( – promoted by navajo)
NPR broadcast: http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/…
An estimated 700 children a year are being illegally seized by the government in violation of the federal law and family rights and placed in the care of white families outside of the Native-American community, despite the fact that many of these children have family members within the tribe who are willing to care for them. Through out American history, Native American families have been separated and torn apart by the American government. In 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was agreed upon in order to put an end to the cultural genocide and the governmental kidnapping of children. 35 years later, however, ICWA is still being ignored by government officials, and Native American families are still being torn apart. Children are being deprived of their cultures; they are being relocated and given completely new identities in non-Native American families.
In South Dakota, the Child Protective Services have been blatantly violating ICWA and have been removing Native American children without properly notifying parents or family members who may be able to take the children. ICWA specifically states that if Native American children must be removed from their parent’s care, they must be placed with a Native-American household so as to preserve their culture. Here are just a few important facts about the issue in South Dakota:
- Native Americans make up 15% of South Dakota population, but 50% of foster children.
– 9 out of 10 Native American children are placed in Non-Native American foster care
– The state claims to be doing its best to uphold ICWA, but there are many Native-American foster families that have been given no children what-so-ever.
– Less than 12% of the kids in the South Dakota foster system have been actually physically abused.
– the vast majority of the Lakota people are seized for “neglect”. Many believe that the state’s definition of neglect is culturally biased against the Lakota.
– South Dakota is removing 3 times more children than any other state
The 9 Sioux Tribes held a summit in May; Washington Officials, Congress staff members, and attorneys from the civil rights division were present, but no one from the state of South Dakota appeared to make a statement. There are several movements going on currently to resolve to problem in South Dakota and ensure that the state follows the federal law.
This NPR broadcast does an excellent job of laying out the issue, as well as revealing heart-breaking interviews with Lakota families who are experiencing the injustices.
The non-profit organization Lakota People’s Law Project is also currently working to address these issues and bring a case against the state of South Dakota.