Mar 30, 2013 - Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe Official Response to Kevin Cramer (GOP Congressman)
March 29, 2013
Dear Honorable North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer,
I am writing in “great concern”, about statements ‘you’ had made at the North Dakota Council on Abused women Services which was held on Tuesday, March 26, 2013.
The statements that were made were not only derogatory but lack effective leadership qualities that people of North Dakota and Tribes believe you divulged during your campaign.
In reference to, “Tribal Governments are dysfunctional. Tribal Courts are dysfunctional, and how could a non- Native man get a fair trial on the reservations?”,lacks a complete misinterpretation and lack of knowledge of day to day activities that occur within mine or other tribal chambers. We, as tribal leaders, as a sovereign nation, must protect the humanitarian, safety and quality of life for every tribal member that resides on and off the reservation. It is not only in our constitution but it is also in the North Dakota Constitution and United States Constitution. You have stated that a non-native person would not get a “fair trial” on the reservation, it is my understanding thattribal courts are granted “full faith and credit to make judgments issued within their courts” This is a positive trend and is reflected from activities by the state and tribes. Based on the evidence of a perpetrator, non-member, if they fractured tribal laws, then we have the right to prosecute and exercise our tribal courts to the fullest. But ironically, this is not always the case for our tribal members who get killed by drunk drivers, raped or murdered outside the reservation by non-native people, if you have reviewed thestats they get smallest and least amount of penalty. In other words “it’s just another dirty Indian who cares, persona”.
In addition, for a leader of our state and country, it is very sad that you made this statement, “[I want to] wring the Tribal council’s neck and slam them against the wall.” President Obama recently expanded protections for domestic violence victims into law, which not only include women, but Native Americans. When you stated you would like to “wring tribal council’s neck and slam against wall”, well that is a threat not only to Native Americans but to women, which there are two women who sit on my council. Shame on you. In the words of our President, if you have forgotten, acts of violence will not be taken lightly and will be addressed whether it is portrayed in verbal attacks, physical attacks or with guns.
I am demanding a meeting with you and your staff to discuss these deprecating statements and to make things “right” and to move forward productively with the least amount of prejudice and discriminating statements as possible.
Richard W. McCloud
TURTLE MOUNTAIN BAND of CHIPPEWA
BELCOURT ND 58316-0900