The problem with repealing the ICWA


Lily Thivierge, Staff Writer

Native American communities are some of the most underserved communities in America. For over one hundred years, Native American children were forcibly removed from their families and enrolled into residential schools because of the 1819 Indian Civilization Act. Once kids were old enough to leave the school, they still weren’t accepted anywhere. They had been stripped of their culture and still weren’t welcome in the white world. Even after residential schools closed in America, racist Americans were still scheming against Indigenous families. 

Residential schools started closing because of the Civil Rights movements. AIM exposed the schools as cultural genocide and mass child graves. Many Americans still fought to “civilize” indigenous children so some white families started adopting Native kids from their families. Instead of trying to help, preserve, and support Native Reservations, racists claimed that children shouldn’t be raised on the rez because the parents were abusive or unfit, and many of these cases lacked proof or evidence. The government realized that Native American children were being removed and adopted more than non-native children. They also realized that almost all of these children were being adopted by a majority of non-native families. Over a quarter of all native children were taken by their families and 85% of these kids were completely removed from the rez or the state, even if they had family or relatives capable of raising the child. 

ICWA, or the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, was created in an effort to keep indigenous families and tribes together. In 1978, Congress found that adoption agencies had taken hundreds of thousands of these kids, often by force. Texas is currently going to the Supreme Court and is trying to get it repealed because they claim it’s unconstitutional. The Texas government stated that ICWA is unjustified racial preference and discrimination and they want it removed.  ICWA was originally made to combat racism and protect Native culture. It’s not about hating white parents, but instead trying to protect the thousands of kids that were illegally removed from their homes and forced to assimilate. 

Removing ICWA is extremely dangerous because there will be nothing left to protect these kids. Native Americans have been oppressed and swept under the rug for hundreds of years. Now the Texas government is trying to take away more from the people who have been stripped of so much.