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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

US appeals court overturns South Dakota ICWA child removal ruling

Elijah Bearsheart, left, with his daughter, Keanala, 1, and family, Kehala Diserly, Kiari Diserly, 3, and Yamni Pederson, 5, as they listen to testimony during the Indian Child Welfare Act summit in 2013 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City. The summit was called in response to charges that South Dakota breaks the Indian Child Welfare Act
Dana Hanna, a lawyer for the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux tribes, which are working on behalf of the parents, said she plans to ask the federal appeals court to rehear the case.
If that fails, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is possible. "We are convinced, we strongly believe that the panel's decision was wrong," she said.
State Department of Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti said she's happy with the ruling. "DSS has maintained from the beginning the (federal) district court should have abstained from exercising jurisdiction in this case, and we are pleased that our position prevailed at the Eighth Circuit," she said in a press release.
READ: US appeals court overturns South Dakota child removal ruling | The Daily Republic

Background story:
RAPID CITY -- Between choked sobs and streaming tears, more than a dozen Native American families delivered testimony in 2013 in Rapid City about how their children were taken from them by South Dakota social workers. Those stories from parents -- specifically details about the difficulty in regaining custody of Native children placed in non-Native foster homes -- filled the first day of the Great Plains Indian Child Welfare Act Summit in Rapid City.
Source: American Indians trade tales of displaced children | The Daily Republic

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Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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