Authorities investigate infant's death on Spirit Lake Reservation

Tribal and federal authorities are investigating the death of an infant on the Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota.

The infant, reported to be about 8 months old, died last month. Details are scarce but the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the FBI have been on the scene.

“Given recent history, the death of an infant on the reservation is deeply concerning,” Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) said in a press release. “The FBI and BIA need to get to the facts so that we can determine exactly what happened and continue to do all we can to prevent such tragic incidents in the future.”

Hoeven introduced S.2160, the Native American Children's Safety Act, in hopes of protecting Native children at Spirit Lake and other reservations. The bill requires tribal courts to conduct background checks of all adults in a foster home.

“We’re not the only tribe in this situation, but we’re the one that got to be in the media,” Chairman Russ McDonald told The Grand Forks Herald. “When this came out, we were on board to support it. We can see where it will help.”

Get the Story:
Infant dead on Spirit Lake Reservation, FBI joins investigation (WDAZ 4/25)
North Dakota lawmakers say child welfare on Spirit Lake is a priority (WDAZ 4/30)
Ex-case manager questions effectiveness of bill to help protect Indian children (The Grand Forks Herald 5/1)

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Audio from Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on five bills (04/02)
The Native American Children's Safety Act introduced in Senate (03/27)

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