Before 1978 it was legal for the United States federal government to remove Native American children from their homes and send those children to Indian boarding schools, some located in South Dakota. This was the case until the passage of S. 1214, the Indian Child Welfare Act which outlawed the removal of children based on race, “Declares that it is the policy of Congress to establish minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families (extended families) and for the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes which will reflect Indian culture.” This was 86 years after the first Indian boarding school opened its doors in South Dakota. After the Pierre Indian School opened in 1891, three main others followed in Flandreau, Rapid City, and Chamberlain as late as 1927. Other religion-based missions, orphanages, and day schools opened across the plain; 25 schools or 14% of the national total were located in South Dakota due to the relatively large number of Native Americans living in the territory. These schools were known for their rules and have well documented abuses around the county. In 2018, Keloland News spoke with the “survivors” of these schools who spoke out against their former teachers, priests and school administrators; survivors outlined the horrors that occurred in South Dakota including sexual assaults. These memories still linger with the survivors and the effects of the practice can still be seen through current Native American students education experience through standards proficiencies in South Dakota.
South Dakota State University
© 2022 Brock Brown
Brown, Brock, "Analyzing the History of Native American Education in South Dakota" (2022). Schultz-Werth Award Papers. 35.