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Problems At Leech Lake Indian Reservation


This is the second in a series of three articles that deals with the issues of Indian Sovereignty and the deplorable living conditions on many of the reservations in the United States.

I make no judgments in writing these articles. I will leave it to you, the reader, to decide which issues are valid and which are sensationalist journalism. I would hope that you decide that there is nothing sensational regarding these stories, but that there is, indeed, something profoundly sad and disturbing about them.

My hope is to raise awareness about the social disease that runs unabated on many reservations in this country. What you are about to read refers to the Leech Lake Indian Reservation of northern Minnesota. This writer does not live there, but I have interviewed members of the Ojibwe Tribe who do live there. They have no reason to lie to me; they gain nothing by telling lies. Originally they contacted me after reading an article I wrote about Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota.

But I am getting ahead of myself. First some background on Leech Lake Reservation.

Leech Lake Reservation Overview

In the north-central Minnesota counties of Cass, Itasca, Beltrami, and Hubbard, lies the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. The reservation covers 972.517 square miles of land and 337.392 square miles of water, and it has, as of the 2010 Census, 10,660 residents.

Those residents are members of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, one of six bands of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Leech Lake is the largest reservation in Minnesota in terms of total area, and it was established as part of the 1855 Treaty and Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.

The reservation consists of eleven villages and two communities, the largest of which is Cass Lake, which sits on the shores of the lake of the same name. Because of the unique geography of the land, expansion of human settlements is difficult, so that most settlements consist of a row of homes on both sides of one road.

Carri Jones, Chairwoman, Leech Lake Indian Reservation

Carri Jones, Chairwoman, Leech Lake Indian Reservation

For more information

And still more information

Leech Lake Tribal Council

The Leech Lake Tribal Council consists of the following members:

· Carri Jones, Chairwoman

· Donald Finn, Sec/Treasurer

· Robbie Howe, District 1 Representative

· Steve White, District 2 Representative

· LeRoy Staples Fairbanks III, District 3 Representative

In addition, the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department consists of the following:

· 15 patrol officers

· 4 patrol sergeants

· 1 domestic violence investigator

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· 1 criminal investigator

· 1 drug investigator

· 1 gang investigator

· 1 firearms investigator

The Tribal Police Department works in conjunction with the Cass Lake Police Department, Cass County Sheriff, Minnesota State BCA, several Federal Agencies and the Minnesota State Patrol.

There is also a Tribal Court which handles reservation cases not involving felonies. Felonies for the most part are handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The original determination regarding jurisdiction is determined by the investigator who first handles the crime investigation.

The Untold Story of Leech Lake

This writer has debated for some time now how to tell this story. After writing a story about Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota, and in particular about child abuse problems on that reservation, I was contacted by a former resident of Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota. Her claims of abuse on that reservation are indeed disturbing.

After some personal debate, I have decided to let her tell the story in her own words. I will not tell you her name because she fears for her own safety.

“To give you an understanding of how I am familiar with the "inside" information about what goes on at Leech Lake, I am including a synopsis of my personal story and anguish over a little girl that my partner and I were intending to adopt and provide a loving home for. It is a complicated, but 100% true story. I've left out names to protect the little girl, but we'd be happy to talk to you more about what my partner has witnessed in the 12 years he lived on Leech Lake. Our story follows, then I'm including some documents I have downloaded and some links to Internet sites. To sum everything up in a few sentences: By comparing notes and experiences, conducting my own research into the history ICWA and specifically child welfare on Leech Lake, and after having my partner's "traditionally adopted" daughter abducted from us this summer, we now have a very good idea about what the kids are being used for: money, money, money and sex, sex, sex. This money supports gangs, casinos, corrupt relatives, corrupt non-relatives, sex trafficking operations, sexual abuse/incest, tribal governments and political agendas. The kids on the rez have no say and no representation in their issues. They are slaves to the system, and they DO NOT RECEIVE EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW OR THE US CONSTITUTION. Furthermore, they are trapped. The kids in foster care are not permitted to leave the reservation for more than a month. This we did not know until our story happened. I sat and listened this summer while a former AIM member, who was also instrumental in having the ICWA law written, told me that "what we do with our children is no one else's business." This person has custody and receives payment for 3 grandchildren, 2 of which don't even live with her. Once they get custody, they ship them off to anyone who will have them (they call it "respite care,") even to other reservations. They do it without any intervention or checking up by social workers. This is why the problems can't be looked at as isolated to a particular reservation.

The law that makes all this possible is the ICWA. More and more tribes have total autonomy over their child welfare programs. This is the case with the Minnesota reservations. There are no checks and balances. It looks good on the web sites that say there are checks and balances, but in reality there is no oversight. The very people that run child welfare are on the take committing crimes and fraud. Those that allow this to happen include judges, lawyers, social workers, teachers, principals, mandated reporters of every kind, state officials, ICWA employees and proponents…the list goes on.

What happened on Spirit Lake are not isolated incidents. The very same things happen daily on other reservations and there are no consequences for the perpetrators, and no justice for the victims. We are trying to speak out on behalf of the little girl that we lost, and for many other children who have no voice. Even the children that are not in the foster care system are being abused (emotionally, physically, sexually, monetarily) by their own parents, grandparents and family members. Even if a family member wants to get help, there is no one to go to. If you speak up, you get punished, even killed and no one can do a damn thing about it. This is not hearsay, this is fact. We are happy to tell you all the stories we know if you know someone who would listen to them and open an investigation. Also spinning out of control are the abuses to the Food Stamp program and every other social welfare initiative meant to benefit the kids. The parents/guardians sell the food stamps for less than face value for drugs, alcohol and gambling. The kids go hungry. They also collect the free clothing, school supplies, drugs…that are handed out for the kids, then pawn or sell them for the same purpose. They steal Christmas presents from their own children and pawn them for the same thing. The stories and examples we can tell you are endless. I'm not basing this on hearsay, I'm telling you this because it has been witnessed firsthand, and to the adults on the reservation, all of these behaviors are TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE. Babies are fed energy drinks in their bottles, forced to smoke pot and given over-the-counter cold medications to get them stoned so that the parents can party. An 8-year-old boy was left to watch his sick baby sibling that was suffering from chicken pox. The baby died from dehydration and the little boy blamed himself. A baby girl was left in a swing in a yard across the street from Indian Health Services as the adults partied all day. They forgot the little girl until nightfall. She had fried to death in the sun. Nothing happened to the parents though because the father was the brother of the tribal chairman at the time. These are just a few examples.”

