Originally published July 3 2015
CAMPING is now child abuse? Michigan government seizes kids to punish family for off-grid camping trip
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Is there a concerted effort on the part of authorities on the state and federal level to find ways to criminalize individual preparedness and any exercise of liberty? Some Americans might think so after the nightmare a Michigan family has endured, and all for the crime of camping.
According to various reports, the family had their six children seized by Michigan state officials after they learned that the kids (and the adults) were living in tents.
The experience began for Christopher and Antonia Hernandez May 19 when Otsego County Sheriff deputies and an official from the state's Children's Protective Services initially confiscated the children; it ended June 10 when the kids were returned to their parents following a court victory in which the Hernandez's successfully argued that their kids are eligible for enrollment in the Tlingit Native American Tribe.
"The federal Indian Child Welfare Act makes it more difficult for state officials to separate Native American families. Michigan has a similar state law," said a report at Off the Grid News.
"If the family had not had the Tlingit link, the case still would be ongoing, with the children still in foster care," the report said, meaning, if not for the Native American status, living in a tent would somehow be illegal in Michigan.
Nevertheless, according to the report, the removal should never have taken place.
You can't choose to live your own way these days
In an interview with Off the Grid News, the Hernandez's said one issue the state had with them was that the family supposedly had no electricity or source of water. But the couple said that they were living near a state park and had bought passes to use the shower and bathing facilities there. In addition, the family, which had lived in the tents for nine days prior to police arrival, brought along a generator for power.
"The government has tried to standardize what a home is and what a home must have, without consideration for if the children's needs are being met or not," Christopher and Antonia said in a joint statement. "This was not a case of neglect, but a case of the government telling us how we have to raise our children — that we must have running water, we must have electricity and we can't stay in a tent for the summer. To the government it makes no difference if the children are happy and healthy. We need to conform to their idea of normal or they can take your children away.
"Taking children from families needs to be limited to clear cases of neglect and abuse. It should be every parent's right to raise their children as they see fit, unless the government can prove that what the parent is doing is actually harming the child," they added.
Conform or suffer the consequences
Their children, aged 17, 15, 6, 4, 2 and seven months, were living in three tents when authorities arrived. Two of them were large nine-person tents.
"Our family decided to go camping for the summer to a 10-acre property we are buying," Antonia said, adding that they do own a house.
"We had intended to stay the summer while we finalized plans on what we were going to do with our lives," she continued. "We cannot say we would have stayed the whole summer due to the fact Christopher is donating a kidney to his mother and we may have been called home to do the surgery at any point. If this were to happen we planned to return home for the duration of the surgery and the recovery period however long that was."
Off the Grid News reported, "The parents simply 'wanted our children to experience the outdoors' – and perhaps see if they wanted to live off-grid permanently."
But in today's police state America, non-conformity will land you in trouble, in jail or without your children.
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