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Native Sun News: Dakota tribes accuse BIE of breaking settlement

Attorney Charles Abourezk. Photo Ernestine Chasing Hawk

Fight to keep education services on Indian reservations
Motion filed to enforce settlement agreement against BIE
By Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Editor

RAPID CITY –– Several tribes and tribal schools in the Dakotas have filed a federal court motion to enforce a 2007 settlement agreement with the Bureau of Indian Education. They are all original plaintiffs in the prior lawsuit.

“Sadly, the BIE seems dedicated to removing most if not all of the reservation level support services for tribal schools, while building upper level bureaucracy,” said Charles Abourezk, one of the attorneys for plaintiffs. “The appropriations to the Bureau of Indian Education for support for tribal grant and contract schools are being disproportionately depleted by the highly paid, upper level bureaucratic positions,” alleges a motion filed on behalf of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and several tribal schools against the BIE.

The suit asks BIE to uphold the settlement agreement and final judgment in the 2007 Yankton Sioux Tribe vs. Dirk Kempthorne injunction. The lawsuit was originally brought to stop a restructuring which would have led to an abandonment of reservation-level services for tribal schools, and to a violation of the Federal Government’s trust responsibilities.

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