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    Nov 162015
     
    Spirit Lake Town Meeting, February , 2013

    On Nov 22, 2013, Mr. Martin, below, senior aide to Senator Cantwell, made several disparaging remarks concerning ACF Regional Administrator, Thomas Sullivan.

    In a rant, Mr. Martin said Mr. Sullivan no longer had his job, Mr. Sullivan lied about his mandated reports, and a hearing would prove the lie. Mr. Martin also accused me of “cherry picking” tragedies within Indian Country and said Spirit Lake is a story on its own.

    However, THAT SAME DAY, I was forwarded the email at the bottom of this note. It is an email from ACF Regional Director Tom Sullivan to his superiors. It is timed stamped just three hours after my meeting with Mr. Martin. When shown the letter, Mr. Martin apologized.

    Despite Mr. Martin’s claim in his apology below, he did know who Mr. Sullivan was – as he interrupted me with an exclamation before I had even finished introducing Mr. Sullivan to the conversation. ie: I was in the middle of saying, “Tom Sullivan, Regional Director of the… ” when Mr. Martin cut me off with his initial disparaging statement.

    At any rate – we do need to continue to share Mr. Sullivan’s letter with as many as possible. Most importantly, we need to share it with the new chair of the House Government Affairs committee – ie “Oversight committee” – The Honorable Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

    Mr. Sullivan has repeatedly reported that the ACF, BIA, FBI and US attorney have not been doing their jobs at Spirit Lake and other reservations. They are allowing tragedy to occur despite the pleas of the people living there. We do need our government to investigate Mr. Sullivan’s claims and the claims of others on reservations across our nation. We want that hearing Mr. Martin suggested.

    Yet – two years later, a thorough hearing has not happened and the problems remain – again swept under the rug.

    We need friends from every state to contact their Congressional offices as well as their own State Senators and Representatives, and ask for an investigation of Mr. Sullivan’s horrific claims.


    Further — IF YOU HAVE PERSONAL STORIES CONCERNING SEXUAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE THAT HAS BEEN IGNORED BY FEDERAL AND TRIBAL OFFICIALS – PLEASE REPORT YOUR STORY TO –

    Report.ToOGR@mail.house.gov

    ~ PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS.

    ———————————————–

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: “Elizabeth Morris”
    Date: Nov 22, 2013 10:16 AM
    Subject: Re: Mr. Tom Sullivan’s email concerning Spirit Lake
    To: “Martin, Kenneth (Indian Affairs)”
    Cc: “Thompson, Mariah (Indian Affairs)”

    Thank you for your note, Mr. Martin. I appreciate it.I hope you will also concede at some point that we are not “cherry picking.” It is time to admit the depth of what is happening on many reservations. No more playing politics with the lives of a vulnerable community – let alone vulnerable children.

    My sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews – at the very least – are worth much more than that, (if I can speak personally. It is after all, for personal reasons that my husband and I began this work in the first place.)

    But I will not stop with just our extended family. Too many people have come asking for help.

    We insist that the facts Mr. Sullivan and others have presented be acted upon.

    Thank you again for your response.

    —————

    On Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 8:31 AM, Martin, Kenneth (Indian Affairs) wrote:
    Ms. Morris,

    Thank you for the email. I apologize as I must have misspoke, as I have no information on the issues surrounding Mr. Sullivan and did not intend to insinuate otherwise. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify.

    Kenneth Martin

    —————-

    From: Elizabeth Morris [mailto:administrator@caicw.org]
    Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2013 8:15 PM
    To: Thompson, Mariah (Indian Affairs); Martin, Kenneth (Indian Affairs)
    Subject: Mr. Tom Sullivan’s email concerning Spirit Lake
    Ms. Thompson and Mr. Martin

    Shortly after our conversation concerning Mr. Tom Sullivan of the ACF, I received this email. It appears to address some of the very issues we had discussed.

    Mr. Martin, you had suggested that a hearing would prove Mr. Sullivan had lied. I wonder if it might come to that.

    I would appreciate your comments concerning the below. Thanks –

    —————————————-

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: “Sullivan, Thomas (ACF)”
    Date: November 21, 2013 1:45:05 PM EST
    To: “Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)”
    Cc: “Chang, Joo Yeun (ACF)” , “McCauley, Mike (ACF)” , “Greenberg, Mark (ACF)”
    Subject: Spirit Lake

    Marrianne:

    In the early evening of October 21, 2013, CNN broadcast a detailed and substantive report entitled “Sex Abuse Rampant on Indian Reservation” about the epidemic of child sexual abuse on the Spirit Lake Reservation. That broadcast ran a little more than 6 months after former Acting Assistant Secretary Sheldon’s April 15, 2013 letter to me prohibiting me, in my official capacity as Denver Regional Administrator for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), from filing any more Mandated Reports about child sexual abuse at Spirit Lake. Since that policy applied only to me, I believed it was retaliatory and discriminatory.

    Your refusal to announce this new policy with any of the other 1500 ACF employees across this country is a clear signal to me that I have been singled out for this retaliatory and discriminatory action which, because of your silence, continues to this very day.

    Your continuing exclusion of me from any participation in efforts to address the problems at Spirit Lake is further evidence of retaliation and discrimination.

    Mr. Sheldon’s letter to me was accompanied by letters to the BIA’s Ms. Settles and US Attorney Purdon. Unlike his letter to me, his letters to them were full of high praise for their efforts in addressing the epidemic of child sexual abuse at Spirit Lake..

    Since I had no contact with Mr. Sheldon after October 11, 2012 and since at that time he had made clear his displeasure with my Mandated Reports, and since I had responded to that displeasure with extensive factual documentation of conditions at Spirit Lake, I was surprised by his letter to me. His unqualified endorsement of the efforts of Ms. Settles and Mr. Purdon was and still is shocking, lacking, as it did, any factual basis for the high praise heaped on them. This contrasted sharply with the factual detail provided in my Mandated Reports.

    Believing that Mr. Sheldon must have had some factual basis for the position detailed in his letters to Ms. Settles and Mr. Purdon, I have asked twice for those facts. None have been provided. My emails have been ignored by both you and Mr. Sheldon. I can only presume there are no facts available to justify your position.

    My sources have been complaining to Tribal, state and federal agency leadership for more than five years about conditions at Spirit Lake and the maltreatment of children there. Their complaints have been ignored and continue to be ignored. Their documentation unread and then shredded.

    I have filed 13 Mandated Reports. All have been ignored or characterized as rumors or exaggerations by Tribal, state, BIA, DOJ as well as other federal agencies. Facts and truth mean little to those charged with defending both the status quo at Spirit Lake and themselves. More importantly the safety of abused American Indian children at Spirit Lake appears to have meant even less. As a result of their misleading puffery more than 100 children remain in the full time care and custody of sexual predators available to be raped daily.

    On September 23, 2013, I sent an email to Mr. Sheldon concerning the situation with a young suicidal boy who had fled his foster home. You responded that “Marilyn Kennerson is working with the BIA and tribe to make sure all appropriate measures are being taken to assure this child’s safety.” My sources inform me that nothing has changed for this young boy.

