Editorial: Children's safety at risk on Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation

"Children are at risk in North Dakota’s Indian country, and the official response thus far has been mostly finger-pointing, buck-passing and a few innings of the blame game.

In a series of reports, Forum Communications reporters Patrick Springer of The Forum and Chuck Haga of the Grand Forks Herald revealed a slice of a toxic environment in which children are abused, neglected, exposed to drugs and even murdered. The reporters spent several days on the Spirit Lake Reservation south of Devils Lake, N.D., but the malignancy they encountered can be found on other reservations.

Prompted by anecdotal evidence and official reports, the team confirmed that American Indian children are at extraordinary risk. The pathologies that measure a society’s health – especially as they affect children – seem to be magnified and concentrated in Indian country. Children are trapped in circumstances that almost guarantee they will be victimized in some way: violence against them, exposure to drugs and alcohol, malnutrition, family dissolution, school truancy, an endemic atmosphere of fear."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Priority is safe children (The Fargo Forum 7/18)

Also Today:
Despite losing her job, ex-Spirit Lake social worker driven to push for change (The Fargo Forum 7/15)
14 months, and no charges yet in death of 2 children in Spirit Lake reservation (The Grand Forks Herald 7/15)
Hoeven seeks early hearings on Indian child protection (The Grand Forks Herald 7/14)
‘How can you lose a girl for 90 days?’ (The Grand Forks Herald 7/14

Related Stories:
Toddler who died on Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation being laid to rest (7/13)
BIA investigates death of baby girl on Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation (7/11)
Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation faces scrutiny over child welfare woes (7/9)
HHS official blames Spirit Lake Nation for child abuse problems (6/22)
Sen. Hoeven seeks answers on Spirit Lake social services (04/25)
Editorial: A free press is essential, even in a tribal society (4/17)
Deaths of Spirit Lake Dakotah children treated as homicide (05/26)
Spirit Lake mother confirms identities of two slain children (5/25)
Father suspected for deaths of two children at Spirit Lake (5/24)

Join the Conversation