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ICWA: Victory for Tribes as Judge Reaffirms South Dakota Decision

Wednesday, February 24, 2016  
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In March 2013, three Indian mothers and the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux Tribes of South Dakota filed a class action suit to address ongoing ICWA violations in that state. For decades, Indian parents in Pennington County were refused court-appointed counsel, as well as the right to speak in their own defense, cross examine witnesses, or present evidence at emergency hearings – all rights stipulated in ICWA.


In March 2015, Judge Jeffrey Viken issued a partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. The state subsequently filed a motion to reconsider the decision. Last Friday, February 19, Judge Viken denied that motion, citing a “fundamental lack of competence.”


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