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Friday, March 6, 2015

(2015) Breaking News for Tribes in South Dakota #NativeLivesMatter #ICWA

Support for Lakota children and families is building. After years of working to get national attention on these serious problems, all of the work we have done together is bearing fruit! Here is a quick update on exciting national developments.
We are not only on the right path, we are gaining momentum. Our "Free the Lakota Children" petition to Obama just clicked over 50,000 signatures. We are in close contact with officials in the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Interior, and we will foray the petition to further leverage the discussion around federal planning support for the South Dakota tribes. With each signature, our combined voice gets louder and harder to ignore. Please sign, share, and encourage at least one of your friends to sign the petition: Let’s go from 50,000 signatures to 100,000 as fast as we can!
Native Lives Matter: Two recent incidents in Rapid City inflamed the Indian community. First, the police shot and killed an Indian man in his home doorway because he had a small parring knife in his hand. No justice was forthcoming. Second, fifty-four Native honor roll kids between eight and twelve years of age were taken to a hockey game as a reward for all their hard work. In a VIP box above them, the people started pouring beer on the kids, saying “go back to the res” and other slurs. As this got worse, the teachers took the kids, who were being emotionally traumatized, out of the stadium. No justice was forthcoming.
Following these incidents, the Lakota People’s Law Project released a fifteen page report, “Native Lives Matter”, detailing the unequal treatment of Native Americans by the national criminal justice system. The release paralleled a passionate march, led by Lakota People’s Law Project Attorney Chase Iron Eyes, who has spearheaded the Native Lives Matter movement that is gathering momentum in Rapid City, South Dakota. “This fact-based report unequivocally shows that at best the institutions in South Dakota are culturally biased, at worst they are blatantly racist and bent on perpetuating a slow genocide,” said Chase Iron Eyes. “The recent anecdotal incidents along with the statistics presented in this report demonstrate that racism against Native Americans is palpable. It will not go anywhere unless we unite as a people and stand together against it.”

Updated ICWA Guidelines: On February 24, Kevin Washburn and the Bureau of Indian Affairs released new guidelines for the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to ensure that the rights of Native American families and children are met. Some of these guidelines, among many others, include:
State courts and agencies must ask in every child custody proceeding whether ICWA applies
• Courts should follow ICWA procedures even when the Indian child is not removed from the home in order to allow tribes to intervene as early as possible to assist in preventing a breakup of the family
• Information on how to contact a tribe
• Notice is required for each proceeding in a child custody case, and tribes have the right to intervene at any time
For the entire updated guidelines to ICWA, please go to:
We applaud these guidelines, and we know they will help many people in Indian country. We and our tribal allies, however, have stopped hoping that South Dakota will ever follow the ICWA and are working on “Moving the Money” from the state to the tribes for Child and Family Services.

Although Attorney General Marty Jackley has publicly stated that he was not connected to the Mette case, Black states, "For Jackley to say that he was not involved in the decision making process with respect to my investigation is ludicrous."
Black states that, "I will not pretend to have any solutions to correct the plight of Native American children in the South Dakota Justice system, I will say, it is obvious that changes need to be made now and that the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act needs to be readdressed by the U.S. Congress."
For the entire interview, go to:
We do have the solution: Create foster care for Lakota, by Lakota. The corruption will not stop until this solution is realized! We have been working daily with the Department of Justice since our delegation returned from their trip to Washington DC in December. Please help us if you can by donating to keep the work moving forward. Our Lakota staff and the five remaining tribes are depending on your compassionate heart.
Blessings and thanks to all who watch over these efforts.
Lakota People's Law Project

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