Assessing An NPR Report On The Indian Child Welfare Act

A Dec. 17 report on All Things Considered about the Indian Child Welfare Act prompted harsh criticism from the Native American Journalists Association, which called it “inaccurate and imprecise.” A meeting between NAJA leaders and NPR editors resulted in a clarification being posted on the online version of the piece, but NAJA members continued to have concerns about the reporting. 

Read the full article from the NPR ombudsperson at the NPR website.

NAJA Agrees with NPR ombudsman assessment of flawed ICWA story

The Native American Journalists Association supports the assessment of National Public Radio’s Ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen regarding the story “Native American Adoption Law Challenged As Racially Biased.”

Read the full response at the Native American Journalists Association website.

South Dakota disputes NPR report on placement (Argus Leader)

More than a year after a controversial National Public Radio investigation into violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act in South Dakota, an ombudsman report judging its accuracy has yet to see the light of day.

…From the beginning, though, state officials have called the NPR series misleading. While it’s common for targets of news investigations to complain about the resulting coverage, Daugaard’s office in particular has said the reporting was flawed with basic errors that undercut its central premise.

In an unusual move for South Dakota, Daugaard’s office released a preemptive rebuttal disputing the accuracy of the reporting, and another, more detailed statement after the stories aired.


Maine, Tribes Seek ‘Truth And Reconciliation’ (NPR)

In Maine, an unusual and historic process is under way to document child welfare practices that once resulted in Indian children being forcibly removed from their homes. Many of the native children were placed with white foster parents. Chiefs from all five of Maine’s tribes, along with Gov. Paul LePage, have created a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help heal the wounds.


Listen to the audio recording at

NPR News Investigations: Native American Children In Foster Care

NPR logoBeginning in October 2011, NPR has created a series of investigative pieces looking at Native American foster care in South Dakota.  The pieces raise issues about the ethics of the current system, the historical context of Native American foster, and possible violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

October, 2011 – Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families

October 2011 – Incentives and Cultural Bias Fuel Foster System

October 2011 – Tribes Question Foster Group’s Power and Influence

October 2011 – Native Survivors of Foster Care Return Home

October 2011 – A Fight for Her Grandchildren Mirrors a Native Past

February, 2013 – South Dakota Tribes Accuse State of Violating Indian Welfare Act