ourchildrenaresacred

Become a member at http://lakota.cc/1kvf8ka. This is just an example of the corruption that South Dakota DSS perpetuates. Learn more about the Mette Case at http://lakotalaw.org/special-reports/the-mette-affair. There are many stories like this, which is why we are assisting the Lakota tribes to create their own foster care system.

Free the Mette Children!

The South Dakota Dept. of Social Services placed 7 Lakota foster
children into foster care with a non-Native, known molester.

In what appears to be a common situation, the state of South Dakota placed 7 Lakota children into a foster family with a known molester, Richard Mette, and his enabling wife, Wendy Mette, from 2000 to 2013. The DSS knew of the accusations against Mr. Mette, but still placed Lakota foster children with him.

The state ignored MULTIPLE complaints of sexual and physical
abuse, and pleas for help from the children.

1. In 2001, the state ignored the foster boys’ complaints of molestation, and simply made the Mette adoptive parents sign a contract pledging to discontinue any illegal behavior.

2. In 2007, one of the girls told the police how she was sexually molested by Mr. Mette. She reported that Mrs. Mette knew about the molestations. Again, the DSS defended the Mette foster parents, and allowed the children to stay in the home.

3. Afterwards, Kelly, the older foster sister who had aged out of the Mette foster family, was getting reports from her younger siblings that the sexual and physical abuse was increasing and intensifying. She reported this to the South Dakota DSS, who ignored it and said they did not believe the children.

Yankton Doctor sees bruises and reports abuse. In October 2010, the only boy among the Mette foster siblings at that time went to see a doctor at the Human Services Center in Yankton, S.D. The child, covered with bruises, disclosed abuse occurring in his adoptive home. He also detailed how Richard Mette, the adoptive father, was molesting the girls. The doctor contacted the authorities at once.

Brandon Taliaferro, the Assistant State’s Attorney responsible for criminal child abuse cases in Brown County, immediately began an investigation.

The police search the Mette house and find more evidence of sexual abuse, including enough pornography to “pack a store”, including “family incest” porn.

The children revealed they had been subjected to physical abuse, sexual molestation and threats of being beaten if they did not comply with the molestation or if they told anyone. In addition, the children explained that they were often given a choice between “b***jobs or beatings”.

The children say they were forced to watch incest porn with Mr. Mette. The children were told that the porn, with titles like “Family Heat”, is how families are supposed to act.

The disgusted police charged Mr. Mette with 23 counts of child rape and incest, and Mrs. Mette with 11 counts of physical abuse and enabling.

The State prosecutor, however, first attempted to drop all charges, and charged sexual predator Mr. Mette with only one count of “spanking”.

When the State was not allowed to do this, they decided to charge Mr. Mette with only one count of rape of a child under 10. The other 22 charges of aggravated child rape and incest were
dropped.

The State then dropped all charges against Mrs. Mette, who the children said knew about and enabled the abuse.

Children are now back with Mrs. Mette, where they can’t sue the State DSS. As the state’s DCI agent explained, South Dakota fears that they will face an expensive lawsuit by the seven Lakota foster children whose complaints of sexual abuse were ignored by the state
for 10 years. Since they are now minors in the custody of Wendy Mette, the person who enabled the abuse, they cannot sue the state without her permission and support.

What can we do?

Please call Tony West, the Associate Attorney General of the United States, and let him know that the federal Department of Justice needs to Free the Mette Children immediately!
(202) 514-9500

Learn more: www.lakotalaw.org/special-reports/the-mette-affair

Please visit our website for more information: lakotalaw.org

When most Lakota children wake up to for their 18th birthdays, it is more of dreaded date than a celebration. This is the time when those in foster care will exit the state system and be sent into the world with very little preparation or tools to be successful. By age 20, over 60% are homeless, in prison, or dead. Many Lakota foster children have also been prescribed a cocktail of psychiatric medication to “control” them, unfortunately, this leads to much more severe problems later in life. It becomes a struggle to get off of these drugs and make sense of their fractured world without family or community for support.

Sadly, this problem is not new. Lakota children have been taken from their families for more than 130 years. It began in the 1880s under a U.S. Government policy of forced assimilation: children as young as five years old were removed from their homes, shipped to boarding schools, and instructed in the ways of white culture with the official motto: “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” Today, a generation of children is once again losing its connection to its culture through state-sanctioned kidnapping under the auspices of the South Dakota Department of Social Services. Every year South Dakota blatantly violates the Indian Child Welfare Act by removing over 740 Native children from their families and community and putting into non-Native foster care.

