Hoeven, Heitkamp take action after child death on Spirit Lake NationA week has passed since the two-year-old girl died on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Senator John Hoeven have voiced their concern and anger toward the situation. Today they're taking action to secure the protection of children.
By: Victor Correa, WDAZ
A week has passed since the two-year-old girl died on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Senator John Hoeven have voiced their concern and anger toward the situation. Today they're taking action to secure the protection of children.
The child protection services have been under strict scrutiny for over a year now, following child abuse and deaths. Eight months ago they were taken over by the Bureau of Indian Affairs -- but that hasn't stopped what the FBI has called another "mysterious death of a child."
Senator Heitkamp has been pooling government resources to help fix the child protection services program. She's been in touch with the Department of Justice, the BIA, and the white house chief of staff. However when WDAZ contacted the BIA to comment on Heitkamp's plan -- they simply said "no comment" and hung up the phone. That reaction caused more concern from both Senators Heitkamp and Hoeven.
Heitkamp tells WDAZ that she quote "Gave my word to do everything within my power to help fix what is clearly a broken system." Meanwhile today (Thursday), Senator Hoeven met with Kevin Washburn, the secretary for Indian Affairs and pushed the BIA to provide the public with more information.
Hoeven: "Well this is a tragedy and law enforcement is investigating but they need to do a full investigation, hold people accountable, and I've already contacted the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Secretary Washburn, and said the BIA needs to be doing everything possible to protect children and we need to have more information about exactly what they're doing".
While the Senators are pushing for action, they say it may take a visit to Spirit Lake to get the job done. One way or another, they want the Bureau of Indian Affairs to step up, do their jobs and protect the children.