Gyasi Ross: CNN and the Indian Child Welfare Act
"The reason why I bring up adoptions is because there has been some hubbub recently about a report from CNN. The report contained some interesting thoughts, as well as some arguably offensive reporting about Skin adoptions and the Indian Child Welfare Act. Since the report came out, many Skins have gotten up in arms and advocated boycotts of CNN. Some others have asked for air-time on CNN (I wonder if Skins would boycott the proposed ICWA show?).

The report in question concerned a non-Skin reporter telling a story about a non-Skin couple who had to return a Skin baby to the Leech Lake Tribe per the Indian Child Welfare Act. The reporter raised legitimate questions about whether the child is now in a better position than he would be without the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Fair enough. No law is perfect – we’d be naïve to think otherwise.

The problem was, from my purview, that the reporter has no context as to why the Indian Child Welfare Act is such an important law for Native people. She obviously didn’t understand that the law was enacted because in some states with large Skin populations an estimated 25 – 35 percent of Native children had been in out-of-home placement or adoptive homes at some point in their lives. She obviously hasn’t been around Indian country long enough to know that the terrible situation that created the need for the Indian Child Welfare Act wasn’t an accident – there had been a concerted effort to break up Native families.

The Indian Child Welfare Act was created to help, along with solidifying social services on reservations, put those families back together again.

We should be thankful for the Indian Child Welfare Act’s enactment. We should protect that effort. That’s what the Skins who demanded boycotts of CNN, air-time on CNN and denounced the report were doing. God bless them for that."

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: 4.0: In the family way (Indian Country Today 6/29)

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Gyasi Ross: Much love for Skins in movies (6/22)
Gyasi Ross: Fancy Skins and non-fancy Skins (6/15)