National Indian Child Welfare Association’s
Protecting Our Children Conference
April 19, 2015 11:00 ET to April 22, 2015
33rd annual Protecting Our Children Conference is hosted by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the event is the nation’s largest gathering on American Indian and Alaska Native child advocacy issues. This three-day conference creates a space where participants can learn about the latest information across Indian Country in child welfare. Conference attendees are a cross-section of experts including child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice service providers; legal professionals; students; advocates for children; and tribal and federal leaders. This year’s conference theme is “Healing from Trauma: Supporting Native Communities, Family, and Children.”
Bill aims to keep American Indian children with families
Published on Tuesday, 07 April 2015 21:37 Written by ANNA GRONEWOLD, Associated Press
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – While applying for her driver’s license at age 16, Karen Hardenbrook saw her birth certificate and learned what her adoptive parents from Broken Bow never told her: she was born in Winnebago and her mother was a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. As a baby, the state removed her from her biological grandmother’s crowded home on the reservation.
Today Hardenbrook, 57, lives on the Omaha Reservation in Walthill. She’s an enrolled member but at times still feels like an outsider.
“I had a wonderful, beautiful (adoptive) home. I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Hardenbrook said. “But I still wish I would have never left the res. I would have learned to dance. I would have learned to sing the songs. Now when I get out to the arena, I have to watch everyone, at 57 years old, because I don’t know the steps.”
A bill slated for a committee vote this week in the Nebraska Legislature would further strengthen protections of cultural identities for children like Hardenbrook by engaging tribal government and extended family mediation before removing children from tribal homes.
In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act in response to what it deemed “a crisis of massive proportions.” Between 25 percent and 35 percent of American Indian children were living in out-of-home placement, endangering the preservation of already dwindling American Indian tribes.
Impoverished tribe faces surge in teen suicides
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 15:19 Written by REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press
PINE RIDGE, South Dakota (AP) – The people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are no strangers to hardship or to the risk of lives being cut short. But a string of seven suicides by teenagers in recent months has shaken this impoverished Midwestern U.S. community to its core and sent school and tribal leaders on an urgent mission to stop the deaths.
On Dec. 12, a 14-year-old boy hanged himself at his home on the reservation, a sprawling expanse of badlands on the border between the states of South Dakota and Nebraska. On Christmas Day, a 15-year-old girl was found dead, followed weeks later by a high school cheerleader. Two more teenagers took their lives in February and two more in March, along with several more attempts. The youngest to die was 12.
Somewhere between 16,000 and 40,000 members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe live on the reservation, which at over 2 million acres (nearly 1 million hectares) is among the largest in the U.S. Famous as the site of the Wounded Knee massacre, in which the U.S. Army slaughtered about 300 tribe members in 1890, it includes the county with the highest poverty rate in the U.S., and some of the worst rates of alcoholism and drug abuse, violence and unemployment. Life expectancy for men is below 50 years, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.
April 08, 2015
Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama for White House Convening on Creating Opportunity for Native Youth
Good morning everyone, and welcome to the White House. We are so thrilled to have you here today for our Generation Indigenous convening.I want to start by thanking Walter Isaacson and Senator Dorgan for their outstanding leadership and for the terrific work that they’re doing at the Aspen Institute.
And as for T.C – there really are no words to express how proud I am of this young man and how impressed I am by his courage, determination and maturity. Barack and I were blown away by T.C. and by the other young people we met when we visited T.C.’s tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, last June. And I want to start off today by telling you a little bit about that visit.
It began when we arrived in North Dakota, and as we left the airport where we’d landed, we looked around, and all we could see was flat, empty land. There were almost no signs of typical community life, no police stations, no community or business centers, no malls, no doctor’s offices, no churches, just flat, empty land.
Eventually, we pulled up to a little community with a cluster of houses, a few buildings, and a tiny school – and that was the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, which is part of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. And at that school, a small group of young people gathered in a classroom, anxiously but quietly waiting to meet with the President and the First Lady.
These teens were the best and brightest – hand-selected for this meeting – and after we all introduced ourselves, they shared their stories.
One young woman was in foster care because of substance abuse in her household. She talked about how hard it was to be separated from her five siblings. One young man had spent his high school years homeless, crashing on the sofa of his friends, even for a period living in the local community center. Another young man had gotten himself into college, but when he got there, he had trouble choosing the right classes; he realized that he’d never been taught how to properly write an essay; and when family problems arose back home, he struggled to balance all the stress and eventually had to drop out.
And just about every kid in that room had lost at least one friend or family member to drug or alcohol-related problems, or to preventable illnesses like heart disease, or to suicide. In fact, two of the girls went back and forth for several minutes trying to remember how many students in their freshman class had committed suicide – the number was either four or five…this is out of a class of 70.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, SECRETARY JEWELL KICKS OFF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S NATIVE YOUTH LISTENING TOUR
WASHINGTON – Last week, Secretary Jewell kicked off President Obama’s Native Youth Listening Tour. The tour is a key part of the Obama Administration’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative, a program meant to break down barriers standing between Native youth and their opportunity for success.
The Department of the Interior put together this short video below to show why the Administration is doing this listening tour and why it’s important for the next generation of Indian Country.
Champions of Change: Native American Youth Leaders
In honor of the National Native American Heritage Month, the White House honored eleven Native American Youth leaders as Champions of Change. These young people are Champions in their tribes and communities as they work to improve the lives of those around them through innovative programs that help others, raise awareness of important issues like suicide and bullying prevention, energy efficiency and healthy eating. Watch the video from the Champions of Change discussion with White House and Administration officials which focused on the great work that these young people do every day.
US Government & Indigenous Peoples Timeline 1819-2014
ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™