Yakama Nation Committed to Health and Safety of Tribal Children

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The Yakama Nation takes the welfare of our children seriously and we are committed to making decisions in the best interests of our members. A number of issues have been reported regarding the care of Desi Elwell, a minor tribal member currently residing with family in Tennessee.

Desi is in need of medical care and a number of allegations have been made regarding how the tribe has handled his case. First and foremost, our commitment is to his health, safety and wellbeing.

Because nothing is more important than the welfare of all of our Yakama Nation children, we have carefully reviewed claims made by Mandi Lumley-Sage, who has been awarded temporary custody of Desi.

Many of the claims reported by media outlets are not accurate.

Our investigation found Yakama Nation never denied permission for Desi’s heart surgery and medical therapy. The tribe has not pursued removal of Desi from Ms. Lumley-Sage’s home, nor has the tribe sought a gag order on the case.

We will continue to monitor this situation carefully to ensure Desi’s safety, health and wellbeing. Our prayers are with him for a successful surgery and a quick recovery.

 JoDe L. Goudy is the Yakama Nation Chairman.