The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was established in 1978. It tries to keep a Native American child with their tribe or with other Native Americans.
At the time, a third of Native American kids were being taken out of Indian jurisdiction and placed in non-Indian homes. A federal case attempted to overturn that–saying it was unconstitutional.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found it to not be the case.
“Probably the most important thing that came out of that ruling is that it was not a race-based law. Some of the misunderstandings that a lot of people have are that tribes or Indians are considered a minority class, which we are not we are a political entity,” explained Wyandotte Nation Chief Billy Friend.
In Wyandotte Nation, Indian Child Welfare Department advocates work with other tribes across the nation to meet the best needs for Indian children.