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Thursday, November 7, 2019

US Court of Appeals for Fifth Circuit to Rehear Indian Child Welfare Challenge

by Native News Online Staff
Breaking News 
Published November 7, 2019
NEW ORLEANS — Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order directing a challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to be reheard en banc -- before the entire Fifth Circuit.  As previously reported, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit had held ICWA Constitutional in August, finding it was not a race-based statute that would violate the Equal Protection Clause.  The States of Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana, and several adoptive parents had urged the Court to set aside the August 9, 2019 decision and rehear the case, asserting similar arguments to the original briefing and that tribal membership is determined on an “overwhelmingly racial nature.”
The federal government filed a brief in response earlier this week, arguing that the plaintiffs “miss the fundamental point . . . [namely,] tribes have authority to set their own membership criteria, which may be based in part on biology or descent[.]”  The Cherokee Nation, Oneida Nation, Quinault Indian Nation, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, and Navajo Nation (Intervenor) filed an opposition to the petitions for rehearing en banc last month, as did the federal government.
Today’s order does not necessarily mean that the Fifth Circuit will find ICWA unconstitutional, but does vacate its earlier decision and add another round of briefing to the case – which is scheduled for December and January.  The Court seeks to hear oral argument during the week of January 20.

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ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

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Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

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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