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News Release

ACLU of Montana

In collaboration with the University of Montana Native American Law Student Association and the Montana Bar Indian Law Section, the ACLU of Montana will host a Brackeen Oral Argument Listening event on November 9th from 8:00am to 10:30am in the Castle Center at the University of Montana Law School. Students and others are welcomed to attend, listen to oral arguments at the United States Supreme Court, and hear from Law Professor Kekek Stark and the ACLU of Montana’s Policy Director Keegan Medrano. 


The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Montana and 11 other ACLU state affiliates represented by Cooley LLP, filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court urging the court to uphold the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act. ICWA was passed by Congress in 1978 to address the nationwide epidemic of Native children being discriminatorily removed from their homes by child welfare agencies and placed into non-Native homes at disproportionate rates. ICWA requires state courts to make active efforts to keep Native families together, and it applies to children who are citizens or eligible to be citizens of a federally recognized tribe.

In Montana, a recent audit of the child welfare system showed that Montana is the worst state in the country for removing children — three times higher than the national average — and that even with Indian Child Welfare Act, Indigenous children are disproportionately removed from their families and communities and disproportionately represented in the foster care system - amounting to 40% of the population. The Indian Child Welfare Act in Montana is keeping a crisis from turning into a catastrophe.


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The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Brackeen v. Haaland.


Law Professor Kekek Stark and the ACLU of Montana’s Policy Director Keegan Medrano will provide insight regarding ICWA and what is at stake.


November 9th from 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM.


Castle Center at the University of Montana Law School, located at 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, MT 59812.

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