Leech Lake Reservation, Minnesota

A plea for Spirit Lake Nation

True or Not?

Again, this woman has no reason to lie to me, at least none that I can think of. She is simply concerned and frustrated, and asked me to voice those concerns. Prior to investigating the allegations about Spirit Lake Nation, I would have rejected these claims as ridiculous. I no longer can do that!

I have heard from many residents of Spirit Lake since my article appears several months ago, and all of those residents corroborated the story of abuse. I cannot, in good conscience, ignore this latest plea for help from another reservation.

Do these types of crimes happen on all Indian reservations? Of course not, but that really isn’t the point now is it? If they are happening on only one reservation then it needs to be addressed, and it most certainly needs to be written about and awareness needs to be raised.

As mentioned in my earlier article, Sovereignty is an issue ripe for debate, and emotions run high with each discussion. Is the question regarding Leech Lake one of sovereignty or one of basic human rights?

Elections were recently held at Leech Lake Reservation, with a new Tribal Chairwoman elected in a hotly contested process. My hope is that this new chairwoman, Carri Jones, will respond immediately to these problems, and take whatever steps are necessary to insure that the children of Leech Lake Reservation receive the protection they deserve.

I have no personal feelings or opinions about sovereignty. I am a white man and as such my opinions are practically worthless regarding how Native Americans handle their political status. My only concern is for the children and women who are abused. Regarding that matter, my opinion does count, because we are all human beings and as such deserve to be treated with respect, free from such abuse.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 15, 2014:

Thank you Joe. I'm working on another article as we speak.

Joe Wade on January 15, 2014:

Hello Billy , a few more thought provoking comments , for you and others to ponder on at , keep doing what you are suppose to do, i.e giving awareness

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 31, 2013:

Thank you Alan for your opinion.

Alan L. Maki on December 31, 2013:

If you are going to write an article like this it requires you to name the perpetrators otherwise it is nothing but a racist diatribe smearing people. Why wouldn't you turn in the perpetrators of such hideous acts as you describe?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 31, 2013:

Thank you for the education, Eric, and the kind words. This is an issue for us all, no matter our race.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 31, 2013:

It was the word the Dine' used to deride the white man. Our Dine' or Dineh were the people. That was a word that was used because my Navajo brothers believed they were the "people". The Shoshone were all others. But it was not about skin color or birthright, it was about love and truth of spirit.

While the Great Spirit does not talk to me directly, it does speak to all. And I am confident that it does speak well of my friend Bill. And that Bill does well to keep us knowing of matters that need to be known even though we spend our time staring into the sun and become blinded.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 30, 2013:

Eric, I will take your word for it. :)

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 30, 2013:

When I was growing up we had a term. Shoshonee. I think it still means the same thing.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 30, 2013:

Thank you Dee for your comment. As long as one child is being abused I will keep writing about it.

Dee Blanchard on December 30, 2013:

I think I know who wrote this.. gotta laugh cause this is funny & I know whom your source is. Small world after all. There is people who bend over backwards to help there grand kids w/ no help at all.. and yes children's parents do sell everything they got for drugs. They leave the grandparents with nothing. It is sad yes it is but please Enlighten Mr. Cook of my comment please. That chimook from peguis. Some of this material is fact and the other is blasphemy. Morris inniakoz chichi giibotis.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 30, 2013:

Cindy, a beautiful comment and I thank you for it. Blessings to you and yours.

Cindy Ellis on December 30, 2013:

Making a comment here regarding ICWA. The ICWA appeared to be a federal law that would protect our children. I have heard it said by some Elders that this is the most recent federal Indian policy to do away with us. Sadly, our leaders do not know how to apply ICWA for the best interest of our children. White ways are used to make decisions about our children. Wonder what the ancestors would have to say about that?!? My wish for our children is to have mature people - true leaders that will be strong enough and experienced enough to lead. We need leaders that have the ability to apply what they have learned and behave appropriately. It is time to break the old cycle of "being on the Tribal Council will give me power and I can party all the time" mindset. Is this all we have to show our children and young adults? It was time many years ago to show our children that we as adults can break this cycle. With that being said, I grew up on Leech Lake and the urban area in South Minneapolis and now live home again in Cass Lake. Many people, even our own are afraid of each other and have prejudices about what goes on in our communities. I would challenge any one to come and live with us for a month and then you will know the love that we have for our children. The ones who come and steal our young ladies are from the outside. But, we treat outsiders and non-Natives better that we do each other - our own relatives. I see this as a fact because of the work I have done and currently do. I do take some offense to this article because this happened before a few years ago. Some one wrote an article about our "Lost youth at Leech Lake" and Tuleah Palmer & the Star N Tribune was our saviour that time - and I also see past it and use it in a way that will help our children and families. Come live with us and visit us before you write another article and be good to each other. Miigwetch!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 30, 2013:

Charles, thank you for your comment. I appreciate the fact that you were respectful in expressing your opinions. This is not an attack on Leech Lake and I'm sorry if people think it is. This is an attack on child abuse, and I have written many articles about child abuse that is done by white people and other races. Thank you for expressing your opinion so well.

