Good Evening Sisters and Brothers,

I’ve heard many native people say our history, the old wounds and tyranny should be left in the past and that today is a new day. They want to concentrate on progress and prosperity after all it didn’t happen to we modern day American Indians. I beg to differ, baby Veronica was taken away from her biological native father almost a year ago crippling the Indian Child Welfare Act . This was done in 2013 not the 1930’s.

The United States has a long history of removing Native American children from their native families the Indian Child Welfare Act was supposed to protect us from losing our children…wait let me rephrase that the Indian Child Welfare Act was supposed to give our leadership the legislation to PROTECT our children. Yet in celebration the CNO created a statue to salute the strength of the Choctaw woman. Good concept I could really get on board with that one except then they ask one of the most anti-American Indian governors in history to unveil it. Yakoke to Creator God for the strength of our Chahta people who voiced their opinions on this decision very strongly. In case you missed it Governor Fallin was instrumental in returning Baby Veronica to her adoptive parents

This error in judgment illustrates how so very out of touch this administration is concerning very important sovereignty issues in Indian Country. Do I think Batton invited the same Governor whose daughter put on a chief’s headdress complete with feathers to promote a music album? No I don’t, I think he surrounds himself with many non-natives, non Chahta who are so removed from Indian issues they didn’t realize exactly who Fallin really serves and believe me it’s not natives. Whoever made this decision should be fired but really Batton should have known when it was suggested to him. It says a lot about his awareness on the concept of owning his own influence and protecting all native tribal sovereignty.

It goes beyond a mere loss of awareness our own children are being taken away from Chahta parents when the Indian Child Welfare Act could be used to stop the removals. I have been hesitant to write about this subject even though I have been contacted on more than one occasion about the lack of help provided by the CNO. My hesitation came from not wanting to be responsible for putting a child back into an abusive home so I have thought long and hard about the consequences of writing about Chahta parents begging for help and not getting any from our tribe.

However, a young man has recently been denied the right to raise his baby because the underage mother was in the foster care system (she was of the age of consent and he is a young man). When DHS wanted to remove the child the Chahta family found a very willing family member who agreed to take the baby but the DHS refused. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma through it’s Indian Child Welfare office refused to embrace it’s sovereignty and utilize the Indian Child Welfare Act to take the child into Choctaw custody then place the child with the biological father’s family member. The baby stayed in the hospital by itself for over 3 weeks. DHS wouldn’t let the mother breastfeed him, because she was in “custody”. The child is now in a non-Indian foster family and our rights to our own children are dealt another hit. Where do we say stop? Where do we say enough?

Another thing this is a picture of the child’s full blood Chahta great grandparents with Miko Batton. I guess when it was time to take pictures Miko had more than enough time for a photo op but when it came to hearing the families pleas to help them get their Chahta baby calls were unanswered and a refusal was eventually all they could get from our leadership.

Miko

Miko

This isn’t the only case, sadly. We now must demand not only free elections but also our rights to our children not from DHS but from our own tribe. When will it end?

Yakoke,

CW

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