Rescuing the Lakota Children: The Lakota People's Law Project Responds to NPR Story with Three Ways You Can Help

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"Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families," NPR's story by Laura Sullivan about the unjustified taking of Native children from their homes, causes anguished listeners to speak out and ask for ways to help rescue the Lakota children. The Lakota People's Law Project responds with three immediate ways to take action.

Lakota Children Are Disappearing

Will He Come Home From School Today?

I was so furious listening to this program I had to pull of the highway. What can be done about this? It has to stop.

NPR's hard-hitting investigative report concerning the forced removal of Lakota Sioux children from their homes in South Dakota causes the Lakota People's Law Project to respond. The NPR story aired on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week, addressing violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by South Dakota and other states across the nation. The award winning investigative reporter Laura Sullivan exposed the need to rescue Lakota children from an abusive state foster care system overly concerned with securing federal funds at the expense of Indian child welfare.

The public's reaction was swift in response to the story. More than 300 comments sympathetic with Lakota children and their families were made on NPR's website immediately following the Tuesday broadcast.

One listener wrote "This is a travesty. What can I do to help?"

Another said "Words can't describe how I feel about this! They are stealing innocent children, destroying lives, all for profit. What do we do to stop it? What can I do to help?"

Someone else wrote "I was so furious listening to this program I had to pull off the highway. What can be done about this?"

The Lakota People's Law Project, sponsored by the nonprofit law center the Romero Institute, recommends strengthening the Indian Child Welfare Act by making it more enforceable. Here are three actions you can take immediately to help:

1. Download the Lakota People's Law Project's free brochure "All My Relations" which presents the current plight of Lakota families in South Dakota. Please share it with your family and friends. In addition, Native Americans and their friends may want to download the "Indian Child Welfare Act: A Guide to Rights, Recommendations and Court Processes for Parents in Abuse and Neglect Cases."

2. Let your elected representatives in the U.S. House and Senate know about this travesty and demand that they amend the Indian Child Welfare Act so as to make it more enforceable. Also contact the following leaders of congressional committees in charge of Indian issues: U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs; Daniel Akaka-- D, HI Chair of United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs; John Barrasso-- R, WY Ranking Minority Member of United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs; Doc Hastings-- R, WA Chair of United States House Committee on Natural Resources.

3. Share with all your relations by email the powerful NPR story by Laura Sullivan.

The Lakota People’s Law Project began advocating in 2008 for an amendment to the Indian Child Welfare Act. This amendment initiative was supported by the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Board and the National Congress of American Indians—but Congress has still not acted.

The Lakota People's Law Project is sponsored by the Romero Institute, a nonprofit law center based in Santa Cruz, CA, which seeks to identify and correct systemic injustice throughout our society by combining strategic litigation, legal consulting, and public education.


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Sara Nelson

Randy Pozos
Advanced Knowledge Resources, Inc.
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