    Claims have been made that every allegation in my Mandated Reports have been investigated. Many of my sources say otherwise because they have not been interviewed by anyone in law enforcement. This claim becomes even harder to believe when the US Attorney for North Dakota has indicted, sought a plea deal or prosecuted only one case of child sexual abuse originating on the Spirit Lake Reservation in the last 25 months. I have been told by experienced child protection workers from Spirit Lake that in a typical year there are, on average, 50 cases of child sexual abuse reported, investigated, confirmed and referred for prosecution. Why has the US Attorney prosecuted only one case of child sexual abuse from Spirit Lake in the last 25 months, a case where the actual sexual abuse occurred between 2007 – 2009. Just learned the US Attorney for North Dakota has filed one more charge of child sexual abuse in the last few days, doubling his numbers for the prior 24 months.

    Law enforcement at every level at Spirit Lake, including the FBI, BIA, Tribal police and the US Attorney have allowed the Tribal Council to determine which criminal activities will be investigated and prosecuted. For confirmation of this fact please review the last page of the Spirit Lake Tribal Council Meeting Minutes for September 27, 2013, attached for your convenience.

    The apparent unwillingness of government at any level to protect the children at Spirit Lake from abuse creates the impression there is a large, unannounced experiment being conducted at Spirit Lake to determine what harm, if any, would be done to abused children who are returned to the care of either their abusive biological parents or abusive foster parents before these parents have completed their court-ordered rehabilitation therapy. But in order for such an experiment to be conducted there would have to be a rigorous research design, with control groups, opportunities for informed consent and extensive data collection. No such safeguards are apparent but children continue to be placed with abusive adults. How strange, all we have is abused children being returned to abusive parents with none of the other elements required for a legitimate research project. Why is such experimentation on these children being tolerated?

    Certainly, no one can claim the hypothesis that abused children can be returned to their abusive homes without harm to those children has been proven. Who is responsible for attempting to prove it at Spirit Lake?

    A perfect example of this experimentation and the Tribal Council’s control of criminal investigation and prosecution at Spirit Lake is the Tribal Court order from 5 – 6 months ago returning to a biological mother her children even though she has been charged with and convicted in Tribal Court of sexual abuse of her children – she was discovered by police in bed having sex with a male friend while all her children, one of them totally naked, were in the same bed.

    The biological mom lives with her children’s grandfather. The children were recently evaluated at the Red River Advocacy Center (RRAC) and it was determined that two of the girls, ages 6 and 7, were being sexually abused by that very same grandfather. The recommendation of the RRAC was that these children were “not to be left alone with the grandfather”. There is a young teenage son in this family who attempted suicide three times before his 14th birthday. The grandfather who has never been charged or prosecuted for his criminal sexual assaults on his granddaughters is the uncle of a Tribal Council member. There is no indication that anyone from law enforcement has launched an investigation of the grandfather’s alleged sexual abuse. It is likely that Council Member would oppose any Council Motion to refer this situation for criminal investigation of his uncle.

    The father of these children has petitioned Tribal Court to assume custody. I understand his petitions have been routinely dismissed even though he is ready, able and willing to assume responsibility for his children, caring for them in a safe home. The mother of these children is an enrolled Tribal member. Their father is not.

    Conducting an assessment at this point after more than five years of complaints from my sources and after my 13 Mandated Reports seems to simply delay the desperately needed corrective action to get those 100 children to safety. As one of my sources recently wrote, “…when will the government realize we are serious about this….kids are being raped and nobody in law enforcement gives a damn”.

    Natalie Stites, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and former Project Coordinator in the Attorney General’s office on the Rosebud Reservation writing in LastRealIndians.com in December, 2011 speaks words that need to be considered here, “There are thousands of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota children experiencing abuse and neglect….. Over a third of women raped today were sexually assaulted as children. Sadly all too often abused and neglected children become perpetrators themselves as adolescents and as adults……..There are many complex reasons for the conditions facing the children today: lack of compassion, colonization, epigenetics, grief, violence, the feminization of poverty, the school-to-prison pipeline, organized sexual abuse, unemployment, mental illness, addiction, racism, cultural oppression. These are the roots of our current situation…………….

    However, try explaining this to the 5 year old boy who hasn’t eaten a meal in two days, or a beaten 8 year old girl caring for an infant and a toddler like she’s the parent, or a 15 year old youth who faces and eventually joins his addicted parents and the drunken strangers they bring home to party every night. Try explaining to these children why family members, social workers, policy makers, police, courts, schools, health care providers cannot protect them, even after their own parents fail them, or abandon them, or hurt them. Who takes responsibility for this? We must.”

    When will we take responsibility?

    After your assessment? How long will that take?

    How many more months will the Tribe allow this experimentation with their children to continue?

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

    Thomas F. Sullivan
    Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver

    ———————————————-

    From: Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)
    Sent: Friday, November 01, 2013 6:22 AM
    To: Sullivan, Thomas (ACF)
    Cc: Chang, Joo Yeun (ACF/ACYF) (ACF); McCauley, Mike (ACF)
    Subject: Spirit Lake
    Good morning Tom: Attached and below is a memo about ACF’s work on Spirit Lake moving forward.

    Tom, as a courtesy based on your expressed interest in matters at Spirit Lake, I wanted to let you know that Children’s Bureau has been actively working with the Spirit Lake tribe on improving their child protection services.

    Currently, the National Resource Center for Child Protective Services, funded by CB, is conducting an assessment of Spirit Lake social services. As you may know, numerous assessments have been started over the past 18 months, but leadership changes have stalled and ultimately stopped these processes. Now, however, the new Tribal chair and the new social services director are moving forward with the assessment. Once this assessment is complete, it will provide a roadmap for the policies, practices, procedures and staffing levels that the Tribe needs to establish a successful agency. The Children’s Bureau will work hand-in-hand with the Tribe to follow that map and to ensure that all available resources are brought to bear for the Tribe to be successful in better protecting its children.

    I want to be clear with you that the Children’s Bureau is leading this effort for ACF and will manage work with both the Tribal leadership and the Tribal social services staff moving forward. The Children’s Bureau will also be the principal liaison with the state of North Dakota, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Dept. of Justice to address child protective issues at Spirit Lake.

    As the Immediate Office of the Assistant Secretary, the Children’s Bureau, and the Administration for Native Americans have worked to address concerns at Spirit Lake over the past year, it has become clear that Region 8 IORA involvement has damaged some of the most critical relationships needed for achieving progress for the children and families of Spirit Lake. It is our full intention to rebuild these relationships and move forward in a collegial and productive direction.

    Tom, I know you share ACF’s goal of establishing a strong social service system at Spirit Lake that can act quickly and effectively to protect children who may be in danger. It is my expectation that you will refer all future inquiries to the Department concerning Spirit Lake to the Children’s Bureau and respect the Bureau’s role in leading and coordinating the Department’s efforts to achieve the goal of protecting Spirit Lake’s children.