charles huesers on December 30, 2013:

I'm a young adult, that grew up on the leech lake reservation. I would be the first to admit that there is problems on the rez, but I never heard of any child service workers neglecting kids that arnt being taken care of? Never heard of a kid dying across from the hospital or any of them other stories of things that are ACCEPTED BEHAVIORS on the rez. All my life I never met one family or friend who was molested. I know there's more poverty on yhe rez but that's what happened? Our history is one of grief and loss and struggle. But u seem to forget that drug abuse. And abuse of services is a nationwide better yet worldwide problem. Its not just us natives that look for the easier route. I know just as many screwed up white people who live off the rez as I do natives who grew up on it! So before u talk down on my people realize there are all types of different people in the world and 90% of them have some type of family or friends who are having the same issues. It offends me reading stuff like this from time to time.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2013:

Lizzy, bravo and thank you! Your last sentence is the truth. This defensiveness is a waste of time that solves nothing. Every corner of our country has abuse; to deny that fact is to live in a fantasy land. I refuse to do that.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2013:

Linda, thank you for your reflections on this. The blame game is a worthless undertaking. My only concern is for those being abused, whether it be at Leech Lake or in the heart of Texas. Makes no difference to me, white, black, brown or yellow....human beings have the right to live without fear of abuse. Period!

Liz Davis from Hudson, FL on December 29, 2013:

Readers who are defensive and angry should be ashamed of themselves. There isn't a Utopia in this entire planet. The world is both wonderful and horrific. After reading this article, I don't think anyone decides that every person in the Leech Lake Reservation is an evil monster. It may be a beautiful place filled with gracious and kind people. But evil exists everywhere and we should do everything in our power to protect our children from it. When we hear of injustice in our communities--whether proven or allegation--we should be moved to action, not defensiveness. And yes, there's no doubt that terrible injustices have been committed against Native American peoples, but that's no excuse for child abuse. Do white people today have no right to care for the little ones of all races? Should we turn a blind eye to possible abuses and simply judge the children less valuable than our own? Is that what you would like? Well, don't hold your breath.

Your ego and pride isn't more important than a child's life.

Linda from Texas on December 29, 2013:

As a white woman who has never set foot on an Indian reservation and claims to know nothing about Indians, I have always been in awe of Native Americans. I think what white people did to them 'back in the day' was horrible and disgusting.

In the white man's opinion, the Indians were savages and the white man apparently thought he was 'helping' the Indians when forcing them onto a reservation. I would disagree but who am I? The Native Americans of the 'old days' were amazing. They were strong and admirable. They lived with values and ethics that many people of 'these days' could learn from.

I've read the majority of the comments here and I think its time for everyone to move on. Move past the things that happened 100-200 years ago and live in the present, not the past. Stop blaming people for what others did. I didn't put you on that reservation, Mr. Holland didn't put you there. You didn't ride horses and shoot arrows at white men. That was OUR ancestors... YOURS AND MINE. Don't hate me for what they did... I DON'T HATE YOU. Stop blaming others for what is wrong in your lives, you have had many years to turn things around. There is NO reason why Indians cannot get an education and be successful.

But you have to stop living in the past and blaming others for your pathetic lives. Its NOT white man's fault that your life is not what you want it to be. Its YOUR fault because your life is what you make it. If you don't like it, CHANGE IT!!! Stop blaming others.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2013:

Good morning Eric! Have a great day my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2013:

Renee, thank you for your opinion.

Renee Judkins on December 29, 2013:

we don't need to prove crap to you .... you on the other hand should have to show supporting documents on your story .... you have slandered our people .... you sir are not a writer .... you belong on the staff of National Enquirerer .... but I doubt they would even hire your lying ass . Don't ever come to our Nation ... the likes of you and this lady who ever she is , are not worthy of being at any table with my people ... The band needs to sue your lying ass !

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 29, 2013:

right on bro

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2013:

Thank you Paula. I don't care if the Res is a sovereign nation or not. That's just so much politics and politics disgust me when innocents are being abused and the crimes covered up. Abuse is not okay in New York and abuse is not okay at Leech Lake, and if someone can prove that I am wrong on that account then I hope they step forth. In the meantime, I'm going to keep writing. If I've pissed off some people then I must be doing something right. :) Thanks Sis!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2013:

Mike, the hatred will not go away. That is a fact of life. I can do nothing about that and quite frankly I expected hateful comments on this article. If others want to attack me for carrying the truth and trying to end child abuse then they better bring bigger guns to the table because their words do not affect me. In fact, I'm now going to write a follow-up to this article and make sure the issue does not die. People can hide their heads if they want to, but I refuse to pretend this shit isn't happening.

Thanks my friend. You are always appreciated.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2013:

Nope, Mike, that is not what I expect to do, but I do expect to raise awareness and discussion about a problem that is real, and that is what I have done. Thanks for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2013:

Thank you again Paula!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2013:

Thank you Elizabeth...I appreciate your realistic comment about a problem that will not go away until people, on the Res or off of it, do something.

Suzie from Carson City on December 29, 2013:

Thank you, Elizabeth. I know the author of "Dying in Indian Country," thanks for the instant boost in sales. I will surely be buying this book.

It should be required reading, for every Leech Lake resident. Truth, facts and reality are only part of what it requires to awaken those in self-induced comas.

Elizabeth Morris on December 29, 2013:

The book "Dying in Indian Country" is a first hand account of a family from the Leech Lake Reservation. It corroborates the high level of child abuse.

Many who deny the reality at Leech Lake

1. Have become so used to it that they think it is normal - or

2. Have become used to hiding the realities due to shame or fear of a loved one going to jail (think co-dependency) - or

3. Are involved in the abuse and deny it to protect themselves.

The abuse is horrific and wide-spread.

