NATIONAL COMMISSION ON NATIVE CHILDREN HOLDS FIRST OFFICIAL MEETING

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Dec 292019
 
Commission on Native Children, Oct 2019

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.

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

[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.

Commission on Native Children, DC, DOI

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
###

Headlines MSM didn’t show you over the last year…

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Nov 062018
 
Trump

‘In case you missed it’ – Just some of the many headlines that that you might have missed if you were watching only CNN, NBC, or ABC…

[If we haven’t added the link yet – just copy and paste the headline in your browser to search for it.]

Massive Crowd Spontaneously Sings “Amazing Grace” after President Trump Pauses 8 MINUTES of Speech, and Encourages Prayer for Fainting Woman at Rally

Trump Admin. Working With Catholic Group to Help Iraqi Christians Rebuild Their Homeland

100,000+ Texans RSVP for Massive Trump Rally in Houston

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President Trump Signs Bill to Protect Religious Institutions’

Senator Diane Feinstein Moves to Seal FBI Investigation from Public as Ford Story Unravels

Senator Rand Paul’s Wife Sends Emotional Open Letter to Cory Booker Demanding He Stand Down from Harassment: “I’ve Never Felt This Way in My Life”

President Trump Does it Again: Canada Joins Re-Negotiated NAFTA Deal

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PRES TRUMP PLEDGES TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM: “MY CONNECTION TO JUDAISM IS PERSONAL”

Secretary of State Pompeo: ‘The heart of our mission is the preservation of human dignity’

Vice President Pence: White House ‘stands without apology for the sanctity of human life’

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Trump admin shortens Title X funding period to defund Planned Parenthood sooner

Vice-President Pence: The Mainstream Media Has “Met Their Match” in President Trump

Appeals Court Upholds ‘In God, We Trust’ on Currency, Rejects Atheist Suit

Trump warns Christians: ‘violent’ Left ‘will overturn everything we’ve done’ if Dems win midterms 2018 Midterm Elections

Why President Trump and First Lady Melania Are Hosting a Huge White House Dinner for Evangelicals Tonight

Black Pastors Meet with President Trump to Discuss Prison Reform

Texas Exports More Oil Than It Imports For First Time Ever

U.S. Appeals Court: Roe v. Wade Was ‘Aberration of Constitutional Law’

Trump Cabinet Meeting Begins with Prayer by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Tea Party Wins Major Victory Over IRS: $3.5 Million Payout

Pres. Trump Approves Largest-Ever Aid Package to Israel; Blocks the Sale of F-35 Jets to Turkey

‘You Always Have a Friend at the White House’: Trump Sits Down With Faith Leaders – “The Most Pro-Black President in Our Lifetime” Pastor Darrell Scott Praises Trump at Meeting with Faith Leaders

U.S. Sanctions Turkish Officials to Protest American Pastor’s Detention

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Justice Department Launches Task Force to Advance, Defend Religious Liberty

Study Reveals Bernie Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ Bill Would Require ‘Historic Tax Increases’

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US Commerce Dept’s Report: ‘Booming’ 4.1 Percent Growth Reveals Strong Economy

Mike Pence: Religious freedom is ‘top priority’ of Trump Administration

‘Don’t back down’: Trump’s attorney general urges students to defend free speech on college campuses

Nikki Haley Says Her Faith in Jesus is Why She Supports Israel

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President Trump Skyrockets to His Highest Job Approval

First-Ever State Dept. Ministerial on Religious Freedom Will Be ‘More Than Talk,’ Pompeo Says

“I FEEL COMPELLED TO SHARE MY STORY”: WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THIS VETERAN WALKED AWAY FROM THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO RUN AS A REPUBLICAN FOR U.S. SENATE

Black Christian Leaders Call on Paul Ryan to Censure Maxine Waters’ ‘Call to Extremism’

U.S. Congressman introduces bill targeting leftists who wear masks while rioting

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56 lawmakers demand Planned Parenthood be investigated for covering-up child sex-abuse

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For the First Time, Iran Admits Its Connection to 9/11

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Pence Vows Trump Admin Is Aiding Middle East Christians, Fighting Bureaucratic Delays

Ted Cruz Shares 7 Biggest Christian Conservative Victories Since Trump Took Office

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– Life is the ‘true source of America’s greatness,’ President Trump tells pro-life gala

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Trump Admin. to Strengthen Religious Freedom Protections for Christian Colleges

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Secretary of State Pompeo is Returning from North Korea with 3 American Christian Detainees

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New Executive Order Aims to Protect Religious Liberty from Government Overreach

Trump Issues Statement on National Day of Prayer: ‘Let Us Come Together to Thank God’

Pres. Trump Declares “Jewish American Heritage Month”: Community is “A Light Unto the Nations”

Trump may deny Planned Parenthood $50M+ per year in Title X funding: report

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AP Admits President Trump Might be Right About Judge’s Political Leanings Influencing Their Rulings

‘The United States Is with Israel in This Fight’: Pompeo Joins Netanyahu Against Iran

Trump to Meet Nigerian President; Will He Discuss Killing of Christians?