    ————————————————————

    ### END FORWARDED MESSAGE

    ————————————————————

    Received a couple days later from a friend – an attorney who has worked quite a bit with Indian law –

    Lisa: Thanks for keeping me informed. I read your previous email a few mornings ago and it has been on my mind. In short, I will say that your good heart and good faith, I fear, have blinded you to the fact–I believe it is a fact–that in general not a single institution or person that works with them involved in federal Indian Affairs will ultimately decide to place the interests of individuals above that of Tribes.

    And that is what allows so many wrongs, including to innocent children, Indian children, to continue unabated–unacknowledged and unaddressed. That and the personal self-interest of each and every one employed by the system that supports and implements federal Indian policy, from Congress on down.

    There is nothing wrong with self-interest. We all have it. But when it combines with an institutionalized policy like federal Indian policy that so powerfully supports one group goal–tribal sovereignty–above all else, this serves to allow and even justify in some people’s eyes the submergence of the individual, their rights, their property, their lives, even their children.

    The well-being, even the existence, of these, is sacrificed to the twin powers of federal Indian policy support for the preservation and expansion of tribal sovereignty and the self-interest of those involved.

    It is difficult and tragic. In my opinion – and while you know I have worked with the law of this a long time, you should recall I have not worked in the trenches, with the individuals on the personal basis you have – the only way to make real change is through the courts recognizing the full individual worth and rights, most importantly federal constitutional rights, of each and every person in the U.S. in contact with tribal power; and that those rights, and the federal constitution, therefore, provide the limit of such tribal power beyond which it cannot go.

    Without that, I think the institutions of federal Indian policy, and the individuals within them, will not help you and your allies accomplish the noble goals you have for Indian children.

    ====================

    My response –

    Elizabeth Morris
    1:04 PM (14 minutes ago)

    Thanks for your note. I appreciate your honesty.
    I appreciate it as a confirmation of what we had suspected. It is such a hard thing to fathom. So impossible to absorb and accept – that even our FBI and our US Attorney won’t stand up against the atrocities being committed.

    However – I can’t let it – even though true – stop our efforts to bring it down.

    If nothing else – the knowledge that it is indeed, true, only strengthens my resolve. I can’t let the bad guys – the bullies – win. I just can’t.

    I do want to continue working through the courts. I was encouraged by Justice Thomas’ concurrence in the June case. I haven’t given up on that avenue.

    But I can’t stand down in this effort, either.
    Thanks for your honesty – and thank you for being a good friend.

    Lisa

    ~ ~ What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

    Elizabeth Sharon (Lisa) Morris
    Chairwoman
    Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW)
    PO Box 253
    Hillsboro, ND 58045
    administrator@caicw.org
    https://caicw.org

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/CAICW ( @CAICW )
    Facebook:

    Jun 122015
     
    Senator John Hoeven

    On June 10, 2015, the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing “Addressing the Need for Victim Services in Indian Country.” We fully agree that victims of assault in Indian Country, as everywhere, need help. We disagree with what appeared to be a pre-agreed decision by the committee to give more money to tribal leaders.

    There is the adage that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. But there is also a reality that crime and corruption are never made better by giving those responsible for the crime and corruption more money.

    1) One witness stated there is one rape or child sexual abuse reported every other day and another witness stated violence on his reservation is 3 times higher than in the rest of the nation and accounts for 75% of the deaths of Indian children between the ages of 12 and 20.
    2) It was admitted that many people in leadership positions contribute to the abuse

    Senator Hoeven appeared concerned about getting to the core of the issue, asking what “program for foster children is most effective to address their needs and get them into a safe environment.” Witnesses did not appear able to answer his question, nor other questions concerning success stories.

    Senator Heitkamp, on the other hand, stated she is “horrified” to hear these things – (despite having been told about it numerous times by many sources over the last few years). A few minutes later, she admitted the stats are the same as in the 90s when she was AG. She went on to tell everyone that additional funding is the only solution. Despite the widely admitted abuse, she wants to know why these children are going into foster care at a disproportionate number.

    The Senate Committee and the BIA has long been aware of documented and rampant sexual abuse of children on many reservations as well as suicide. It is appalling that, in light of well documented reports and the circumstances surrounding them, the BIA is proposing rules that will only increase risk for children, as well as infringe on personal, parental, and privacy rights of families.

    The new rules strengthen the Indian Child Welfare Act and literally mandate our children to the custody of tribal leaders in Indian Country, and will not allow the best interest of the children to be even questioned. These rules will apply to all children a tribal government deems eligible, no matter whether the child has every lived on the reservation, has any connection to Indian Country, or has any significant blood quantum. If the tribal government deems the child a member, according to the BIA, that is all that is necessary.

    Do the Senators on this committee support those rules? Will they question them in light of this latest hearing? Will they stop these rules from being implemented?

    75% of tribal members do NOT live in Indian Country, and many have left due to the crime and corruption. Many, despite the claims of tribal leaders, are not interested in what tribal leaders deem is culturally appropriate and necessary. Federal government has not only looked the other way for years while tribal leaders claim to speak for and have jurisdiction over everyone despite the many deaths of children, but federal government has literally made the decision to protect tribal sovereignty at all costs – even at the cost of our children.

    Of special concern is that ACF Regional Director Tom Sullivan was NOT asked to testify at this hearing, despite full knowledge by the committee of his reports over the last two years.

    Lastly, many victims within Indian Country, knowing full well the level of corruption, do not trust to share their stories and pain with tribal government and tribal social services. We cannot help victims by mandating their source of help come from those whom they feel victimized by.

    Please insist our political leaders put children ahead of the wants and demands of tribal leaders. Tribal “leaders” do NOT speak for everyone of heritage.

    You can view the hearing at – http://www.indian.senate.gov/hearing/oversight-hearing-addressing-need-victim-services-indian-country (video)

    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: – https://caicw.org/2015/05/21/ive-messed-up-and-someone-is-threatening-to-call-cps/#.VWDZE6jlY6k

    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 – https://caicw.org/2015/05/10/acf-regional-director-blowing-the-whistle-on-child-abuse/#.VWDZfKjlY6k

    #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;

    However;

    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
    Chairwoman
    Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW)
    PO Box 460
    Hillsboro, ND 58045

    Attached:

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

    References:

