Senator John Hoeven is calling for children on the Spirit Lake Reservation to be protected during the government shutdown.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs closed its social service office on the reservation. But Hoeven says its services are essential, and it should remain open. In a letter to the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior, Hoeven urged the bureau to reopen the office to ensure the safety of children under its care. Here is the full transcript of Senator Hoeven's letter:
"Dear Assistant Secretary Washburn:
I recently learned the Bureau of Indian Affairs closed its social service office on the Spirit Lake Reservation during the government shutdown. I understand the difficulty this raises for agencies, including yours, but it is critical that the BIA continues to protect the health and welfare of children in its care.
Federal agencies have the authority to employ non-excepted personnel for public safety and to protect life. The protection of children in the care of the BIA is essential and should not be interrupted.
I urge you to direct the BIA Social Service to ensure there is sufficient staff to address emergencies and to ensure that services necessary to protect children continue uninterrupted.