South Korea’s Moon: Trump Should Win the Nobel Peace Prize

Senate Confirms Christian Mike Pompeo as New Secretary of State

A-List Rapper Defends Kanye West’s Trump Love

The REAL Donald Trump: Top Aide for 26 Years Says There’s a Public, Tough Side to Trump and a Different Private Side

Trump to Halt HHS Rule Forcing Christian Doctors, Hospitals to Perform Sex Change Surgeries

40 dignitaries to attend dedication of US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14

5 Faith Facts about Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State Nominee

US State Department Report Drops “Occupied” From References to Judea and Samaria

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Black pro-Trump bloggers censored by Facebook to testify before Congress

Evangelical Leaders’ Wheaton College Meeting Was Not Anti-Trump, Organizer Clarifies

Pompeo’s Kansas Church Asks God to ‘Give Him Strength’ in Senate Confirmation Process

“The U.S. Has No Better Friends Anywhere” Than Israel: President Trump Congratulates Israel on Historic Independence Day

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Trump signs bill cracking down on websites that help sex traffickers

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“THEIR RELIGIOUS DEVOTION AND TENACIOUS IRISH SPIRIT”: PRESIDENT TRUMP PROCLAIMS IRISH-AMERICA HERITAGE MONTH

‘No Evidence of Collusion’: House Panel Ends Russia Investigation

Religious liberty bill, unthinkable during Obama term, reborn in the age of Trump

A Defiant Netanyahu Opens UN Exhibit on Jerusalem: Thanks Nikki Haley for Being a “Tsunami of Fresh Air”

U.S. Hiring Surge: Employers Add 313K Jobs in February as Tax Cut Confidence Booms, Minority Unemployment at Historic Lows

Swedish Prime Minister Admits Trump was Right on Immigration & Gang Violence

U.S. Embassy Will Open in Jerusalem This May to Celebrate Israel’s 70th Anniversary

Mueller: NO AMERICANS, but 13 Russians Interfered in Election – To No Affect

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President Trump Donates His 4th-Quarter Salary to Rebuilding the Country’s Infrastructure

Israeli group mints Trump coin to honor Jerusalem recognition

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Trump’s budget proposes defunding some abortion providers

Gov’t report finds overwhelming acceptance of U.S. abortion funding restrictions

Trump’s Envoy to Israel Tells Abbas, Palestinians, “Stop Denying Jewish History”

Trump at Prayer Breakfast Says US ‘Strengthened by the Power of Prayer’

Trump’s New Religious Freedom Amb. Praises Islamic Scholars in First Public Speech

Pro-Israel Group Targeted by IRS During Obama Administration is Finally Vindicated

5 Trump Cabinet Members and Their Christian Faith

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CBS: Viewers Overwhelmingly Approve of President Trump’s SOTU Speech

Top 10 Highlights From Trump’s First State of the Union Speech

Pence: Trump Prays for Persecuted Christians, Says ISIS Will Be Destroyed

Silence About Conditions at Pine Ridge Reservation

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Jun 122017
 

by Thomas F. Sullivan

For generations, the residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation have lived with unemployment and poverty rates that have never been seen in the majority community even during the Great Depression.

According to an MSNBC Report on Pine Ridge on May 29, 2014, “Roughly four out of five residents are unemployed and well over half live in deep poverty…… Life expectancy is just 48 years old for men and 52 for women….. About 70 percent of the students will drop out of school before they graduate.”

That last statistic is especially troubling and is inconsistent with the claim frequently stated by tribal leaders that “Our children are sacred”.

According to that same MSNBC Report, “In a startling new draft report, issued in April 2014 by the Bureau of Indian Education which oversees 183 schools on 64 reservations in 23 states, focuses attention on BIE’s inability to deliver a quality education to its students. BIE schools are chronically failing. BIE operates ‘one of the lowest-performing set of schools in the country.’ During the 2012 – 2013 school year, only one out of four BIE-funded schools met state-defined proficiency standards and one out of three were under restructuring due to chronic academic failure…. BIE students performed lower on national assessment tests than students in all but one other major urban school district.”

