The implications of the case against ICWA

The Supreme Court is about to decide on a case arguing that the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, discriminates against white people. The lawsuit seeks to reframe tribal membership as a racial rather than a political category, and argues that it disadvantages white foster parents trying to adopt Native children. This week, Rebecca Nagle, host of the This Land … Read more

Overturning Indian Child Welfare Act bad for kids, families, Native Americans everywhere

Let me be clear, this law is not about preventing non-Native families from adopting children when the situation and best interests of the child call for it. It’s about keeping families together whenever possible; it’s about fighting for the futures of Native American children; and it’s about giving tribes a long-awaited seat at the table. … Read more

Alaska could see effects of Indian Child Welfare Act challenge heard by Supreme Court

And because Native children represent about 55% of all children in state custody, Chen says overturning ICWA would have huge implications for Alaska. At the same time, Native people only make up a little over 20% of the population, so there’s a disparity, she says, and a feeling that the state hasn’t done enough to … Read more

The Indian Child Welfare Act: What it is and What’s at Stake

The law, known as ICWA, includes many other provisions that impact Native families across Indian Country. What ICWA will look like following the Supreme Court’s decision depends on how the justices rule. Amicus curiae briefs filed in the case cover arguments made for and against the law.  Read the full article at Native News Online.

The Supreme Court Case That Could Break Native American Sovereignty

In the sprawling federal lawsuit Haaland v. Brackeen, a handful of white foster parents, among other plaintiffs, are asking the Supreme Court to overturn a law called the Indian Child Welfare Act. ICWA was created in 1978 to prevent family separation in Native communities. When the law passed, about a third of Native children had been removed from … Read more

Supreme Court considers fate of landmark Indian adoption law

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case that pits several prospective adoptive parents and the state of Texas against the Indian Child Welfare Act — a federal law aimed at preventing Native American children from being separated from their extended families and their tribes. Listen to the full story at the NPR … Read more

Clarence Thomas May Destroy Native Children’s Rights Based on a Lie

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Brackeen v. Haaland, a case engineered to hobble the federal government’s power to protect Native communities from exploitation. The plaintiffs are asking the justices to invalidate the 44-year-old Indian Child Welfare Act, which prioritizes the placement of Native children in custody proceedings with Native families. But they’re … Read more

Tribal leaders vow to protect their families from separation as Indian Child Welfare law heads to the Supreme Court

California’s Morongo Band of Mission Indians is one of five tribes that have intervened in the Brackeen v. Haaland case, scheduled for oral arguments Nov. 9. The tribesspoke out this week alongside leaders of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, the Quinault Indian Nation of Washington, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and the Navajo Nation.  Read the … Read more

Hownikan Podcast: Brackeen v. Haaland and the Indian Child Welfare Act

Kendra Lowden is a Citizen Potawatomi Nation member and Curly family descendant. She works as the Senior Program Associate at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work. She is the owner of Ghost Thunder Child Welfare Consulting and previously served as the Board President of the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Association. Kendra discussed … Read more

Current Supreme Court term could impact South Dakota tribes

Brackeen v. Haaland is a case centering around the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), which focuses on assimilation, tribal culture and the adoption of Native children. Across the country, tribes are watching this case unfold to see how it will impact tribal sovereignty and the relationship between tribes and the federal government. Read the … Read more

Can Indian Country withstand the new Supreme Court?

On Nov. 9, the eyes of Indian Country will once again turn toward the nation’s capital, where the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a law passed in 1978 that enshrines tribal governments’ right to oversee foster care placements in cases involving Native children. Read the full article at … Read more

Advocates worry federal law protecting Native adoptees could be overturned by Supreme Court

For the last 44 years, a federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) has sought to prevent these situations by prioritizing that Native children adoptees be placed, when possible, with Native relatives or other members within the child’s tribe. But after months of consequential rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority, four … Read more

The Necessity of the Indian Child Welfare Act : A case now before the Fifth Circuit threatens to upend the laws that enable Native self-governance.

The case centers on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which was designed to protect American Indian communities against state-led efforts to break up Native families. The challengers in the case—several Republican-led states and non-Native families seeking to adopt Native children—are attempting to invalidate ICWA’s restrictions on breaking up Native families and on non-Native families … Read more

Bipartisan, Bicameral Group of Lawmakers File Amicus Brief Supporting the Indian Child Welfare Act

The amicus brief urges the Fifth Circuit to uphold the court’s previous decision affirming the constitutionality of IWCA. The decision the Fifth Circuit issued in August reversed an unprecedented ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas which wrongly struck down ICWA as unconstitutional. Read the full press release and view … Read more

Indian Child Welfare Act court hearing scheduled for January 2020

Get ready for round two. Oral arguments in a closely-watched Indian Child Welfare Act case will take place on January 22, 2020. After offering a tentative date last month, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals made it official on Wednesday. The case known as Brackeen v. Bernhardt will go before an en banc panel of judges … Read more

Indian child welfare legal challenge is about ending tribal sovereignty

Attacks on the law, enacted in 1978, have inexplicably risen in the past seven years and attracted the support of a seemingly disparate array of high power ultra conservative players and organizations. Today’s challenges to the child welfare protocols aren’t only about adoption because if the Indian Child Welfare Act is found to be unconstitutional … Read more

Who Should Be Allowed To Adopt Native American Children?

