The U.S. Supreme Courts Rejection of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978

Delilah Dotremon

Abstract


Since the late 1800s there has been an organized governmental effort to remove Native American children from their families and communities and place them with strangers. This federal government effort has resulted in thousands of Native American children being displaced from their roots which results in issues of transracial placement. Indigenous children end up losing their parents, siblings, extended family, and cultural ties. The Indian Nations lament that their children have been stolen and that their very existence is being threatened. Tragically history does repeat itself as this governmental practice continues today. The U.S. Supreme Court granted a Writ of Certiorari in October of 2012 in the case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 570 U.S. __ (2013) which everyone assumed would involve a review of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 which would provide guidance to the States on the interpretation of this particular federal law. On June 25, 2013 the Supreme Court reached a decision that clearly rejected the applicability of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 as it threw out the South Carolina court decision awarding custody to the Cherokee father as the highest Court in the land sided with the White adoptive couple. This paper outlines the positions of all the interested parties in the case and presents a theoretical discussion of each position as well as policy implications.


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References


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