Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

The Red Lake Nation Supports Efforts to Reverse Texas Court Decision Involving the Indian Child Welfare Act


October 11, 2018

RED LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION — The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas recently decided that provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) were unconstitutional in a case entitled Texas v. Zinke. The court sided with non-Indian Plaintiffs who are seeking to adopt Indian children in clear violation of the ICWA, and the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana. The goal of the Plaintiffs’ litigation is extreme: to have the ICWA declared unconstitutional so that tribal children can be forcibly removed from their families and communities, and can be freely available for adoption by non-Indians who have no connection to tribal communities.

The Indian Child Welfare Act is a federal law that was enacted by Congress in 1978 as a national response to a history of culturally biased child welfare practices by county and other local social service agencies, which often resulted in the separation of Indian children from their families, tribes, and heritage. When the field work was being conducted by congressional committees in the 1970’s to determine whether the enactment of the ICWA was necessary, county courts in Northern Minnesota stood out as examples of the worst abuses of tearing Indian families apart. Court records demonstrated that in the early 1970’s one county court in Northern Minnesota had terminated the parental rights of 25 percent of the Indian children born in the county during the period of study, and permitted the adoption of the children outside of their tribal communities. Other similar abuses were documented in Indian Country throughout the United States. As a result, there was overwhelming congressional support for the Indian Child Welfare Act, which was enacted into law in 1978. Since it was enacted, the ICWA has been a valuable tool for Indian tribes and Indian families in assuring that Indian children remain with their families and tribal cultures.


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