Native American tribes got a big win in August when a federal court upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act, a pivotal 1978 law that requires states to prioritize placing Native children in foster or adoptive homes with Native families over non-Native families.  But the decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals … Read more

Tribal families get priority in Native American adoptions. An appeals court will decide whether that’s fair.

In the 40 years since Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act, the law has been criticized in legal challenges that have climbed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the ICWA, as the act is known, has always prevailed. Now its constitutionality is being questioned again. On Thursday, the U.S. Court of … Read more

‘We’re under attack’: Tribes defend Indian Child Welfare Act in critical case

After initially deciding the closely-watched case in favor of Indian Country, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals announced that it will hear the dispute all over again. A larger set of judges will now scrutinize the landmark law but tribal nations remain confident that their sovereign rights and their most precious resource — their children — will win … Read more

Fifth Circuit to Rehear Indian Child Welfare Act Challenge

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order directing a challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to be reheard en banc — before the entire Fifth Circuit. As previously reported, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit had held ICWA Constitutional in August, finding it was not a race-based statute that would violate the … Read more

The complicated nature of Native American adoptions: Does a Utah court ruling conflict with federal law?

More than 40 years after the federal law took effect, the child welfare system continues to absorb a disproportionate number of Native American children nationally and in Utah, noted Alisa Lee, Indian child welfare program administrator for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services. Data provided by Lee’s office shows that roughly 5% of … Read more

Protecting Native American Children

In ‘Brackeen v. Bernhardt’, decided on Aug. 9, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the Indian Child Welfare Act was constitutional. We applaud the Fifth Circuit for upholding this federal law that is vital to safeguarding the welfare of Indian children. Read the full article at the New York … Read more

Commentary: Appeals Court Affirms Indigenous Children Belong to a Political Class, not Racial

In the 21st century, we are still fighting to protect indigenous children whether it is north or south of the Mexican border. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act was a critical step to keep our families, communities and identities intact. Now, some legal protections need to be … Read more

Fifth Circuit Court Rules that ICWA is Constitutional (Brackeen v. Bernhardt)

United States: Fifth Circuit Upholds Indian Child Welfare Act As Constitutional. Akin Gump (Aug. 14, 2019) Federal District Court of Appeals Upholds Indian Child Welfare Act. Nonprofit Quarterly (Aug. 13, 2019) EDITORIAL: ICWA ruling a victory for tribes. Tahlequah Daily Press. (Aug. 13, 2019) Fifth Circuit Court reaffirms Indian Child Welfare is constitutional. The Ada … Read more

The Fight Over Native American Adoptions Is About More Than Just the Children

Now the [Indian Child Welfare Act] is facing its most serious challenge yet. In a case that has implications far beyond the adoptions of American Indian children, three non-Native families and three Republican state attorneys general have sued the federal government saying that the ICWA relies on racial classifications that violate the equal protection clause … Read more

How a Right-Wing Attack on Protections for Native American Children Could Upend Indian Law

A LAW KEY  to preventing state welfare agencies from separating Indigenous children from their families is at risk of being overturned thanks to the yearslong effort of a network of libertarian and right-wing organizations. In the 1970s, between a quarter and a third of Indigenous children across the United States had been removed from their … Read more

Who Can Adopt a Native American Child? A Texas Couple vs. 573 Tribes

Zachary, or A.L.M. as he is called in legal papers, has a Navajo birth mother, a Cherokee birth father and adoptive parents, Jennifer and Chad Brackeen, neither of whom is Native American. The Brackeens are challenging a federal law governing Native American children in state foster care: It requires that priority to adopt them be given to Native families, to … Read more

Appeals Court Hears Case on Adoptions of Native Americans

 1978 law giving preference to Native American families in foster care and adoption proceedings involving American Indian children is an unconstitutional race-based intrusion on state powers that has caused families to be “literally torn apart,” an attorney told a federal appeals court March 13.But supporters of the decades-old law say it’s needed to protect and … Read more

Stateline: Indian Child Welfare Act Likely Headed to Supreme Court

A case before a federal appeals court could upend an historic adoption law meant to combat centuries of brutal discrimination against American Indians and keep their children with families and tribal communities.For the first time, a few states have sued to overturn the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which Congress enacted in 1978 as an antidote to … Read more

Media Coverage of Fifth Circuit Hearing in Brackeen v. Bernhardt

Non-Indians think they know better than Indians what is best for Native American children, said lawyers for the Navajo Nation in arguments before a federal appeals court.It’s a bold argument, but goes to the heart of the case in Brackeen v. Bernhardt. Under the Indian Child Welfare Act, Indian tribes have priority over non-Indians in Native … Read more

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 … Read more

Indian Child Welfare Act Remains in Force after Appeals Court Order (Brackeen v. Zinke)

A federal appeals court granted a stay requested by the four tribes on Monday to preserve the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act. “The law is going to stay the same for now,” said Dan Lewerenz, one of the attorneys working on the Brackeen v. Zinke case. That means Native American families will stay together under the law. Read … Read more

Responses to ICWA Court Ruling

Treppa: Why the ICWA is critical to the health of native children and tribal communities SHERRY TREPPA POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2018 A Texas judge’s recent decision to strike down the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, sets a dangerous precedent that unravels federal policy carefully designed to correct centuries of tragic injustices committed … Read more