The Citizen Potawatomi Nation has signed on to the tribal amicus brief in the latest legal challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act.
While this isn’t the first challenge to ICWA, the case has gained national attention and is considered the most extreme threat to date. The case began in Texas, where lawyers sought plaintiffs in a certain judicial district so that the case could be decided by a judge most likely to rule against ICWA.
The lawsuit — known as the Brackeen case — went through the Texas district court, which overturned the statute to the United States Fifth Circuit Court. The court upheld the statute in part and found other provisions unconstitutional. Now, all the parties involved (the State of Texas and anti-ICWA plaintiffs, tribal defendants and the federal government) have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the Fifth Circuit decision.
Kendra Lowden, CPN employee and president of the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Association, wrote a letter of support of ICWA and reminding of the circumstances on its original passage, stating that Oklahoma was home to the most Indian boarding schools in the United States. Through those schools, Native people faced years of traumatic family separations, which continues to negatively impact Native American families today. Since its creation, ICWA has upheld tribal sovereignty and preserved Native American culture and heritage.
“We have a considerable interest in the Indian Child Welfare Act being upheld to protect our children, our tribes, and our cultures from any and all future traumas related to the child welfare system,” Lowden said.