    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: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/28/42-people-killed-in-homicidal-violence-in-2013-on-country-largest-indian/
    Belford, D. (2012). Life with James [Video].
    Benedict, J. (2000). Without Reservation. New York: Harper.
    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)
    Domestic and Sexual Violence outside the Reservations in North Dakota get lots of attention from the ACF. (September 2013) Email Correspondence between ACF Officials
    In re SANTOS Y., B144822 (Cal. App. 4th, Second Dist. Div. Two July 20, 2001).
    Jackson, J. C. (1999, February 12). Director of Government Affairs. (U. C. Rights, Interviewer) Retrieved from Jack C. Jackson, Jr., Director of Governmental Affairs, National Congress of American Indians, Statement on the importance of an accurate census to American Indians and Alaska Natives, before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Washington, D.C.,
    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 https://caicw.org/2014/09/25/five-hours-later-he-died-in-a-car-wreck/#.VUo2LSFVjBE
    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: https://caicw.org/2014/04/04/tom-sullivan-rebukes-his-dc-superiors-for-their-negligence/
    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: https://caicw.org/2014/05/06/criminal-corruption-continues-at-spirit-lake/#.U9cSg7FsLFQ
    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:https://caicw.org/2014/06/10/tom-sullivan-continual-rape-of-13-yr-old-ignored/#.U9b7y7FsLFQ
    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. StarTribune.com. Retrieved from: http://www.startribune.com/local/190953261.html?refer=y
    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: https://caicw.org/wp-content/uploads/Letter-of-Grave-Concern-Dr.-Tilus-March-3-2012.pdf

    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?: http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2013/08/09/186943868/s-dakota-indian-foster-care-2-abuse-in-taking-children-from-families?ft=1&f= Also: S. Dakota Indian Foster Care 3: Filthy Lucre: http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2013/08/09/186943952/s-dakota-indian-foster-care-3-filthy-lucre Also: Indian Foster Care 4: The Mystery Of A Missing $100 Million: http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2013/08/09/209282064/s-dakota-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?: http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2013/08/09/209528755/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: http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2013/08/09/203038778/s-dakota-india
    Full NPR Ombudsman Report: http://www.scribd.com/doc/159252168/Full-NPR-Ombudsman-Report-South-Dakota-Foster-Care-Investigative-Storytelling-Gone-Awry
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2013/08/09/186943929/s-dakota-indian-foster-care-1-investigative-storytelling-gone-awry

    Apr 122015
     
    ICWA

    .
    Visited over 80 offices in last few days concerning how the BIA is hurting not just our kids, but kids of EVERY heritage across the U.S.

    NONE of the offices I visited were aware of the new BIA rules, and many of the aides said they weren’t even clear on the ICWA. (You need to be calling your state delegation more, people!!)

    However – when told what the new rules say and do, most (ON BOTH SIDES THE AISLE) were shocked.

    (Most. I will tell you of the one stomach turning visit at the bottom here.)

    Factually…these are NOT rules Congress intended, nor rules most Americans would agree with.

    Friends, we need more of your friends and family to understand what the BIA did six weeks ago, 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.

    1) READ the BIA ICWA Rules – http://www.bia.gov/cs/groups/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 ‘administrator@caicw.org’ )

    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 comments@bia.gov; include “ICWA” in the subject line of the message. You may also mail comments or go through the federal rule making portal at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=BIA-2015-0001-0001

    According to the new rules, effective immediately

    – EVERY child who is presented to ANY court for adoption or foster care MUST be vetted for even the smallest connection to tribal heritage – and the tribal government MUST be notified and given the option to interfere. This is because families of minute heritage have been getting away with shutting out tribal govt, and tribal governments want that to stop. They want the money our children bring.
    NOTE: It is proven that when ICWA is raised in a custody issue, a child’s permanency is delayed. It can be held up for months, sometimes years. Bad enough this has already been happening to a number of children, no matter their true needs and desires. Now the BIA has mandated a rule that could delay permanency for EVERY child – of EVERY heritage.

    For the children a tribal govt decides it wants to claim –
    It doesn’t matter if the child and his family have never lived in Indian Country.
    It doesn’t matter the percentage of blood quantum
    NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO ARGUE “BEST INTEREST” OF THE CHILD. The BIA claims that Congress has already decided your child’s best interest is ICWA preferences. No other ‘best interest’ is relevant.

    FURTHER –
    NO ONE is allowed to even question a placement chosen by a tribal court – ‘as questioning it undermines the tribal court.’

    …In other words – these rules PROVE what we’ve stated all along; that ICWA IS NOT ABOUT WHAT IS GOOD FOR OUR CHILDREN.

    ‘Factual good’ for our children is irrelevant.

    This issue – the ICWA – is and always has been about what is good for tribal government. It is – and has always been – about power and money.

    Remember – federal funds to tribal governments are tied to the US census and tribal rolls. In other words, tribal governments get more money per head.

    This is why tribal governments with thriving casinos are not the ones we hear targeting children as much. Reservations such as the one in Shakopee prefer to keep their rolls small. And…people allowed to be members are usually quite happy about it.

    However, other tribal governments appear to make an industry out of targeting other people’s children. In 2012, an attorney for the Cherokee Nation stated they have about 125 attorneys targeting over 1500 children across the United States. Many of those children had very minimal heritage and had never been connected to Indian Country.

    The ICWA – and these rules, in stating that no other best interest matters – fly in the face of all that is known about child development and child psychology… not to mention what we ourselves know to be true about our own children and grandchildren.

    These rules confirm that the true needs of our children don’t matter.

    Remember, even our families of 100% heritage – or who HAVE lived on a reservation – have a right to choose their own political affiliation for their families. ALL Americans should have a right to say NO to tribal government interference in their families.

    75% of tribal members do NOT live in Indian Country – according to the last two US census’. Many – including my husband and many of our org members – have left due to tribal corruption and crime.

    Congress and tribal governments have NO right to mandate political affiliations – and most especially NOT mandate political affiliations for our children.

    NO treaty gives them that right. Ask them what treaty – and the wording – that allows it.
    It has also already been shown that the Indian Commerce Clause doesn’t allow it.

    Lastly – the only LOUSY meeting I have had yet, where common sense simply had no welcome – was in Representative Doug LaMalfa’s office (R-CA) with staff member Kevin Eastman – who did not seem at all interested or concerned about the reality of what the ICWA and these rules do to our children and families. He blamed the courts for the way they interpret the law. He said, essentially, that it isn’t Congress’ problem. This, while courts cite Congress’s intent when they make their rulings. And, this, while the BIA is stating ‘best interest’ doesn’t matter because Congress says it doesn’t matter.

    Everyone points the blame at the other – is no one willing to take responsibility and fix it?

    Congress needs to fix it. NOW. No more games or pushing off the blame.

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

    1) READ the BIA ICWA Rules – http://www.bia.gov/cs/groups/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 ‘administrator@caicw.org’ )

    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 comments@bia.gov; include “ICWA” in the subject line of the message. You may also mail comments or go through the federal rule making portal at http://www.regulations.gov/#!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 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.

    https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/c889cab0-486a-480f-97c4-ee07bb4f4014

    —————————————-

    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

    Background Checks in Indian Country Passes Committee

     Comments Off on Background Checks in Indian Country Passes Committee
    Feb 042015
     
    Senator John Hoeven

    Senator Hoeven’s bill “To amend the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act to require background checks before foster care placements are ordered in tribal court proceedings” passed its 3rd reading and will be headed to the floor. It might take a little while to get there as so many other things are being discussed and worked on right now.

