My name is Yvonne Griffin. I am a resident in Grand Forks. I am a member of the Speakers Bureau for RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network), and I also do volunteer work with CVIC in town.
I am an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes on the Fort Berthold Reservation. As a survivor of abuse and negligence of the Indian child welfare system, I am greatly saddened by the handling of the children at the Spirit Lake Reservation. Indian Child Welfare System has failed many children, including myself and my sister.
I have recently published a book about my time in the system. Since I have been advocating for our children to have a better chance at survival and a chance at reunification with their parents or family members. I have been in contact with the young father and am working alongside him to help him get the answers he needs and to also bring those who have caused harm to justice including the child welfare.
I am very happy that those that were chosen to care for the children have since been arrested and the other children have been moved. I hope to help bring about and make a change to the way foster families are chosen to care for our children. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. I am willing to speak and bring awareness not only to the recent tragedy but to help prevent future tragedies, not only with Indigenous people but for all children who do not have a voice.
All children deserve to be loved and shown love, especially in such a traumatic time in their lives, of being separated from their parents regardless of the reasoning. We need to protect our future and all children, regardless of race, are our future.