Lakota Perspectives 

 

Hypocrisy and Senator Dorgan

Dear Senator Byron Dorgan,

 

            I contacted you 2 years ago, and told you that I was fired when I reported a rape that school officials had let go unreported.  You told me it was an employment issue and you couldn’t get involved.

 

            I contacted you a year ago, and told you that school officials are abusing Indians, even expelling a rape victim, then replacing her with a 12 year old.  You said you weren’t a law enforcement official, you couldn’t get involved.

 

            Last December, I contacted you, and told you I had filed a lawsuit, and I told you that the girl who had been set up to replace the expelled rape victim, had committed suicide, that been fired for speaking up for Indians and reporting abuse to officials.   I heard nothing from you.

           

Last week, I learned that you sponsored the suicide victim’s family to come to Washington and testify before the Senate Committee on the reason for suicides on the reservations.  You put a confused, grief stricken family forth to talk about suicides, when they don’t know, because the real reason has been covered up by trained officials.  And you say more trained officials are needed to address the problem.   Don’t you think that was the height of hypocrisy, Senator?  You know, there’s a lot of blame to go around for that girl’s death, starting with you Senators and your trained officials.

 

The psychologically abused  are being led to the slaughter, and you pick the most abused to discuss a problem while wrapped in the fog of their grief.   You take a grief stricken father, who has been told by the Superintendent, that the teacher was falsely reporting his girl’s rape, which caused the school officials to question her.  That was all a lie, to prevent the parent from suing the school, and throwing authorities off track about the real rape victim.   If you really wanted an answer to the problem of depression, abuse, and suicide on Indian reservations, you should have asked me. 

 

            I came to the reservation to find out who the Indians are, and I discovered that Indians have lost their traditional ways of virtue and values.  They have done everything the white man demanded the Indian do to become good enough to live along side the white man.  Indians gave up their land, their lives, their religion and their children to become civilized.  And still, Indians do not have a voice, a say in anything, nor do they have any real access to justice.  Things happen the way white man says they happen.  Things are the way white man says they are.  Result:  cultural genocide.  Some Indians cannot take this continual stifling of the truth of who they really are, and they kill themselves, rather than go on living in the sad and sordid world, which has no resemblance to the Indians of Sitting Bull’s time.  There is no place left on this earth, for an Indian to practice being an Indian.  In short, Indians did what you demanded of them;  they became Americanized.

 

            This is what is routinely taking place at Warwick Public School.  Children get raped and molested, beaten and abused, and the School, who has a duty to report, turns a blind eye.  When the art teacher, me, spoke up for these Indian kids, and reported the institutional abuse,  your trained officials did not investigate.  In fact, the trained officials helped falsify the record so that I would be properly punished for reporting the superintendent, principal, and counselor for abusing Indian students.  I was retaliated against with low teacher evaluations, non-renewed, fired, charged with misconduct and denied unemployment benefits.  You know what my misconduct was?  Talking to Indian students about their Native American history and culture.  Slap your forehead!  It’s a little like Socrates accused of corrupting the minds of the Athenian youths.  It is an American apartheid at its worse.  And the tribal government and the tribal police work with you, Senator, to keep the Indian oppressed and suppressed, with your trained officials.

 

            When a girl is molested or raped, she learns by example, to keep her mouth shut.  If she talks, she is going to be put down by her friends and family, scorned and rejected.  How much worse for a girl who wasn’t raped, who was new to the reservation, who was subjected to questioning by 3 Warwick administrators if she had been raped, when she was asked in front of her father if she had told Ms. Schmidt, that she had been raped.  The girl was bright, responsive to learning, eager to learn about her culture, was particularly interested in Leonard Peltier, AIM, and Wounded Knee, in part, because she was related to Leonard Peltier.  After bringing J J’s grief-stricken parents to Washington, you made this remarkable statement:  “our legal system has found Leonard Peltier guilty of the crime for which he was charged. I have reviewed the material from the trial, and I believe the verdict was fair and just.”   Don’t you think that’s the height of hypocrisy? 

 

Someone needs to make a change, and sadly enough, that is not you, if all you can think of is to send in more “trained officials”.  It’s these trained officials who have ignored a report of child abuse, when it is presented right under their nose, by yours truly.  I am so disappointed in you, Senator, that I think I will run for Senator, because I would never stand for this situation if it were presented to me.  I would start at the top, and start kicking butt, starting with Governor Hoeven and his rotten Attorney General’s office, who routinely commit misconduct with total abandon, knowing that no judge is ever going to make them answer any questions, much less indict them.  If elected, I would start cleaning house, starting at the top and working my way down.  When I got to the bottom, I would see to it that Native Americans receive the justice they deserve, and is long overdue.

 

            Instead of calling grief stricken parents to testify before Congress, you should have called me.  I would have named names of all the rotten officials involved in the wrongful death of a young Indian girl, who, as a 12 year old was wrongfully questioned by Warwick Public School administrators about a rape, just to set her up to replace the real rape victim.  There’s a real problem with jurisdiction that has never been addressed.  As a result, all your trained officials point fingers, but no one can investigate or prosecute crime on the reservation.

 unless it is selective, for some nefarious purpose, such as the bogus trial of Leonard Peltier. 

 

            Should you wish to do it right, and have ME testify, you know where to find me.  If you want to join the campaign, you can find me at jlschmidt@gondtc.com, or call  701-294-2106.  It’s time to get the movement started.

 

                                                            Sincerely,

                                                            Janis Schmidt

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