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Tribal leaders took on more than they could handle when they took over the BIA Social Services Program.

At the January 9, 2023 full board meeting, the Tribal Executive Board voted to give the 638-Contract for BIA Social Services back to the government after taking control of the program in fall 2022.

Since taking over, the Tribes have not been able to fill the required positions. Nobody’s in the office, and the phone goes unanswered.

“We took this job over with good intentions,” Councilman Dana Buckles said.

A lot of people were happy the Tribes were taking over the program, he said.

Not all were for sending the program back.

Councilwoman Patt Iron Cloud said she was for the Tribes taking control over the program. There have been problems with 638 contract programs the Tribes took over, but they were worked out and the contract was not returned to the BIA.

Ultimately this is about the tribal children. The BIA have been anti-tribal, ignoring Tribal Court orders and hiding behind government bureaucracy, Iron Cloud said.

This needs to be the priority of the Tribes, Iron Cloud said, because it involves children

Attorney Cher Stewart reviewed the situation and said what the Tribes were attempting is to put one year of prior work into a window of 90 days.

BIA Deputy Superintendent Anna Eder said there was nobody there several days ago. Up until the Tribes took over, BIA Social Services averaged about 60 cases every month and those are investigated.

Eder said she wanted the Tribes to appoint someone in the program until the BIA takes the contract back.

After this the council voted to “retrocede the Social Services program back to the BIA.



This didn’t happen over night.

On October 1, 2022, the Tribes officially took control of the program. One of the first things they did was to fire

After taking over the program, the Tribes Health Promotion Disease Prevention appointed at least one full time worker for 60 days.

When the 60 days were up, there were no applicants for the positions.

Currently the office is closed to the public. Nobody has applied to answer the phones.

BIA 638 funds government programs, including a variety of social services such as the Foster Home Licensing Program.

Ona Windchief, Director of Foster Home License Program, said in her office feels overworked, and the other employee will be leaving for school Health and Human Service Committee minutes from the final 2022 meeting state.

Councilman Kirk said the Tribes should plan on giving Social Services back to the BIA.

Councilwoman Carolyn Brugh shared an email she received which discussed a lack of office equipment and there are so many problems there now.

“It was set up as a failure for us,” Brugh said. The Sonosky Law firm even told the Tribes they were not ready to take over, minutes state.

About Post Author

Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com
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By Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com

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