South Dakota’s genocide against Native Americans continues nonstop

It will soon be a year since I wrote the first of a series of articles about the horrific genocide being perpetrated by the state of South Dakota against Native Americans. Incredibly, the genocide – the abduction and kidnapping of Indian children by state officials – continues unabated. This is beyond maddening.

Lakota People’s Law Project chief counsel Danny Sheehan recently told this journalist that South Dakota has not slowed down its illegal activities because to do so would be  an admission of guilt.           

Just to recount the situation of a year ago:

1. Over 700 American Indian children were being snatched from their homes by state officials every year. This occurred on a daily basis.
2. These hundreds were sent to white foster homes or group homes.
3. Most were adopted by white families.
4. Native children were 13.8 percent of the state’s child population, yet they represented 56.3 percent of the foster care population.
5. 87 percent were placed in white foster homes, while Indian foster homes went empty.

Nothing has changed! All of the above cited statistics are still current. The genocide train roars  full speed down the tracks.  

Again, this is genocide as defined by the United Nations General Assembly Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This Convention (Article 2) defines genocide as follows:

“… any of the following acts committed  with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

South Dakota is still committing brutal genocide against the Lakota people in violation of subsection (e) Article 2 of the Convention on Genocide, and is still in gross violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978.  

The Lakota People’s Law Project has filed a lawsuit challenging South Dakota’s actions. The federal government is attempting to settle a part of the lawsuit administratively by transferring federal funds for child care from South Dakota to the tribal governments of the state.  Subsequently, there would an alternative lawsuit to locate the abducted children and have them returned to their families and to hold responsible state officials who put in place the hated abduction program.

There has been no action taken by the United Nations as a result of the meeting by UN Human Rights Officer Giorgia Passerelli at the Pine Ridge Reservation with tribal representatives and the families of the abducted children in August last year. Calls by this journalist to Passerelli have never been returned.

The reign of genocide marches on! The racist power of South Dakota must be broken!

Photo: Native Resistance


Albert Bender
Albert Bender

Albert Bender is a Cherokee Indian. He is a freelance reporter and political columnist for News From Indian Country, and other Native and non-Native publications. He is also a historian and attorney specializing in Native American law. Currently, he is writing a history of the Maya Indian role in the Guatemelan civil war of the late 20th century.