Imagine the care, love, and support you put into your children. Think of the sleeplessness nights you have as you worry over every sniffle and skinned knee. You cherish each minute and every hug. Now imagine that you were forced to send your children to a boarding school over 450 miles from you starting when they were just five years old. You had to trust the school to kiss your child's boo-boos and give those hugs for you. What if I told you a story about a family of 9 little girls that were sent to one of those schools. But at this school the people there to take care of the children fondled them, molested, raped, and even aborted the resulting unborn children.
And, it turns out that the girls were not alone. After decades of pain, repressed memories, and shame they and others are sharing details of the torture they endured as children.
A court case brought by the 9 sisters went all the way up to the South Dakota Supreme Court and was dismissed. The court said the time limit to file the lawsuit (statute of limitations) expired 2 years after the girls turned 18, which meant that all survivors of Native American boarding school sexual child abuse were blocked from pursuing their claims in court. The court also said the 9 sisters could not sue the church diocese that had the power to remove the priest and nun caretakers, but could only sue individuals that committed the abuse. Since all the individuals are now deceased this meant that all survivors of the boarding school abuse were blocked from pursuing justice against the school. For the last 13 years, the sisters have been fighting for justice. In 2010, the Legislature passed a provision that stated no person over 40 years old can sue for damages against anyone but the individual who committed the abuse. The law passed just 8 days before the sisters' trial was to begin and the court applied the new law retroactively to block the sisters' case.
Now we have brought a new law to the Legislature to expand the statute of limitations for Native American boarding school childhood sexual abuse survivors
and allow claims against entities other than direct perpetrators.
So far the bill is now before the South Dakota state Senate as SB196. It will first go before the Senate Judiciary Committee for approval and then to the Senate floor for vote. Once it passes, then it will go to the state House of Representatives to do the process all over again.
And all of this has to happen before the end of February 2018!!!!
We need to raise funds to support the continued work for passage of SB196 and the preparation of the cases of the sisters and others that will move forward closer towards healing and justice.
Funds are specifically needed for:
Phase I - Passage of the Bill (Goal: $7,000)
Travel for M. Dauphinais Echols (me)
Travel for the sisters'
To give testimony at the Legislative Committees
(think flight, hotel, rental car, gas, food, etc.)
Phase II - Get the Message Out (Goal: $20,000+)
Social Media Campaign
Workshops to Prepare Native Attorneys for Suits
Phase III - Preparation for the Lawsuit(s) (Goal: $20,000+)
Travel, Incidentals for Case Preparation
For more details see:
including Press Release, newspaper articles, video posts, and Change.org Petition
Facebook: Michelle Dauphinais Echols
For a list of South Dakota Legislators to call for support:
Also call Tom Barnett at the SD Bar Association:
THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEART FOR FIGHTING WITH US!
- Timothy Lennon
- Jeanne Raines
- Louise Dauphinais
Michelle Dauphinais Echols