Please take the time to sign our petition and create foster care by Lakota, for Lakota: lakotalaw.org/action

When asked by NPR journalist Laura Sullivan how important the federal money is for the state’s DSS, former South Dakota Governor William Janklow’s response was telling: “It’s incredibly important. I mean look, we’re a poor state…We’re like North Dakota without the oil. We’re like Nebraska without Omaha and Lincoln. We don’t have resources.”

Are Native children resources for South Dakota? All signs and money point to yes. Help us change this situations. Children are not to be bought and sold.

Sign the petition: lakotalaw.org/action

We stand with Floyd Westerman in calling for Pope Francis to rescind the Doctrine of Discovery! Please sign our petition: RomeroInstitute.org/petition

The Doctrine of Discovery is a vicious and antiquated series of Papal Bulls dating back to the 15th century giving the moral and legal justification for the taking of indigenous lands and resources.

With Pope Francis’ recent encyclical stating, “it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed.” And, with his visit to Bolivia in which he apologized to the indigenous for the past crimes in the name of the Catholic Church, “I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offense of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America,” we feel that NOW is the time to ask for the revocation of the Doctrine of Discovery!

5

In preparation for today’s UN Summit discussing climate change, its implications, and steps to tackle the problem, the People’s Climate March took place on Sunday, September 21st at locations around the world.

New York City’s march was said to have a turnout of over 400,000 making this the largest climate march in history. The indigenous people took the lead of this march as those that are most affected by climate change.

Among them was the Lakota People’s Law Project’s own Madonna Thunder Hawk who marched and spoke at the AIM-West UN Press Conference on Sept. 19th. At the press conference, Thunder Hawk kept her focus on the illegal taking of Lakota children by the state of South Dakota, “The state of South Dakota is still trafficking Lakota children. They get millions of dollars in federal money every year for their so-called child welfare services.” For a clip of Thunder Hawk’s presentation, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBypaR8QCf0&feature=youtu.be .

Please become a Member and donate to help the create structural change for the foster care program in South Dakota: http://lakotalaw.org/donate-new.

Sign the petition: lakotalaw.org/action

Today marks a huge legal victory for the Native American children of South Dakota. A summary judgement was issued in the case of Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnick in favor of the plaintiffs!

Federal Court Judge Viken has ordered that South Dakota offficials have violated due process as stated by the 14th Amendment and the Indian Child Welfare Act, “The court finds that Judge Davis, States Attorney Vargo, Secretary Valenti and Ms. Van Hunnick developed and implemented policies and procedures for the removal of Indian children from their parents’ custody in violation of the mandates of the Indian Child Welfare Act and in violation of he Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

ACLU Press Release: https://www.aclu.org/…/federal-court-rules-indian-families-…

45-page summary judgement for Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnick: https://www.aclu.org/…/oglala-sioux-tribe-v-van-hunnik-summ…

Please sign our petition to show your support for the return of the Indian children in South Dakota: lakotalaw.org/action

Every year, hundreds of Native American Children in South Dakota are removed from their families and institutionalized, or placed in non Native foster care, in direct violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act​. Innocent Native parents face a racially biased and deliberately obstructive justice system when they try to get their children back.

WE CAN END THIS. WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Sign our petition urging President Barack Obama to end these illegal seizures: lakotalaw.org/action

Read our reports to learn more about the injustices faced by Native families in South Dakota: http://lakotalaw.org/special-reports/overview

Support us in our efforts to expose and end the system of state sponsored kidnapping of Lakota children: lakotalaw.org/donate

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By signing the petition: lakotalaw.org/action or becoming a member: lakotalaw.org/donate-new we can all help to secure freedom and sovereignty for the Lakota people!

“So I’d much rather get across the concept of freedom. It’s what’s important to Indian children. the only way you can be free is to know that you are worthwhile as a distinct human being. Otherwise you become what the colonizers have designed, and that is a lemming. Get in line, punch all the right keys, and die.” –Russell Means

Over 740 Lakota children are taken away from their families and communities every year. The illegal removal of Lakota children by the state of South Dakota willfully and blatantly disregards the Indian Child Welfare Act and amounts to cultural genocide, according to the Geneva Convention, for the Lakota people. If Lakota tribes retain total control over their children, they will have a voice for future generations and their culture will not be lost and abandoned.

Please support the sovereignty of the Lakota people by supporting the creation of foster care for Lakota, by Lakota!

We’re headed to Washington D.C.! Please help us have our voices heard by signing the petition: lakotalaw.org/action. This petition will be presented in support of the need for Lakota foster care!

