Dying in Indian Country: Revised Edition

Dying in Indian Country: Revised Edition

by Elizabeth Morris


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Dying in Indian Country is the true story of a father who, recognizing how current tribal and federal government policies were destroying his family, embarked on a bold journey of change. The names of children who are perishing daily within Indian Country never make it into the media. Abuse is rampant on reservations because the US government system allows exploitation to go on unchecked and without repercussion. Yet genuine hope is available! While multitudes of tribal members are dying from alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide, and violence, personal responsibility and non-governmental solutions can bring real change to Native Americans. Author Lisa Morris reveals the anguishing reality of how the current reservation system played out in of her own family. After a life-changing experience, her husband, Roland, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, rejected the mantle of victimhood and blame, became personally accountable, and led their family in a new direction. The greater story within her story is one of spiritual transformation and healing. Readers will gain a deep understanding of the plight of Americans living throughout Indian Country, while experiencing one family's real-life journey away from decades of trauma, toward hope and victory in Jesus Christ.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781940269719
Publisher: Deep River Books
Publication date: 12/10/2015
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

The co-founder and chairperson of the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare, Elizabeth \"Lisa\" Morris holds a BA in Christian ministries from Living Faith Bible College in Alberta, Canada; a diploma of Bible and missions; and is a registered nurse. Although raised upper-middle class, Lisa spent much of her adult life living within modern Indian Country, witnessing her extended family's struggle with alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide. After a life-changing experience, her husband, Roland, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, rejected the mantle of victimhood and blame, became personally accountable, and led their family in a new direction. Subsequently, they both came to understand that foundational tenets of federal Indian policy were at the root of the pain and violence destroying their loved ones.
Lisa and Roland raised their five children, as well as four grandchildren who were placed with them, through the Indian Child Welfare Act. She is actively rallying for governmental reform to provide true help for Native American families.

Table of Contents

Foreword W. B. Allen 13

Family Members 15

Preface 17

Chapter 1 May 1980 19

Chapter 2 Dying in the Suburbs 23

Chapter 3 March 1980: Rolling Thunder 41

Chapter 4 Living in Indian Country 51

Chapter 5 The Noble Red Man 73

Chapter 6 This Isn't Fun Anymore 91

Chapter 7 Play It Again, Sam 107

Chapter 8 Crying in Indian Country 119

Chapter 9 Dying in Indian Country 133

Chapter 10 Gi-ga-wa-ba-min me-na-wa 153

Chapter 11 Dying in the Heart 167

Chapter 12 Freed: Living in the Protected Place 189

Chapter 13 Are We Ever Really Protected? 205

Chapter 14 March 1991; the Eye of the Storm 219

Chapter 15 The Work Begins 231

Chapter 16 One Day at a Time 245

Chapter 17 The Mission Is Clear 263

Chapter 18 Joy 279

Chapter 19 Misty 291

Chapter 20 The First People 305

Chapter 21 Human Rights for All? 319

Chapter 22 September 1999 333

Chapter 23 October 1999 343

Afterword: June 14, 2004 347

Appendix A The Rub Tree, by Don Burgess 357

Appendix B Gi-ga-wa-ba-min me-na-wa, June 2004 359

Bibliography 363

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"In deeply personal fashion, Lisa Morris takes you inside her family to illustrate the plight of native people. Lisa and Roland’s story is like too many families’ stories in Indian country. She masterfully weaves individual accounts of addiction, abuse, and permanent dependency, as part of the larger history of widespread corruption among tribal leaders, while exposing serious flaws in national policy. Morris dares say what many people believe but lack the fortitude to risk reputation, and even life, to tell the truth about. Dying in Indian Country serves as testimony to the harm caused by apathy, and as a call for public servants willing to lead where most fear to go.

Whether you are interested in federal Indian policy, social justice, or a good love story, you will find this book gripping. It will take you on an emotional roller-coaster ride that runs from Minnesota to Montana to Washington DC. One need not agree with every political conclusion of the author to admire her courage for exposing obvious shortcomings in national and tribal policies that serve more to keep people down than lift them up.

I encourage you to read this book with an open mind, challenge its conclusions if you like, and search your heart and mind for how you will respond to Dying in Indian Country.

-Congressman Kevin Cramer, North Dakota, At Large

"Truly gripping, with good pace. The emergence of the 'public' of political significance, as opposed to the autobiography, is gradual but effective.

-W. B. Allen, Dean Emeritus, James Madison College; Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University; former Chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights (1989)

"Lisa Morris pours out her heart in Dying in Indian Country, as she chronicles the life of just one family caught in the tragic web of history. Having worked with native people in Canada and having three native children in our family, I know that what she writes is all too true and commonplace. I commend her book to you and pray that somehow through the telling of this story, you might be moved to help remedy this terrible scandal, which shames both our nations.

Morris’s book is a compassionate and honest portrayal of one couple’s journey through hardship and pain, sorrow, and triumph. Lisa Morris has her feet in both worlds, native and non native; because of that, she has unique insights. The whole issue she addresses in the book, the caring for native children has become so politicized, it hardly seems that much bureaucracy does is in the best interest of the child. Her strong faith in God comes through loud and clear as the one constant, sustaining factor. She has dedicated her life to make the lot of native children better. I highly recommend it."

-Reed Elley Former member of the parliament, Vancouver Island, British Columbia; former Chief Critic for Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Official Opposition, Canada; Baptist pastor, and father of four native and Metis children

"Everyone should read this. I’ve had personal experience with a Native American tribe, and sadly I see why what happened, happened to me and my family. It was wrong. What is being done to Native American people, by their own government as well as by our government, is wrong too, and it’s not helping or making amends for the past. People don’t believe or know what is really going on. Today, the average person only sees reservations with casinos. There is so much more happening. We can be a voice, and this book is a great way to start. Thank you, Lisa Morris, for putting your heart on the line to share your family’s story."

-Jodi A.

"As a third-generation reservation resident, I’m often asked why I am concerned about Indian reservations. Lisa Morris provides the clearest explanation available to date. Short of living there, reading this book will give you the best feel you’re likely to find for what it’s like to live on a modern American Indian reservation. At times, you will feel confused, discouraged, hopeless, depressed, and angry. Welcome to the rez. Many people have their aspirations destroyed here. Too many have their lives and health damaged. More than a few lives end prematurely here.

What is exciting about this book is that it doesn’t end there. Lisa and her family find hope emerging from despair. They are finding solutions, both for their own lives and for those around them. This is a story about an amazing life journey. Read it and weep. Read it and rejoice."

-Darrel Smith, writer; rancher, South Dakota

"Those of us who have lived our lives among American Indians within the reservation system have seen firsthand the disastrous consequences of socialism and paternalism perpetrated on Indian tribes by the federal government. This very readable book is Lisa Morris’s brutally honest telling of her family’s life and experience on reservations, including direct personal experience with the Indian Child Welfare Act, and tribal government jurisdiction over her husband and children—even though they have no vote in that government.

The reader who is not hopelessly entrenched in political correctness and the politics of guilt and pity will find this book a tremendous resource and compelling argument for drastic change to federal Indian policy, away from paternalism to freedom and dignity for the individual Indian citizen."

-Rick Jore, former Montana representative, House District 73

"The ending had me putting the book down and saying, 'Wow!'”

-Ann Ubelis, radio talk show host, South Carolina

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