South Dakota commits shocking genocide against Native Americans

pineridgechild360x300

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

 

Post your comment

Comments are moderated. See guidelines here.

Comments

  • I think this is a horrible thing to do whether you are Native or white or any other race. The government is over stepping the authority that they have been given. I deal with foster care all the time and unless there is evidence of abuse in the home or homes of relatives children should and are placed with family first.

    This is wrong on many levels!

    Posted by Lisa Tipton, 07/16/2013 3:05pm (1 year ago)

  • This is not acceptable. Follow the rules/LAW of 1978! What the neck is wrong with the folk in South Dakota??? This should not stand~~~~

    Posted by NancyLee, 07/16/2013 2:53pm (1 year ago)

  • Man I thought this was 2013, not 1913.

    Posted by danna henderspm, 07/16/2013 1:56pm (1 year ago)

  • Injustice is, as injustice does, I wish I could help others struggling against tyrannical government!

    Posted by Andrew Zebrun III, 07/16/2013 1:41pm (1 year ago)

  • In Australia, we call it the Stolen Generation. Do all you can to save your kids from this traumatic loss of identity. Our hearts are with you ♥

    Posted by Nym, 07/14/2013 12:54pm (1 year ago)

  • I can't believe in this day and age that this is still going on!!!! What is wrong with people??? Native Americans were here first. This genocide needs to stop.

    Posted by Angela Rasmussen, 06/26/2013 10:55am (1 year ago)

  • Yes this kidnapping takes place in ALL 50 States. There is an organization with thousands of members fighting the totally corrupt CPS kidnapping ring, it is called American Family Rights Association. The illegal seizure of children is sanctioned by the US government who pays the states per child as stated. Services are supposed to be offered to help family to become stronger, so children are not removed or to help reunification. This is not done and records are falsified. There are some good foster homes, but unfortunately many are abusive and do irreparable harm to the children. Children belong with their families, short of physical abuse. People do not let CPS take their children, they are taken by every imaginable ruse, many taken out of school, parents are lied to, set up and lied about. Interference with taking the children would result in the parent being shot...and that would end any chance of the child coming home. Native children belong with their tribe or foster tribe.

    Posted by Pam, 06/25/2013 4:17am (1 year ago)

  • it is a shame and a disgrace that this can happen i America i think enough has been done in the past to last Indians forever.

    Posted by Norma Johnson, 06/24/2013 5:41pm (1 year ago)

  • Substance abuse, just on the rez. Lol, come to my city and see the rich kids and adults. Leave the kids alone.

    Posted by dottie crabtree, 06/24/2013 4:12pm (1 year ago)

  • In 2008, our daughter gave us her firstborn, this is the way of the Inupiaq. We (wife and ) decided that this grandchild would not have a berth (birth) certificate or a social security number, as we know these are the beasts tools of destruction. We have a second boy who is ten, he also does not have a berth certificate and a social number. The state took our grandson using force, intimidation (police) and threat of jail if my wife did not give up our grandson to the state. He was hospitalized when he was 8 months old, he had a seizure, could not breath and was vomiting. He could not hold his food in when we fed him. The hospital staff (doctor) diagnosed him with CPT-1A, which is supposedly an incurable disease, that he had this condition for life. Then we had a phone conference with the Alaska Office of Children's Services on February of this year. The agent for OCS made an interesting statement. She said: "Oh, I have some good news for everyone, David outgrew his "eating disorder". Ok, she just admitted the fraud. What an we do? We tried the governors office, they say that they cannot do anything and that the OCS was justified in taking him. Now, they have the rest of our children using false accusations. What has to happen before our children are really damaged. Already damaged?

    Posted by Ben and Daisy, 06/23/2013 4:22pm (1 year ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments