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Monday, November 13, 2023

Louis LaRose Walks On

Matthew L.M. Fletcher |Nov 13| Turtle Talk Blog

Louis LaRose, former chair of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, has walked on. News profile here.

As chairman, Mr. LaRose testified on behalf of the bill that would become the Indian Child Welfare Act. Justice Brennan’s majority opinion in Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield quoted extensively from Louis’s testimony. Footnote 25 reads:

In large part, the concerns that emerged during the congressional hearings on the ICWA were based on studies showing recurring developmental problems encountered during adolescence by Indian children raised in a white environment. See n. 1, supra.See also 1977 Hearings at 114 (statement of American Academy of Child Psychiatry); S.Rep. No. 95-597, p. 43 (1977) (hereinafter Senate Report). More generally, placements in non-Indian homes were seen as "depriving the child of his or her tribal and cultural heritage." Id. at 45; see also 124 Cong.Rec. 38102-38103 (1978) (remarks of Rep. Lagomarsino). The Senate Report on the ICWA incorporates the testimony in this sense of Louis La Rose, chairman of the Winnebago Tribe, before the American Indian Policy Review Commission:"I think the cruelest trick that the white man has ever done to Indian children is to take them into adoption courts, erase all of their records and send them off to some nebulous family that has a value system that is A-1 in the State of Nebraska and that child reaches 16 or 17, he is a little brown child residing in a white community, and he goes back to the reservation and he has absolutely no idea who his relatives are, and they effectively make him a non-person, and I think . . . they destroy him."Senate Report at 43. Thus, the conclusion seems justified that, as one state court has put it, "[t]he Act is based on the fundamental assumption that it is in the Indian child's best interest that its relationship to the tribe be protected." In re Appeal in Pima County Juvenile Action No. S-903, 130 Ariz., at 204, 635 P.2d at 189.

Thanks to Lucas LaRose.

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Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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