Issues Affecting American Indians in Tennessee
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American Indians in Tennessee government volunteer service
TN Archaeological Advisory Council
mandated 3 Native American representatives
  • Michael Lynch, West Tennessee (2008-12)
         member, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • Pat Cummins, Middle Tennessee (2004-08)
         descendant, Cherokee
  • Mark Cantrell, Middle Tennessee (2010-14)
         unknown tribal affiliation
  •   TN Historical Commission
    mandated inclusion of person/s
    of Native American ancestry

  • Brent A. Cox (2008-2012)
    444 Cades Atwood Road
    Milan, Tennessee 38358
    731-723-9994

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    Issues Affecting American Indians in Tennessee


    Issues Affecting American Indians in Tennessee
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    IRENE BEDARD'S STORY

    IRENE BEDARD'S STORY

    After 17 years of being a victim of unimaginable physical and mental abuse at the hands of her husband, Native American actress Irene Bedard is now being victimized by her abuser in the courts.


    When she mustered the courage to leave the abusive situation only months ago, she fled with her son Quinn to her home state of Alaska where she had family, employment and the support to heal. The failure of her Alaskan lawyer to protect her rights opened the door for her abusive husband to file 49 motions in the Greene County, Ohio courts that forced her and her son back to Ohio where she has no employment, no money or family. Her son was returned to her abusive husband. Now she is a virtual prisoner in Ohio without money, as her husband has controlled her income, her career, and her life for 17 years.


    While there are many agencies that help victims of domestic violence leave the dangerous situation, the judicial system then allows the abuser to continue to batter the victim in the courts. This 'assault by lawyers' must stop. It is a travesty that Ohio courts would return her son to a person who has perpetrated domestic violence.


    When Irene was forced to return to Ohio she wanted to keep this matter private, just as she had hidden the bruises, scars and broken bones from friends and family for so many years. Family members, who love her dearly, went public with her story to help draw attention to her ordeal. While Irene did not initially want this information out in the public, now that it is, she realizes that she can no longer hide the secret she has kept for so long and will be speaking out publicly when she is ready. Right now, she is focused on the courts and gaining back custody of her son.


    Irene does need your help. First, please write a letter to the politicians listed below asking them to intervene on Irene's behalf. Irene only wants two things from the lawmakers: to have the legal venue moved back to Alaska from Ohio, and to get her son back. A sample letter is provided below. Feel free to use your own words if you prefer.


    Second, Irene's legal bills to fight this complicated case are mounting, and she needs the best representation possible to counter the many legal motions that are being filed against her. Irene would be very appreciative if you would donate on the Red Crystal Gala website (www.redcrystalgala.org), via the PayPal link, to help with her legal and living expenses as she fights this uphill battle to regain her son and her freedom.


    Also, her abusive husband has not only taken her money and her son, he also has control of her image. Please be aware that the websites, Facebook and MySpace accounts under Irene's name are not being run by her at this time. She has no access to these accounts, only her husband does.


    When Irene is ready, she will be launching new sites that are controlled by her. In the meantime, Irene will be using the Native Spirit PR & Entertainment website (http://www.nativespiritpublicrelations.com) as way to provide accurate information and to thank her many fans for the tremendous outpouring of support that she is receiving. She wants you to know that the information on this site will indeed be from Irene.


    To send Irene your words of encouragement, write directly to her at irenebedard@roadrunner.com. Irene also would like to publicly thank all the family members and friends who have done so much for her these past few months. In particular, she would like to thank her niece Alia Davis who has work tirelessly on her aunt's behalf sending letters and posting information to get the word out about Irene’s situation.


    We thank you for your help, and please keep Irene and her son in your prayers.


    Jody Roberts

    Native Spirit PR & Entertainment



    WRITE TO THE FOLLOWING POLICITICANS:
    Note: if an email address is not listed, go to the person’s site and email via the website form.


    U.S. Senator-Elect Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
    http://murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=EMailLisa


    202-224-6665

    U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
    http://brown.senate.gov/contact/

    (202) 224-2315
    Ohio Toll Free: 1-888-896-OHIO (6446)

    U.S. Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio)
    http://voinovich.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm
    (202) 224-3353

    Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (D)


    http://governor.ohio.gov/
    614-466-3555

    Ohio Governor Elect John Kasich (R)
    http://www.kasichforohio.com/site/c.hpIJKWOCJqG/b.5207517/k.2A93/Contact_Us/apps/ka/ct/contactus.asp


    U.S. Congressman Steven Austria (R-Ohio)
    http://austria.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=7В§iontree=4,7
    Phone: 202-225-4324

    Fax: 202-225-1984


    Ohio State Senator Chris Widener (R)
    SD10@senate.state.oh.us
    614-466-3780


    Ohio State Representative Robert Hackett (R)
    House District 84-Greene County

    district84@ohr.state.oh.us
    Phone: (614) 466-1470
    Fax: (614) 719-6984


    Ohio State Representative Jarrod Martin (R)
    House District 70 –Greene County

    district70@ohr.state.oh.us
    Phone: (614) 644-6020
    Fax: (614) 719-3970


    Ohio State Representative Peggy Lehner
    Ohio House District 37-Montgomery County
    district37@ohr.state.oh.us
    Phone: (614) 644-6008
    Fax: (614) 719-3591



    SAMPLE LETTER TO POLICITICIANS
    Feel free to write your own letter in your own words.