Suzie from Carson City on December 28, 2013:

bill....(per Mr. Archer's comment).. I must say, as one who knows first-hand, the fierce hatred by Native Americans toward the white man, began long before this article. It would be ludicrous to deny that the vast majority of Native Americans, living on or off the reservation, do not see Whitey as their friend.

Your article is simply excellent, as well as, accurate REPORTING. I know that you did not merely take the word of one person, but that you spoke with numerous individuals at length and put forth days of research and responsible investigation.

Not once in your story, do you state that these atrocities, occur only on reservations, but everywhere in the world. The severe defensiveness and protests by Leech Lake residents, normal knee-jerk reactions to what they see as "personal, racist attacks," can be understood to a point. We ALL tend to "protect our own."

However, the hard core facts of reality remain, until denial ends, the plain truth can be accepted and this protection extends beyond rebuttals via ranting & ravings filled with a history of hatred.....this protection is useless and those they hold as "their own," are lost forever.

Mike Kleinschmidt from Saint Cloud, Minnesota on December 28, 2013:

So Billy what do you expect to do? Come rolling in with some white Christain General and banish these peoples to yet another swamp land and call it Chippewa II? I have lived in CL for over 12 years and been associated with the Cass Lake area for close to 40 years. I use to chuckle that I should be employed by the FBI or ATF because knew most of the drug dealers in town...not as friends...but awareness. In addition you can add the netters accused of illegal fishing (3 of the indictied this past year and found not guilty in district court). Yep there is corruption at high levels but no more so than us WHITE GUYS who finally got around to making it illegal to trade stocks on inside information (Congress)...only took 200 years to get around to passing a law. The problems on the Rez stem from 3 problems: the first, is the fact we as white eople stuck them on a piece of sh$t land after shooting all their leaders. The second id the economy with both social and economic implications. Meaning this: There are no jobs especially for the males who find this degrading to their role as "provider" in a family structure. Consequently, they are stuck in the "ways of the new --ways of the old" cycle. And living under a white-man dominated culture with predjudicial overtones. Add to this a socialistic culture that has evolved due to the treaties with the Native Americans and it leaves lots of "holes" that the corrupt can take advantage of. The third is the imposition of white-man law. And this involdves two ares: The first is the creation of the Rez in the first palce---putting three tribes into one enclose area thinking that space and time would separate them so no conflicts would evolve. But they did and families there compete for power like everywhere else on earth and in every nation. Much like Bush, Clintons and the Kennedies. Lastly, one has to refer to an article by Star Tribune entitled "Lost Youth of Cass Lake" and take note of the Weed and Seed program to eradicate drugs on the Rez--including all of Cass County. $238,000 was given out to this cause with not results outside of new jails--of which the one in Walker cannot pay for itself the consequence of this program led to most white independent contractors--along with "suspected targets" being busted --UNDER SUSPICION AND BY WAY OF DUI'S (leaving the local bars)-- for dealing drugs to the Native Americans. Get pulled over for a DUI and then have to take a urine test--getting the results and making one flip to get a lighter sentence. Unfortunately for the law, they determined that it was not the white guys bringing the drugs into the Rez but gangs out of Chicago and Mpls. After bankrupting most white contractors who just like to have a good time at the local bars. ADD to this the Native American culture has its own moors with regards to raising children and marriage. Is it right? IS our white way better? Head banging on the football field with brain concusions !

To conclude, I found your article lacking and a bit of hyperbole. Most staistics can be found in the MN Government page on counties of MN. And one womans view is not reality...just her reality!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Americangal, thank you for your logical and yet impassioned comment. To deny that there are problems does no good; in fact, blaming does little good as well. Admit there are problems and work to correct them so other innocent children do not have to pay the price of apathy.

Americangal on December 28, 2013:

Bill, I think you ruffled some feathers!

I have written and re-written my post about four times now. Each time I find myself getting upset at the people who deny there is a problem here. This stuff goes on!! It has gone on and will continue to go on until someone sheds light on it, like you have.

I "get" that people are defensive, but this does not mean that ALL Natives in Leech Lake are like this... as some of your readers have implied. We get that. But to deny that there is a problem...come on!

Your readers cannot deny that there is a high rate of alcoholism, drug abuse and violence, not to mention Gangs on the Reservation. Selling, trading and bartering of drugs is a huge problem right now as well. Unfortunately, a blind eye is turned to those types of activities because it puts food on the table, or perhaps it has become such the norm that it goes unnoticed. Hopefully the people of Leech Lake will take notice of the issues raised here and work together for a solution and not lay the responsibility on one person (Chairwoman).,,after all, it takes a village!

Mr Archer from Missouri on December 28, 2013:

Bill, I have to wonder at the apparent hate which several individuals have sent your way in the comment section of your article. If I am reading them correctly, they are telling you to accept their word at face value. There is no problem; their children are properly cared for; and everything is fine, just move along.

However, what you wrote about here you took on faith from a person you obviously had a good feeling about. You took her word at face value. Now these others are demanding you do the same. Do they not realize that they are telling you to accept them while at the same time they demand of you to believe this woman is a liar? Who is telling the truth here?

What I do realize is that you stated at the beginning that you make no judgments in writing this article. You are not calling anyone anything, you are simply reporting what you have been told by one you deemed a reliable source. If the facts are not what they seemed to be, okay; but we still should be aware of ANY child abuse and we should never turn a blind eye regardless of the color, creed, or religious aspect involved.

Personally, I thought you did a solid job of reporting what was presented to you as a troubling situation. You rightfully called attention to a deplorable situation, one which deserves to be looked into. Whether it occurred on a reservation, in downtown Detroit, or Podunk, USA we need to care for our children and that should be the overriding desire of all caring adults.

