"After checking complaints of service denial by Cherokee Elder Care, a Cherokee Nation citizen believes he is being stonewalled and legally harried to prevent revelations of poor practice at the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly.
Terry Reed says a restraining order was taken out against him because he was investigating complaints about CEC/PACE procedure. The order was extended for 90 days after a Dec. 11 hearing at the Cherokee Tribal Courthouse."I've been following this story behind the scenes for several weeks. In my humble opinion, something very bad is going on when a man submits several Freedom of Information Act requests, in an effort to protect his elderly mother and others from violations and abuse, and in turn, has an order of protection put against him so that he can no longer contact the department in question.
For Cherokees living inside the jurisdictional boundaries of the Cherokee Nation, this is not a surprise. They understand that they run the risk of such things if they speak out against injustice. They understand retaliation can and will happen. That's why many people are afraid to speak out or bring attention to things like this. In a recent discussion I had with a friend who lives inside the nation, she summed up the feeling people have,
"We know how it is here. If they can't get you, they will get your family. If they can't get your family, they will get your friends. One way or another, someone, either you or someone you care about, will pay for your speaking out. It's why we keep our mouths shut."This sad reality breaks my heart. People should not have to live in fear simply because they want rules, regulations and laws followed. People have a right to be treated fairly and with dignity. The Cherokee Nation is supposed to be a democracy, not a dictatorship.
Anna Wells, a Cherokee living in California, and healthcare professional, has been an advocate for better Cherokee healthcare for several years. Tonight on Facebook, she posted (shared with her permission)
"Progress is slow, but coming. The long reach of the little dixie mafia aka Cherokee Nation doesn't play fair. They will go to extreme lengths to harass patient advocates, even if that includes placing a restraining order on the sole caregiver of a Cherokee elder who is disabled, without any real justification, and then extend the order for 90 days without a fair hearing. This is real. We need people to write letters to their council representative and the media demanding an investigation into the business practices of this agency."She continued:
"We're taking this fight outside of Cherokee Nation because it's impossible to get fair treatment in our court system or from the AGs office."The Cherokee Nation belongs to the Cherokee people. Our elected officials work for us. Everyone who works for the Cherokee Nation works for the Cherokee people. If they don't do their job, they should be held accountable. If they abuse their power, they should be held accountable. Most of us don't have a lot of money, but we do have power. We have power in both our voices and our votes. It isn't time to vote, but it is time to speak. Concerned Cherokees are starting to stand together, in an effort to make a difference.
If you have a story to tell and would like to get in contact with Terry Reed or Anna Wells, please email me through the Contact Me button at the right side of this blog and I will put you in contact with them. If you wish to remain anonymous, we will protect your identity. The point is not to expose you, but to expose corruption. Terry, Anna and others want to help make Cherokee Nation healthcare better for everyone, whether it is within the regular healthcare system or within the PACE program. Things can get better, but they can't get better without you, the Cherokee people. Change is hard and it won't happen overnight, but we can "be the change".
I'm not saying this will be easy, but I promise it will be worth it.
Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.
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