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
"... 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