The Colville Tribes are happy with a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) as constitutional.

A release from the tribes praised the decision as a great victory for Indian families and tribes.

The law was challenged by a non-Indian couple who claimed discrimination after they were prevented from adopting an indigenous child.

The policy was enacted in 1978 to prioritize placement of indigenous children with Indian families in child welfare cases.

The Supreme Court decided the Haaland vs Brackeen case. The plaintiffs were the non-Indigenous Texan couple, Chad and Jennifer Brackeen, who claimed the ICWA's preference for placing Indigenous children with foster parents from their tribal nations discriminates against non-Indigenous individuals who wish to adopt Indigenous children.

Colville Confederated Tribes Chairman Jarred-Michael Erickson noted the Supreme Court's reference to the federal Indian boarding school era when Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families.

"The Tribes especially appreciates the concurring opinion of Justice Gorsuch, which describes the federal boarding school and removal policies that ICWA was enacted to remedy and puts today’s decision in the proper historical context," said Erickson.

By some accounts, between 25% and 35% of Native children in the U.S. were being taken from their homes by the child welfare system in 1978, with 85% of those children being placed outside of their tribal communities.

Erickson also mentioned Colville Tribe's involvement in the litigation.

"Colville tribal leaders were directly involved in efforts to pass ICWA in the 1970s and current Colville leadership was honored to join the amicus brief filed by tribes in this case to urge the Supreme Court to uphold ICWA.”

The Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision upholding the ICWA was released on June 15.

e ICWA was released on June 15.

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