    Please read the bill and comment. If you have questions, please contact your Senator and ask. It is important for your Senators to know this bill is important to you. If they don’t know anything about the bill, ask them to contact Elizabeth Frei in Senator Hoeven’s office to find the answers you need.

    We are concerned about the two year wait to have child protection implemented…but look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Direct Link:

    https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s184/BILLS-114s184is.pdf

    [Congressional Bills 114th Congress]
    [From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
    [S. 184 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

    114th CONGRESS
    1st Session
    S. 184

    To amend the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act
    to require background checks before foster care placements are ordered
    in tribal court proceedings, and for other purposes.

    _______________________________________________________________________

    IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

    January 16, 2015

    Mr. Hoeven (for himself and Mr. Tester) introduced the following bill;
    which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs

    _______________________________________________________________________

    A BILL

    To amend the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act
    to require background checks before foster care placements are ordered
    in tribal court proceedings, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
    United States of America in Congress assembled,

    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the “Native American Children’s Safety
    Act”.

    SEC. 2. CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECKS.

    Section 408 of the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence
    Prevention Act (25 U.S.C. 3207) is amended by adding at the end the
    following:
    “(d) By Tribal Social Services Agency for Foster Care Placements
    in Tribal Court Proceedings.–
    “(1) Definitions.–In this subsection:
    “(A) Covered individual.–The term `covered
    individual’ includes–
    “(i) any individual 18 years of age or
    older; and
    “(ii) any individual who the tribal social
    services agency determines is subject to a
    criminal records check under paragraph (2)(A).
    “(B) Foster care placement.–The term `foster care
    placement’ means any action removing an Indian child
    from a parent or Indian custodian for temporary
    placement in a foster home or institution or the home
    of a guardian or conservator if–
    “(i) the parent or Indian custodian cannot
    have the child returned on demand; and
    “(ii)(I) parental rights have not been
    terminated; or
    “(II) parental rights have been terminated
    but the child has not been permanently placed.
    “(C) Indian custodian.–The term `Indian
    custodian’ means any Indian–
    “(i) who has legal custody of an Indian
    child under tribal law or custom or under State
    law; or
    “(ii) to whom temporary physical care,
    custody, and control has been transferred by
    the parent of the child.
    “(D) Parent.–The term `parent’ means–
    “(i) any biological parent of an Indian
    child; or
    “(ii) any Indian who has lawfully adopted
    an Indian child, including adoptions under
    tribal law or custom.
    “(E) Tribal court.–The term `tribal court’ means
    a court–
    “(i) with jurisdiction over foster care
    placements; and
    “(ii) that is–
    “(I) a Court of Indian Offenses;
    “(II) a court established and
    operated under the code or custom of an
    Indian tribe; or
    “(III) any other administrative
    body of an Indian tribe that is vested
    with authority over foster care
    placements.
    “(F) Tribal social services agency.–The term
    `tribal social services agency’ means the agency of an
    Indian tribe that has the primary responsibility for
    carrying out foster care licensing or approval (as of
    the date on which the proceeding described in paragraph
    (2)(A) commences) for the Indian tribe.
    “(2) Criminal records check before foster care
    placement.–
    “(A) In general.–Except as provided in paragraph
    (3), no foster care placement shall be finally approved
    and no foster care license shall be issued until the
    tribal social services agency–
    “(i) completes a criminal records check of
    each covered individual who resides in the
    household or is employed at the institution in
    which the foster care placement will be made;
    and
    “(ii) concludes that each covered
    individual described in clause (i) meets such
    standards as the Indian tribe shall establish
    in accordance with subparagraph (B).
    “(B) Standards of placement.–The standards
    described in subparagraph (A)(ii) shall include–
    “(i) requirements that each tribal social
    services agency described in subparagraph (A)–
    “(I) perform criminal records
    checks, including fingerprint-based
    checks of national crime information
    databases (as defined in section
    534(f)(3) of title 28, United States
    Code);
    “(II) check any abuse registries
    maintained by the Indian tribe; and
    “(III) check any child abuse and
    neglect registry maintained by the
    State in which the covered individual
    resides for information on the covered
    individual, and request any other State
    in which the covered individual resided
    in the preceding 5 years, to enable the
    tribal social services agency to check
    any child abuse and neglect registry
    maintained by that State for such
    information; and
    “(ii) any other additional requirement
    that the Indian tribe determines is necessary
    and permissible within the existing authority
    of the Indian tribe, such as the creation of
    voluntary agreements with State entities in
    order to facilitate the sharing of information
    related to the performance of criminal records
    checks.
    “(C) Results.–Except as provided in paragraph
    (3), no foster care placement shall be ordered in any
    proceeding described in subparagraph (A) if an
    investigation described in clause (i) of that
    subparagraph reveals that a covered individual
    described in that clause has been found by a Federal,
    State, or tribal court to have committed any crime
    listed in clause (i) or (ii) of section 471(a)(20)(A)
    of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 671(a)(20)(A)).
    “(3) Emergency placement.–Paragraph (2) shall not apply
    to an emergency foster care placement, as determined by a
    tribal social services agency.
    “(4) Recertification of foster homes or institutions.–
    “(A) In general.–Not later than 2 years after the
    date of enactment of this subsection, each Indian tribe
    shall establish procedures to recertify homes or
    institutions in which foster care placements are made.
    “(B) Contents.–The procedures described in
    subparagraph (A) shall include, at a minimum, periodic
    intervals at which the home or institution shall be
    subject to recertification to ensure–
    “(i) the safety of the home or institution
    for the Indian child; and
    “(ii) that each covered individual who
    resides in the home or is employed at the
    institution is subject to a criminal records
    check in accordance with this subsection,
    including any covered individual who–
    “(I) resides in the home or is
    employed at the institution on the date
    on which the procedures established
    under subparagraph (A) commences; and
    “(II) did not reside in the home
    or was not employed at the institution
    on the date on which the investigation
    described in paragraph (2)(A)(i) was
    completed.
    “(C) Guidance issued by the secretary.–The
    procedures established under subparagraph (A) shall be
    subject to any regulation or guidance issued by the
    Secretary that is in accordance with the purpose of
    this subsection.
    “(5) Guidance.–Not later than 2 years after the date of
    enactment of this subsection and after consultation with Indian
    tribes, the Secretary shall issue guidance regarding–
    “(A) procedures for a criminal records check of
    any covered individual who–
    “(i) resides in the home or is employed at
    the institution in which the foster care
    placement is made after the date on which the
    investigation described in paragraph (2)(A)(i)
    is completed; and
    “(ii) was not the subject of an
    investigation described in paragraph (2)(A)(i)
    before the foster care placement was made;
    “(B) self-reporting requirements for foster care
    homes or institutions in which any covered individual
    described in subparagraph (A) resides if the head of
    the household or the operator of the institution has
    knowledge that the covered individual–
    “(i) has been found by a Federal, State,
    or tribal court to have committed any crime
    listed in clause (i) or (ii) of section
    471(a)(20)(A) of the Social Security Act (42
    U.S.C. 671(a)(20)(A)); or
    “(ii) is listed on a registry described in
    clause (II) or (III) of paragraph (2)(B)(i);
    “(C) promising practices used by Indian tribes to
    address emergency foster care placement procedures
    under paragraph (3); and
    “(D) procedures for certifying compliance with
    this Act.”.

