Albert Bender: Stopping genocide of Indian children in South Dakota

Judge Jeff Davis of South Dakota has been found to be in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act by failing to offer due process to Indian parents and guardians. Photo from Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System

The state of South Dakota is committing genocide by failing to follow the Indian Child Welfare Act, Albert Bender, a member of the Cherokee Nation, argues as he provides an update on the latest developments in the Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Van Hunnik case:
Over the past decade thousands of Sioux children have been removed from their homes. Aside from the racism involved, there has also been a financial motive on the part of the state: South Dakota receives $79,000 from the federal government per child per year for every Native youngster it removes, but provides only $9,000 to a white foster home. The remaining $70,000 is deposited in state coffers. In my opinion this amounts to millions of dollars of "ransom" for the kidnapping of Indian children.

The court's February 19th ruling means that every single time that DSS has taken custody of an Indian child it has "done so in violation of the Constitution and the ICWA."

The court will subsequently enter an order which will specify how DSS is to conduct hearings in future matters involving Native children. Many in the Native American community believe that the perpetrators of this child thievery must be punished. They feel that the best deterrent to repetition of such criminal activity is pursuit of the culprits all the way to the top, not ruling out fines and jail time.

The old maxim applies: "Justice delayed is justice denied."

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Albert Bender: Judge rules second time for tribes in South Dakota Indian child welfare case (People's World 3/7)

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