Over the past decade, the state of South Dakota has removed more than 5,000 Native American children from their homes.
Sadly, this problem is not new. For more than 100 years Lakota children have been taken from their families. It began in the 1880s under a U.S. Government policy of forced assimilation: children as young as 5 years old were removed from their homes, shipped to boarding schools, and instructed in the ways of white culture. Today, a generation of children is once again losing its connection to its culture. This time it’s through state-run foster care.
Why are they taken from their homes? The state says abuse. The reasoning? Let’s take Little Eagle Feather who was being taught Lakota ways. When she undertook the Dream Walk a Lakota sacred right of passage and religious ceremony the state interceded and called three days of fasting child abuse. She was removed from her home and placed in foster care.
At present three years has passed and she’s had no contact with her tribe. Another state forced policy. In less than two years she will be 18 and the state of south Dakota is fighting that she be found incompetent to make her own decisions. Why? Because she wants to go home to what the state says is an abusive home.
Remember we aren’t talking about rape, molestation, beatings or anything except the religious rights of the Lakota people which is classified as abuse. The state might as well be telling Christians having you children give up candy for 40 days in child abuse or eating fish on Fridays is child abuse and take their children away. Imagine the uproar!
Or more appropriate given the situation taking your children to church even when they are willing and eager to go is child abuse and removing their children from the home. That is after all what we are taking about. Basically this is the same as Christian confirmation for Lakota. It is when the Lakota child first earns his/her name. It’s when they become members of the tribe and seen as adults.
This is generally done at age thirteen or fourteen. It like Christian Confirmation is done with ample preparation. Years of study in what needs to go into preparing for your dream walk, the things you’ll need for your time and every aspect of the walk is carefully and considerately discussed at length. They are instructed what they need to do to stay alive. They are checked on throughout the process. If anything goes wrong they are removed from the walk and aid is given.
Is it tough on your body? Yes! I lost 9 pounds in 3 days but I was ok. I had plenty of fluids, wasn’t dehydrated and while I was weak from lack of food and sleep I was in no danger and in good spirits.
Is it tough on your mind? Yes. Three days without sleep is very tough on your mind. Does it do any lasting damage? No!
Is it rewarding? Yes! It’s the single most rewarding spiritual thing I’ve ever done. Both times were rewarding, challenging and well worth the time and effort.
Yet the state of South Dakota has seen fit to remove more than 5,000 children in the past decade under similar “abuse” charges.
You wonder why we are still at war?
You want to talk religious freedoms and yet even today in 2015 the Lakota risk losing their children simply to practice their faith. Ten thousand years of tradition and faith. That’s nearly twice as long as the Jewish calendar and nearly five times as long as Christians have existed. Yet even today we aren’t yet free to practice our faith.
Little Eagle Feather had her name changed by the state, they have sealed her records and put a hush order on the press. All under the guise of “protecting” the child. I predict given her outspoken nature and the fact she wishes to return home and the Lakota will fight until she is returned that you’ll be hearing these stories soon enough.
Many of the children are taken much younger than Little Eagle Feather. Before they have a change to bond with their people and sometimes even before the bond with their parents. 80% of Lakota children taken are taken before they start preschool. Because the reservation is an independent nation they aren’t afforded the same rights to appeal nor the same DHHS investigations.
Nope the children are taken and then the “international” process has to start. Our leaders, speak to US Indian affairs who then on our behalf talk with DHHS. Some due process? Here is what I say we do. Arm ourselves with tanks, machine guns and when a US federal agent steps foot on Lakota territory we shoot them dead!
We are after all a sovereign nation that the US thinks they can invade and steal our children any time they like. Then to get them back they claim but you’re a nation use the proper channels. Who cares they don’t use ANY of the “proper” channels themselves. Do as I say not as I do!
You wonder why we’re still at war?
Here is what I think we Lakota should demand:
- Recognition as a sovereign nation true recognition after all you don’t see us making raids on Iran to take their children.
- True and final right to our own faith and our ways.
I will never see it from this “Christian” nation. I will never see the day we are allowed to simply live our own lives with our own ways and our own faith.
Hey DHHS my son went on his spirit walk. But see we have resources to fight and channels since we live in the USA and not Lakota territory. They wouldn’t DARE come get Josef! But I DARE you.
HERE ME DHHS? MY SON DID HIS DREAM WALK TOO! COME GET HIM!
They won’t because they wouldn’t be able to cover it up! Fucking cowards! DHHS are cowards! The steal children from the Lakota solely because they practice and learn their faith. They do it quietly with “international” protections. The nature of the international protections gives them the veil they need to continue to do this in secret. The laws governing the independent nations of the first people within the US are of course written by the US and in total favor of the US. Something needs to change of there will be blood.
Still proud of your “Christian” nation? The same one that continues to kick, persecute and diminish unarmed and peaceful people merely trying to hold on to their ways. the genocide continues against my culture, my faith and my way of life.