    Jul 052014
     

    June 25, 2014

    Chairman McDonald:

    It was quite interesting to listen to your testimony and response to questions yesterday. I was reminded of the famous quote from the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who frequently said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not his own facts.”
    There were three points where your opinions expressed as facts are so egregious that I must respond specifically to each of them.

    First, you claimed that, during our meeting here in Denver in early April of this year, you had offered me a job at Spirit Lake. This subject never came up during my conversation with you. If it did, I would be prohibited under federal conflict of interest requirements from accepting such a post-federal employment position.

    You are Chair of the Spirit Lake Council because the prior Chair was removed due to the community’s perception he was totally ineffective in dealing with the child protection issues at Spirit Lake. When we met you had been Chair for 7 months and as far as my sources and I were concerned we saw no discernible improvement in the safety of the Spirit Lake children who I had been complaining about, at that time, for 22 months. My sources have been complaining about the treatment of Spirit Lake children for several years before I arrived on the scene.

    I learned just last week that, by your silence, you are apparently endorsing a tribal judge’s refusal to extradite a Level 3 Sex Offender, who has already served a lengthy sentence for his vicious rape of a teen girl, to Ramsey County to stand trial on four felony indictments for child sexual abuse. You failure after seven months in office, to protect the children who had been moved into the full-time, unsupervised care and custody of addicts, abusers and rapists where they are available to be raped daily, I believe, is unconscionable and, if the subject of employment had been raised, would have elicited an extremely loud negative response from me, a response that would have been heard not only by you but also by anyone within 30 feet of our conversation. Under no circumstances would I allow my character and integrity to be used as a cover for your failures to effectively address the abuse and rape of Spirit Lake children. Did you think that somehow you could shield yourself from public scrutiny by hiding behind my well-known reputation for integrity and honesty built over more than 45 years of professional experience, much of it spent rooting out abusive situations such as you seem to wish to protect? Your continuing refusal to speak publicly against your tribal judge’s refusal to extradite this violent rapist moves you, I believe, into the ranks of the criminally corrupt.

    I have spoken to a good friend, a long-time tribal council-member from another state in this region, who knows you and who was horrified at your willingness to shield this rapist from trial in Ramsey County and who also said he would try to speak with you about the foolhardiness of your position.

    Second, you claimed that during our meeting you had asked me why I had not filed any 960s with the appropriate tribal offices and claimed I had no answer. I told you that I had been receiving widespread complaints from Indian Health Service employees, former Tribal Social Services staff, former Tribal court staff, all stating that when they filed 960s they were ignored and thrown away, that no action was taken on them no matter how serious the problem complained of was. I went on to tell you that under these circumstances I believed it was unlikely that anything different would happen to any 960 that I filed. You have to admit that if I had not filed 13 Mandated Reports, but instead only filed 960s, yesterday’s hearing probably would not have happened.

    Third, you claimed that during our meeting you asked me why I had not responded to your letter to me and claimed that I had no explanation. During our meeting I explained to you that when I received and saw your letter in my Denver office, Ms. Mcmullen had already pre-empted my response with a response of her own. Somehow, your letter to me took several days longer to arrive in Denver than it took to get to her in Washington, DC. The US Postal Service is full of surprises but I believe you followed the practice of your predecessor who when he sent a letter addressed to both the Acting Assistant Secretary, based in Washington, DC, and to me, he held mine for several days so that, his complaints about my efforts to address the child abuse, rape and torture of kids at Spirit Lake, at least for a few days would go unchallenged by me since I knew nothing about his complaints. I told you I believed you were doing the same thing and that I found that offensive. You had no response to my reconstruction of what you had done. I also told you that since Ms. Mcmullen had responded to your letter to me so promptly, effectively removing me from any substantive involvement with issues at Spirit Lake, no response from me was appropriate.

    I trust that in the future you will exercise more care in your future statements about me so that you differentiate more precisely between what is fact and what is only your opinion.

    Thomas F. Sullivan Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver

    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
    Chairwoman
    Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW)
    PO Box 460
    Hillsboro, ND 58045
    administrator@caicw.org
    https://caicw.org

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/CAICW ( @CAICW )
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fbCAICW.org

    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.”

    Tom Sullivan rebukes his DC Superiors for their negligence of children on Indian reservations

     Comments Off on Tom Sullivan rebukes his DC Superiors for their negligence of children on Indian reservations
    Apr 042014
     
