A Christmas Poem from Indian Country

Complements of someone who emailed Attorney Lisa Yellow Eagle

 

T’was the night before Christmas and all thru the teepee 

Not an eyelid was shut because nobody was sleepy.

The Wal-Mart bags were hung by the fire so neat,

Hoping Chief Nick would fill them up with smoked meat.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds

While visions of fry bread men danced in their heads.

With ya-yah in her kerchief and my hair braided tight

We turned up the scanner to entertain us tonight.

Then all of a sudden a crash we did hear,

The rez dogs started barking but that’s the norm around here.

The moon on the breast of the new falling snow

Gave the luster of midday to my rez car below.

When what do my ndn eyes should appear

But an ndn sleigh with eight tiny reindeer!

With a little rez driver so stoic but quick

I knew in a moment it must be Chief Nick.

More rapid then Rez Ballers the reindeer they came

And he pointed with his lips then called them by name.

On Fancy Dancer, on Smoked Meat, on Thomas and Victor,

On Back Strap, on Philbert, on Black Cloud and Trixster.

Ssshhh! Land beside the teepee, quiet for good reason

We have to be careful it’s deer hunting season.

The stickers on his sleigh read “I love baloney”

Another one said “My other ride is a pony.”

The one in the middle said “NDN Power”

There was duct tape and bailing wire holding it together.

When the teepee flap opened I just hung my head,

For I just finished off his stew and fry bread.

He was dressed in full regalia from his head to his moccs,

His outfit fully beaded right down to his socks!

His huckleberry eyes twinkled, his braids were like WOW!

You have to see it for yourself, he was just … somehow!

The stump of his peace pipe held tight in his teeth

And the smoke signals encircled his head like a wreath.

His face was kind of greasy and he was ndn size,

He had a commod bod only a skin could recognize.

He spoke not a word just flashed his Tribal ID.

He left a block of cheese and new tape recorder under the tree.

He left hand drums and blankets and round dance CDs,

Huckleberry pies and the new Northern Cree!

Then he pointed with his lips, gave a big hearty AYYE!

And he danced out the door and jumped in his sleigh.

I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight

Merry Christmas to all!  Let’s round dance tonight!

HO! HO! HO!

WHY IS YOUR CREDIT REPORT IMPORTANT?


A credit report is a document that contains information about where you live, who you have borrowed money from, whether you pay your bills on time, whether you have been sued, whether you have been arrested, and whether you have filed for bankruptcy.  Credit reports are compiled by consumer reporting companies.  The three nationwide consumer reporting companies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  Federal law requires each of these companies to provide you with a copy of your credit report free of charge, at your request, once every 12 months.

Your credit report is important for two major reasons.  First, information in your credit report is used to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, and housing.  Second, careful review of your credit report is a good way to spot identity theft.

It is important to request your credit report from each of the three companies because each report may contain different information.  The safest way to ensure that you receive these reports free of charge is to request them online at AnnualCreditReport.com.  Other sources for credit reports may require fees or trial memberships.

Once you receive your credit reports, review each one carefully to make sure the information they contain is accurate.  If a report contains wrong information, it may be because a creditor made a mistake when it reported the information or it may be because someone else has used your identity or personal information.  If you receive a credit report with inaccurate information, you should contact the credit reporting company and the creditor in writing to dispute the error, explain why the information in incorrect (providing copies of supporting documents is helpful), and request that the information be removed or corrected.  If your credit report contains information about accounts that are not yours, or if you have other reason to believe that your identity may have been stolen, you should place a “fraud alert” on your credit reports by calling at least one of the nationwide consumer reporting companies.  The phone numbers are:

  • Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

You should also consult an attorney about additional steps you can take if this happens.

Consumer Rights Against Debt Collectors

YOUR RIGHTS AGAINST DEBT COLLECTORS

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that provides protections for consumers against harassment and improper behavior by debt collectors.  It is important to know your rights under this law even if you pay your bills on time, because creditors do make mistakes which can result in debt collection activities.

Under the FDCPA, a “debt collector” is someone (a third party) who regularly collects debts owed to others.  This means that FDCPA protections do NOT apply to activities of creditors (to whom the money is directly owed).  The FDCPA applies to personal debts – not to business debts.

Debt collectors CANNOT:

  • Call you before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm without your permission
  • Call you at work, if you tell them you are not allowed to receive calls there
  • Contact you after you inform them in writing to stop contacting you (except to tell you that they will cease contacting you or that they intend to take a specific action, such as filing a lawsuit)
  • Contact other people about your debt (but they may contact other people for the limited purpose of finding out your contact information or where you work)
  • Threaten you with violence or harm
  • Publish a list of people who do not pay their debts
  • Use obscene or profane language
  • Call repeatedly to annoy you
  • Make false statements about who they are or who they work for
  • Misrepresent the amount you owe
  • Tell you that you will be arrested if you do not pay your debt

If a debt collector does any of these things, you may have a cause of action against them.  If this happens, you should keep a detailed record of the debt collector’s actions (a phone log of when calls were made and what was said can be helpful) and consult with an attorney immediately.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and the state in which you live may provide additional legal protections.  If you have questions about these issues, please consult an attorney.