The Supreme Court decision upholding the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is an affirmation of Tribal sovereignty and the rights of Indian nations to raise our children and the next generation of citizens and leaders.
The Indian Child Welfare Act protects our children, families, and communities from earlier government-sanctioned practices of family separation. Forced attendance at boarding schools – along with child welfare practices that removed children from parents, extended families, and tribal communities – have traumatized our people. This was a deliberate federal policy of assimilation designed to eradicate our culture and dispossess our land.
With today’s ruling, the majority of Supreme Court justices stand with us – along with child welfare advocates and legal experts – in understanding that we as tribal communities have the right to raise our children. The Supreme Court also reminded the states of the unique legal and political relationship between Indian Tribes and the United States Congress.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday, June 15, in Brackeen v Haaland should put to rest questions about the future of ICWA legal protections for our families.