    Tom Sullivan - Regional Administrator ACF

    > From: “Sullivan, Thomas (ACF)” > Date: April 4, 2014 at 10:45:46 AM CDT
    > To: “Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)”
    > Cc: “Greenberg, Mark (ACF)” , “Chang, Joo Yeun (ACF)” , “Sparks, Lillian (ACF)” , “Kennerson, Marilyn (ACF)” , “Murray, James (ACF)”
    > Subject: CB team to Spirit Lake
    >
    > Ms. Mcmullen:
    >
    > Thank you for your email response to my questions.
    >
    > You have assembled quite an impressive team to go to Spirit Lake. I am confident that team will be able to put together equally impressive “guidance to the tribe on what steps they need to take to establish a functional child welfare system.”
    >
    > Two aspects of this effort are of concern to me. First, it is unfortunate that this effort comes almost 22 months after my First Mandated Report was filed on June 14, 2012. Spirit Lake Social Services (TSS) was in disarray then and has not improved its capacity to respond to the child welfare needs of its youngest citizens in the interim despite claims to the contrary by the state, BIA, DOJ and the leadership of ACF.
    >
    > Second, there is no mention of any effort to evaluate the current condition of those 100+ children I wrote about in that First Report who had been placed in the full-time care and custody of abusers, addicts and rapists. That number has probably more than doubled in the intervening 22 months as more children were removed from their biological homes by TSS or BIA staff. How many of these 200+ children are being tortured in the same manner as the six children removed from their grandmother’s home in Grand Forks and reported in the online edition of the Grand Forks Herald on the evening of March 20, 2014? How many are being raped like that 13 year old little girl who I first brought to your attention more than 100 days ago? That young girl’s claims of rape have still not been investigated by the BIA more than 3 months after this situation was first reported to the Spirit Lake tribal chair and council, the BIA and you. It is my understanding this little girl remains in the same placement available to be raped daily by a Level Three Registered Sex Offender. Why is the statutory rape of this little girl, an enrolled tribal member, allowed to continue by the tribal chair and council?
    >
    > The delays in removing these children from those abusive homes have been caused by the libel and slander directed at my sources and me. These delays are unconscionable because they required and continue to require all of these Spirit Lake children to remain in the care and custody of abusers and rapists, available to be tortured and/or raped daily. Are there any people at Spirit Lake or in North Dakota with a conscience?
    >
    > One former senior tribal employee has recently reported to one of my sources that when she started working for the tribe she was told by her supervisor that everything we were reporting were lies. She told my source, “Now, I not only know you weren’t lying, but I also know that all of you have been understating the facts. It is far worse for kids at Spirit Lake than anything you have been saying.”
    >
    > I understand this former senior tribal employee briefed the tribal chair in these same terms several weeks ago. Since he knew our reports were being characterized as “understatements” and that, “It is far worse for the kids at Spirit Lake than anything (we) have been saying.”, why has he taken no action to help those Spirit Lake children escape the grip of those who abuse and rape them?
    >
    > The second paragraph of your March 31, 2014 email seems to seek to minimize ACF’s role at Spirit Lake.
    >
    > ACF’s 2014 Strategic Plan released almost a month ago states on page one, “….we seek to advance a set of key goals:” followed by five statements of goals, which read:
    >
    > * “Promote economic health and social well-being for individuals, families and communities;
    > * Promote healthy development and school readiness for children, especially those in low income families;
    > * Promote safety and well-being of children, youth and families;
    > * Support underserved and underrepresented populations; and
    > * Upgrade the capacity of ACF to make a difference for families and communities.”
    >
    >
    > Minimizing ACF’s role at Spirit Lake within the context of this statement contradicts the entire purpose of ACF’s 2014 Strategic Plan and makes no sense unless you are attempting to avoid addressing the epidemic of child sexual abuse and child/youthful suicide at Spirit Lake. Why would any responsible government leader wish to avoid dealing with such widespread dysfunction that is well-known to have disastrous consequences for children, their families and communities? To do so would effectively negate every one of the “key goals” from ACF’s own 2014 Strategic Plan, at least at Spirit Lake. Is that what you intend?
    >
    > You ask for some information from me to assist you as you prepare for this visit.
    >
    > I find this especially ironic since when you were claiming I was misrepresenting the facts at Spirit Lake, that conditions there were not nearly as bad as I claimed and that the BIA and DOJ claims they had investigated every one of my allegations and most were unfounded or false, no one from ACF asked me for any information to corroborate my Reports or provided me with an opportunity to rebut those self-serving claims.
    >
    > First, you ask for a list of the steps I have taken to assist the tribe to improve their child welfare system.
    >
    > When I first learned that all tribes in North Dakota were operating their child welfare systems with caseload ratios of as few as 50 – 60 cases per worker to as many as 100 – 120 cases per worker, I met with the child welfare directors from four of the reservations in North Dakota and encouraged them to begin moving closer to a caseload ratio of 20 – 30 cases per worker. They claimed they had been trying to move in that direction but were refused funding every time the subject came up. They realized they were, in many cases, not compliant with state and federal regulations due to inadequate staffing and were quite fearful of the potential financial penalties that might follow if they did not become compliant.
    >
    > Because of the criminal corruption which continues to dominate the Spirit Lake Child Welfare program, attracting qualified social workers will be next to impossible. Until the leadership of Spirit Lake convinces the public that their CW program is operating and will continue to operate with integrity and transparency, social worker recruitment will be extremely difficult. Only by prosecuting all of those who are abusing, neglecting and raping Spirit Lake children will the public understand that Spirit Lake CW program is no longer controlled by the criminally corrupt. Until that image is implanted in the public perception of Spirit Lake, TSS and BIA will be forced to attempt to address these significant issues with few, if any, qualified social work staff.
    >
    > I regularly met with the leadership of the ND Department of Human Resources to encourage them to increase their support for their tribal child welfare programs. While these meetings were friendly, the Department was unwilling to increase the money made available to the tribes for any purpose. In late 2010 I met with the Spirit Lake Tribal council members, pointed out the problem with inadequate funding for their child welfare operations and encouraged them to lead an effort to increase tribal funding for their CW operations. They took no action that I am aware of and elections soon replaced the tribal Chair with Mr. Yankton.
    >
    > In 2008 Spirit Lake’s director of social services told me he had 46 cases of reported, investigated and confirmed child sexual abuse that had been referred to the US Attorney. He said “None are being investigated and none are being prosecuted.” I encouraged him that, as difficult as it was, he should keep referring confirmed cases to the US Attorney for prosecution. I understand he did but there was no action from that US Attorney or his successor to correct this failure to investigate and prosecute serious crimes..
    >
    > I have filed 13 Mandated Reports, many of which dealt with the inadequate response of law enforcement to crime on Spirit Lake. I would have filed many more if Acting Assistant Secretary Sheldon had not illegally prohibited me from doing so and if Acting Assistant Secretary Greenberg had not, by his silence, apparently endorsed Mr. Sheldon’s actions.
    >
    > I have reached out to partner with non-governmental entities in the development and presentation of educational programs focused on the recognition of, prevention of and rehabilitation from child abuse in Indian Country. These programs have been targeted to child welfare staff working on reservations. The National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse (NCPCA) has been especially generous with their time and resources. They have already provided or will be providing, at no cost to either ACF or DHHS, multi-day training sessions on this subject matter in the following Indian Country locations all across this country: Casper, WY; Browning, MT; Aberdeen, SD; Nampa, ID; Albuquerque, NM; Tulalip, WA; Santa Fe, NM; Pojoague, NM; Yankton, SD; Houghton, MI; and Muscatine, IA. Of the 11 locations identified where presentations will be made, only four are in Region 8, less than 40% of these sessions. While concerned about conditions in Region 8, my efforts have also been focused on the larger community in need of training. Those who have participated in these sessions have been very complimentary about their skill development following their participation in these sessions.
    >
    > Before limitations were placed on my ability to address issues like the twin epidemics of child sexual abuse and child/youthful suicide in Indian Country by the leadership of ACF, I spoke frequently to groups in North Dakota, in the other states in this region and all around this country about these issues. In fact, until I first spoke about these issues in 2006, no one had ever dared mention the subject publicly. Convinced the silence protected the predators and harmed children, I decided to make this an issue whenever I could. American Indian audiences were initially put off by my frankness but as they understood my efforts were focused not on stigmatizing them but on finding ways to address these epidemics, bringing resources to begin correcting this situation and bringing healing to their children, I began to receive more invitations to speak on these topics.
    >
    > Since those limitations were placed on me requiring me to get clearance from ACF leadership for any speech I wished to give and since that clearance always involved censorship, removing all substance from my proposed speeches, I have refused to accept speaking engagements where I could not speak honestly about conditions in Indian Country.
    >
    > Second, you ask me to provide a summary of anything I have learned “from other tribes…. that faced similar challenges….List any best practices for establishing a strong child welfare system and any contacts I have that could be resources for……Spirit Lake”
    >
    > That is a mouthful and would take essentially a Doctoral dissertation to answer completely. Unfortunately, I do not have time to do that if I am to meet your deadline. I plan, however, at a later date and on my own time to write several books.
    >
    > Every reservation I have been on, and I have been on most in this region as well as several others outside of this region, are characterized by crushing poverty, many times higher than the rate for the general population. Unemployment levels for generations have been and continue to run at levels not seen in the majority community even during the Great Depression. Alcohol and drug use and abuse are rampant. This abuse is so prevalent that many reservation residents around the Bakken formation cannot qualify for oil field employment because they cannot pass pre-employment drug and alcohol screening. Law enforcement is, on most reservations, non-existent with few officers, little training and little or no professionalism. Domestic violence and rape are rampant. Because children are placed in foster homes of uncertain safety, many children removed from their biological parents when they were drunk, have been placed in homes where they are raped daily, not just at Spirit Lake but on every reservation in this country. What do rapists have to fear when there is no effective law enforcement? Many of these sexually abused children, seeing no hope to escape this horrific abuse realizing the adults who are supposed to protect them will not, choose to end their own lives. On every reservation service needs are high and resources available to respond to those needs are limited.
    >
    > I am not aware of any “best practices for establishing a strong child welfare system”. I am confident Ms. Kennerson and the leadership of the Children’s Bureau are fully aware of such “best practices” if any are in place. Child safety should be emphasized in every decision made in any child welfare system. Nearly three year old Laurynn Whiteshield died at the hands of an abusive, step grandmother whose history of abuse of her own children was well-known to the BIA caseworkers who placed Laurynn and her twin sister in that home. I understand that another young man died in that same home less than two weeks ago. The step grandmother is reported to be in prison serving a lengthy sentence. Who is responsible for this young man’s death?
    >
    > Third, you ask for “a list of national and local partners….who could provide financial, training or technical assistance to Spirit Lake moving forward”.
    >
    > May I suggest all of the members of your team read my 13 Mandated Reports. If you had, you would understand that on pages 5 and 6 of my First Mandated Report, filed on June 14, 2012, at items D – H there is a list of some of those organizations and my suggestions on how they might be used to begin addressing the issues at Spirit Lake.
    >
    > The former Executive Director of the National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse, Ms. Suzanna Tiapula, should also be involved in any effort to address the criminal corruption at Spirit Lake.
    >
    > Fourth, you ask for a “list of stakeholders or advocates who can be brought to the table to help Spirit Lake protect their children.”
    >
    > On January 20, 2014 I provided Ms. Kennerson, by email, with detailed contact information for my primary sources at Spirit Lake. I did so at her request and with the understanding she would be contacting some or all of them during her trip to Spirit Lake scheduled to take place before the end of January. In speaking with my sources, none have been contacted by her. I assume Ms. Kennerson still has that email and can make this information available to you.
    >
    > Whether my sources will be willing to speak with any of you remains to be seen after the disrespectful manner you treated one of them on a telephone call two weeks ago. That was bad enough but then, in a subsequent email, you lied not only about what you said and did but also about what my source said and did during that telephone call.
    >
    > It would be well for you to consider the words of Marvin Bower, Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company for almost twenty years who, in the ‘Will to Lead’ wrote, “Leadership scholars are virtually unanimous in putting trustworthiness at the top of the list of qualities required by any leader. Trustworthiness is integrity in action….Integrity is honesty carried…….into action so that the person is completely honest. That kind of integrity I put above all else as an essential of leadership.”
    >
    > I do not “…feel that (my) previous emails regarding Spirit Lake have not been answered”. I know it for a fact. In a later email I will provide chapter and verse on each of those unanswered emails.
    >
    > Thomas F. Sullivan
    >
    > Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver
    >
    > From: Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)
    > Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 11:52 AM
    > To: Sullivan, Thomas (ACF)
    > Cc: Murray, James (ACF)
    > Subject: RE: CB team to Spirit Lake
    >
    > ACF is looking forward to a productive visit to Spirit Lake next week. Joo Chang will lead a team that includes Lillian Sparks, Marilyn Kennerson and me, and it is our goal to provide guidance to the tribe on what steps they need to take to establish a functional child welfare system.
    >
    > As you know, our jurisdiction here is limited. ACF, through the Children’s Bureau, provides funding and guidance to states, tribes and localities for child welfare agencies. States and Tribes have legal jurisdiction over their courts and agencies and we have no jurisdiction to intervene on individual cases.
    >
    > We do want to do everything we can within our defined role, however. To that end, we need your assistance to prepare for this visit.
    >
    > Specifically, please:

