Today the Supreme Court will hear the case of Haaland v. Brackeen.
What’s at stake?
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and potentially, other federal protections for Indigenous tribes.
Per the New York Times:
“The law was drafted to respond to more than a century of Native children’s being forcibly removed from tribal homes by social workers, sent to government and missionary boarding schools and then placed in white Christian homes.
The law’s goal of reunification — placing Native children with tribal families — has long been a gold standard, according to briefs signed by more than two dozen child welfare organizations.
Building a Native child’s connection to extended family, cultural heritage and community through tribal placement, they said, is inherent in the definition of “the best interests of the child” and a critical stabilizing factor when the child exits or ages out of foster care.”
The Brackeens are fighting this law because in 2015 they fostered, then adopted, a Navajo child and they, along with other families, believe it should be easier to adopt Indigenous children.
The defence posits that “the law discriminates against Native American children as well as non-Native families who want to adopt them because it determines placements based on race.”
☝🏼 It’s not lost on me that this case is being heard in November, which is both National Adoptee Awareness Month AND Native American Heritage Month.
✌🏼 This case is majorly indicative of the systemic issues oppressing Indigenous communities and invalidating adoptee experiences.
White folks who want to adopt need to understand this simple fact:
YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD.
Especially a child of the global majority.
⭐️ Fostering or adopting us does not automatically make you a good person.
⭐️ Fostering or adopting us does not “save us” from anything.
⭐️ Believing you are entitled to adopt or foster anyone’s child is the definition of privilege.
If the Brackeens and their co-plaintiffs poured this much time, energy, and effort into supporting Indigenous families and communities as they have trying to overturn constitutional law, who knows how many families could have been preserved?
On that note, why are we not actively working to preserve families?
🧐 That’s the question this month: Why not family preservation?
You can follow Patrick at Insta: @patrickintheworld or at LinkedIn @Patrick Armstrong
Jena Martin’s article that looks at the differences and similarities between the ICWA and the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption