Thursday, February 23, 2017

In South Dakota, Officials Defied a Federal Judge and Took Indian Kids Away From Their Parents in Rigged Proceedings

Source: ACLU

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Indian children were abducted from their parents and forced to attend government funded christian boarding schools to ‘kill the Indian, save the man.’ Up until the mid 1970s, Indian children were still being abducted by states and placed into the custody of white christian families. According to a congressional investigation, between 25 and 35 percent of all Indian children were taken from their parents. Many of the forcible removals were unwarranted. This prompted congress to pass the Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978 which, among other things, gave tribal courts jurisdiction over child custody proceedings for children that resided on reservations and prioritized placing Indian children within Indian foster homes, but in the 21st century, the old policy is still carried out at the state and local level. Since 2010, more than 1,000 Indian Children have been taken from their parents, and placed disproportionately in non-Indian homes, by state employees in Rapid City. According to District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, state employees held court hearings within 48 hours of removing children from their parents custody. During the hearings, parents were not assigned legal counsel, they were not made aware of the accusation against them, nor were they allowed to testify, call witnesses, or cross examine state employees involved in their case. Some of the hearings lasted only a minute and the state won 100% of the time (for obvious reasons). Furthermore, the district Judge found that parents were not allowed to challenge their loss of custody until their child had been in foster care for two months or more.

UN Convention 1021 defines forcibly transferring children of one group to another group as an act of genocide. Attempting to exterminate a people’s culture by stealing their progeny is no less genocide than attempting to physically exterminate them. Doing it under the false pretense of the white man’s burden makes it no less a violation of moral law and international law than if the intended outcome is fully admitted. The same paternalistic attitude towards Amerindians underlies the entire reservation system from Trust land ownership to the pervasive welfare state. The result has been a dire poverty that only complete self-determination can alleviate, and self-determination requires, among other things, being allowed to impart your culture on your own children.

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