Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Say, it's true!

POSTED August 19, 1:05 PM

That's right, the Federal Government is making positive headlines in the Native American News. There is a little thing called the "Indian Child Welfare Act" which enables ANY federally recognized tribe to intervene in cases involving Native American Children. The Tribes have the authority to intervene in any case brought on by any State Children's Services Organization.

You see, it's not that Native Americans don't want the responsibility of taking care of their own, it's that they have not had the "authority" held by the Federal Government. As someone involved with Native American Issues, and knowing several communities, I know there is cause for celebration. While not to paint the Tribes as inept (which they most certainly are not) I can just imagine how this plays out on reservations. As Sophia would have said on the show Golden Girls, "Picture it..."

A reservation, somewhere within the boundaries of the United States. A Native American Elder drives the dirt roads along the stretching miles of the reservation. His/Her job is to check on the welfare of children now being handled by tribal means instead of the State CPS. No longer will the Men in Black pull up to a reservation home or institution to investigate matters of abuse or neglect. Nope, now there are, thankfully, concerned Grey haired elders and others who take on the task of "seeing to the children." Tribal members no longer, in this case, have the fear of the White man coming onto a land that is unfamiliar to them, and trying to get things done their way. Make no mistake, these elders are not pushovers. Native American Culture holds children as sacred, so while the tribal leaders may understand circumstances, they will not be manipulated either. There is a Lakota word, "Eya (eeya)" which is a woman unafraid to speak her mind. She has no problem standing up to a man half her age and twice her size and saying "Hey, get a job!" I can't help but smile when I think of these women dealing with Mothers who are used to playing and manipulating the system and claiming being misunderstood. These Mothers will now be dealing with one of their own. Someone who can truly understand, and yet not be played. The Federal Government, now taking recommendations from Native American People. It's a wonderful thing.

It is refreshing to see good news concerning the Federal Government and Native Americans. Not that issues of Child abuse are good news, but seeing Native Americans wield the authority to govern their own people is a step in the right direction.