Editorial: Leaders to blame for abuse woes at Spirit Lake Nation

"The brighter the light on the Spirit Lake Tribal Council, the clearer and more startling the dysfunction of tribal government becomes. In the latest installment of attempts to protect the northeastern North Dakota reservation’s children, continued denial by council members and a court problem made headlines (Forum Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 reports by Patrick Springer). There seems to be no end to the refusal of tribal leaders to accept even a small measure of culpability for the conditions in which children find themselves.

In a letter to tribal members, the council charged the tribe’s effort to address threats to children was hampered by “baseless and offensive accounts of tribal corruption” by two federal officials who reported gaps in programs to protect abused and neglected children. So once again, the council’s reaction to legitimate exposure of an endemic problem was to blame the messengers. If that’s not the refuge of scoundrels, nothing is.

What is “offensive” at Spirit Lake is the tribe’s cynical strategy to shift responsibility for the condition of the tribe’s children to anyone but tribal leadership. That’s the real corruption in this sorry saga."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Keep light shining on Spirit Lake (The Fargo Forum 10/2)

Related Stories:
Spirit Lake Nation hands control of social service program to BIA (10/1)
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)
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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)

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