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Thursday, January 17, 2019

More than 280 Indian tribes and 50 tribal organizations have joined the tribal amicus brief Brackeen v. Zinke #ICWA

Photo of Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, authorization provided by the Idaho Attorney
General Office, 2019.


Published January 17, 2019
BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden supports the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by filing an amicus brief after meeting with tribal legal counsel from Idaho tribes.  On Thursday, January 10, 2018, at the Idaho Statehouse, legal counsel for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes (Brandelle Whitworth), Coeur d’Alene Tribe (Eric VanOrden), Nez Perce Tribe (Darren Williams), and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho (William Barquin) met with Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and his senior staff to discuss the ICWA and the Brackeen v. Zinke case.
After the meeting and upon the request of his own staff, Mr. Wasden joined with the Attorneys General of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin in the bi-partisan group of states filing an amicus brief in defense of the ICWA.
Just last month, the Fort Hall Business Council authorized the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes to join the tribal amicus brief in BrackeenMore than 280 Indian tribes and 50 tribal organizations, including the Association on American Indian Affairs, the National Congress of American Indians, and the National Indian Child Welfare have joined the tribal amicus brief.
The Brackeen case involves a challenge by individual plaintiffs and the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana to the constitutionality of the ICWA and its regulations.  In October 2018, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled that much of the ICWA and its regulations were unconstitutional.  The case is currently on appeal to in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
A press release by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a copy of the states’ amicus brief may be found at https://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-becerra-leads-bipartisan-coalition-21-attorneys-general-brief-0.

State of Idaho Attorney General Joins Indian Tribes in Defense of the Indian Child Welfare Act

by Native News Online Staff

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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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