Given these conditions which have persisted for generations as well as the almost total absence of any economic activity on the reservation, it is not surprising that there is a high level of dysfunction as well. This dysfunction is exemplified by the following health and social welfare measures:

* The infant mortality rate at Pine Ridge is one of the highest in the nation at 3 times the national average;
* The incidence of diabetes is 8 times the national average;
* Eight out of every ten people at Pine Ridge are alcoholics. Given this fact it is highly likely that most newborns on this reservation are born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), a severe developmental delay. Care of children with FASD requires an extended time commitment, great patience and resilience, none of which is in abundant supply in most reservation homes:
* Drug use and abuse, both prescription and illegal, is rampant;
* The teenage suicide rate is 150 percent of the national average. In the first 8 months of 2015. There were 19 completions by youth between the ages of 9 and 24 and more than 100 attempts by children from the same age group. Within the last week, a 12-year-old girl hanged herself on a tree behind the Sue Anne Big Crow Youth Center. Shortly before a 14-year-old boy recently completed, he was being counseled by one of his teachers. She told him that Lakota tradition teaches that a spirit set free by suicide is doomed to wander the earth in lonely darkness. “You don’t want that, do you?” His response was chilling, “Anything is better than here”.
* The level of domestic violence is at epidemic levels. In CY 2014 the Tribal Department of Public Safety prosecuted 470 cases of domestic violence. During the same period one of the Tribe’s domestic shelters reported they had responded to more than 1,300 cases of domestic violence:
* In CY 2016 there were 17 homicides on Pine Ridge, a rate 4 times the current homicide rate in the city of Chicago:
* For the last several years, the Pine Ridge reservation child protection staff has been investigating, relying on rigorous standards, every case of reported child sexual abuse and confirming, on average, 2 ½ cases per week for every week during each of those years. Considering that most estimates are that 10 percent or less of such abuse is ever reported, the seriousness of this level of child sexual abuse cannot be overstated.
* Research data are clear, children who are sexually abused are 2½ times more likely to attempt and/or complete suicide than children who have not been sexually abused.

On May 1, 2015, in the New York Times Ron Cornelius, the Great Plains Director of the Indian Health Service is quoted as saying, that “the recent suicides were an incredibly sad situation that IHS was committed to working with the tribe to address this heartbreaking problem.” It is not clear to me from the public record available to me just what the IHS has done to fulfill this commitment. At that time I was the ACF Regional Administrator in Denver and heard from friends on and around Pine Ridge, “There are a lot of ‘suits’ traveling to Pine Ridge. They are not meeting with anyone from the Reservation. They spend all of their time in a conference room talking with each other. They seem to make it a point to avoid any tribal members.”

However, former Pine Ridge Tribal Judge Saunie Wilson, in a power point presentation to a west coast conference on youth suicides in early 2017, described the 20 professionals sent to Pine Ridge by IHS to “solve” the reservation suicide epidemic in the following terms, “They had, No background checks, No licenses to work in South Dakota and No knowledge of reservation culture, mores or society.” Unfortunately, this is the same inept approach IHS used when there was a comparable burst of youth suicides on Montana’s Fort Peck Reservation several years earlier. I was invited by the Tribal Chair to sit in on the IHS meetings with Tribal staff as an impartial observer for the Tribe. As a result, I could observe what IHS was doing in response to the youth suicide burst on that Reservation. They were clearly not effective then. How could they believe they would be effective several years later?

On April 5, 2017, at a meeting of the Pine Ridge Tribal Law and Order Committee, the following statement was made by Richard Little Whiteman, a Council member and Chair of this Committee, “I haven’t seen this level of violence since the 1970s”. The Committee also heard reports that the number of law enforcement officers, once numbering more than 100 sworn officers, now was little more than 20, had the impossible task of policing a geographic area comparable in size to the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined 7 days a week, 24 hours every day.

What is especially puzzling is the deafening silence from both the media, those who by their titles and their government positions have direct responsibility to correct such problems and those who claim they are advocates working on behalf of the welfare of women and children.

