Summit to address Indian Child Welfare Act violations in SD - KOTA Territory News

Summit to address Indian Child Welfare Act violations in South Dakota


It's a deep-seeded issue that has put South Dakota in the spotlight: the state's alleged violations of ICWA, the Indian Child Welfare Act.

In an effort to preserve Native American families, tribal members from across the state, Bureau of Indian Affairs Representatives, and the Country's top official on tribal issues gather to hear testimony, and work to stop any ICWA violations.

The accusation is nothing new, but this week at a three day summit in Rapid City, tribal members and government officials are addressing the issue head on. The summit was organized, in part, due to a National Public Radio Broadcast in 2011, which slammed the state for improperly taking Native American children out of their homes and violating ICWA.

People attending the summit will both give and listen to testimony regarding the abuse and maltreatment of Native American children in state placed non-Indian foster homes.

Tribal members are hoping it's a fruitful summit that initiates change, and ultimately holds state government leaders accountable for their alleged wrongdoing.

It is important to note that following the NPR broadcast, South Dakota's top officials did send out a 7 page rebuttal, calling the story one-sided and inaccurate.

A representative from the Department of Social Services says DSS was not invited to participate in the summit.  DSS staff would not comment on the allegations because of pending litigation.

The summit, at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center, is open to the public and runs through Friday.

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