National Indian Child Welfare Association Pledges to Work in Defense of the Indian Child Welfare Act

NICWA“Hand-in-Hand with Those We Serve”

PORTLAND, OREGON — The National Indian Child Welfare Association issued the following statement after the Goldwater Institute’s “A.D. v. Washburn” class action lawsuit, which alleges the core of the Indian Child Welfare Act is unconstitutional, was announced yesterday in Phoenix:

We at the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) watched today’s press conference by the Goldwater Institute with interest and dismay.

It is disappointing that during this era of unprecedented support for Native children and youth, there are still special interests intent on mobilizing their considerable resources to dismantle critical protections for children that Indian Country and our allies fought so hard to establish.

Our three decades of experience working hand-in-hand directly with those we serve—Native families, children, and communities—leaves no question that real solutions to the complex issues we as Native communities face can only come from working together with the families and children most impacted by these issues. In the same respect, we also know that true progress cannot come from using inflammatory rhetoric to try to divide the families, communities, and organizations that care about Native children.

NICWA remains committed to working with families, youth, leading national children’s organizations, tribal leaders, legal experts, and other advocates committed to the well-being of our children to protect recent advances that have strengthened the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). We recognize that these gains were achieved by working together for Native children and families.

This week, as thousands of Native youth converge on our nation’s capital to meet with President Obama and members of Congress and celebrate the same spirit of unity, we pledge to work on their behalf to defend ICWA and the principles for which it stands. Our children deserve no less.

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