Law

HOW A RIGHT-WING ATTACK ON PROTECTIONS FOR NATIVE AMERICAN CHILDREN COULD UPEND INDIAN LAW

A LAW KEY to preventing state welfare agencies from separating Indigenous children from their families is at risk of being overturned thanks to the yearslong effort of a network of libertarian and right-wing organizations.

In the 1970s, between a quarter and a third of Indigenous children across the United States had been removed from their homes. Social services often cited neglect or deprivation — euphemisms for poverty — as grounds for placing children in the custody of non-Native families and institutions, offering birth parents little opportunity for redress. Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978 in order to reform a system designed to destroy Indigenous people.

Last October, a U.S. district judge in Texas declared the law unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection clause, arguing that it creates a separate set of practices for a so-called racial group. The federal government and four tribes appealed the decision, which is currently pending before the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. If the ruling is upheld and the case makes its way to the Supreme Court, it could not only upend protections for the nation’s most vulnerable children, but also undermine a foundational concept of Indian law: that to be Indian is political, not racial.

Read full article here: https://theintercept.com/2019/06/17/indian-child-welfare-act-goldwater-institute-legal-battle/?fbclid=IwAR3WF32ku8dSbtTxSpcQYu8iXE0SSEEawKDGMKt3zgiI3hLLa3oWRZ4rfI8

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