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Saturday, April 30, 2022

Newspaper Editorials Perpetuate Misinformation on ICWA

 

Two Worlds is for sale at Walmart.com

Sarah Deer, Elise Higgins & Thomas White on Racist Editorializing about ICWA

Sarah Deer, Elise Higgins, and Thomas White have published “Editorializing ICWA: 40 Years of Colonial Commentary” in UCLA’s Indigenous Peoples’ Journal of Law, Culture & Resistance.

An excerpt:

Despite studies concluding ICWA has been a successful law to curb the crisis of child removal in Indian country when implemented correctly, a significant number of attorneys, think tanks, and politicians argue that ICWA actually harms Native children and should be repealed. Others argue that ICWA has served its purpose and is no longer necessary. This article considers how newspaper editorials perpetuate misinformation about ICWA, its history and its purpose. Moreover, we explore how anti-ICWA authors employ “words of colonialism”—in particular, the use of derogatory words and phrases to portray Native people as bad parents and Tribal Nations as dysfunctional. Providing inaccurate and racist characterizations of ICWA is one of the primary tactics used by editorials to delegitimize ICWA. Emotionally triggering and wholly inaccurate language is often employed as a sensationalist method to grab the reader’s attention by presenting the law in terms of clear-cut morality.

Frederick Thompson Richards, Life Magazine, 1900  (How long have you been civilized?)

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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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