I have witnessed truly sad situations on reservations that I have been to and across. I lay asleep one night near a reservation in a camper and had the strange experience of having the camper broken into by a Native child who appeared to be 10 or 12 years old. Obviously he thought the camper was empty and ran like the wind when he saw us raise up in shock. Alcohol is a killer, more so to Native Americans due to their system not processing "firewater" the same as "European" systems do. Drugs I would assume would fall into the same category, although I cannot imagine anyone who could use illegal drugs and remain above the fray.

I will state that I agree that Native Americans received the short shaft from invading Americans and Europeans. They stole their land, destroyed their culture, denied their heritage, and attempted nothing less than the eradication of their peoples. However, that was over a hundred years ago and there is no use crying over spilt milk. We are all living in the same country now, like it or not. We must all work together to provide a better tomorrow while learning from the multitude of mistakes that were made in our yesterdays.

Overall, I find this to be a fair article, one which forces us to visit a bad situation and attempt to improve it. Nothing more, nothing less. You are perhaps the fairest person I know and you would never intentionally defame or bring harm to an innocent individual. Keep your head up and keep writing. Stay safe my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

I will, Joe, thank you!

Joe Wade on December 28, 2013:

Reading the comments , one has to wonder how the people of Spirit Lake, Turtle Mountain , etc .... responded with similar comments when Billy brought awareness to the horrors that came to light from his reporting. For those who do not want to believe that children are being harvested for financial gain here at Leech Lake Rez, you had better open your eyes up and uncover your ears, in place of being enablers for cruelty and exploitation to continue.

p.s Billy , on the above fb page link i posted, review the comments, for more info.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Joe, thank you! I appreciate you sharing this story.

Joe Wade on December 28, 2013:

Great work Billy , a few more notes and thoughts you might want to consider for your follow up articles .....

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Matthew, thank you for your opinion.

Matthew Roy , Leech Lake Reservation Enrolled Member of the pillager band. on December 28, 2013:

Bill Holland,

How dare u write an article about our Reservation. U probably never step one of ur feet on a Reservation Land, Yet alone seen one. U should have some kind of supporting paper work or something to back your story up before u go writin an article about our Leech Lake Nation. But all u heard was hearsay an, no supporting evidence. Yes we have problems here on our Reservation but nothing close to your story. So next time you go write a story about anything u should have supporting evidence before you go and write an article. Because all your Facts are not true. All the stuff you wrote about we here on the Leech Lake Reservation never even heard anything like your story you. Don't you think we the people of Leech Lake Reservation would have heard of such a thing before you did? There's no other story about Leech Lake Reservation anywhere in the Internet like this. So don't u think there would be more to this Fake, hearsay , Bullshit. Somewhere? So Bill Holland, you should apologize for your actions. Cause u have upset our Nation with this bullshit.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Valerie, thank you for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Waterman, in your own words there are problems makes no difference that there are problems elsewhere...the fact that there are problems is reason enough to write this article. Thanks for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Karen, I appreciate your offer. I might take you up on it.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Velvet, thank you for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Thank you Eric. There are times when the truth is not what people want to hear.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Lyz, thank you for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Leah, thank you for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Eric, as always, nicely stated. Thank you my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

dlns, thank you for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

dawn, thank you for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Lavender, thank you for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Glenda, thank you for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

concerned, thank you for you opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

Renee, eloquently stated...thank you for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

ashley, thank you for your opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

st. jimmy, thanks for your opinion.

Valerie Whitebird on December 28, 2013:

I grew up on the Leech Lake Reservation and this story is sadly exaggerated. This is likely testimony from a scorned couple who couldn't adopt a Native baby. As the saying goes, "The less people know about a story, the more they will create." This is exactly what is happening here. Native Americans- American Indians- are a very loving and caring people. Just because you are unfamiliar with our people, it doesn't give you the right to report exaggerated or false information that we, the people who live or have lived on Leech Lake Reservation, have never even heard of ourselves.

Leech Lake has the same problems as any other area in the United States. Why is it so sensationalized, exaggerated and even fabricated in this story? Is it for the fame of the writer? It makes you wonder.

Maybe the writer, Bill Holland, should take a little more time and spend a day with the people of Leech Lake who have not been scorned by the system in one way or another. I believe he would have a very clear view that doesn't produce all of the hand over mouth gasps and gossip with no basis that the American people seem to look for and thrive on. Because sadly, it's always negative, horrible, sad stories that capture the attention of anyone looking in the news. Human nature? Maybe, but if you think about it, journalists already know this, it's their job. So they will search and find the gossip of any area, whether it be the reservation, the ghetto, the trailer park or wherever. Anything that is going to sell their story, they will gather.

I have only good memories of my beautiful home. There are very good people there, not monsters.

Waterman8 on December 28, 2013:

I am non-Native and I worked on the Leech Lake Reservation for 16 years as an Environmental Health Specialist. I was in an out of homes performing housing inspections, water analysis, etc. Yes, Leech Lake Reservation has their share of problems as does any area negatively impacted by poverty and lack of economic opportunity. However, there are great role models all over the Reservation and many professional people working hard to make a positive difference. In addition, I question the credibility of Bill Holland (writer of this article). The article states: "The reservation covers 972,517 square miles of land and 337,392 square miles of water........" The whole state of Minnesota only has 86,943 square miles. Last time I checked the Leech Lake Reservation had about 1,050 square miles. Reporting such a massive geographical inaccuracy equates to a total lack of journalistic credibility in my view.

karen staples on December 28, 2013:

plz contact me at 218 760 8042 i have many horror stories about the foster care system here

velvet goodman on December 28, 2013:

I am an enrolled member of leech lake and also was a foster child throughout Minnesota including the leech lake area; where I was raised and family still resides; I have to say that the story is all bs and hearsay where are the facts!!! Yes, there are issues and bad behavior along with judgement but how is that different from anywhere else in the world. With insight from being a foster child myself and being in a total of 38 foster homes non-native inculded there where equal mistreatment and abuse between non-native and native foster homes. There was an equal of loving foster homes that cared and wanted nothing more then to provide a safe stable environment. There are good people in the world and there are people in the world that do horrid awful things so, to just place all the ugly in the world on a few reservations and not through out the world is just as awful and wrong. A good writer and journalist gets all the information before they publish an article this is even taught in the journslism courses unless it is for tabloids which this article is a tabloid, false, lacking real or true information and facts.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 28, 2013:

I live elsewhere. But I am not restricted to where my body is. I cannot speak for the author, but I can speak about him and know he is benevolent and caring. And by writing this piece he has brought more awareness to truth.