As promised, LPLP has arranged inter-agency meetings for December 4th with the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Health and Human Services to insist on funding for the planning of foster care programs for five more South Dakota Tribes. Tribal Chairmen from Crow Creek, Cheyenne River, Yankton, Lower Brule and Flandreau will attend inter-agency meetings to discuss the necessity for Lakota-run foster care and to insist that Washington D.C. take action.

Rosebud received their Title IV-E Federal Planning Grant in 2013 and Oglala and Standing Rock were recipients this year. These Title IV-E Planning Grants are the fist step to fund the planning for Child and Family Planning Services that will be run by Lakota, for Lakota.

Please help us to have our voices heard in Washington D.C. by signing the petition: lakotalaw.org/action

This petition will be presented at each inter-agency meeting to demonstrate the amount of people who support the Lakota children!

If you live outside of the United States, you can still sign the petition by clicking the link, clicking “Sign the Petition”, and scrolling down to see: “Outside the U.S.? Sign Here”

Thank you for your prayers and support!

On April 8th, Michelle Obama addressed the nation encouraging everyone to take responsibility for the challenges that many Native youth face, “So given this history, we shouldn’t be surprised at the challenges that kids in Indian Country are facing today. And we should never forget that we played a role in this. Make no mistake about it—we own this.”

This statement signifies a huge leap forward in the consciousness of the nation. We consider Michelle Obama an ally and are excited for the visibility this statement will bring to the many issues that face the youth in Indian Country, “Folks in Indian Country didn’t just wake up one day with addiction problems. Poverty and violence didn’t just randomly happen to this community. These issues are the result of a long history of systematic discrimination and abuse.”

For the entire speech, go to https://www.whitehouse.gov/…/prepared-remarks-first-lady-mi…

Sign the petition: lakotalaw.org/action

Sign the petition to help Lakota families: lakotalaw.org/action

The bond between a mother and child is precious, strong, and worth fighting for. Help us protect the rights of Native American mothers in South Dakota, who are four times more likely to have their children removed by state authorities than any other ethnic group.

We are working to create on-reservation foster care for Lakota, by Lakota, that will honor familial relationships and existing kinship structures, while protecting children.

You can learn more about our struggle at: lakotalaw.org/reports

become a member at: lakotalaw.org/donate

South Dakota can collect as much as $79,000 from the federal government each year for each Indian child it seizes and places in white foster care because 100 percent of these Indian children seized are classified as “special needs.” South Dakota receives a bonus of $4,000 when each state foster child is adopted. However, it receives as much as $12,000 if that child is defined “special needs,” and South Dakota has defined all Lakota foster children to be “special needs” since 2001, simply on the grounds that they are Indians.

The children are being treated as a commodity and not as human beings! The mistreatment of Lakota tribes needs to finally be terminated!

Help by signing the petition at: http://lakotalaw.org/action

Outside the U.S., but still want to sign? Go to: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/free-the-lakota-children-1

No Sainthood for Serra!

The California mission system subjugated Native Americans throughout the West Coast with forced labor and conversion, with the goal of wiping out Native culture by the coerced acceptance of Catholicism and violent punishments.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis is scheduled to canonize Junipero Serra, the priest who founded this oppressive institution.

In protest of this unjust ceremony and to honor their ancestors, Tatavium descendants Caroline Ward Holland and Kagen Holland are making the 650 mile pilgrimage to all 21 of the California Missions, “As we walk to pay our respects to the ancestors on this walk, there has always been a thought in my mind that maybe the Pope would decide to stand for what he says he stands for, and recant his decision to canonize Serra,” stated Caroline Holland. “If he is who he says he is, then he would realize that this is wrong.”

Pope Francis has made important gestures of humility and regret to the Indigenous people of North America, but has decided to follow through with  canonization of Junipero Serra as scheduled. We stand with Caroline and Kagen and other protestors who are speaking out against this wrongful sainthood. We call upon Francis to reject this ceremony for a man responsible for the death of thousands of indigenous people.

http://walkfortheancestors.org/2015/09/day-of-mourning/#more-275

The Lakota People’s Law Project is working to create a permanent solution for Lakota foster children and families by creating Lakota run foster care. Unfortunately, we are unable to take on individual cases at this time, but through spreading awareness, we can all help to create the change that so many young children need.

Many of you are aware of the latent corruption that is involved in the Mette Case of South Dakota. For those of you that aren’t aware, there’s a brief summary below and more information can be found at: http://lakotalaw.org/special-reports/the-mette-affair .

