Native Americans protest against Department of Social Services

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Dozens of protestors gathered on Cambell Street across from the Department of Social Services to express their frustration as they say there is a problem of taking Native American children from families and putting them into foster care.

Native American protesters lined up on Cambell Street chanting "stop taking our children." (KOTA)

Native American protesters chanted and held signs reading "our children are not for sale" along Cambell Street Tuesday afternoon.

Roberta Shoulders was one of the protesters and said the movement was partly sparked by the death of her friend's little brother who she said died in foster care.

The protesters said the Department of Social Services is not following the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by not returning children to their families.

ICWA is a federal law created to govern the removal of Native American children who are in the state's custody.

As someone who was in the foster care system for about seven years, Shoulders said it was a horrific experience.

She said Native American children need to be placed with their families to protect their culture.

"The White system, there not taught who they are. They lose their identity. They lose who they are. They are not taught their traditional ways and they need to know that. They need to know who they are and where they come from. That's very important to keep our tradition alive. Like they say the children are sacred and they are," Shoulders said.

We reached out to the Department of Social Services and have not heard a response yet.