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August 11, 2015

Thank you for walking the Red Road with us. Together, we are making progress, step by step.

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Lakota People's Law Project

“Enough words, enough rhetoric, my people have been robbed with false promises for centuries. We want action.

“We want money and training to build our own foster care facilities to protect our children who are sacred. We want it now.”

Bryan Brewer

Former President, Oglala Sioux Tribe

Thank you for walking the Red Road with us. Together, we are making progress, step by step.

The Lakota Peoples Law Project continues to advocate for the approval of the Title IV-E Federal Planning Grant applications that Crow Creek, Cheyenne River, Lower Brule, and Yankton have submitted by sending our most recent report, “The New Boarding Schools,” to more than 100 officials in Washington D.C.

Our hope is that the widespread corruption among all levels of South Dakota government detailed in the report will urge federal officials in the Department of Health and Human Services to fund the planning of Child and Family Planning Service Programs that are so necessary for these four tribes to retain their culture and their children.

In addition to this, we have been supporting our parent organization, the Romero Institute, in circulating a new petition calling on Pope Francis to rescind the Doctrine of Discovery.

A combination of three 15th century Papal Bulls, the doctrine granted explorers the moral and legal justification to seize land and resources from Indigenous peoples. Its effects still linger, serving as a major plank of United States property law which is oriented to continue to disenfranchise, displace, and ultimately, devastate Indigenous peoples for imperialistic economic ventures.

This is the time for Pope Francis to rescind this doctrine, especially in light of his recent encyclical, Laudato Si’, and his compelling speech in Bolivia in which he said, “I say this with regret: many grave sins were committed against peoples of America in the name of God.” He went on to say, “I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offenses of the Church herself, but also for the crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.” His apology is the first step in respecting and honoring the innate rights of Indigenous peoples. Rescinding the Doctrine of Discovery will prove that Francis wants to begin a new era of cooperation.

Help! We need thousands of petition signatures before Pope Francis arrives in the United States in September. Please sign the Doctrine of Discovery petition and donate to our national education campaign.

We have also begun a thorough legal analysis of a series of lawsuits aimed at eliminating the Indian Child Welfare Act. A private consortium of adoption attorneys, the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, have launched three strategic federal lawsuits challenging, not only the new proposed guidelines, but ICWA itself. These deceptive suits are clearly a response to the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ release of the updated guidelines for the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA),

Please watch the video to understand our response to such an unwarranted and misguided attack on ICWA. We are also working on an Amicus Curiae brief to submit to the Department of Justice, revealing the deep and unethical conflicts of interest on the part of attorneys affiliated with the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys who have filed these lawsuits to promote their own personal financial gain. For more information on this evolving story, read our press release.

Since our last newsletter, we have received some national press attention! Chase Iron Eyes, Chief Counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Office, was interviewed for a Mother Jones article about his work with Native Lives Matter. We published a report to support his efforts in February of this year. Truthout highlighted our efforts in their article earlier this month, depicting the atrocities committed on the part of state and federal governments in removing Indigenous children from their families and communities.

We will continue to keep you updated on our progress in returning thousands of children stolen from their families, but until then, please continue your support by following us on social media—Facebook, Tumblr, Twitterby reading our daily blog, and by encouraging your friends and family to sign our petition to President Obama. We need to reach our goal of 100,000 signatures as soon as possible!

Please become a member of Lakota People’s Law Project to be a part of our global family. Our members receive gift packages and keep us going with a small monthly commitment. We are not funded by tribes or big foundations, we depend on people just like you! Together we are making a real difference. Thank you for your friendship and support.

Wopila!

Lakota People’s Law Project


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The Lakota People’s Law Project is a subsidiary of the 501(c)(3) Romero Institute. Learn more at romeroinstitute.org and lakotalaw.org

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