Lyz Jaakola on December 28, 2013:

I am a tribal member from another reservation in Minnesota. I live on my reservation and teach at the college level. It appears as if the writer listened to one lady's story and did not do any investigative research to corroborate the details of the story. Shame on him. Reservations are like any nation with social issues except for the fact that we are recovering from a genocide put upon us by the "civilized culture" of America and many of its citizens. Any horror stories one hears today must be put into that context. Do Native peoples battle abuses? addictions? Of course, because ALL peoples battle these things. But, those things were given to the Native peoples by Europeans... Is it then accurate to say ALL Europeans or Americans are abusive and addicted? No. I know millions of people would react to that statement and demand immediate retraction of any article published which made that claim. Hopefully the people who read this article recognize that this writer has chosen to take one person's questionable account and inflate it into a sensationalistic "report" with the latent intention to condemn ICWA (1987) at a time when Americans are finally starting to have to deal with the consequences of that law. It has taken 30 years for some agencies to even become aware of ICWA and now that they realize ICWA might cut into their "piece of the system" they are doing much to fight against it. Those of us who live on reservations, love our children and love our communities do not deny the fact that we have issues. However, we are peoples of a sovereign nation who have the right to raise our children within our own communities. THAT is what ICWA is about. Are there tragedies in our nations? yes. Are tragedies because of ICWA? no. Are tragedies because we are sovereign? no. Please, Mr. Holland, better inform yourself before unleashing this kind of writing on those unfortunate enough to not know any better. If you were to have presented this paper in one of my classes, I would have gently told you this was not valid research and reminded you of the damage that can be done by writing such a poorly investigated topic. It might do you some good to take some classes, I hear Leech Lake has a great tribal college.

Leah on December 28, 2013:

All these people commenting are from different states anf nobody lives on leech lake reservation. If you've lived there than you would know but your just writing what someone woman said. Unless you have lived here all your life than you have NO RIGHT to write all these lies. This gives everyone awful impressions of us and we are not like that.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 28, 2013:

Yah Tah from down Navajo and Hopi way.

I do not need to have eyes of an eagle to see what sad is.

I think the Catholics even have a saint who helped The People.

It is the taking of a Way that harms most deeply.

My earth taught me.

Most are not so fortunate.

We are our brother's brother.

So we must not say how great things are for them but see suffering and know it, in our own hearts.

White people have no say, yet they do.

We need not to do for, like so many social PC types. But we need to be.

dlns on December 28, 2013:

I am really concerned that this type of journalism is overshadowing all the good things that are happening on reservations for the children. I am curious, while you debated posting this article, did you personally research any of these allegations? Where are the stastistics, the reports that support this person story? Without facts, this article is doing more harm than good because rumors, gossips and vindictive behavior is ignored.

dawn on December 28, 2013:

I am a white female that lives close to this reservation. I am also a social worker & have worked near the reservation as well as other areas of the state. I am upset with this article because it neglects to point out the very same abuse of children & the system happens off the reservation as well as on. to me, its unfair to pinpoint the reservation problems without stating it happens as much as with other races, including white people that are on county support.

Lavender Hunt from Walker, Minnesota on December 28, 2013:

This article is very upsetting and distressing but I am glad there's another perspective to issues that are battled throughout all communities, no matter ethnic background. There are horrible things that happen in this world and I know the only way to come out striving and strong is to educate ourselves and each other. We are only responsible for our own ignorance. As a Leech Lake tribal member, who grew up on the reservation and continues to live there, my only power to shine light on these type of situations is to educate you. Our native people continue to suffer from historical trauma. Look into our history, the abuse from the government, broken treaties, our babies being ripped from our arms and taken into boarding schools where they were sexually abused, beaten for speaking their language. "Kill the Indian, Save the Man." As native people, we survived! The torment, the abuse, the cruel treatment, relocation to reservations, food rations and blankets that never came, or came infested with smallpox. Our Anishinabeg people and every other native nation has survived. We are still here! The trauma still runs in our veins, but we can only become stronger because we have not lost our ways. The teachings, our language, the Creator is powerful in our hearts. Thank you for posting this article, now you are aware. Continue to educate yourselves and your children about the ORIGINAL people and the genocide we endured.

Glenda Bryan on December 28, 2013:

I invite you to our Reservation Sir I live here and I have lived here all my life. our lives are not perfect but some of us fend for are own.

concerned leech laker. on December 28, 2013:

I feel sorry for the woman who claims this is what my home is like. Its really sad that based on one persons view of my reservation, She and the writer have told horrific lies and now the world is looking at us like were monsters. I bet if the writer of this bs of a story had checked his facts and this mystery woman's story out this article wouldve went a lot different! Yes we have problems just like everyone else but were a proud nation who have survived the worst kind of treatment from the U.S. We are survivors. We help one another, we support one another, we love and take care of our elders instead of dumping them off because they can't contribute. we support our kids, Our tribe is a proud one and when it cones down to it not one person on our reservation is a stranger, we are a big family who never gives up and uses the excuse "it's a lost cause" We find away to help one another wether it be a warm meal delivered to a lonely elder, wether it be a family with an emergency and no place to stay. or a family who's loved one is flown to a hospital far away for better care and needs help with gas,lodging to be with their sick...we get that family whatever it is they need because we care about one another, even if we don't know each other we help because that is what lifes about. My example is my newborn was flown 4 hours away because my baby wasn't breathing right , my tribe helped me find a place to stay while my baby was in the hospital, they helped with everything so all my energy and time could go to my very sick baby. tell the world we don't care about our chldren. you wont find another place like ours filled with caring folks who'll give their jacket to a child who doesn't have one, a place where a whole nation will band together to get our people where they need to be and still instill our traditional values into our everyday life. a whole nation who gives thanks to the creator everyday. a tribe who will stand tall and perservere over every obstical thrown our way and still have the kindness to give our everything to help someone else. please check your facts and not condemn my people over one persons view. We believe that our children are our most sacred precious gift. Don't take one story you've heard as the truth when you as a writer should know there's always more to the story. so find it out and you'll see how wrong you were to publish such an article on one couples word. I grew up on leech lake reservation and plan on raising my children here. Its not the terrible hell of a place this "lady" made it out to be.

Renee Judkins on December 28, 2013:

Leech Lake ought to sue the hell out of you crazy lying white folk ..... and who ever your so called lady that fed you this BULLSHITT ...... white people love to look at us and pretend we need the cavalry to come in and save us savages from ourselves ..... NEWS FLASH .... our culture was here for thousands of years without you dirty crusty Europeans ...... This whole story is spoon fed crap .... And as for Carri Jones, she could careless about the people she is supposed to represent ... or she would have put a stop to this article 2 years ago ... instead I'm sure she was flattered by her face and name in your article ..... this is disgusting. And you have no credibility ...... we are sick and tired of Amerikans ..... yes, Amerikans .... with a K, for KLAN ..... pretending they saved us .... you came here Filthy .... Starving .... reeking of the sheep you screwed on the way ..... and you try to portray us as perverts ...... the diseases of your society have found their way to us .... but we can remedy it by throwing you off our lands ... and taking you into your own court systems and making you pay for your lies .... we are still having to fight the Indian wars ...... only now we are more equipped to deal with this kind of propaganda and your reputation as a writer will be ruined ..... Shame on you ..... you are not a true writer .... you did no investigation ..... you ate shit and ran with it .... I hope you choke on it ...

ashley cooper on December 27, 2013:

I live on the Leech Lake Reservation. In Cass Lake, and just to let y'all know, this story is straight BULLSHIT! Who you gettin your info from!!!??????

Yea, ur lil facts concerning ICWA may be true, how ppl pretty much take kids for the money. BUT everything else BULLSHIT! I live a block away from IHS and didn't no lil girl burn in the sun. Our children are not used for money n sex! Gross y make sumn up like that. There may have been a few cases, which I am not aware of, but I doubt happened, because EVERYBODY talks, but like I said I ayyne heard of nuin like that. Why would u write an article like this with ur "facts" that are not trie. Why would you say sumin like that, bout the children bein used for sex? That's disgusting, and nuin to even be said if not true. There is no gangs here. Native Mob is gone member? Im sure u knew that since u kno FIRST HANDEDLY bout erything else. Untel u walk in our shoes and ses the REAL issues on the rez, please don't write a fake ass, bullshit, biased article juss to get publicitypublici

st. jimmy on December 27, 2013:

This sounds like one persons opinion. not the resverations. our youth is being dragged into drugs, gangs. this happpens in every resveration not just leech lake. think about it...leech lake schools had no problems with school shootings...but red lake did. so maybe someone should go up there rather then doing one story on one resveration.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2012:

Mike, I'm still torn on this autonomy issue; my main concern right now is the children. There are several reservations here in Washington which have started industries that hire only Native Americans and they have done quite well....not to mention the casinos. If they want to be a separate nation, then these problems have to be addressed....otherwise, they will disappear of their own accord.

Thank you buddy and Happy New Year to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 29, 2012:

You are right, Deb, I have done what I can. I want to own this and do everything to fix it, and I can't. Thank you for the dose of reality.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on December 29, 2012:

You have done what you can, made an awareness on what is occurring. I just hope that it will be seen by the right people, who will do the right thing.

Mr Archer from Missouri on December 29, 2012:

Bill, I have been by and on this reservation, albeit many years ago. I have traveled to Ontario a number of times in the past fishing and such and always enjoyed the country around Leech Lake. While I never witnessed anything such as this, I wouldn't have expected to see it in public. However, I have been around Native Americans in several reservation locales where the Police have treated them in an appalling manner, and watched as they stumbled by drunk in the middle of the day. While I agree that the U.S. owes something to these people, allowing them autonomy on the land given to them should not be allowed. They are still a part of the greater country, and should be treated as such. Perhaps some industry should place businesses there to encourage better habits, and reduce the amount of living off the governement teat as goes on both there, and in many of our major cities. Bottom line is if we do not begin treating criminals like criminals (including those in office), and showering our children with love and protection across this nation, we will cease to be a nation. Great, though sad hub, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 27, 2012:

Thank you Gypsy! I hope we can raise is a very slow process.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on December 27, 2012:

This is indeed distressing news Bill. Always wondered how life was on the reservations. Sure hope people become aware of this and something can be done to save children from such a horrid upbringing. Passing this on.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 26, 2012:

Thank you Paula! I think you know that I respect you greatly, so your words humble me. This is how I was raised, and it is what I believe in...each person trying to make the world better. You and I have a lot of work to do; there are seven billion people so that's a whole lot of change that has to happen. :)

Suzie from Carson City on December 26, 2012:

Yes, bil, you are 100% right to be writing these articles in order to publicize such atrocities. At the very LEAST, people everywhere need to know, and must be made aware. as shocking as these horrific facts are, once exposed, they have to be dealt with, one way or another.

