On the Hill: Methamphetamine crisis on reservations

Senate Indian Affairs Committee Oversight Hearing on The Problem of Methamphetamine in Indian Country, April 5, 2006.
Webcast | Testimony

Panel 1
Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior

Deputy Director, Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Attorney�s Office, District of Wyoming

Panel 2
Chairwoman, San Carlos Apache Tribe

Chairman, Wind River Eastern Shoshone Tribe

First Vice President National Congress of American Indians, and Lieutenant Governor of Chickasaw Nation

Chief Executive Officer, National Native American Law Enforcement Association

United Tribes Multi-Tribal Indian Drug and Alcohol Initiative, United Tribes Technical College
"Kathleen Wesley-Kitcheyan, Chairwoman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona, came to Washington last week and told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee -- or at least, the four senators who attended -- about what's happening on her reservation.

For starters:

*A baby was born with a deformed pelvis and legs and no feet to a 14-year-old meth user, the Arizona Republic reported.
*A meth-addicted baby was born with legs that are numb and will likely never be usable. *About a month ago, a pregnant woman on meth was arrested and gave birth in jail to a premature baby, who died.
*Two years ago, a meth-using mother killed her own little boy, saying later that he was the "devil" and "possessed."
*In late 2005, a 9-year-old meth user was admitted to the San Carlos hospital with hallucinations and violent behavior. "We are worried that kids even younger are doing meth," said Wesley-Kitcheyan.

And it goes on: One in four pregnant women testing positive for meth; half of all newborns testing positive for drugs or alcohol; 101 suicide attempts in 2004; even 106 cases of arson.

Wesley-Kitcheyan had mixed feelings about airing such dirty laundry, she said, but police and other local services are overwhelmed, and the tribe is at risk of losing the spirit of its ancestors to the drug. She has 55 grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews, she said, stopping once to compose herself. "I lost one about two years ago on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. A champion, a rodeo champion. He won over 26 buckles. He won over six saddles. The wrong choices cost him his life. He was doing drugs, drinking and was engaged in human smuggling because of the lack of employment.""

Get the Story:
On the Hill: Washington Looks at Meth in Indian Country (The New West 4/10)

Related Stories:
Navajo senior citizens worried about methamphetamine (4/7)
Senate committee told of meth crisis in Indian Country (4/6)
Witness list for Senate hearing on methamphetamine (4/5)
Navajo Nation faces big threat in methamphetamine (4/5)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee meth hearing (4/3)
Methamphetamine crisis in Indian Country (3/31)
Attorney General Gonzales visits Yakama Nation (3/30)
Grandma, mom, daughter arrested for meth (3/30)
Border tribes face threats from migrants, drug trade (03/21)
Meth use tied to child abuse in Indian Country (3/16)
Lance Morgan: Indian Country now has the 'Meth Diet' (3/13)
Tribes face new danger in methamphetamine (3/7)
Update from NCAI winter session in Washington (02/28)
NCAI meets in Washington for winter session (02/27)
Drug trafficking ring busted on Pine Ridge Reservation (02/24)
Editorial: Canada to blame for reservation drugs (2/23)
Jourdain blasts comments in NYT story on drugs (2/21)
NY Times: Drug trafficking in Indian Country (2/20)
Tom Heffelfinger to step down as U.S. Attorney (02/15)
Garcia turns to Four Directions to guide Indian Country (02/03)
Tribal judge expected to enter plea in drug case (01/31)
St. Croix Band hears dangers of methamphetamine (01/19)
Chippewa Cree Tribe launches anti-meth campaign (01/12)
Tribe's public defender held on meth charges (01/04)
Tribe's public defender charged in meth conspiracy (12/21)
Lummi Nation burns house that was used to sell drugs (12/02)
Opinion: Tribes, state to combat meth problem (11/28)
Washoe Tribe joins fight against meth (11/01)
Crow Chairman: 'We have a meth epidemic' (10/26)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe hosts meth summit (10/07)
NAIHC expands program to deal with meth problem (09/29)
U.S. claims 400 meth arrests in 'Operation Wildfire' (08/31)
Washoe Tribe says meth invading communities (08/18)
Methamphetamine called a big problem for tribes (8/11)
Navajo Nation counts 32 active gangs, 500 members (08/05)
Reservation meth dealer given life prison sentence (07/08)
Nevada tribe concerned about methamphetamine use (06/22)
Plan seeks to combat meth problem in Montana (03/22)
Navajo police find methamphetamine in car (03/04)
Meth use a serious problem among Native youth (02/25)
Officials praise Navajo methamphetamine law (2/21)
Navajo Nation Council passes methamphetamine law (02/14)
Methamphetamine use explodes on reservation (2/7)
Idaho tribe to sign law enforcement agreement (02/03)
Navajo Nation peyote, meth legislation on hold (11/11)
Reservations called breeding ground for meth (11/08)
Navajo community worried about meth trafficking (10/20)
Film to expose dangers of meth on Navajo Nation (06/17)
Task force cracks drug rings in Indian Country (06/07)
Authorities bust drug ring on Oklahoma tribal land (05/06)
Calif. tribe, local police break up drug ring (01/29)
Tribe turns to banishment to battle drugs (1/19)