Tell Obama – Stop State Kidnapping Of Lakota Children

| Petitions and Online Actions

As documented in the new short web video “Hearts on the Ground,” by Sundance award-winning director Kalyanee Mam, just released at www.LakotaLaw.org/action, the epidemic of child taking by the State of South Dakota is tearing thousands of Lakota Sioux families apart.

Every day, Lakota grandmothers are illegally denied their right to foster their own grandchildren. The South Dakota Dept. of Social Services rejects grandmothers for such trivial reasons as too few rooms in a home, too small of a home, too old, decades old crimes, and even rumors. ”

South Dakota continues to violate the federal law by placing 90% of the 750 Lakota foster children it seizes each year into non-Native homes and facilities, instead of with relatives or tribal homes. Both federal law and the United Nations define this behavior as genocide. Only tribal programs are placing foster children with their relatives.

Obama has the authority to order three federal agencies (the Department of the Interior, the Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services), to provide resources to train and develop tribal family service programs and foster care systems for the nine Lakota Sioux tribal Councils. Within a short time, the $60 million in federal funds that currently go to the State of South Dakota’s Department of Social Services to illegally remove Indian children and force them into foster care can instead be spent and managed by the tribes, as they work to keep children with relatives, while restoring tribal sovereignty.

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Lakota children are more than ten times more likely to be forcibly removed from their parents than Caucasian children, and now comprise about 60% of all foster children in the state. In more than 90% of the cases, simply alleged “neglect,” as opposed to sexual or physical abuse, is given as the reason for the forced taking, sometimes at gunpoint, sometimes while at school, or in the middle of the night. Poverty equals “neglect’ in the mind of the State workers.

What is happening to Lakota children and families in South Dakota today is precisely the sort of activity that Congress intended to stop when it passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (“ICWA”) of 1978. The Act mandates that when states remove Native American children from their parents, they must be placed with relatives from their extended family, or with other members of their tribe, or with members of other tribes. Only when an active effort for such placements fail are states allowed to place Native Americans in White foster homes, or state run foster care facilities.

The Department of Social Services in South Dakota continues to deny child placements to willing and capable relatives, while “stripping” parents of all parental rights to ever see their children again, for “violations” as trivial as failing to show up at parenting classes.

South Dakota designates every Native child in its foster care system as “special needs,” receiving up to $79,000 from the federal government for their care annually, and then forcing many to take mind-altering drugs, even some as young at 18 months of age. Medicare spending for foster care child prescriptions in South Dakota increased more than 1,000 percent in the recent decade, while suicide rates for young Lakota children are 12 times the national average, and among the highest in the world. Some of the suicides are clearly related to the forced medications.

More than a century after being forced from their ancestral lands onto reservations, the 70,000 members of the Lakota Sioux nation remain the poorest, most oppressed people in the United States.

  • Southernfink

    The deliberate breaking up of families reminds me of the stolen generations in Australia The forced removal of indigenous children to be brought up with so called ‘good white families’ where they are forced to learn white man’s culture.

    The forced removal of the Lakota children will have very much the same effect, it will create broken families and people that will feel completely alienated and disoriented later on in life.

    The Lakota traditional way of life is under threat.

  • feralblue

    this is mild compared to the way i feel about all this. i did not really realize that that happened in Australia – argh!!!!

  • feralblue

    i can’t even read “The Diary of Ann Frank” – the whole thing hurts me too much. THIS is heart rending – and absolutely horrible. i signed the petition. wish i could adopt loads of the kids and give them back to their mothers. . .
    sorry, but Damn them!!!!

  • blm1242

    The legal basis for this continued destruction of a culture is based in a Papal Bull written by the Catholic Church over 400 years ago . It is called the Doctrine of Discovery and the following is a brief description of the document that allowed the horror of colonialization, genicide, enslavement, and the destruction of a culture.

    Doctrine of Discovery? What’s that?

    Papal Bulls of the 15th century gave Christian explorers the right
    to claim lands they “discovered” and lay claim to those lands for
    their Christian Monarchs. Any land that was not inhabited by Christians was
    available to be “discovered”, claimed, and exploited. If the “pagan”
    inhabitants could be converted, they might be spared. If not, they could be
    enslaved or killed.

