Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

March 6, 2013

Lakota People's Law Project


Dear Black Hills, 

Two years ago, when Native American grandmothers in South Dakota began organizing to rescue their grandchildren unlawfully taken by state authorities, they knew they could not depend simply on themselves. 

To begin, they depended on each other. A group of them began meeting regularly and called themselves Grandmothers "Suta Najin Pe"-which in Lakota means standing strong. Then last fall, NPR aired an investigative report that exposed the appalling state of Native foster care in South Dakota. The grandmothers gathered momentum. And in April, the Lakota People's Law Project (LPLP) launched a campaign to show those grandmothers that there are others who will stand with them. 

Many of you signed that letter of support to Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota
grandmothers, and today we say… "Thank You!!!" 

This month we delivered over 1,200 letters to Janice Howe on the Crow Creek
reservation. The letters came from places as far away as Germany and as close as Rapid City. Hundreds of them contained personal notes, stories, and encouraging words.
But we're not just organizing to support South Dakota's Native families; we're also mobilizing to hold state and federal agencies accountable. 

Sign our petition to the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs! [ ] 

Recently we released an Investigative Report [] that uncovered the state of South Dakota's attempts to silence whistleblowers within the Department of Social Services. We also met with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Directors from South Dakota's reservations and agreed to work with them in responding to an inquiry from Democratic and Republican Congressional Representatives [
]. Finally, we're calling on the Bureau of Indian Affairs to fulfill its commitment to host a summit on the state of Native American foster care in South Dakota. The BIA promised to hold the summit nine months ago, but South Dakota's Native families are still waiting. 

Please join us in demanding that the BIA keep its promise! [ ] 

The increased pressure on South Dakota is already forcing the state to change its behavior. But we'll never rescue all of the children one by one…for that we need real systemic change. Spread the word [ ] and help us grow our network of support. And please donate to the Lakota Child Legal Action Fund today! [ ] 

In Lakota, "Pilamaya"-Thank you.
Madonna Thunder Hawk
Grandmothers "Suta Najin Pe"
Lakota People's Law Project 

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