Published March 15, 2019
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday in Brackeen v. Bernhardt, in which the United States and tribal nations stand together in defense of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the American Indian and Alaska Native children that it serves. A nationwide coalition of 325 tribal nations, 57 Native organizations, 21 states, 31 child welfare organizations, 7 members of Congress, and dozens of scholars of federal Indian law and constitutional law also stood with the parties in court during their amicus briefs supporting Native children and families through the Indian Child Welfare Act.
“ICWA is vital to the well-being of Native children and the stability and integrity of Native families today. We can’t afford to go back to the days when massive numbers of Native children were forcibly removed from their loved ones and were often separated from their families with little hope of ever seeing them again. It’s not an option,” said the Protect ICWA Campaign.
The National Indian Child Welfare Association, the National Congress of American Indians, the Association on American Indian Affairs, and the Native American Rights Fund urge the ruling of the district court to be reversed.
A decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected within a few months after the oral argument.