MPR: Tribes in Minnesota seek a role in child custody matters

"Minnesota American Indian tribes and their allies in the state Legislature are seeking to plug a gap in child custody laws opened by a state Supreme Court decision last year.

The court's decision derailed the common practice of giving tribal courts a role during pre-adoption and adoption for off-reservation American Indian kids.

Until the late 1970s, American Indian children across the country were adopted outside their communities at very high rates. The practice had a devastating effect on tribes, as generations of youth were cut loose from their cultural identities.

"People thought they understood that children would fare better if they were raised in white middle class homes," said Andrew Small, a lawyer and former tribal judge in the state. "When you remove a child from their home, that begins a process that sometimes is impossible to stop... a child is going to be lost to the tribe.""

Get the Story:
Tribes want to regain authority in adoptions of off-reservation American Indian kids (Minnesota Public Radio 3/3)

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