Grand opening of the MHA Nation Child Safety Center held

Grand opening of the MHA Nation Child Safety Center heldOn Friday, Aug. 9, the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation held the grand opening of its Child Safety Center. The facility provides safe, community-based crisis intervention and family preservation services. The state-of-the-art facility is part of Chairman Mark N. Fox’s dedication to serving and protecting MHA Nation children. 

The Child Safety Center was designed based on the Children’s Advocacy Model and provides children with shelter in times of crisis. The center includes comfortable bedrooms for five girls and five boys and can be expanded to 16 beds. The 24/7 facility features a family-style kitchen, a child-sized reading nook, open-plan living room, secure play area, tornado shelter, and attendant care stations providing around-the-clock supervision for children in need. 

The center’s staff is trained in detecting possible abuse, trauma, neglect, and drug and alcohol endangerment. Dedicated to comprehensive care for MHA Nation children, the center will incorporate cultural traditions in helping families heal. 

“We want this building to be a safe haven. We need a place to keep children safe in emergency situations,” said Chairman Fox at the grand opening. “They’ll have a safe place to sleep, a good meal, and be taken care of until other programs – social services, tribal courts, and others – are able to help them.”

“It’s a blessing that our people are able to realize the benefits of our natural resources. We’re taking advantage of our oil and gas revenue to raise the standard of living for our nation. That’s the goal here,” Chairman Fox continued. “We are thriving. Old buildings are coming down and new buildings are coming up.”

Under the Fox Administration, the MHA Nation has seen rapid infrastructure development; including a new drug treatment facility, the MHA Nation Public Safety and Judicial Center, improved schools, and increased fitness and recreation opportunities. 

“It's all about addressing the needs and issues that our people have right now. Health issues, social services issues, all these different things,” said Chairman Fox. “Everything that we're putting in the ground is going towards that.”

Chairman Fox also thanked the Tribal Business Council and North Segment Councilwoman Monica Mayer for their support of the Child Safety Center. 

“The MHA Nation is the greatest nation on the Great Plains,” said Councilwoman Mayer. “The greatness of this nation came from the structure of the family.”

“We continue to be a very blessed nation with our oil revenue. It is my honor to serve on this council, particularly with Chairman Fox. I share his vision with him,” continued Councilwoman Mayer. 

The grand opening ceremony was attended by numerous state officials, including representatives for North Dakota Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer. Also present was Sen. Jordan Kannianen (R-District 4) and Representative Ruth Buffalo, MHA Nation tribal member and first Native American woman elected to North Dakota state legislature. 

“I’m so grateful this is happening,” said Rep. Buffalo. “I want to mention the importance of healing and being good to each other. There have been many of us who have been called to step up in times of crisis.”

A tribal delegation from the Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community also attended the ceremony as part of their tour of MHA Nation development. Chairman Fox is also working to forge trade relationships and business alliances with other tribal nations. 

Salt River Pima President Martin Harvier praised the MHA Nation’s improved infrastructure. 

“We are amazed at what the MHA Nation has been able to do. You are truly blessed,” said President Harvier. “Chairman Fox’s words ring true. We need to protect our children.”