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News Release

Cherokee Nation

Morongo Band of Mission Indians

Navajo Nation

Oneida Nation

Quinault Indian Nation

Today, five tribes filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Brackeen v. Haaland defending the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Morongo Band of Mission Indians Chairman Charles Martin, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Oneida Nation Chairman Tehassi Hill, and Quinault Indian Nation President Guy Capoeman issued the following statement:

“The United States Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act nearly 45 years ago. In the decades since, Indian Child Welfare Act has continued to receive strong, bipartisan support while being repeatedly upheld in both state and federal courts. Our brief filed today outlines not only the tremendous benefits that Indian Child Welfare Act has brought to the health and safety of children, but also demonstrates how the law adheres to the Constitution and the principles of tribal citizenship dating back to America’s founding.

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National child welfare experts and advocates regard Indian Child Welfare Act to be the gold standard of child welfare laws because, when properly followed, it delivers better outcomes for children and their families. But if those attacking Indian Child Welfare Act are successful, they would not only dismantle a law that is central to our sovereign interests in protecting our children but also create chaos and instability throughout the country by overturning the basic framework of Indian law and the political nature of tribal citizenship.

On November 9, the Supreme Court will hear arguments and then decide the future of Indian Child Welfare Act. We are confident that the court will rule on the side of Indian Child Welfare Act, of the Constitution, of history, of child welfare experts, of states, and of children and families. To do otherwise, the court would be ignoring decades of precedent, overriding congressional authority, and putting our tribal children’s safety at risk. We stand with hundreds of tribes across the nation in defending Indian Child Welfare Act in court and look forward to once again seeing its constitutionality upheld.”

In the brief, the tribes explain why Indian Child Welfare Act remains critical and relevant today, noting that a “mountain of evidence — from 1978 to today — shows that Indian Child Welfare Act provides an essential buffer against practices that continue to yield the unwarranted removal of Indian children” and that “Indian Child Welfare Act is based on a simple idea: When Indian children can stay with their families and communities, Tribes and children alike are better off."

The full brief from the tribes can be found here.

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Morongo Band of Mission Indians - logo
Great Seal of the Navajo Nation
Oneida Nation - seal, logo
Quinault Indian Nation - seal, logo