Protect the Indian Child Welfare Act
November 1, 2022
November 1, 2022
On November 9, 2022, the Supreme Court will hear Haaland v. Brackeen, which challenges the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA).
Resources from Protect ICWA—a joint effort from the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the National Congress of American Indians, the Association on American Indian Affairs, and the Native American Rights Fund—provide this essential context:
“ICWA protects American Indian and Alaska Native kids in child welfare proceedings by keeping them in the care of extended family or tribes whenever possible…When ICWA was passed in the 1970s, research found that 25%-35% of all Native children were being separated from their parents, extended families, and communities by state child welfare and private adoption agencies; of these, 85% were placed outside of their families and communities even when fit and willing relatives were available. The family separation crisis compounded nearly 200 years of active cultural genocide in the boarding school system, starting in the early 1800s. ICWA has acted as a much-needed reform on the practices that have separated Native children from their families for centuries.” Continue Reading
The upEND Movement fully supports maintaining the Indian Child Welfare Act. We all must move together to end the system of punishment and surveillance that is the family policing system. Until we do so, we must maintain this necessary tool to ensure tribal sovereignty is respected. Ultimately, we look forward to a time when the family policing system no longer exists and policies such as ICWA are no longer necessary to protect Indigenous children from the harm of the state. As we build this society where healing and community are fully supported as the way to best serve children, families and communities, we recognize that tribal sovereignty will and must be continued as a priority.