After losing in the court system, a foster family and their attorney waged a public relations campaign against the Indian Child Welfare Act. Photo by Keely Brazil / Twitter
An attorney based in Washington, D.C., continues to wage a campaign against the Indian Child
In August 2014, a California appeals court confirmed that Alexandria P., who is now 6 years ago, falls under the law. Her father is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation and the tribe wants her placed with relatives in a nearby state.
Eighteen months later, Lori Alvino McGill of Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz continues to drag the case out rather than respect the tribe's authority to determine the welfare of its youth. She's representing a foster family that tried to prevent Alexandria -- also known as Lexi -- from being sent to relatives in Utah.
"In this contentious custody case, there have never been any surprises as far as what the law required. The foster family was well aware years ago this girl is an Indian child, whose case is subject to the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act," the National Indian Child Welfare Association said in a statement.
"In fact, the only surprising turn of events is the lengths the foster family has gone to, under the advice of an attorney with a long history of trying to overturn ICWA, to drag out litigation as long as possible, creating instability for the child in question," the statement read.
Alexandria P. was in fact removed from the foster family on Monday in accordance with ICWA and court orders. But McGill has succeeded in placing negative attention to the Choctaw Nation and the law through a public relations and social media campaign and has indicated that further appeals are possible.
McGill previously represented the National Council for Adoption and Building Arizona
Families in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of ICWA.
The case was dismissed in December.
McGill also represented the non-Indian biological mother in Adoptive
Couple v. Baby Girl, a high-profile ICWA case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices, while they ruled against the biological Indian father, they did not question the constitutionality of ICWA.
Get the Story:
Girl who is part Choctaw taken from Santa Clarita foster family’s home
(The Los Angeles Daily news 3/22)
California Girl Removed From Foster Family Over Her Native American Heritage
Native American girl, 6, removed from California foster home
California Court of Appeal Decision:
In re Alexandria P., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law (August 15, 2014)
Bureau of Indian Affairs in
final push as Obama era nears its end (03/01)
Updates from National
Congress of American Indians winter session in D.C. (02/23)
Bill John Baker: The Indian
Child Welfare Act remains under attack (01/06)
Kevin Washburn announces
departure from Bureau of Indian Affairs post (12/10)
Tom Cole and Betty McCollum:
Doing what's best for Indian children (12/01)
Groups challenging Indian
Child Welfare Act lose round in court (10/22)
Timothy Davis: Indian
Child Welfare Act protects sovereignty (09/14)
Byron Dorgan: Indian parents
put first priority on their children (09/07)
Opinion: Indian Child Welfare
Act doesn't help Indian children (09/03)
Lakota Country Times: Indian
Child Welfare Act is under attack (08/20)
Conservative group's faulty ICWA report (07/13)
Conservative group disputes
legality of Indian Child Welfare Act (07/08)
Lorie Graham and Kathryn
Fort: The truth about Indian children (06/25)
Elizabeth Morris: More
funding won't stop Indian child abuse (06/22)
New case challenges
Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act (06/09)
Opinion: BIA politicizes
placement of Indian children in new rule (06/01)
John Guenther: Indian Child
Welfare Act remains under attack (05/29)
constitutionality of Indian Child Welfare Act (05/27)