We ask you to contact Virgena Wiesler, the Acting Program Administrator for the Child Protection Services Department of the Department of Social Services in South Dakota. Please call, write, or email Ms. Wiesler telling her that you are aware of the activities and accusations that have been brought upon South Dakota’s Depatment of Social Services and insist upon the release of the children from Wendy Mette’s custody. These children have been through enough and they belong with their relatives that are more than able to care for them.

Contact Info:
Virgena Wiesler
Acting Program Administrator
Child Protection Services
Department of Social Services
Richard F Kneip Building
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2291
phone: (605) 773-3227
email: virgena.wiesler@state.sd.us

Mette Affair Summary:
The South Dakota Dept. of Social Services placed 7 Lakota foster children into foster care with a non-Native, known molester, Richard Mette, and his enabling wife, Wendy Mette, from 2000 to 2013. The DSS knew of the accusations against Mr. Mette, but still placed Lakota foster children with him.

The state ignored MULTIPLE complaints of sexual and physical abuse, and pleas for help from the children.

Brandon Taliaferro, the Assistant State’s Attorney responsible for criminal child abuse cases in Brown County, immediately began an investigation.

The police searched the Mette house and find more evidence of sexual abuse, including enough pornography to “pack a store”, including “family incest” porn.

The children revealed they had been subjected to physical abuse, sexual molestation and threats of being beaten if they did not comply with the molestation or if they told anyone.

The disgusted police charged Mr. Mette with 23 counts of child rape and incest, and Mrs. Mette with 11 counts of physical abuse and enabling.

The State prosecutor, however, first attempted to drop all charges, and charged sexual predator Mr. Mette with only one count of “spanking”. When the State was not allowed to do this, they decided to charge Mr. Mette with only one count of rape of a child under 10. The other 22 charges of aggravated child rape and incest were dropped.

The State then dropped all charges against Mrs. Mette, who the children said knew about and enabled the abuse.

The state then went after the Lakota childrens’ advocates instead! Rather than save the Mette children from a known sexual predator and his enabling wife, the state of South Dakota brought felony charges against Brandon Taliaferro, the attorney who started the investigation and advocated for the kids, and Shirley Schwab, the childrens’ Court
Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).

The judge acquitted the advocates of all charges, due to the state’s complete lack of evidence against Taliaferro and Schwab.

Children are now back with Mrs. Mette, where they can’t sue the State DSS. Since they are now minors in the custody of Wendy Mette, the person who enabled the abuse, they cannot sue the state without her permission and support.

Former United States Senator from Georgia, Nancy Schaefer, released a report in 2007 entitled “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services.” This report highlights the downfall of Child Protective services nationwide and calls for immediate change. Five years later, these atrocities are still being committed. For the full report, please go to: http://www.parentalrights.org/index.asp?SEC=%7B5433EE7C-6775-4D17-A2A1-CE4686AE1697%7D

To help put a stop to this abuse of power in South Dakota, specifically for the Lakota children, please become a member at: http://lakotalaw.org/donate-new

We are on track to make history!
KEEP SHARING and become a MEMBER at: http://lakota.cc/1kvf8ka

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:
After Obama speech Sioux Tribes take action

5 Sioux Tribes take Unprecedented Step Towards Sovereignty over Children

Following a stirring speech by President Obama at the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation, the Lakota Sioux tribes took a historic step forward on Monday in their ongoing struggle to end South Dakota’s seizures of their children.

Five Lakota tribes of South Dakota, with expert assistance from A Positive Tomorrow, have submitted Title IV-E Applications for Federal Planning Grants to fund the planning of their own foster care programs. During the two year grant period, they will increase their tribal capacity to qualify for direct federal funding to operate their own Child and Family Service Centers.

Sioux Tribal leaders have long asserted that state-run foster care programs, which tend to place native children in non-native homes, are preventing Lakota children from being reared in an environment where they inherit a strong sense of their personal identity and cultural heritage.

“The unjust taking of our grandchildren in the Crow Creek community was the focus of the Peabody Award winning radio series on National Public Radio in late 2011,” said former tribal Chairman Brandon Sazue. “We are ready to implement a permanent solution to this problem that has been going on for 130 years.”

“We want to make sure this historic solution is realized,” said Chase Iron Eyes, a South Dakota counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project and a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “The people best situated to care for our children are our own families and extended family network, which we call Tiospaye.”

“My administration is determined to partner with tribes,” Obama said during his speech at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, going on to lend his support to the Lakota’s effort to address long standing economic and social conditions.