    Dear _______:

    I am writing to ask your support for Native American actress Irene Bedard, loved by Americans as the voice of Pocahontas in the classic Disney cartoon. After 17 years of being a victim of unimaginable physical and mental abuse at the hands of her husband, Irene is now being victimized by her abuser in the courts.


    When she mustered the courage to leave the abusive situation only months ago, she fled with her son Quinn to her home state of Alaska where she had family, employment and the support to heal. The failure of her Alaskan lawyer to protect her rights opened the door for her abusive husband to file 49 motions in the Greene County, Ohio courts that forced her and her son back to Ohio where she has no employment, no money or family. Her son was forced to return to her abusive husband, even after he essentially admitted to the abuse. Now she is a virtual prisoner in Ohio without money, as her husband has controlled her income, her career, and her life for 17 years.


    While there are many agencies that help victims of domestic violence leave the dangerous situation, the judicial system then allows the abuser to continue to batter the victim in the courts. This “assault by lawyer” must stop. It is a travesty that Ohio courts would return her son to a person who has perpetrated domestic violence.


    I am asking that you intervene in this situation to stop the courts from allowing her abuser to continue to assault her and her son. We are seeking justice for Irene and other domestic violence victims who once free of the abusive situation are then battered in the courts.


    First, Irene wants her son back and away from her husband who has perpetrated unspeakable violence against her and whose actions are emotionally damaging her son. She fears for her son's future at the hands of her abuser.


    Second, she wants the court venue to be changed back to Alaska where she and her son will have the support, both economically and emotionally, to heal from this horrible situation. In Ohio, domestic violence appears to have no bearing on custody, which is dangerous to the children in these situations.


    While I know you do not have direct influence in the court system, I ask that you use any means at your disposal to intercede in the Greene County Courts and with Magistrate Cynthia Martin on Irene's behalf.


    For more information about the case, contact Irene directly at irenebedard@roadrunner.com or contact Jody Roberts at 216-798-3349, jody@nativespiritpublicrelations.com. Thank you for listening to my concern and I hope that laws can be changed to prevent other victims of domestic violence from having to endure further abuse in the court system.




    SAMPLE LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please send via the submittal form on the Whitehouse website at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact. Your submittal cannot exceed 2,500 characters.


    Dear President Obama:


    I applaud you for passing the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 that helps protect Native American women from domestic violence and abuse. Because you are aware of the plight of Native women at the hand of abusers, I am asking for your support for Native American actress Irene Bedard, loved by Americans as the voice of Pocahontas in the classic Disney cartoon. After 17 years of being a victim of unimaginable physical and mental abuse at the hands of her non-Native husband, Irene is now being victimized by her abuser in the courts.


    When she mustered the courage to leave the abusive situation only months ago, she fled with her son Quinn to Alaska where she had family, employment and the support to heal. The failure of her Alaskan lawyer to protect her rights opened the door for her abuser to file 49 motions that forced her and her son back to Ohio where she has no employment, no money or family. Her son was forced to return to her abusive husband, even after he essentially admitted to the abuse. Now she is a virtual prisoner in Ohio without money, as her husband has controlled her income, her career, and her life for 17 years.


    While there are many agencies that help victims of domestic violence leave the dangerous situation, there are no laws to prevent the abuser from further battering the victim in the courts. This 'assault by lawyers' must stop. It is a travesty that Ohio courts would return her son to a person who has perpetrated domestic violence.


    I am asking that you intervene in this situation to stop the courts from allowing her abuser to continue to assault her and her son.


    First, Irene wants her son back and away from her husband who has perpetrated unspeakable violence against her and whose actions are emotionally damaging her son. She fears for her son's future at the hands of her abuser.


    Second, she wants the court venue to be changed back to Alaska where she and her son will have the support, both economically and emotionally, to heal from this horrible situation.


    While I know you do not have direct influence in the Ohio court system, I ask that you use any means at your disposal to intercede on Irene's behalf and allow this case to proceed in Alaska or in a Tribal Court.


    For more information about the case, contact Irene at irenebedard@roadrunner.com or Jody Roberts at 216-798-3349, jody@nativespiritpublicrelations.com. Thank you for listening.


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