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Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe challenges Indian education reforms

The Tiospaye Topa School is a Bureau of Indian Education school on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in La Plant, South Dakota. Photo from BIE

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota is trying to stop the Obama administration from bringing its Indian education reform plan to the reservation.

The tribe was part of an earlier case that prevented the Bush administration from reorganizing the Bureau of Indian Education in the Dakotas. Now the tribe is fighting a second plan, known as the Blueprint for Reform.

"Since the Yankton case was settled, defendants have continued to discreetly restructure BIE and violate the terms of the settlement agreement reached in that case," the tribe said in a motion for preliminary injunction, referring to the earlier dispute in Yankton Sioux Tribe v. Kempthorne.

The filing disputes the Obama administration's claim that the Blueprint for Reform was based on input from Indian Country. Key officials have failed to provide details about the plan during formal consultations, correspondence and listening sessions, the tribe said.

President Barack Obama speaks at the Cannon Ball Flag Day Powwow in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on June 13, 2014. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

"Apparently defendants decided to move forward with their education reform plans without meaningfully consulting with plaintiff or any other Indian tribe," the motion states.

The tribe points out that the Blueprint for Reform was released on the same day that President Barack Obama visited the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota in June 2014. South Dakota tribal leaders attempted to meet with Obama but were excluded from a roundtable that was restricted to North Dakota leaders, the Native Sun News reported at the time.

Get the Story:
Tribe Blasts Feds for Education 'Reforms' (Courthouse News Service 10/6)

Interior Department Indian Education Plan:
Blueprint for Reform (June 2014)

White House Report:
2014 Native Youth Report (December 2014)

Government Accountability Office Report:
Bureau of Indian Education Needs to Improve Oversight of School Spending (November 13, 2014)

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