Brief Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Indian Child Welfare Act
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
The ACLU of Nebraska has joined a national brief filed in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a 1978 law passed by Congress aiming to stop harmful assimilation practices separating Native American children from their families and tribes.
Misty Flowers, executive director of the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Coalition, said the Indian Child Welfare Act is still very much needed, in part to help kids maintain their cultural identities.
"We see a lot of times that those that don't have a strong cultural identity have higher rates of substance abuse, mental-health issues, suicide rates," Flowers pointed out. "It's kind of all connected with those assimilation policies and historical trauma."
The ACLU is urging the high court to uphold the constitutionality of the Act, which requires state courts to help keep Native families together. Before its passage, some 35% of Native children were being removed from their homes, from intact families, with 85% placed in non-Native homes.
A U.S. appeals court invalidated portions of the act in a Texas adoption case, for imposing duties on states.
The brief also calls on the Supreme Court to uphold the centuries-long legal precedent of tribal sovereignty, including tribes' right to preserve their unique cultural identities, raise their own children and govern themselves. Flowers explained when the U.S. government consults or does business with tribes, it is nation-to-nation.
"Because we are sovereign nations of this land. We were here first," Flowers asserted. "And we had the ability, and we still maintain the ability, to govern ourselves."
The Indian Child Welfare Act also establishes preferences for placing adopted Native children in Native homes. Flowers, quoting her social worker mother, said Native children will always find their way home.
"It's like an innate human need to have that connection with your family and your tribe," Flowers noted. "Especially when you look different than other people that are around you."
get more stories like this via email
The Iowa League of Women Voters plans to ask the Iowa Legislature to rethink the voting restrictions put in place prior to last month's midterm electi…
Agriculture groups and government agencies aren't slowing down in trying to convince farmers to use more sustainable practices such as cover crops…
Winter is here, leaving many older South Dakotans vulnerable to social isolation. But a growing body of research, as well as opportunities, shows …
By Jala Forest / Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan Reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration Nearly 40% of college students a…
The Biden administration has proposed a rule to limit methane flaring from oil and gas development on public lands. The rule would impose royalty …
The flu, COVID and RSV are rapidly spreading in Kentucky, and health experts say that's a problem for hospitals, schools and the state's vulnerable …
As its 125th anniversary nears, the Connecticut Audubon Society has released a report detailing the effectiveness of conservation efforts in the …
2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …