South Dakota’s foster care system “systematically violated the spirit and the letter” of a law meant to protect Native American children, a coalition of tribal directors from the state’s nine Sioux tribes said in a report released Thursday night. The report comes a year after NPR aired a series questioning whether the law was being enforced.
The 30-year-old Indian Child Welfare Act says native children must be placed with relatives or their tribes if they are removed from their homes, except in unusual circumstances. The coalition said the state appears to have violated the law willfully, “and it may have done so at least partly to bring federal tax dollars into the state.”
The following is from an email I received from a Native American who lives in South Dakota. The author gives more information not necessarily in reports.
I know the BIA and the State are trying desperately to hide all these records and cover this up because our Governor, who was head of DSS prior to taking office, has been directly involved. A Native and the head of the ICWA department here in SD tried to cover-up my report, that included 23 witness statements from people in the community who thought that the Native kids in our community should never have been placed in this abusive white foster home, and how the foster mother openly talked about “the only reason I have these kids is they are my money tree.”
2012 and this is still going on? I’ve spoken with those who were removed from their families (hair cut, beatings for not speaking English, forced to attend Christian services) but the Stewart Indian School in Carson City, NV stopped the practice in the mid-1960’s. I had no idea that it was still continuing.
This will only be rectified if the protesting voices are loud and many.