Cronkite News: Tribes on ‘Pins and Needles’ in Indian Child Welfare Act Case

The Indian Child Welfare Act requires that Native American children be placed in Native American foster or adoptive homes, where possible, to maintain their heritage and identity.
The law is being challenged with increasing regularity in courts and by special-interest groups who contend it prioritizes race over a child’s best interest.
In October, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas declared key parts of the act unconstitutional, the first time any court has struck down the law.
That decision has been appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by the federal government and by multiple tribes, including the Navajo and Cherokee nations. But Tamera Shanker, an attorney who represents the ICWA unit of the Navajo Nation Office of Child and Family Services, believes the question will ultimately end up before the Supreme Court.

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