Children, Discrimination and the Indian Child Welfare Act

Children's Lives Destroyed by ICWA, Says CAICW

Aug 29, 2007, 01:00 ET from Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Across America, children
 that have never been near a reservation nor involved in tribal customs are
 routinely being removed from homes they love and placed with strangers
 chosen by tribes.
     Though proponents of the ICWA argue that the act has safeguards to
 prevent misuse, scores of multi-racial children are being negatively
 affected by application of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
     Over decades, numerous tribal members have married non-members and
 moved off the reservations. Many chose to leave because they didn't want
 their children raised amid the dangers rampant in Indian Country.
     However, ICWA authorizes tribal jurisdiction over any child who is a
 member of a tribe, or eligible for membership and the biological child of a
 member. Tribal governments determine their own membership and most require
 only 1/4 blood quantum, The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma goes further and
 claims jurisdiction over any child with ancestry tracing back to the Dawes
 Rolls no matter how minute the blood quantum. Making matters worse, some
 states have recently passed laws barring courts from considering whether a
 child or his family have any real connection to the tribe. As a result, the
 following occurs:
     "... it was discovered she (the birthmother) is 1/128th Cherokee. That
 makes my son 1/256 or .0039% Native American and 99.9961% not.... His
 mother...was very adamant about the Cherokee Nation NOT raising her child
 and the court records show this. In April of 2006, we were notified of the
 Cherokee Nation's intent to take us to court and remove our son from our
 home.... Since then, we have been in a constant state of panic...."
     Any emotionally healthy child, no matter their heritage, is devastated
 when taken from home and forced to live with strangers. Even children of
 100% tribal heritage are devastated if they're taken from non-tribal
 families they love and placed with strangers they know nothing about.
     The Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare (CAICW) is the only
 national organization advocating for families who have lost or are at risk
 of losing children due to misapplied and sometimes illegal application of
 the ICWA. The CAICW will be at the National Press Club at 12 noon, Tuesday,
 September 4, 2007, with affected families sharing about this growing
     Letters from birth parents, grandparents, foster families, pre-adoptive
 families, and tribal members themselves can be read at

SOURCE Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare