Dec 21, 2015 - Grinch Strikes Fort Thompson, By Evelyn Red Lodge

Big Bend District – Yes, the Grinch has struck a tiny community in South Dakota.

Enter Joe Shields, Crow Creek Housing Executive Director(

While serving a 10 day eviction notice on a Big Bend District woman, she says he told her when asked that he is a pipe carrier and Sundancer.

Gasp. Back up. A pipe carrier, in the Dakota way, has a special connection with Creator. He or she prays for the people, among other things. Next, a Sundancer makes sacrifices for the people, among other things.

Instead of waiting a few more days after the holidays, Shields chose this time of year to serve her with a 10 day notice.

According to the woman, Janice Howe, he violated housing rules by going over the Big Bend District Councilman, Fabian Howe’s head. The Howes are related as common in small Indian reservation communities.

Janice Howe is well known throughout the nation as she is featured in the award winning National Public Radio’s 2012 investigative series Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Scattered Families. (

The series sent a shock across Indian Country and the nation. According to one report (, “Based on the widely broadcast radio report, congressmen ( ( and the National Congress of American Indians ( took swift actions.”

Shortly after, a historic summit of South Dakota tribes and the BIA took place(

The aftershock continues with the most recent event being the issuing of new guidelines ( for the ICWA.

Janice Howe ( is well known in South Dakota as an advocate for Native families. Her weapons of choice are the Indian Child Welfare Act and Facebook ( She claims she operates on no outside money. Her tools are her phone and internet. As such, she rescued two of her own relatives from foster care. Her family now includes the two little ones and her husband Luis Adrian who are also worried about their future.

She did admit in court as part of a plea agreement to illegally cashing two checks back in 1997. However, Janice Howe says her record was recently checked and there is no record of any charges for the felony. According to a Crow Creek Sioux Tribe court document concerning the eviction, Shields’ biggest concern is her non-violent felony. Protecting the community from violent or drug-dealing offenders is one thing. However, protecting the community from a selfless foster grandmother is another.

Joe Shields did not comment at press time.

(Contact Evelyn Red Lodge at

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