Senators John Hoeven, Kent Conrad and Congressman Rick Berg today issued the following statement following the Bureau of Indian Affairs' announcement that the agency will assume administration of social services programs on the Spirit Lake reservation:
"Throughout the spring and summer, we have engaged with officials of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Indian Health Service and the Spirit Lake Tribal government in an effort to address ongoing allegations of child abuse and neglect on the Spirit Lake Reservation.
"We are encouraged by the BIA's decision to assume administration of the tribe's social service programs until Spirit Lake can demonstrate, in an open and transparent way, that tribal government is capable of effectively protecting vulnerable children. Every child is entitled to live in a home that is unthreatening and safe and every family deserves to know its child is safe and secure when it proves necessary to rely on the protection of social service authorities.
"We have asked BIA Director Mike Black to keep us apprised of the progress of their work at the reservation, and hope that this marks the beginning of genuine reform that will help to create a safer, more secure environment for the children and families of Spirit Lake.