For years now, council members of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in South Dakota have watched as the state's Department of Social Services removed children from the reservation and placed many of them in white foster homes, far from tribal lands. Many of the children were later adopted, losing their connection to their families and heritage.
"I've seen it firsthand," says Brandon Sazue, chairman of the Crow Creek tribe.
Derrin Yellow Robe, 3, stands in his great-grandparents' backyard on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota. He was taken off the reservation by South Dakota's Department of Social Services in July 2009 and spent a year and a half in foster care before being returned to his family.
Sazue says the state has long overstepped its authority.
"That would be like United States going into a foreign country and saying, 'Hey, I'm taking your kid because of this or that,' " he said. "I mean, this is within the boundaries of the Crow Creek Sioux Indian reservation, and as far as I'm concerned, we are the government."
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