Earlier this week Rep. Kevin Cramer called out Senator Heidi Heitkamp over her position on the child abuse scandals at Spirit Lake. Rather than focusing on finding a way to protect the kids on the reservation, Senator Heitkamp and her political party have focused more on making political hay out of some controversial comments Cramer made to trial officials.
But now, after Cramer called her on the carpet, Heitkamp is in the statewide media demanding answers into the death of a three-year-old on the reservation:
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said she is “deeply concerned” that another child might have fallen victim to a child protection system on the reservation that she believes is clearly broken.
The effectiveness of the system has been the subject of debate for more than a year. The BIA took over the system last October following criticism that the tribe had failed to protect vulnerable children such as those in foster care.
“Somehow, with all this attention, all this ballyhoo, we still lost another child,” Heitkamp said. “Tell me how did that happen? I’m beside myself.”
It’s sad that it took a political jab from Rep. Cramer to get Heitkamp into the game, especially considering that she and other Democrats routinely enjoy 90% or so of the reservation vote, but let’s just be happy she’s finally got her priorities straight.
What’s going on at Spirit Lake isn’t a partisan issue. It’s an issue of protecting children.