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What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!

Friday, April 29, 2016

#ICWA under attack

ThinkProgress Article on the Goldwater Institute’s ICWA Challenge


Why a Conservative Legal Organization is Trying to Kill the Indian Child Welfare Act.

A long article with lots of great sources (Shannon Smith of the ICWA Law Center is quoted extensively, for example) and solid research.
Despite what the URL might indicate, the video and site do not belong to an organization with a long history of pushing to expand civil rights protections to minority groups. Rather, they are part of a campaign by the Goldwater Institute — a conservative legal organization mostly known for its anti-government and pro-property rights work — aimed at eliminating ICWA, a 1978 federal law designed to protect Native American kids from more than 100 years of government-mandated assimilation. That legislation established tougher requirements for removing Native American children from their biological families and gave federally recognized tribes control over the adoption and custody processes for their citizens’ kids.

***
Matthew L.M. Fletcher, who directs the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at the Michigan State University College of Law says the key function of ICWA is that it “gives tribes a chance to have a say in what happens to their kids.” He notes that the due process requirements it provides have been held up by child welfare advocacy groups as “the gold standard for child welfare decisions for all children.”

***
Kathryn E. Fort, who works with Fletcher at MSU’s Indigenous Law and Policy Center, agrees. “I think what ICWA has done is given a backstop, in many ways, to the worst abuses,” she said. But recent problems in South Dakota, for instance, are proof that there are “still counties where they’re just not following the law.” Last March, a federal judge found that state officials had improperly removed scores of Native American children in one county from their parents’ custody, failing to follow ICWA’s procedure.
If the Goldwater Institute’s challenge is successful, not only will the strongest tool to stop those kinds of discrimination be taken away — so might a whole host of other laws.

Minneapolis ICWA Law Center Video

One of our very favorite groups we get to work with has a beautiful new video up:
Password: icwa
The Minneapolis ICWA Law Center represents parents in ICWA cases, among other things.

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Please support NARF

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.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?