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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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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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