    > – Provide a detailed list of the steps you have taken as Regional Administrator to assist the tribe to improve their child welfare system. Please include the status of each action and any outcomes of those actions.
    >
    > – Provide a summary of anything you have learned from other tribes you may have had contact with that faced similar challenges. List any best practices for establishing a strong tribal child welfare system, and any contacts you may have that could be resources for Spirit Lake.
    >
    > – A list of national and local partners (philanthropies, universities, etc.) who could provide financial, training or technical assistance to Spirit Lake moving forward.
    >
    > – A list of any other stakeholders or advocates who can be brought to the table to help Spirit Lake protect their children.
    >
    > Please send this report by noon Eastern time on Friday, April 4 so that it can be included with briefing materials for the team. Please also include your primary point of contact at Spirit Lake, or any other contacts there we should be aware of.
    >
    > I am sorry you feel that your previous emails regarding Spirit Lake have not been answered; that is not what my records reflect.
    >
    > After the ACF team visit to Spirit Lake, I will let you know of any need for follow-up on your part.
    >
    > From: Sullivan, Thomas (ACF)
    > Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 5:35 PM
    > To: Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)
    > Subject: Re: CB team to Spirit Lake
    >
    > Ms. Mcmullen:
    >
    > Thank you for your email notification about the Childrens Bureau team visit to Spirit Lake on April 9 – 11, 2014.
    >
    > I have some questions concerning this visit: 1. What are the names of those who will be part of this team? 2. Who will be the team leader? 3. What will be the expected outcome of this team’s visit to Spirit Lake? 4. What written instructions will be provided to that team? 5. May I receive a copy of those instructions?
    >
    > I have raised many questions about Spirit Lake to you over the last 21 months, all documented in agency email. Few, if any, have been answered. I trust I will not have to add this email to the “unanswered” file.
    >
    > Thomas F. Sullivan
    > Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver
    >
    >
    > From: Mcmullen, Marrianne (ACF)
    > Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 04:27 PM
    > To: Sullivan, Thomas (ACF)
    > Subject: CB team to Spirit Lake
    >
    >
    > Hello Tom:
    >
    > I wanted to let you know that the Children’s Bureau is planning a team visit to Spirit Lake April 9-11. The ACF team will talk to various stakeholders, tribal child welfare staff, judges and others. They will use the information gathered to provide clear guidance to the Tribe on what steps need to be taken to establish a successful child welfare agency.
    >
    > Marrianne McMullen
    > Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs
    > Administration for Children and Families
    > U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    > 901 D. St., SW, Washington, DC 20447
    > (202) 401-9215
    > marrianne.mcmullen@acf.hhs.gov
    > www.acf.hhs.gov

    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.

    http://www.nicwa.org/child_abuse_prevention/

    .