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Monday, March 4, 2024

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Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

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Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

SCOTUS Adoption Ruling Delivers Win for Tribal Sovereignty

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Monday, June 19, 2023   

Native Americans, tribal leaders and other supporters of last week's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding adoption say it affirms their status as a sovereign nation and having a unique cultural identity.

The court upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act in Haaland v. Brackeen. The lawsuit was brought by a Texas couple who challenged the federal law requiring Native American kids up for adoption be placed with Native families whenever possible.

Judith LeBlanc, executive director of the Native Organizers Alliance, said too often a patchwork of decisions has been allowed despite the law applying nationwide.

"The truth is that on a state level and on a local, community level -- even though that's the law of the land -- because it's a law that's not funded, sometimes it was not followed and sometimes we have to fight," LeBlanc explained.

Haaland, the first Native American to serve in a president's Cabinet, praised the decision, noting for centuries U.S. policies have inflicted trauma still felt by Native children, families and communities. In the 7-2 ruling, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented, with Alito arguing cases considered under the Indian Child Welfare Act have often omitted what is in a child's best interest.

With another case involving Native water rights yet to be decided by the high court, LeBlanc pointed out last week's victory was a small win in the larger fight to maintain tribal sovereignty and cultural continuity for generations to come.

"This decision gives us a peek into what a truly robust, multiracial, multinational democracy could look like," LeBlanc contended.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham agreed with the court's decision, noting the critical importance of sustaining a child's connection to their cultural identity.


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