I have blogged about this before. A ruling related to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is still pending before the U S Supreme Court with Brackeen v Haaland. There is a lot more about the history preceding this at George Takei’s LINK>The Big Picture. Excerpts below but please do read the linked article.
Family fostering is the norm in Indian Country, but states don’t recognize that fact. Your father’s brother is also your father, not your uncle. His children are your siblings, not cousins. Your mother’s sister is also your mother, not your aunt. Her children are your siblings, not cousins. Everyone you share blood with or who marries into the family is your cousin with no distinction between first, second, third, etc… Older cousins as well as your father’s sisters and your mother’s brothers are your aunties and uncles.
At any time for any reason, an Indigenous child can go stay with any one of their family Elders, other fathers or mothers, aunties, uncles or cousins. No advance notice or permission is required because it’s understood the entire family is responsible for child welfare, not just the birth parents.
White-centric standards are applied to evaluations of Indigenous family dynamics, living situations and cultural practices by a dominant culture with a long history of defining their own culture as “normal” and any deviations as unacceptable. The original purpose of ICWA was to address the harm caused by the federal government’s assimilation efforts—the removal of children from their culture. But assimilation was viewed by the majority White population as a benefit to Indigenous peoples because it dealt with the supposed savages humanely.
“I’m sick of White Christians adopting our babies and rejoicing. It’s a really sad day when that happens. It means the genocide continues. If you care about our babies, advocate against the genocide. Help the actual issues impacting Indigenous parents, stop stealing our babies and changing their names under the impression you are helping. White saviors are the worst!”
~ Minnesota Indigenous Democratic state Representative Heather Keeler [Yankton Sioux]
The survival of Indigenous peoples in the United States is always dependent on the next generation. The tribes have survived—against overwhelming odds—a series of government sanctioned genocides. It’s time for the weaponization of foster care against Indigenous peoples to end.