Don't Allow Culture To Die, Just Because It's The Law

Don't Allow Culture To Die, Just Because It's The Law

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Lacy Adams started this petition to Bureau of Indian Affairs Alan Forgarty and

There is an important part of the Indian Child Welfare Act that protects the children of enrolled members, but not the children of direct descendants.  I came from a family of six and only five of us are enrolled members.  My oldest brother is unable to be enrolled because his blood quantum is too low as he has a non-Native father.  My three brothers and I grew up in the same household with our parents without pause.  All four of us lived on the reservation, all four of us have the same great-grandmother in attendance at Flandreau Boarding School, all four of us have a chart at Indian Health Services, all four of us have Spirit Names, but only three of us are allowed ICWA protection for our children.  I'd like to see enrolled members and direct descendants get equal protection regarding ICWA. 

There is a part of the Minnesota Law on Next of Kin that can be unfair.  If one dies, without a living will, the next of kin decides arrangements, including disposition.  My brother had no living will.  He was divorced.  He had one adult daughter that was estranged for years and many family members that knew him well and loved him unconditionally.  My brother passed away at our parents' house.  Our parents got him down from the rafters, removed the noose, and began CPR.  Our parents arranged his traditional Native American services surrounding his beliefs.  Our parents knew him for his entire 40 years.  Yet, next of kin was able to decide his arrangements, decide his disposition, and exclude his own family.  This has caused great trauma within our family.  Next of kin shouldn't be automatically entitled to decide the disposition when there is no will, especially if their are known cultural beliefs.  There is no going back on this to make things right in these situations.  Death is traumatic enough to get through and legally appointing an estranged family member to decide disposition when there are cultural beliefs makes it inhumane.  

Two small changes that would make a big difference.  Family and culture are very important and should be respected in life and death.

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At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!