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Northwest Attorneys General Join Federal Appeal Of Decision that Struck Down ICWA

File photo of the Washington Supreme Court chambers.
Credit Washington Supreme Court
Washington Supreme Court

Attorneys General from 21 U.S. states, including those in Oregon and Washington, filed briefs this week urging a federal appeals court to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA, aims to keep Native American children with their Native family members during adoption proceedings and in cases of neglect or abuse.

The law was challenged in 2017. Last fall a U.S. district court judge in Texas struck down ICWA, calling it unconstitutional, because it discriminated against non-Native Americans.

The controversial decision has since been appealed by defendants, including the federal government and Washington’s Quinault Nation.

The attorneys general join 120 federally recognized tribes to ask the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the lower court judge’s decision. If the appeal is not granted, the case is likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Copyright 2019 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.