On November 7th, I wrote a blog titled – LINK> Will the US Supreme Court End the ICWA ? but it bears repeating – this time from someone’s direct experience. In February 2022, the Supreme Court granted all four petitions and consolidated the Haaland v. Brackeen case related the Indian Child Welfare Act. The parties’ legal briefs were submitted throughout spring and summer 2022 and the case is scheduled to be heard in November 2022. Here’s the appeal from an Indigenous family –
Our nephew (now son) was prioritized to be placed in a kinship home first along with his siblings. This allowed them to continue to have connections with their family, siblings and parents. Because we are his family and also Indigenous, he understands family structures in the way we know. That he is allowed and it is normal to have multiple moms and dads, uncles and aunties, grandmas and grandpas, and brothers and sisters. This gives him a sense of abundance, not scarcity. He proudly states he has two moms and two dads, lots of brothers and sisters, uncles, aunties, grandmas and grandpas.
Because we understand the protective factors of knowing who we come from he still retains his name. He is still the son of his birth parents. We acknowledge all sides of his families and I continue to learn who his relatives are that we aren’t related to. Because he was placed with family on our reservation, he has access always to our rich culture which opens up his support networks even more with more kinship systems than he already had. Additionally he has access to our traditional healing pathways through ceremony and language.
Because of ICWA, he still retains his culture, heritage, family and most importantly his identity. That although there is trauma attached from his removal, he does not have that continued trauma of trying to understand the root of who he is. Our culture, our identity and our kinship systems are our protective factors. The United States Government has attempted multiple times to dismantle them. In our resistance, reclamation and resilience phase we can never allow them to be taken away again.