“We want children learning about their language and learning about their culture,” the President said.

In 2011, National Public Radio published an in-depth investigation into whether the South Dakota Department of Social Services repeatedly violates the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and receives significant federal money in the process.

“The up to $65 million that’s going to the state of South Dakota should be coming to us so we can keep our families together,” said Chase Iron Eyes during a public meeting in Rapid City, S.D. last July.

ICWA is federal legislation passed in 1978 that is intended to give Native American tribes a strong voice in child custody issues with an ultimate aim of ensuring tribes rights to maintain and preserve their language and culture.

The NPR report asserted that nine in 10 native children were being placed by the DSS into non-native homes in South Dakota, prompting tribal officials to formulate ways to divert federal funding away from South Dakota’s social service agencies and transfer it into native foster care systems.

The planning grant applications are being submitted for funding under the terms of the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, commonly referred to as the Baucus Act. The law introduced major changes to the Social Security Act, primarily in Section IV-E, regarding foster care and adoptions assistance payments to the states. One of the major changes made it possible for federally recognized tribes to receive direct IV-E payments to support their own child and welfare programs without state intervention. Previously Section IV-E monies could only be given to state agencies.

The planning grant program under the Baucus Act can award individual planning grants up to $300,000 and has a total annual budget of $3 million. According to the Tribal Directory of the Bureau of Indian Affairs there are 566 federally recognized tribes. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe received a Baucus planning grant in 2013.

Five Sioux tribes are submitting applications under the Baucus Act this year: Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Standing Rock, Yankton and Pine Ridge by the June 24, deadline.

“If we are successful, we can build up our families and help keep our children on the reservation,” said Sam Sully, Secretary of Yankton Tribe Business and Claims Committee. “It is a big problem, kids are taken off the reservation and it causes a lot of hardships. We have a lot of work to do, and we intend to be successful.”

The Lakota People’s Law Project has provided research support and assisted A Positive Tomorrow, a Native-American advocacy group specializing in these grants to work with the tribal leadership.

A Positive Tomorrow was crucial in preparing the grant applications and issued the following statement:

“This historic achievement would not have been possible without the tribes’ determination, efficiency, and professionalism, and without the assistance of the Lakota People’s Law Project. I truly hope that Health and Human Services acknowledges the severity of the crisis in South Dakota, and makes the Lakota applications a priority.”

The Lakota People’s Law Project has been partnering with tribes and leaders in South Dakota since 2005 from its offices in Rapid City, SD and Santa Cruz, CA. LPLP’s activities have included funding and supporting Native experts to provide technical assistance to the tribes on family and child welfare issues. The project combines public interest law, investigation, research, education, and organizing into a unique model for advocacy and social reform.

The Lakota People’s Law Project is sponsored by the non-profit Romero Institute based in Santa Cruz, California. The Institute is named after slain human rights advocate Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. The Institute seeks to identify and dismantle structural sources of injustice and threats to the survival of our human family.

Keep Sharing and Become a MEMBER at http://lakota.cc/1kvf8ka to show your support and help us to create foster care run by Lakota, for Lakota.

South Dakota’s rate of identifying “neglect” is 18 percent higher than the national average, making it the cause of 95.8 percent of all cases of removing children from their families as opposed to the national average of 78.3 percent. Because many Lakota live in poverty, the South Dakota Department of Social Services claim that these children are being neglected. Let us tell the DSS that poverty is not the same as neglect! Please support Lakota children and become a member!

Every human has the natural right to raise and nurture their own children in the traditions of their people. Unfortunately, many Lakota families in South Dakota are denied this basic right.

Every year, the Department of Social Services of South Dakota removes dozens of Native children from their families and places them in non Native foster care or group homes. From 1999-2009, the average number of Native American children entering foster care in South Dakota was 742 per year. These seizures are often the result of unfair profiling due to impoverished living conditions, as well as South Dakota DSS’s lack of understanding and respect for Native American kinship relationships and culture.

In 2005, the Lakota People’s Law Project was founded with a mission to end this tragedy and win return thousands of children that were illegally taken from their families and tribes by creating foster care for Lakota, by Lakota. The Lakota People’s Law Project is working with tribal leaders; emerging Lakota leaders; grassroots organizers; and federal officials in the Department of Justice, Department of Interior, and Health and Human Services to finally end this genocide and create the permanent solution of tribal sovereignty.

Share this post with your friends to raise awareness for this important issue!

You can learn more about our mission, and sign our petition to Obama to tell the state of South Dakota to stop kidnapping Lakota children at:lakotalaw.org/action