Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

The Supreme Court does right by tribes, kids and the law

Indian Child Welfare Act protects tribes as political entities and their children

Opinion editor's note: Editorials represent the opinions of the Star Tribune Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom.


The U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Indian Child Welfare Act stands as an affirmation of this country's special obligations to protect the integrity of Native American tribes and cultures and to safeguard each tribe's most precious resource: its children.

Minnesota tribes were jubilant at the recent news that the court voted 7-2 to preserve the federal law, even after white foster families - including a Minnesota couple - challenged the act in Haaland v. Brackeen, arguing that the act was race-based and gave the federal government too much power over Indian adoptions and placements that more properly should reside with the states.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, writing the majority opinion for the court, noted decisively that congressional power to legislate where tribes are concerned was both "well established and broad," while also affirming that tribal rights and protections are rooted not in a race-based classification but a political one, as sovereigns.


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