Attorney General Ford Joins Coalition in Defense of Indian Child Welfare Act Protections Before the U.S. Supreme Court

October 8, 2020

 Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford joined a bipartisan coalition of 26 attorneys general in support of the United States and four federally recognized tribes in their efforts to uphold critical protections guaranteed under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

The coalition filed an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in Haaland v. Brackeen and Cherokee Nation v. Brackeen highlighting the states’ compelling interest in standing up for the well-being of all children, including Native American children, in state child-custody proceedings.

“The ICWA is a necessary tool to protect the well-being of Native American children and ensure they maintain a connection to their tribal communities,” said AG Ford. These protections must be upheld in order to maintain this vital defense of Native American children and tribal communities.

Congress enacted the ICWA in 1978 in response to state and private parties initiating state child-custody proceedings that removed Native American children from the custody of their parents — often without good cause — and placed them in the custody of non-tribal adoptive and foster homes. The removal of these children posed an existential threat to the continuity and vitality of tribal communities.

The ICWA’s provisions safeguard the rights of Native American children, parents and tribes in state child-custody proceedings, and seek to promote the placement of Native American children with members of their extended families or in other tribal homes. In the four decades since Congress enacted ICWA, the statute has become the foundation of state-tribal relations in the realm of child custody and family services.

The areas represented by members of the coalition are home to approximately 86% of the federally recognized tribes in the United States.

In filing the amicus brief, AG Ford joins the attorneys general of California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the amicus brief is attached