There will always be people who: refuse to believe, feel no empathy whatsoever, assume someone "else," will do something.....and any number of other reactions.

However, there will always be human beings who truly care, put their concerns to some useful action and literally, fight for the rights of those who are being blatantly denied.

I agree with Linda, as well. We are, all of us, in every segment of society, a pathetic lot. So true. IMO, all the more reason to be vigilant, active and involved.

You know I applaud you and I am in awe of your incredible efforts. You are the perfect one to do your share, through your amazing writing.

It is heartwarming and exciting to know that you are receiving feed back and correspondence from people who have taken notice of your voice. Once again, I repeat, THIS is H.O.W it happens....UP+++

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 25, 2012:

Michelle, thank you and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 25, 2012:

Merry Christmas Martin! Thank you!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on December 25, 2012:

Merry Xmas, Bill. I don't feel as if I can air any thoughts about how to address such issues, not being familiar with the systems of governance, apart from saying that I hope the atrocities will be addressed, and that this article raises awareness. Sharing.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on December 24, 2012:

Thank you for this. -aside- Merry Christmas my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 24, 2012:

Sha, this is another example of how our words are important. As writers, we never know who we are going to reach, and what the result will be from our words. Yes, this is horrific, but maybe we can stir things up and make a difference.

Thank you my dear and Merry Christmas Eve!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 24, 2012:

Oh Rich, you are so correct, and there is not a point you have made that I could argue with. This country is heading downhill rapidly, and I believe we have only scratched the surface of the problems we are going to see in the near future.

I don't know what else to do other than keep poking the bees nest with my stick and hope to stir things up.

Merry Christmas, buddy; you are greatly appreciated!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on December 24, 2012:

Bill, this is absolutely appalling! What is wrong with people? Partying is more important than the health, safety and welfare of your children?! Children look to their parents, with innocence in their hearts, for love and protection. Letting your kid literally fry in the hot sun because you don't want to interrupt the party? Feeding them drugs so you can party? WTF????? Do they not have birth control on the reservations? Oh, I get it - bc pills don't get you high,right?

Wow. I hope this hub reaches far across the US, Bill. I'm glad this woman reached out to you.

Rich from Kentucky on December 24, 2012:

Bill - Money being used for gangs? Finally, someone to call political staffs what they really are! Oh, you mean street gangs ... the type that cheat, steal, intimidate, and such ... like political staffers in Washington! I'm not trying to diminish the seriousness of this by any means, and please don't take it that way. It gripes my gut. But, as our nation's children suffer various types of abuse, all colors, and as the welfare of the citizens is continuously ignored by those "Silver Spoon" politicians, the tribal leadership is taking it's lessons well from those we put on a higher pedestal (for some reason). This country has a problem, as you and I and many others have echoed loud. People are being herded by political correctness by those that don't have a clue to the meaning of the word responsibility. All gangs have their leader, their lieutenants, their intelligence departments, their enforcers, and use greed as their motive for existence. Like I said, they're getting their model from Washington, D.C. Taxation without representation, which was once a rallying cry for a past revolution, is virtually returning in mass. I have much empathy for the people in your story, as they don't deserve this by any means. Yet, do any of us? Great job, my friend! As we all partake of this holiday, let's make sure our prayers for all are a part of the day. Merry Christmas, my friend!

Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on December 24, 2012:

Merry Christmas to you as well!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 24, 2012:

Randi my friend, thank you for caring so deeply about people who cannot protect themselves. Hopefully, by raising awareness, something will be done. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 24, 2012:

Eric, that is a huge start. We can only do what we can do, and that is a great first step. Thank you for taking the time to be proactive, and Merry Christmas to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 24, 2012:

Wendi, i wish I could say I hold out much hope, but I don't. All I can do is raise awareness and maybe something will happen. Thank you so much and Merry Christmas to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 24, 2012:

Janine, it is not the most pleasant story for this Christmas Eve, but I promised to print this and hopefully it will do some good. Thank you for being so compassionate. Merry Christmas my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 24, 2012:

Genna, it is horrific and needs to gain awareness. Spread the word, share the hub, and thank you for contacting the news agencies. Merry Christmas to you my friend, and thank you for caring so much.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 24, 2012:

Thank you for doing that, Genna!

Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on December 24, 2012:

Wow, this is what happens when I take a few days off! Great, albeit disturbing hub, Bill. I agree with Linda. This blatant abuse of the system is rampant. I hope you are right and Cari Jones will be able to be the change. Thank you for bringing this information to light!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 24, 2012:

Billy you know me, I am kind of a wimp who just talks/writes a lot. So after reading this I just got on phone and talked a lot. I think I would like it if others did too.

Public Safety: 1-888-622-9225

Social Serv.: 1-800-551-0956

Woman's Services 1-800-442-3912

wendi_w from Midwest on December 24, 2012:

Thank you for publishing this Billy, I grew up outside the Pine Ridge Reservaton in South Dakota, while attending college at Sinte Gleska University I saw many of the same issues. These allegations are not in any way exagerated. Furthermore , attempts to address them , with in or from the outside are often met with accusations of discrimination. It is too bad these stories are not publicized but because of the people involved and the communities I don't hold to much hope for that. Thank you , though for doing your part.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on December 24, 2012:

Wow, Bill. something really needs to be done and can only thank you for sharing this one woman's story here and only can hope and pray that something with be done. Seriously this leaves me sick to my stomach thinking of these poor children. I get that these Indian Reservations are sovereign nations, but seriously the US government needs to step up to the plate and take control here. I can only thank you though for sharing this here and for bringing this major issue to light. Have voted way up and shared all over!!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on December 24, 2012:

I just copied and pasted a link to this article in the online story ideas submissions sections to CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.

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