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An Assessment of the Accuracy of NPR' Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families

January 2013:

Following NPR reporter Laura Sullivan's 2011 series of stories on Native foster care in South Dakota, a bi-partisan group of Congressional representatives sent a letter to the Assistant Secretary of the Interior calling on the Bureau of Indian Affairs to report on the veracity of the NPR's claims. The Assistant Secretary at the time, Larry Echo Hawk, promised to issue such a report and to organize a summit that would bring together state, federal, and tribal leaders to examine the current state of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in South Dakota. The BIA failed to act on its promise, and in mid-2012 the Coalition of Sioux Tribes for Children and Families decided to issue its own report to Congress. The Lakota People's Law Project assisted the Coalition by conducting research and preparing a draft of the report, which was approved and finalized in January 2013. Two reports were issued. The first report, Reviewing the Facts, thoroughly examines the claims made in the NPR stories, providing data and sources to back them up.

The reports had a significant impact. Most importantly, they prompted members of Congress to hold the Bureau of Indian Affairs accountable to its promise to hold a summit, which took place in Rapid City, SD from May 15-18.

Download the Report        Executive Summary

Below are links to the documents referenced in the report, which we have permanently archived on this site.