After Getting Called Out, Suddenly Heidi Heitkamp Cares About Spirit Lake Scandal


Earlier this week Rep. Kevin Cramer called out Senator Heidi Heitkamp over her position on the child abuse scandals at Spirit Lake. Rather than focusing on finding a way to protect the kids on the reservation, Senator Heitkamp and her political party have focused more on making political hay out of some controversial comments Cramer made to trial officials.

But now, after Cramer called her on the carpet, Heitkamp is in the statewide media demanding answers into the death of a three-year-old on the reservation:

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said she is “deeply concerned” that another child might have fallen victim to a child protection system on the reservation that she believes is clearly broken.

The effectiveness of the system has been the subject of debate for more than a year. The BIA took over the system last October following criticism that the tribe had failed to protect vulnerable children such as those in foster care.

“Somehow, with all this attention, all this ballyhoo, we still lost another child,” Heitkamp said. “Tell me how did that happen? I’m beside myself.”

It’s sad that it took a political jab from Rep. Cramer to get Heitkamp into the game, especially considering that she and other Democrats routinely enjoy 90% or so of the reservation vote, but let’s just be happy she’s finally got her priorities straight.

What’s going on at Spirit Lake isn’t a partisan issue. It’s an issue of protecting children.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • devilschild

    She knows darn well the BIA is incompetent but she doesn’t do a thing about it just like John Hoeven, Jack Dalrymple, and Tim Purdon. It’s truly shameful. But it’s business as usual…Dorgan, Conrad, and Pomeroy weren’t any better.

    • Say It

      Dorgan was interested in the reservations. I know one time, he pushed for more law enforcement on the reservations. Other than that, he worked mostly keeping the Federal funds funneled to the reservations. Big mistake. Rewarding corruption.
      IMHO, unless the reservations clean up their act, then Federal funding should be curtailed, until they do. That Federal funding only breeds corruption.

  • Betty Jo

    I see this as a lot of talk, absolutely no action. Show me don’t tell me! Has anyone taken in consideration the welfare of that poor twin sister, who is grieving the loss of her twin with complete strangers??? What a horrible lonely situation!!

  • ec99

    Oh, good, the “I am clueless” pic again.

    • kevindf

      That’s her “What; me worry?” look.

      • two_amber_lamps

        I was thinking the same thing….

  • schreib

    Somebody please tell that woman how to put makeup on

    • two_amber_lamps

      Amazing how unlike the photos that were presented during the election cycle…

      Makes me believe the fair constituents of ND were duped?


      • ec99

        The Herald is still using that 25 year-old picture.

      • Prairiemom3

        Wow. Really? Of all the things you might criticize Sen. Heitkamp for, you choose to go after how she looks? Looks like your priorities in line with the Kardashian Crowd’s. So what do you think Kim should name her baby?

        • two_amber_lamps

          Kim who? Sorry Mom, I don’t read tabloids.

          If your going to misrepresent something so simple as your physical image as in Hidey-kamps case, what else are you willing to lie about?

        • ec99

          Heidi opened the Pandora’s Box by putting a 25 year-old photo on her campaign site. The ND media, who never saw a Dem they didn’t like, used it, and continues to use it.

  • devilschild

    Tonight on the news Heidi said we were all responsible for this…I say BS. We pay her and her cohorts a good salary to take care of business. She should get off her butt and get serious about this issue. It’s as if they are afraid to offend the tribe so they just let this situation fester.

  • Say It

    Heidi does not want to rock the boat on the reservations. Just look at Rolette County, where the majority of voters voted Democrat. If she starts to make waves on the reservations, she will alienate her Democratic voter base.
    Three cheers for Cramer. He says it like it is!

    • Rob

      Heitkamp is more worried about votes than children.

      • ec99

        Don’t know why. She has 5 1/2 years til the next election.

        • Prairiemom3

          Unless her next election is in 2016.

          • ec99

            Have read all the speculation here about her plans. She better understand that people didn’t vote for her, they voted against her opponent. She may not get that lucky again running for governor.

  • ladyhawk

    Does the US really have a say on the Indian Res? I am think’in more children are killed off the Res, than on it and we are not really addressing that. The native Americans have a whole load of problems to solve, no doubt, just what are we doing to help them find the solutions?


      The answer to our first question is yes.

  • toomuchguvmint

    If politicians are interested in reservations solutions perhaps looking foranything that would lessen the reservations culture of federal dependency would allow those suffering from extreme federal dependency to move to a culture of independence.

  • mark

    Well Heidi is more concerned about the population in Africa.
    but, why should the Res get it both ways, they want full rights to their land, no US taxes, full casino rights, and no US interference – but now the US govt needs to step in. Sorry
    one way or the other please