Children and Families

Video

VIDEO: Hearts on the Ground

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Our Children Are Sacred

Launched in 2005, the Lakota Child Rescue Project was founded to stop South Dakota’s Department of Social Services from seizing thousands of Lakota children without warning. We’ve taken legal action to win their return to their families and tribes and steps to create a foster care system run by Lakota, for Lakota.

Strengthened ICWA Guidelines Released

Partly due to the deep-seated problems uncovered in South Dakota by LPLP,  the Bureau of Indian Affairs releases updated and strengthened ICWA guidelines.

We lose about 750 kids every year because the state of South Dakota chooses to ignore the Indian Child Welfare Act.

– Chase Iron Eyes

Title IV-E Grants Awarded to Tribes

LPLP enlists A Positive Tomorrow, a national consulting agency with extensive experience getting Title IV-E grants for tribes and developing plans for Tribal Child and Family Service Programs. Following meetings with leaders of all nine tribes, seven tribes apply. The Standing Rock Sioux and the Oglala Sioux tribes each receive $300,000 grants in October.

NPR Report: Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families

LPLP contacts National Public Radio reporter Laura Sullivan and provides statistics and details surrounding the illegalities of South Dakota’s foster care system. Among a host of issues, the piece exposes regular violations of ICWA by South Dakota’s Department of Social Services. Based on LPLP’s findings, Sullivan’s Peabody Award winning series airs on National Public Radio from Oct. 25-27.

LPLP Invokes Title IV-E on Behalf of the Tribes

LPLP moves to Rapid City and begins technical assistance to tribes to increase the capacity of their child welfare services so that they may reassume authority of child welfare programs and the wellbeing of their children. This includes aiding in applying for Title IV-E grants to plan their own Child and Family Service Programs.

Lakota People's Law Project is Formed

"South Dakota is still trafficking our children, Lakota children, Indian children, and they get millions of federal dollars every year for their so-called 'child welfare services.'"

– Madonna Thunder Hawk

Indian Child Welfare Act is Signed into Law

The passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) highlights the need for Native American communities to be directly involved in raising their own children. ICWA also recognizes that it is vital for tribes to decide issues of tribal eligibility and custody in order to retain Native culture and traditions. ICWA requires that state agencies exhaust every possible means of keeping Native foster children within their communities before placing them with a non-Indian family. Introduced to congress by Senator James Abourezk (D-SD), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, it is signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on Nov. 8.

Boarding School Era

The first Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School opens with the goal to “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” Hundreds of thousands of Native children are placed in white-run boarding schools, where they suffer abuse, neglect, and forced assimilation.