NPR’s Ombudsman recently released a report DEFENDING South Dakota’s illegal seizures of Lakota children- implying that the illegal separation of Native American children from their families is not South Dakota’s fault.
NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos recently attacked an excellent investigation by Laura Sullivan and Amy Walters that looked into the problems with Native American Foster Care and the violations of ICWA in South Dakota. The Ombudsman’s attack defended the state and accused Sullivan and Walters of having strong biases and having used misleading information.
Upon further investigation, however, we have come to the conclusion that Sullivan and Walters were, in fact, correct- it seems that, instead, it is the Ombudsman who needs to get his facts straight.
The Lakota People’s Law Project has written a full rebuttal in response to the Ombudsman, outlining several key errors in his investigation:
1. The Ombudsman (Edward Schumacher-Matos) talked to virtually no Lakota people when preparing his report. The report relies almost solely on government sources and is therefore inherently biased.
2. The Ombudsman failed to grasp the cultural bias of state law and D.S.S. workers.
3. The Ombudsman failed to check his sources and verify false claims, leading him to inaccurate conclusions.
4. The Ombudsman mischaracterized South Dakota’s skyrocketing foster Care seizures.
5. The Ombudsman’s main argument has been subsequently rejected by news outlets including NPR, the Rapid City Journal, and TIME Magazine.
6. The Ombudsman doesn’t understand the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
7. The Ombudsman ignores the economic benefits South Dakota gers from Native Foster Children.
We are currently leading an effort to show the Ombudsman that the voices of the Native American Community matter. Please write to him stating your frustration on his Open Forum Blog.
You can find the full response to the Ombudsman’s report HERE.
Make the voices of the Lakota be HEARD!