Recent news about Supreme Court review of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is another threat to Native American children, much like the ‘Indian’ boarding schools, and a threat to tribal sovereignty overall.

In establishing ICWA, the intent of Congress was to “protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families” (25 U.S.C. 1902). In fact, ICWA sets forth specific federal requirements for state child custody proceedings involving Indian children.

Congress did this because 25% - 35% of all Native children were being ‘scooped’ away from their parents without clear issues being presented. 85% of them were being placed mostly with middle class, White families — even when fit and willing Native relatives were available.

In addition, the case before the Supreme Court argues that ICWA is based on race. ICWA is an obligation tied to the U.S. government upholding its treaty obligations and promises to sovereign tribal nations. So, reversing ICWA could undermine hundreds of years of tribal sovereignty and diminish the United States’ trust responsibility to Native communities.

To learn more about the history of ICWA and how you can be an advocate, download the ICWA Fact Sheet.

Topics discussed are:

  • When and why was ICWA passed?
  • How has ICWA impacted Native children and tribes?
  • How do courts enforce ICWA regulations?
  • How would a reversal of ICWA impact tribal sovereignty and why?
  • What else might a reversal of ICWA impact?
  • Why is ICWA such an untold story?
  • How can a concerned citizen make a difference today?

More Resources:

Share this page with a friend to help raise awareness of ICWA. Be sure to include the hashtags #ICWA and #NativeAware.

An image of Joshua Arce, PWNA President & CEO with a quote stating

SWIRC, NPRA, SWRA, RAR, AIEF, NRF, NAA, and SNRF are programs of Partnership With Native Americans