    This Doctrine governs United States Indian Law today and has
    been cited as recently as 2005 in the decision City Of Sherrill V. Oneida Indian
    Nation Of N.Y.

  • Southernfink

    Here is some information about the stolen generations http://www.nsdc.org.au/stolen-generations/history-of-the-stolen-generations/the-history-of-the-stolen-generationsAs reported

    Under the Howard government ‘As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald 25th June, the Howard Government last week used the military to seize control of 60 Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory’….source http://archive.eniar.org/pdf/AboriginalChildrenOverboard.pdf

    Australian indigenous people are living on top of valuable mineral resources that big mining would love to exploit.

    I would investigate if the Lakota people are living on top of land that could be valuable for mining companies.

  • susan_v

    Sadly this situation with DSS taking children for petty reasons or often trumped-up allegations is out of control all over the country – the targets are the poor among those of every ancestral background- those who can’t afford a good lawyer that will take on DSS – a mediocre one won’t do — and it’s hard to even find ANYONE to take on DSS — of course being Sioux just makes them more vulnerable.
    THERE IS NO OVERSIGHT OF DEPT OF SOCIAL SERVICES IN THIS COUNTRY – THEY HAVE MORE POWER THAN THE PRESIDENT.

  • susan_v

    The children are their “gold mines” – drugging them is gold to the pharmaceutical industry, and I question how much DHHS is getting in kickbacks

  • Southernfink

    You are absolutely correct in that It does create economic opportunities for some private entity while breaking up families and forcing kids to grow up in a culture they would not have been exposed to in the first place. This really gets my goat, the kids belong with their family and not some forced adoption and forced medication. it’s another stolen generation

  • susan_v

    Many parents all over this country who question putting their children on Ritalin or other brain-damaging drugs -( parents who ask for alternative, natural and less-damaging treatments [see the film Cut Poison Burn]), or parents who have medical issues, are subject to the Dept of Social Services entering their homes and taking their children by force. Dare and Currituck Counties in North Carolina will not even allow me to SEE my only grandson, because I do not agree with DSS’s diagnosis of his mother after she suffered a head injury. Their solution to everything is psychotropic drugs. End of conversation!
    Dissent, Freedom of thought, freedom of choice in healthcare is not allowed. And anything you say will be distorted and used against you, and the courts allow DSS to commit fraud, so to the s0-called public defenders. The court will chastise me for writing this as DSS has already retaliated for my speaking out in the past. This is tyranny.
    To systematically target Native Americans — yet again — is indeed genocide. Furthermore the psychcotropic drugs are known to cause infertility in a substantial percentage of those who take them (by raising prolactin levels) – This could be seen as a form of sterilization.

    http://womensmentalhealth.org/posts/fertility-and-antipsychotic-medications/

  • wearealldoingtime

    UNREPENTANT: KEVIN ANNETT AND CANADA’S (NATIVE PEOPLES) GENOCIDE: 1 of 1 FULL

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88k2imkGIFA#t=448

  • wearealldoingtime

    The Abuse Continues…………..Making A Prayer..Sending Light A Zillion times Brighter Than The Sun, To ALL DARK MINDS~TO ALL DARK HEARTS~TO ALL DARKNESS………..NOW ““`XOXOOX

  • wearealldoingtime

    Pope Francis, Jesuits and Anglicans Face Prosecution

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UW3JwksKcSc#t=81

  • West Winds

    This Doctrine of Discovery is way out of date for our modern times. It was spurious at the outset in its basic imperialist assumptions. It is a distasteful disgrace and we need to update this with a reality check. It’s time to turn the page and start anew. We need to come together and insist that the rights of people come first, especially where the children are concerned.

    I’m totally against the taking of Indian children as a pro forma exercise and modus operandi. If the state or federal governments are all that concerned, let them build schools on the reservations and give enough assistance to support the elders as they raise their children at home. The people who are now running the state and federal governments think nothing of squandering billions on bank bailouts, freebee nuclear power plants to the private sector on public money, fake foreign (oil) wars and a laundry list of other useless non-sense.

    So, let’s call upon the elected officials to put some of that money to work here at home where it will do the most good and invest it in the family protection of Indian children.

  • Danielle Hensley

    And whoever used it should be ashamed and not allowed to practice law anymore. There is no defensible reason to be using this outdated church doctine to justify mistreatment today