Published December 6, 2018
AKWESASNE — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe issued the following statement today in response to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s ruling on Tsiothóhrha/December 3, 2018 that issued a stay over a Texas lower court’s decision in Brackeen v. Zinke finding that the Indian Child Welfare Act was unconstitutional:
“The Tribe is encouraged that the Fifth Circuit has stayed the Northern District of Texas Court’s controversial ruling that could potentially expose thousands of Native children to abusive child placement practices that Congress sought to end 40 years ago. Yesterday’s ruling by the Court of Appeal protects the most vulnerable segment of Indian Country until the Court of Appeals can give a thorough review to a district court decision we believe was wrongly decided and is contrary to Congressional intent. We also appreciate the decision of the United States to appeal the ruling and to continue to advocate for the legitimate goals and constitutionality of the ICWA,” stated the Tribal Council.
“After four decades of the U.S Congress upholding legislation that has protected our children and families against unjust removal and placement practices, it is concerning to see such protections come into question. I am pleased with the Appeal Court’s stay. The Tribe has engaged in significant efforts to work with the New York courts and the State to enforce and uphold ICWA’s policies and goals to benefit all Mohawk children. I look forward to their final ruling and for others to join efforts to protect our children,” stated Jean Square, SRMT Indian Child Welfare Act Program Manager.