For example, if either the city of Cambridge, MA or Berkeley, CA, each with a total population of approximately 100,000, had the same level of youth suicide completions as Pine Ridge, the following would be occurring:

1. There would be youth suicide completions just about daily in each of these communities.
2. There would not be enough curb space to park all of the media trucks providing a direct link to the community for their viewers. After all the media had ignored multiple detailed, factual reports about the dysfunction in these communities and predictions about what would follow from that dysfunction. Recognizing their prior error in not covering all of the dysfunction, media outlets were competing to provide the most offensive coverage. They characterized their coverage as “presenting the facts.”
3. Members of Congress would be convening hearings in these communities in an attempt to elicit some hints as to the cause of such dysfunction even though they had never mentioned these communities until the funerals began to be held when the dysfunction in these communities could no longer be ignored. Based on past experience the best that the local congressional delegation will be able to do is to appoint a study committee charged with reporting back on the cause of all the suicides within three years. No action would have to be taken to assist these communities until the study report was produced.
4. Advocates would be elbowing their way to get in front of any operating TV camera to push their unique solutions to such dysfunction even though they had not only known about the extreme dysfunction in these communities but they had also been silent about it until the funerals began.
5. State, county, and local officials would point at each other, claiming they had little or no responsibility to correct these problems. It was the responsibility of that “other guy” (whoever that unidentified person was) until federal funds were made available. Then the competition would be cut-throat. Each would cite their “expertise” on matters of this kind even though each had just established an extensive written record claiming they knew nothing about such matters in their efforts to avoid any responsibility (political punishment for refusing to deal with the dysfunction in their communities until the funerals began) for what was happening in these communities.
6. Federal officials whose organizations had been widely praised for formally adopting mission statements claiming they were responsible for the well-being of every citizen in their service area would initially deny any responsibility for such dysfunction, pointing at state, county or local officials as the parties responsible for addressing and correcting such behavior. When and if Congress appropriates funds to address and correct these problems, these same federal officials will distribute those funds without first establishing performance measures to determine the effectiveness of how these funds are spent. If the past is any guide, it will be several years before performance measures will be put in place.

If this is the response to the massive dysfunction and resulting epidemic of youthful suicides in communities like Cambridge or Berkeley, can anything better be expected at Pine Ridge?

Pine Ridge is a small, Isolated, rural community with little political power. They have been ignored and will continue to be ignored.

The sexual abuse of American Indian children should have resulted in a high-level commitment to stop the abuse once it had been uncovered years ago.

During the last two Administrations, I brought the twin epidemics of child sexual abuse and child/youthful suicides in Indian Country to the attention of the political leadership of the Administration for Children and Families and the Department of Health and Human Services with multiple, detailed, factual, written presentations. These presentations detailed the pervasive extent of the abuse, the long-term impact on the abused individuals, their families and the community at large and the substantial public cost of such abuse. They had no effect. It was as if they had never been read.

Until one is prepared to focus on and widely and continuously publicize the hypocrisy of those who know the facts and who deny or ignore them, thereby allying themselves with those who abuse children, nothing will be done to correct this barbaric situation. Until those who have chosen silence in the face of widespread child sexual abuse are publicly identified and shamed in all major media outlets for their alliance with sexual predators, attempting to stop the barbarism is a fool’s errand.

Thomas F. Sullivan is a former Regional Administrator for the Administration of Children and Families under the federal HHS.  He was forced out of his job in May, 2016, after defying his DC superiors by repeatedly reporting on child abuse on several reservations. 

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From Elizabeth Morris, Chair of CAICW:

Watch this 20-minute video for more information concerning the ramifications of Native American heritage on Constitutional protections:

Heitkamp feigns surprise over abuse of kids on rez

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Jun 152015
 

June 15, 2015

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 agree ALL assault victims in the U.S need help, however we disagree the solution is more funding to tribes.

The adage—the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results applies. Crime and corruption thrive with funding and lack of accountability.

Hearing testimony:

1) One rape or child sexual abuse reported every other day on some reservations.

2) Violence accounts for 75% of the deaths of Indian children between 12 and 20.

3) Many leaders/social workers contribute to the abuse

Senator Heitkamp says she is “horrified”—though she’s been told numerous times over years and admits she saw the same stats in the 90s as AG. Her solution: additional funding to tribal governments.

The Senate Committee and BIA have long been aware of well-documented and rampant sexual abuse and youth suicide on reservations. Yet, Senator Heitkamp claims we must figure out why NA children are disproportionately placed in foster care.

Rampant reservation crime thrives with ‘tribal sovereignty.’ Many CAICW members abandoned rez life because of crime and corruption. According to the U.S. census 75% of tribal members do NOT live in Indian Country. Despite claims of tribal leaders, many reject their version of what’s culturally relevant and necessary.

Despite the mass exodus from the rez, Federal government continues to back tribal leaders who claim to speak for everyone, and supports tribal sovereignty at all costs —particularly the cost of our children.

Insist politicians put children first. Tribal “leaders” do NOT speak or know what is best for everyone of heritage. Handing additional funding and control to corrupt tribal leaders IS NOT the best way to help victims.