South Dakota commits shocking genocide against Native Americans

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Genocide is not too strong a term for what is now happening in South Dakota. The huge, shocking violation of legal and human rights being carried out by the state is tantamount to genocide against the Native American nations, the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Sioux, residing within its borders. It is the abduction and kidnapping by state officials, under the cover of law, of American Indian children.

This is a gross violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978. Further, these abominable kidnappings are being upheld by the courts of that state.

The best approach to this crime against humanity is by the following initial checklist:

1. Over 700 American Indian children are removed by South Dakota state officials from their homes every year.

2. These hundreds are sent to white foster homes or group homes.

3. Many are adopted by white families.

4. Indian children account for 13.8 percent of the state's child population, yet they represent 56.3 percent of the foster care population.

5. Of the hundreds of Native children in foster care in 2011, 87 percent were placed in non-Indian homes while Native foster homes went empty.

6. Because of its targeting Native children, South Dakota is currently removing children from their families at a higher rate than the vast majority of other states in the U.S.

7. Once removed, the state's courts routinely keep Indian children from even seeing their families for at least 60 days.

8. The state's Department of Social Services (DSS) workers warn Native children that if they become emotional during a visit with their parents, the visits will be discontinued (this is incredible!).                   

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

"... any of the following acts commit 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 committing blatant and flagrant genocide against the Sioux people in violation of subsection (e) of Article 2 by transferring Indian children to white homes, and also of subsection (b) amid allegations of sexual abuse and drugging of Native children in DSS foster care. Those responsible need to be brought to justice in an international court of law in addition to the lawsuit already filed in U.S courts (see below). This is a most serious case of ethnic cleansing.

One Indian mother had 62 hearings and was never allowed to present any witness testimony, never even allowed to see the petition filed against her.  This is a huge violation of long established U.S. due process. Also, the Indian Child Welfare Act mandates that Native children shall first be placed with tribal relatives, non-related tribal members, or members of other tribes before non-Indian families can be considered.

South Dakota has taken a step back into the late 19th century, when thousands of Indian children were forcibly removed from their homes by U.S. soldiers and sent to boarding schools - allegedly for education, where the motto was "Kill the Indian, Save the Man." In some of these schools the motto was more akin to simply "Kill the Indian."

This journalist has heard numerous accounts from families across Indian Country who had lost at least one child to the boarding school system in the 19th century. They were told that their child or children had run away from the school and could not be found. In other cases they were informed that their child had died from illness.

For the Lakota people this has been a continuation of a 100-year history of child abduction. This began in the 1880s under the U.S. government policy of forced assimilation (genocide); children as young as 5 years old were forcibly removed from their homes and taken to boarding schools hundreds of miles away. Now it is happening again, this time under the mask of state-run foster care. Over the past decade over 5,000 Sioux children have been removed from their homes. According to a recent report by the Indian Child Welfare Act directors in South Dakota, 740 Lakota children are removed to foster care each year and 90 percent are placed in white homes and institutions.

A vigorous campaign is currently being waged by the Lakota People's Law Project to secure the return of over 2,200 Lakota, Dakota and Nakota children illegally taken from their homes by DSS.

Among the results of the LPLP efforts was the recent Great Plains Indian Child Welfare Act Summit held May 15-17 in Rapid City, South Dakota. The summit was held in an atmosphere that has been characterized by the Oglala Sioux Tribe as a "child welfare emergency."

The summit also had as a backdrop a federal class action lawsuit that was filed on March 21 by the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux Tribes and tribal members, challenging the continued removal of Native children in Pennington County, South Dakota, from their homes.

South Dakota DSS has asserted that it had authority to remove children by tribal court order or tribal council agreement. The states have no authority over such youngsters; the tribes have exclusive jurisdiction over Indian children residing on reservations.

However, investigations by LPLP found that South Dakota's assertions are blatantly false.

Typically, DSS would receive a false report of child neglect on a given reservation and without any legal authority would snatch the child in question without any notification to the child's relatives. In one such instance DSS abducted a young boy when he left his relatives to use the restroom while family members were attending a high school graduation ceremony. It was weeks before his family found where he had been taken.

Aside from the genocidal racism involved there is a financial motive on the part of the state. South Dakota receives $79,000 from the federal government per year per child for every Native youngster it removes, but provides only $9,000 to a white foster home. The remaining $70,000 is deposited in state coffers.

The president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and other Natives feel that the ICWA lawsuit is for greater fairness for all families, regardless of race, including whites. But, it must be remembered that white youngsters are not being sent to non-white homes; for whites, genocide is obviously not an issue. The humanity of Indian people, particularly in the face of the racism they have endured is truly poignant and moving. This becomes a movement not just for Indian people, but for all, led by long-suffering, grieving Native families.

Update: The Lakota People's Law Project website has petitions that people can sign and also a place to sign up to receive updates on developments as they happen.

Photo: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation child. Pamela Cook, Flickr, CC BY NC SA 2.0

 

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  • there doing this all over in canada

    Posted by darren, 06/28/2014 10:40pm (1 month ago)

  • This is disgraceful obviously, but com what little I know of .Native American history with the United States, it is not new. The. Europeans have wreaked havoc against Native peoples. over the centuries.
    Racism is a stupid,nasty action, we are all human beings the colour of skin has should have no revelance and taking of children is low as you can get. We can seethe. American federal State has not changed. in its attitude towards the Indians which is outright GENOCIDE. When will we learn that through this mankind is killing themselves through their attitudes and action against others. Is there no one who could take up the gauntlet? USA only worked for the white protestant majority and still does.

    Posted by ann prince, 03/25/2014 7:37am (4 months ago)

  • My name is Karen and I have been e mailing the government for weeks I have gotten a response. I would like for someone in your group to e mail me please I am going to call the secretary to the Attorney General, I was given their number. Maybe there is more you would like for me to say. I will be calling tomorrow I live in Northern Florida. Thanks

    Posted by Karen, 01/16/2014 5:04pm (7 months ago)

  • I have been flooding the US government with e mails concerning the Native Americans children genocide. This is like the slave era only it's 2014 I was so shocked when I read this if I can be of help please let me know I will continue with my e mails until someone listens and Great Spirit will see these soulless humans face to face one day. Karen illar

    Posted by Karen, 01/03/2014 9:17am (7 months ago)

  • Seems there is still gold in the hills. abysmal show of force and I can see why the good Lord has judgment around the corner for such scoundrels. The Pharisees and Sadducees stole Jesus for the cross to save their way of life. With the upcoming economic crisis looming I think I'd be planting foods for leverage using a new gold they'll be in short supply of in the form of food. Every nook and cranny for seed work and a family /neighborhood watch team with pre-planned roadblocks when there is mischief afoot when an uncle down the road has a bus or tractor to bar the way. This is the tip of the ice berg for other states to get a financial windfall if tolerated and tribes don't come together. I was kidnapped by my schitzy mom once and several days before life returned to normal. This stuff of family is everything...functional or not and there are some relatives and tribal groups keen on well being. My prayers to you!

    Posted by david jensen, 01/02/2014 1:34am (7 months ago)

  • Paul from Sweden--fascinating. You're going to tell me that this is "incorrect"? That my entire life story is "incorrect?" This happened to me. This didn't happen to you. You live all the way on the other side of the world, safe in your cozy home. You were not ripped away from your family after they were already found suitable by a homestudy. You were not forced into foster care in violation of federal law where you were raped for two years. I advise you to (a) shut your mouth and (b) visit lakotalaw.org for a dissection of/rebuttal to the so-called ombudsman's response: In his "assessment," he only interviewed agencies with a clear bias (the social workers doing the removals to begin with!).

    Look up Janice Howe. Look up Rachel Brugier. Look up Robin Charboneau, Bernice Spotted Eagle, Richard and Wendy Mette and the seven Lakota girls they "adopted" and ritually bused, Baby Veronica, baby Deseray--I could go on and on. We are REAL. And when you attempt to silence us, you perpetuate the horrors we have gone through.

    May God forgive you.

    Posted by Rose, 12/17/2013 2:19am (8 months ago)

  • My great grandmother was a victim of this genocide. She was kidnapped as a child and never to see her real family again. She was kidnapped at such a young name, she doesn't even remember their names. She passed away this year, never knowing her real family, and her being 100% Tewa we cannot prove that I am Native American, so that I can most likely not find the correct information about my tribe..... For the people saying this is false, open your eyes!

    Posted by Jaida Payne, 12/05/2013 4:15pm (8 months ago)

  • That is absolutely incorrect. Look at the report! On page 4 of the Watching the Watchdog Report they quote Schumacher-Matos "[B]etween 1995 and 2002, as the national rate [of foster child removal grew]…at a fast clip, the average monthly number in South Dakota of all children in foster care grew to 795 from 426... This was a growth rate of 86 percent — not too unlike the national rate." What this means is that 700 Lakota children are not being yanked out of their homes each year and placed in foster care. In fact if you look over the Omb report you will find that in 2010 the average number of Native American children in foster care was 484 per month and in 2011 the average number of Native American children in foster care was 440 per month.

    Anyone with an interest in this issue should really read the Omb report as there have been many misrepresentations.

    Posted by Paul in Sweden, 11/30/2013 4:05pm (8 months ago)

  • back to 1800's so much for it being 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by Graham Sweeney, 11/25/2013 10:52am (8 months ago)

  • Last night my Mom, my brothers, my sisters and myself lost our baby brother, he was 56 years old.The first time we lost him he was 2 yrs old. Him and two sister agesthree and four were taken by the government. We found then only 18 months ago. It took us 54 years to find then. They went to an orphanage where they were treated like dirty savages and badly abused. The government would not help us find them, they said they did not know where or who they went to, that they only knew that maybe a coast guard family got them and there was no telling where they could be. They knew they were Native, but didn't know what nation or from where. We have become very close in the past year and a half. Stillnot enou time to make up for the time taken away. Our Mom is crying, again, for her baby boy. What will happen to the land in the Dakota's in the future if a whole generation is not there to fight for it? I believe they are planning this, that is the way they are.

    Posted by Jennie Beck, 11/25/2013 1:59am (8 months ago)

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