The ICWA was enacted in 1978 to help keep Native American children in Native American homes. In ICWA cases, the first preference for placement is that the child go to an extended family member, even if the relative is non-Native. Second preference is someone within the child’s tribe; third preference is another tribe.
The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians of California and the Quinault Indian Nation of Washington are petitioning the Supreme Court to request the bill remain intact.
The state of Texas is challenging the constitutionality of ICWA, claiming it’s a race-based system that makes it more difficult for Native kids to be adopted or fostered into non-Native homes.
ICWA does make it more difficult for children to be adopted or fostered into non-Native homes. But the welfare and futures of the children should be considered before turning them over to non-Native homes where their lives could be drastically different than what they are used to.
The bill was enacted to quell the high rate of Native American children’s removal from their traditional homes, culture, language and dress.
We believe children should be cared for by family when possible and Native citizens when family is not available. That's the best way for their culture to remain intact — to grow up knowing who they are, their background and the history of their people that should never be forgotten.