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Friday, August 16, 2019

'Hits close to home': Coachella Valley area tribes applaud Indian Child Welfare Act ruling

Isaiah Vivanco, Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians tribal vice chairman (Photo: Courtesy of Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians)
Soboba Tribal Council Vice Chairman Isaiah Vivanco said the tribe got what it wanted after signing onto an amicus brief along with hundreds of other tribes supporting the Indian Child Welfare Act last year. 
“The decision is a huge one for Indian Country as a whole,” Vivanco said in a written statement. 

Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Robert Martin called the ruling a "strong statement" of tribes' sovereign rights and their relationship with the federal government. Martin said the tribe joined the Cherokee, Navajo, Oneida and the Quinault Indian nations to intervene in the case. 
"We were overwhelmed by the massive outpouring of bipartisan support for ICWA, from federal lawmakers to the attorneys general of 21 states to dozens of the most well-respected child welfare organizations in the nation," he said in a written statement. 

Martin described the Indian Child Welfare Act as the "gold standard" for child welfare policy and said the tribal council will remain committed to defending its

Coachella Valley area Native Amercian tribes are applauding a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the Indian Child Welfare Act is constitutional.

LISTEN: Coachella Valley Native American tribes applaud Indian Child Welfare Act ruling

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Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

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