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Published September 07, 2012, 04:08 PM

Hoeven Meets With, Rebukes Spirit Lake Officials and Lack of Progress

Senator John Hoeven says he's looking for answers from the Spirit Lake tribe as its social services program continues to make headlines for the wrong reasons.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

Senator John Hoeven says he's looking for answers from the Spirit Lake tribe as its social services program continues to make headlines for the wrong reasons.

Hoeven met with tribal leaders on the reservation today where he peppered tribal representatives with questions about everything from staffing to tribal court to whether or not the phones work at social services. Spirit Lake social services director Mark Little Owl answered the bulk of the senator's questions. He says the tribe has made great strides since he took over just three weeks ago. Little Owl says the tribe has hired three new social workers in the last couple of weeks and plans to hire three more.

Sue Settles with the BIA told Hoeven the tribe has taken great initiative in addressing numerous concerns with social services. Hoeven says that since the tribe has been working to fix issues for more than a year it's time they're held accountable. Little Owl told the senator that all tribal children in the social services program are safe despite issues being far from resolved.

The BIA will conduct a review of changes to the social services program next week to decide if the federal agency need to take the program over.

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