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NPR: Supreme Court to rule in Indian Child Welfare Act case

Suzette Brewer of Indian Country Today discusses Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, an Indian Child Welfare Act case that will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court:
HEADLEE: Let me begin with you, Suzette, because this case deals very specifically with the Indian Child Welfare Act, which Congress passed in 1978. Can you explain what exactly this act says that specifically relates to this case?

BREWER: Well, the Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted in 1978 to halt the illegal and sometimes very, shall we say, unsavory adoptions and misplacements of Indian children throughout the centuries. This comes on the heels of the Indian Self-Determination Act that was enacted in 1975 under Nixon.

And so it's a very important piece of legislation that was put in place to ensure that Indian parents have extra protections under the law to prevent their children from being adopted out of the tribe and out from under their families with no say, which is typically had - what had happened in the previous decades and centuries prior to that.

They often times had no say whatsoever in what happened to their children, and they were rounded up and sent off to missions and then boarding schools without the parents having any say whatsoever in the fate of their children. What this did, overtime, was create the disintegration of tribal life in America, because you have a lot of children out there who didn't have that family connection.

They didn't have the linguistic connection. They didn't have the ceremonial connection or the political connection, for that matter. And so what Congress was attempting to do was prevent that and give Indian parents time and legal sort of reinforcement, if you will, to protect their children.

Get the Story:
Who Will Care For 'Baby Veronica?' (NPR 6/21)

Oral Argument Transcript:
Adoptive Couple v. Cherokee Nation (April 16, 2013)

South Carolina Supreme Court Decision:
Adoptive Couple v. Cherokee Nation (July 26, 2012)

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Jackie Pata: Baby Veronica and Native American family values (4/17)
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