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BIA officers take children from Northern Cheyenne Reservation

A sign on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. Photo from NRC

Two young members of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana were removed from the reservation by Bureau of Indian Affairs police officers last month and given to their non-Indian father.

The BIA officers were acting on a warrant issued by a judge in Minnesota, according to news reports. The two boys were taken from a home on the reservation and transferred to their father, who was waiting at the border.

The BIA “didn’t consult with the tribe, but they did coordinate with a non-Indian guy to a great extent," attorney Roberta Cross Guns told the Associated Press.

The boys were originally taken to the reservation by their grandmother, Patsy Fercho, who secured a tribal court order that recognized her custody but the Minnesota court said they belong with their father. A Montana judge also issued an arrest warrant against Fercho for refusing to hand over the children.

"It is in the best interest of children not to be stolen from their tribal communities," Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn at the National Congress of American Indians annual convention in San Diego, California, last month. "I think that's just a fundamental principle."

Get the Story:
US officers take kids off reservation amid custody fight (AP 12/2)
Woman says grandchildren taken from her (The Great Falls Tribune 11/22)
Committee urged to 'dig deeper' into child protection agency (AP 11/6)

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Northern Cheyenne Tribe caught in middle of child custody case (10/12)

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