Law | National

Spirit Lake Nation hands control of social service program to BIA





The Bureau of Indian Affairs is taking over social services on the Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation of North Dakota today.

The BIA took action amid reports of rampant child abuse on the reservation. Tribal leaders are blaming the federal government for the situation.

"[T]he tremendous shortfall in BIA resources allocated to support the Tribal Social Services Program have made it nearly impossible for the Tribe to hire and maintain the qualified professionals needed to provide services,” a letter to tribal members states, The Grand Forks Herald reported.

The tribe's problems appear to extend beyond the social services program. The Northern Plains Intertribal Court of Appeals said the tribe failed to pay an annual fee of $3,000 to maintain its contract.

“I was assured by Chairman [Roger] Yankton that he would be acting on it quickly, but nothing happened,” Peter Belgarde, Jr. of the court told the paper.

Yankton told the paper that the tribe is looking into operating its own court of appeals.

Get the Story:
Spirit Lake social services to be taken over by BIA today (The Grand Forks Herald 10/1)
Tribal court offers no hope of appeal at Spirit Lake (The Grand Forks Herald 9/30)

Related Stories:
Letter: Boarding schools left legacy of abuse in Indian Country (09/28)
Former judge for Spirit Lake Nation calls child abuse 'normal' (9/20)
Editorial: BIA takeover of Spirit Lake social services welcome (09/20)
BIA to take over Spirit Lake Nation social services program (9/17)
Spirit Lake Nation social service director was in foster care (9/13)
BIA reviews Spirit Lake Nation self-determination contracts (9/11)
Investigation continues into death of child on Spirit Lake Nation (9/6)
US Attorney wants to provide help to Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation (9/5)
Editorial: Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation blames everyone for abuse (9/5)
Trial delayed for man accused of murdering Spirit Lake children (9/4)
Raymond Foxworth: Spirit Lake Nation crisis rooted in US history (9/3)